Race

Always on the outlook for animated features, good or bad, to post about – I came across this flick which was independently produced by a small post-production and animation studio in Glendale, California, Hyper Image. Animated in 3D Max and aimed towards gamers and Star Wars: Clone Wars fans (It’s rated PG-13 for “some suggestive images and action violence”), Race came out on DVD last week through Phase 4 Films after a decade of development, production, post production — and a long search for distribution. Hyper Image is now at work on their next feature, the furry-centric N.O.R.M.A.L. the Movie.


  • Vic

    Looked interesting. Checked Phase 4′s site for purchase info.

    $14.99 in the US.

    $32.99 in Canada?

    More than TWICE as much? What are they smoking?

    Sorry Hyper Image/Phase 4, you’re gouging. No sale!

    Cheers. -=V=-

  • VinceP

    I can’t say I’m terribly fond of the designs or the subject matter, but given that this was done by a small studio over the course of ten years I’d have to say kudos to them for sticking with it. It looks like it has a lot of energy and the story might be fun, so who knows? I don’t think I’ll be hunting down a DVD copy anytime soon, but if I had one I’d probably watch it and I bet it wouldn’t be too bad.

  • http://www.pitchbibles.blogspot.com Steve Schnier

    First of all, kudos to Hyper Image/Phase 4 for getting the movie done. Good for you. But while it looks sharp, a movie lives or dies by the human element – the story. Characters we care about? I dunno.

    Sure, the spaceships look great – but…

    Hope it does some business for them.

  • AltredEgo

    What a waste.

    10 years…

    I will never understand why small teams with limited budget always try to make some epic space odyssey with a thousand characters and ships and environments. (ie. Delgo)

    Wouldn’t common sense suggest that you pick a smaller and much more personal story that can be more successfully tackled with your limited resources? Perhaps a tale more likely to connect to the emotions of the audience?

    Also if I were going to spend a decade on something, I might at least try to find a script that was remotely original and compelling. I mean none of these filmmakers had real childhoods? None of them grew up with a unique perspective on the world around them, that can be investigated with an animation-appropriate visual metaphor? It’s like watching a dog eating it’s own tail.

    Also, on a more practical note it would also ensure that your now smaller cast of characters and environments can be designed, modeled, rigged, lit and animated to a much higher degree of polish.

    All of which might cut down on the time required to finish the project, while increasing the likelihood of the more refined and intimate film finding an audience.

    Oh and 33 bucks plus tax to watch that in Canada, good luck with that guys…

  • Jay Sabicer

    Character designs appear to be from Botox Canyon, instead of Uncanny Valley. Lots of action, but I agree, story must be king. I’m fairly indifferent on what I saw. Pass.

  • http://beaudetteblog.blogspot.com Grant Beaudette

    Dang, I was hoping it was based the crazy Bollywood action flick of the same name.

    These independent features do seem tread somewhat familar ground. Maybe Race, Delgo and Battle for Terra can come out in DVD box set.

  • Michael Schechter

    Did anyone else see any similarities to Oban Star-Racers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C5%8Cban_Star-Racers)? The ships, the race format/content and the core team looked to be derived from very similar sources. I also think I saw some similar aliens.

    If I understand the above time line correctly, Hyper Image actually started their work shortly before the Oban team released their initial short concept (in 2001). While Oban wasn’t perfect, I still think the OSR team created something that both looks better and addresses some of the comments about story/plot that have been raised earlier.

  • Steve Stanchfield

    10 years…. animation does take a long time, but were there some well animated shots in the trailer? I’ll have to watch again.

    Without seeing the whole films of course it’s impossible to judge, but it’s funny to see a lot of really basic considerations not showing up in the trailer; basic lighting and varied color design, good dramatic composition and good basic character expressions. timing and posing. I hope the film is better, or at the very least that the lessons of the first film lead them to look at any of 10,000 great films made in the last hundred years (animated and otherwise) for inspiration and guidance. I always wish the best for the little guys, but we need to pay attention to all the basics before hanging a story on top of it…

    Let’s wish them the best and hope for continued inspiration….

  • Brad

    [i]Wouldn’t common sense suggest that you pick a smaller and much more personal story that can be more successfully tackled with your limited resources? Perhaps a tale more likely to connect to the emotions of the audience? [/i]

    AltredEgo, were you one of those who felt the first half hour of[i] Wall-E[/i] was the best?

    Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t go to the movies for small-cast, intimate jobs like [i]My Dinner With Andre[/i] or [i]The Blair Witch Project[/i]. I prefer something I can’t see everyday, something with spectacle and action and excitement. (And escapism? Well, yes.)

  • http://www.frankpanucci.com FP

    It looks like those movies Mr. Lucas made after his catastrophic series of unpublicized aneurysms.

  • erlab

    Why would they come up with something like this? You’re in CALIFORNIA. You have more of the best resources than New York, Florida, or Dallas would ever want!

  • Olo

    “Animated in 3D Max and aimed towards gamers and Star Wars: Clone Wars fans… ”

    I think the Clone Wars looks much better than this.

  • http://highlyrecommended.blogspot.com Satorical

    Well that looks awful. Plot=ok. Execution=lowest common denominator tripe. Sigh.

  • Daniel J. Drazen

    This looks so much like a Clone Wars/Speed Racer mash-up. That tag line: “When you’ve go nothing to lose, winning is everything.” Least. Profound statement. Ever.

  • http://www.segaltoons.com Steve Segal

    Steve Stanchfield, I like what you wrote, very diplomatic. And you nailed many of the problems. For me the character animation looks like first pass blocking, with no personality. And as Steve Schnier said: “a movie lives or dies by the human element”. I agree, but it doesn’t always have to be human, just a believable personality. I guess Hyper Image does a lot of FX work with spaceships. And I agree with AltredEgo, a small, original film, like the work of Bill Plympton, would be more appropriate (not that everybody can be a genius like Bill Plympton).

  • Shawn

    I appreciate the ambition that must have gone into this. And 10 years is a long time to stick to a project, so kudos for that.

    Still, I have to wonder if a small studio like this wouldn’t have been better off concentrating on shorts before going all out. It’s obvious that there are areas they haven’t quite perfected yet, like lighting, character design, and color design. Most studios, even Pixar, started out small and worked their way up and used those initial efforts to impress and attract talent to their cause. It just seems like there are basic animation principles that this creative team still needs to iron out. Even watching the trailer for their next film doesn’t show a lot of improvement.

  • Warhead

    It looks like a poor man’s F-Zero if you ask me. And ten years? Why waste 10 years on generic crap like this?

  • Baron Lego

    “…aimed towards gamers and Star Wars: Clone Wars fans..”

    That’s an understatement.

  • John

    10 years and the end result is a full length Playstation One cutscene?

  • Niko

    Remember when something could come out with anthropomorphized animals and it was just a cartoon? Now everyone’s worried that it’s furry and if you enjoy it YOU might be a furry too! I guess Tex Avery was a furry, and so were Chuck Jones and Mel Blanc by association.

  • papashango

    You cant compare Oban with this…Oban has a lot of things going for it…
    This is as scary as “Return to Terra”…..
    What I would like to know are contact details of people who will put money into stuff like this….I have a few ideas :P

  • Chris

    For anyone interested, it’s currently offered by Netflix (DVD or streaming)…