Zemeckis’ A Christmas Carol

This trailer has been out for a while, but I just have to ask: Does anyone in Hollywood have the cajones to tell Zemeckis to just STOP?

Robert Zemeckis has made several of my all-time favorite films, but this motion-capture madness must end. He’s doing Yellow Submarine next. Are any of our readers looking forward to this Christmas Carol? Does anyone think it looks good?


  • Tommy

    Is anyone else reminded of the trailer for Freaky Flickers?

  • http://www.ambienceofmedia.com/ Dan Winclechter

    Even ignoring the mo-cap stuff, the film looks terrible. The trailer is basically composed of Scrooge flying around all over the place while Jim Carrey screams and yells. It makes for a painful two minutes, let alone 90.

  • Cyber Fox

    Let’s be optimisitc about this
    I am looking forward to this, I believe this would look really cool in 3D

  • http://yeldarb86.deviantart.com Mr. Semaj

    I’m more upset that we’re getting the 40 BILLIONTH Christmas Carol treatment than the fact that it’s motion capture.

  • John

    I wish he would go back to making fun films with Bob Gale. I Wanna Hold Your Hand, Used Cars and of course the Back to the Future films were so clever and inventive and fun. Beowulf was a colossal bore (I fell asleep in a digital 3D presentation) and I don’t even think I’ll bother with this.

  • http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S25/53/99A37/index.xml?section=topstories Bruce

    Give me a break Jerry do you really think it’s the motion capture? I personally think it’s the script, character design, 3D gimmicks, and lack of quality animation supervision that’s been killing these films. It’s not the ‘mocap’! (funny how BZ never acknowledges that animators work on his films)

    Unfortunately mocap is here to stay. Lets pray that someone in the future will explore bigger and better ways of bridging the mocap/animation divide.

  • Gerhard

    I’m so glad that someone else feels the same way about this. BACK TO THE FUTURE and ROGER RABBIT is right up there in my books, but this recent stuff stinks big time. It looks horrible. If you’re gonna do a CG version of Jim Carrey, that looks exactly like Jim Carrey, and place him in a photorealistic CG environment, why not just make a live action film with the real Jim Carrey. The real Jim Carrey is funny. CG Jim Carrey is not funny.

  • Adam Oliver

    I’ll tell him to stop. Just get me on the first flight out and I’ll do us all a favour.

    What disturbs me most about motion capture is how some of joe public say it’s not as good, but almost accept it by lowering their expectations and put it all down to ‘the future and technology’.

    With the internet sites like youtube, people have come to expect lower quality standards, even from so called professionals. People want a quick laugh, and they’re not so much about quality anymore, and they see a market saturated in special fx to cover up poor story (and lack of actual character animation, in this case)

    Just look at the popularity of charlie the unicorn and other internet freakshows. Low-fi is in.

    I hope ths bombs. Actually, I’ll correct, I hope motion capture bombs.

    I fear animators will become data analysts and all creativity will be replaced by some technological crutch.

    Come on Bob, give it a rest.

  • http://poptique.blogspot.com/ Poptique

    Production design is decent, but the characters are just deeply unappealing – in fact borderline repulsive.

  • Seth C

    the first half of the trailer didn’t seem all too bad, but once Scrooge is flying around, and getting shrunken down, and spitting out a chipmunk-esque “humbug” I lost all faith. And really, do we need another version of a Christmas Carol? I just looked it up and theres over 70 versions of this story that’s been made for film. Enough is enough.

  • joe

    It looks like a video game.
    Horribly creepy. Not a good creepy either.

  • J

    When the trailer played before Pixar’s Up, most of the audience I was sitting with was audibly impressed/excited by it. I’m assuming it was the 3D and the crazy camerawork that did it though, because I’m still not convinced that people really want to see yet another re-telling of A Christmas Carol…

  • jerry garcia

    Zemeckis had said that they had solved the uncanny valley issue… …but it seems to be alive and well in the extended trailer I saw the other night. The lighting in these films also annoys the hell out of me – for someone trying to duplicate live action it sure misses the mark all over the place.

    I agree… …stop the madness!!!

  • http://drgrantz.deviantart.com/ revned

    The only way anyone will tell Zemeckis to stop is if the movie tanks in its opening weekend… but something tells me that just ain’t gonna happen.

    And to answer your questions: No.

  • Torsten

    No, it looks terrible. I am very afraid that he will continue and ruin “Yellow Submarine”. Who could ask him to stop? As “A Christmas Carol” is under the Disney brand, I ask my self if Mr. Lasseter could just do this? But very likely he will not, as these movies are no financial desasters.

    Jery, you are completely right about Zemeckis’ past. “Back to the Future 1 & 2″, “Who framed Roger Rabbitt” are masterpieces indeed. And even “Forrest Gump” had its charm.

  • Sam Filstrup

    Looks creepy his motion capture wigs me out.

  • Paul

    As much as I hate motion capture, I did like from the start of the Horse Carriage to the introduction of Scrooge; it suprisingly worked…

    … but when the snowflake falls on Scrooge’s nose; everything is rushing downhill to utter rubbish.

    Well done Zemeckis; 5 seconds good; rest fail. Now go destroy my favourite Submarine film!

  • peter bangs

    Not another one. Doesn’t he realise this stuff just makes for scarey, freaky looking people. I’ve hated these on aesthetic grounds since that final fantasy movie but but Zemekis’s creepy looking wooden zombie people have to win him a special place in Hollywood Hell. Polar Express terrified my six year old daughter My wife had to lead her from the cinema in tears because the people looked scarey. Does Zemekis not realise that less realistic animation works far better than this “almost human” thing he’s become obsessed with. Maybe another 20 years and he’ll be able to make films like this and we won’t know the difference but until then he should go back to live action and finance improving the softwear for things like this if it’s so important to him.

  • Christopher Cook

    “A Christmas Carol” has been done many times before as live action. Do we really need another take? And if so, do we really need is as mo-cap?

  • http://daryl-rhystaylor.blogspot.com DarylT

    I know. He made some of my favourites as well. But this motion capture never looks good. And his last few movies (polar Express and Beowolf) were kinda bad. Motion Capture…Total waste of money.

  • http://hellohue.blogspot.com Hellohue

    There was certainly something interesting about seeing Carrey caricatured by the process, but the film overall seems like a mere showcase for it, and for the technology, which is less than exciting. Most of the trailer is Scrooge flying up or through or over something for no reason, screaming. If Zemeckis can fit the classic story in there somewhere it would be nice.

    Also, the film overall looks heavily unfinished. I’m no CG expert, but shouldn’t there be a few more stages in rendering to smoot out the plastic-looking edges. If they want us to believe, there’s a good start.

  • http://www.andysanimation.co.uk Andy Latham

    This says it all:
    http://www.filmofilia.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/A-Christmas-Carol.jpg
    A completely dead face captured from one of the most expressive actors in Hollywood. No thanks Zemekis, no thanks.

  • Bill Cross

    “Are any of our readers looking forward to this Christmas Carol?”
    No.

    “Does anyone think it looks good?”
    No.

    This holiday season, I plan on viewing Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol while curling up with Darrell Van Critters’ book.

  • cas

    “A Christmas Carol” looks absolutely terrific – especially considering it only had 2 years to get made by a brand new digital studio started up from scratch. I’m surprised for someone who seems to be promoting and encouraging art and artisty, you have already written it off. There’s more to animation than 2D, stop motion and CGI. It’s a new art form and there’s always room in this business for new concepts and ideas. BZ is always trying to come up with something new, interesting and innovative in his movies – to get people back into the theatres. Mocap will be a hit and a miss just like anything else but remember they laughed at Disney when he was making “Snow White”.

  • Brad

    I suspect it’s the film Bill Murray wanted to make in “Scrooged.”

  • Phil

    Eww.

  • http://crinkum-crankum.blogspot.com/ Brandon Waltman

    if this is the unofficial petition for bobby z. to stop making these things, then consider this my signature. it must end

  • http://www.nofateandrazor.com Razor

    Scrooge is the worst looking/animated CG character I’ve ever seen in a major release. When I took a computer animation class in 1999, we had long discussions on how to avoid having characters look like “an erector set in a wet suit” … and that’s the only thing I could think of when I watch that character move.

    I don’t see what this does to further Disney’s reputation, to the point that they are calling the movie “Disney’s A Christmas Carol” in everything… If I were a different guy who has a toy collection and wears hawiian shirts to work, I would be a little bit offended that this movie is being lumped in the same family as “Princess and the Frog” and “Up” this year.

    As far as a “Yellow Submarine” remake – I still don’t get that one. I could even see a NEW animated movie based on the Beatles / Beatles songs – actually wasn’t someone kicking around the idea of doing a mockumentary with Beatles songs and the Beatles story but with animals? At least that wouldn’t ruin the legacy of something that we all kind of liked as part of its time.

  • http://kelseighn.blogspot.com/ Kelseigh

    That looks just horrible. Yet another movie that exists primarily as an excuse to toss crap at the screen in 3-D. Far as I’m concerned, Alastair Sim did the definitive version, and the only ones that have come close were the musical Scrooge, the Bill Murray version (the only update that’s worked) and the Muppet one for the sheer fun factor.

  • Mike

    The Zemeckis animation is sometimes clumsy and ugly, but it looks like it is getting better. To me, his movies have such a strong spirit of fun that it makes them a joy to watch, like Speilberg but better. I am looking very much forward to seeing this, not because it is animation but because it looks entertaining.

  • http://the-animation-art.blogspot.com Christian Dan

    The man who directed Forrest Gump, Back to the Future, and much more, is doing that “thing”.
    I can’t believe it !
    Come back Robert, come back

  • http://www.freewebs.com/jonpernisek Jon Pernisek

    I’m sorry, but when the Jetsons, All Dogs Go to Heaven, Mickey Mouse, Mr. Magoo, the Flintstones, the Muppets, the Looney Tunes, Patrick Stewart, Bill Murray, Albert Finney, Kelsey Grammer, VH1 and Vanessa Williams, Jack Palance, Xena: Warrior Princess, Roseanne, Northern Exposure, Blackadder, the Animaniacs, Family Ties, Henry Winkler, Rankin-Bass, and Sanford & Son have their own respective adaptations of A Christmas Carol, it’s time to move on. I couldn’t care less about this umpteenth version from Disney.

  • http://www.frankrause.com/franimation/ Fran Krause

    This looks like the kind of movie that would be projected at those “virtual reality” rides that were in malls ten years ago.

    I think the script looked something like this:

    SCROOGE: HAPLESS PROJECTILE

    INTERIOR , SCROOGE’S HOUSE

    Hilarity ensues.

    THE END

  • http://blissfulignorance551.deviantart.com/ A.J.

    It looks UGLY! it looks like Xbox Video graphics. Realistic but unerving. Another hit and miss from the unimaginative mind of robert Zemeckis.

  • Em

    It looks completely creepy and boring, to be honest. Pretty bad combo.

  • Harukuro

    No Jerry I do NOT like the looks of this movie at all! It looks absolutly terrible (most video games have better CGI than this even on a handheld!) and it doesn’t even look funny or engading at all, it looks plain stupid. Sorry about the rant its just that I really don’t like what this film is shaping up to be.

  • http://www.inkandpixelclub.com Sara

    The Japanese trailer that’s been circulating around the web is a little more intriguing, since it focuses more on the elements of the classic story and less on the slapstick roller coaster ride that make Zemeckis’ statements that this is the story that Dickens always envisioned seem baffling. But I still don’t like the designs, the mo-cap, or Carrey’s voice acting. So no, I don’t think it looks good.

  • Marc Baker

    I wish Zemeckis would stop making these awful ‘motion capture’ movies. They look too realistic, and creepy for my taste. If he ever teams up with Spielberg again for a ‘Roger Rabbit’ sequel, i hope they don’t go the CGI route.

  • http://weflewairplanes.blogspot.com Ian

    I wouldn’t go that far Tommy, but it definitely isn’t pretty. I forget where but I’ve seen this a couple times, those faces are so ugly and creepy. I don’t understand this stuff that tries to be realistic, just make it live action if you want things to look real dude.

  • Joe

    Is it me or this motion capture animation, makes the people in the picture seem ugly, the move like weird humans, I didn’t see Polar express for the same reason and certainly not gonna see this one either.

  • http://chuck-o-rama.com chaz

    Are any of our readers looking forward to this Christmas Carol?

    No.

    Does anyone think it looks good?

    No.

    Will anyone watch it?

    Unfortunately, yes.

  • Inkan1969

    If Zemekis mocaps make lots of money, no one has any reason to tell him to stop….

  • Fred

    A hundred million dollar plus production that rips off Dick Williams’ 1971 art direction, color and character design. They knew they couldn’t do better in those departments. They couldn’t top Magoo in all the others. With 3D everything on God’s earth must be a thrill ride.

  • http://clownalley.net Pat Cashin

    I’m hoping that these films are the stepping stones to some major breakthrough.

    That said, I’m not interested in A Christmas Carol at all and would rather see a envelope-pushing Beatles animated feature made in the style of the Rock Band trailer than in this motion capture style.

    Maybe if Zemeckis was churning out interesting shorts or direct-to-video projects in an effort to push this technology, as opposed to trying to use it to drive features, he could find an easier path to that breakthough in motion capture that is going to deliver his Pinocchio or Toy Story.

  • http://www.forthebirdsblog.blogspot.com Michael J. Ruocco

    I’m curious… but probably not curious enough to shell out $15 to see it.

  • Rob

    I have an idea for a film.
    ‘After a hard day of motion capture, Robert Zemeckis is visited by the ghosts of animation past, present, and future.’

    I thought Monster House was fun, motion capture aside.

  • http://onkelchrispy.livejournal.com/ Onkel Chrispy

    Do we need another Christmas Carol? Do we need more Holiday filler?
    Why does a once former great director feel the need to re-hash and re-visit material that has already been covered in a way that seems completely uninspired?

    ‘Polar Express’ had some beautiful sequences, but those happen to be sequences that were devoid of mo-cap characters. I find it difficult to understand why Zemeckis feels the need to go with photo realistic characterchures. What is the thought process (if any) that feels it necessary to compromise the unique performance of gifted actors in the style he is using? To me, if you are going to use mo-cap then use it with imagination. You have this tremendous technology, why not use it to give us something new, that audiences haven’t seen before?

  • tom Stazer

    There’s not a frame of this trailer that doesn’t repel me to the core of my artistic sensibilities. Seeing this trailer in 3d at Cloudy WACOM , alongside other fabulous trailers, how could anyone NOT see how ugly it is?? Purple-green skin with black pores, not a pleasant color in the palette. But my guest at the theater thought it looked really great. I can’t explain. It’s so obvious to me that the Zemeckis stuff is hideous? But really, my biggest horror was at the “improvements” Zemeckis and crew have done to the story. I mean, Dickens was an OK writer I guess, but what the novel is sorely missing are blows to Scrooge’s nuts. And here’s a fresh, imaginative idea – maybe we could go down a 3D tube, how come nobody ever did that before? Zemeckis gags me. How the man who glorified classic animation in Roger Rabbit sunk to these vile depths is inexplicable to me.

  • http://www.spiteyourface.com Tony Mines

    You know what? I’m really looking forward to this.
    I’ve thought for a long time, that what is really missing from the cinematic landscape is an adaptation of A Christmas Carol. If there is one thing, thats really been missing from my life, that really needs looking into again, especially in the animated medium, its A Christmas Carol. Its such a sorely neglected and underused story. In fact, I can’t even rightly remember if anyone has ever made one before, have they? Have there been ANY previous film versions of A Christmas Carol, much less a bucket of them?
    I can’t remember. I think maybe someone made a film of it one time, but I’m pretty sure when they did, that Jacob Marley didn’t throw a brick at the camera. So this one will be better.

  • Lindsay

    Don’t get me started on Zemeckis. *shudder*

    It REALLY pisses me off that he’s going after existing films now with his “technology.” Why Yellow Submarine? Just… why?!

    I echo your sentiments Jerry. Someone needs to take Bobby’s “toys” away for good. *grumble*

  • http://thomasblue-illustration.blogspot.com/ Mike

    For what it’s worth, from a random reader, I’ve found the trailer for this to be creepy at best. The motion capture thing has all the warmth of a Shamrock Shake and there are moments in the trailer when it’s obvious the characters are speaking to each other but not -looking- at each other (with those dead eyes of theirs). I would much rather have seen Jim Carrey doing this live.

  • Samantha

    Not only does this movie use motion capture draw attention away from quality animation through advanced rendering, but it also mangles A Christmas Carol, which I will not stand for. So far, I have boycotted all of Zemeckis’s motion capture fiascos, and I plan to do the same when this one comes out. Why didn’t they just have Jim Carrey play all the parts he plays in this movie in makeup? Isn’t one of Carrey’s selling points his elastic face?

  • SN Johnson

    I’ll say this; when I first saw the trailer online, I was bored and cursing motion capture, but I must admit that when I saw the trailer for the second time (IN 3D) before the Toy Story double feature it looked a lot better. Motion capture is still pretty lame in my book, but the 3D aspects of this film look pretty thrilling. Normally I appreciate a subtler 3D (like Coraline or Up) but I think I can muster up a little excitement for an old time “it’s coming right at us!” kind of 3D affair (I doubt I would ever watch this movie in 2D though).

  • Paul N

    Just from the trailiers, it looks like it’s full of the kind of gags that made 50′s 3D so cheesy.

  • PeterF

    While we’re at it, can anyone stop Jim Carrey?

  • Mike

    Good mocap in it’s place is great (King Kong, Gollum).
    So I guess this is hideous on purpose.
    For what purpose I don’t know.

  • http://www.switchbladecomic.com rorschach

    He shrank Scrooge, (which is what I’m sure Dickens originally had in mind, but was somehow unable to publish for some bizarre reason) and made Jacob Marley a wimp. Marley used to scare the CRAP out of me as a kid, but oh no, we have to protect children these days from anything that might actually be fun.

  • Mitch Kennedy

    What a waste of a good actor!!

  • Lance

    What are the advantages of this? It’s not to make the process cheaper, because it isn’t. It’s as and more expensive than the usual.

    Is it animation? No. Animation is about caricature–the distillation of movement style to highlight what’s important. Everything in these ugly films is of equal importance, and therefore nothing is important.

    The “look” of the film (the least important part, to be sure) is off putting and inconsistant. It’s not “real,” nor is it “caricatured.” It looks terribly committed, and not terribly well thought through. And for me, personally, it’s just plain ugly and repulsive to look at. WHO is designing this garbage?

    Why would great actors like Bob Hoskins and good actors like Jim Carrey and Robin Wright consent having this process ruin the subtleties in their performance? Blue Sky’s “Horton” may not have been great story-wise, but the animation BLOWS this crap out of the water.

    If SAG gets ahold of control of mo-cap, which it will do, this kind of crap will get worse.

    Zemeckis has made some good films, and a lot of really bad ones. I do believe he’s not ENTIRELY stupid–but I cannot fathom the idea that he thinks these films are a good thing. They’re not.

    Stop it.

    NOW!

  • Russell H

    That rumbling sound in the background is Charles Dickens turning over.

  • Chris Webb

    Against my better judgment, I still trust in Zemeckis as a movie maker. I keep hoping that this, Beowulf, Monster House and Polar Express are just elaborate R&D projects for a REALLY great mo-cap movie he wants to make.

    The cliche is that once mo-cap became sophisticated enough, you could make a *new* movie starring Marilyn Monroe and Humphrey Bogart. Of course whether that is even worth doing is another story. Maybe he wants that. Or maybe he wants to do a historical epic where the characters actually look like the real people from history, as opposed to having to put make up on Frank Langella so he looks (and sweats) like Nixon.

    But my suspicion is Zemeckis is the king of his little kingdom and no one wants to tell the emperor he’s not wearing clothes. Remaking Yellow Submarine seems like an out-of-touch act of hubris. I mean, why? …WHY!?

    I don’t see much difference between A Christmas Carol and a live action film. Same for Monster House.

    And the whole notion of modeling the characters to look like the real actors is stupid. Anthony Hopkins in Beowulf looked ridiculous. The the animated character’s performance was no where near as interesting as a “real” Anthony Hopkins performance.

    I don’t understand why RZ doesn’t acknowledge that the Mo-Cap faces are not as alive as animated faces are. Why not at least hire a few animators to go in and animate the faces? Isn’t that the best of both worlds?

    So in my heart of hearts I want to believe that the director or Forrest Gump, Used Cars and I Wanna Hold Your Hand is not out of touch.

    This better pay off eventually.

  • Mr. Stephenson

    I love Back To the Future and Forrest Gump, but am really concerned for Robert Zemeckis now, it’s like he’s joined some sort of Scientology cult that believes motion capture movies are great.

  • http://garrisonsjunk.blogspot.com Chris Garrison

    I’ve joined the facebook group “Don’t let Robert Zemeckis remake and ruin The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine!” For some reason, it only has 435 members so far. Everybody, please join and send a message to Hollywood.

  • Rob

    The motion tends toward the anamatronic -So I guess this is not too far away from the animation aesthetic of the Hall of Presidents. Can’t wait for the movie version of “Hall of Presidents”.

  • acetate

    I agree overall it looks bad. The one thing it has going for it is the effect of having things fly out over the audience. Something most of the recent 3D films have shied away from. I never understood that position of making a 3D film and not using the “third dimension”. At least on this one it looks to be full of things flying towards the audience. Much like a theme park film, which is really where this type of film making belongs. If it were done in short doses I dont think people would mind as much. Maybe 20 minutes tops. Like the 3D Muppets or Honey I shrunk the audience. That type of thing.

  • http://Mrfunsblog Floyd Norman

    I remember when film makers like Lucas, Zemeckis and others were creative and exciting. What the hell happen to them? Was it the lavish press, or the big money?

    These guys have become just as bland and cheesy as the old Hollywood moguls they use to rag on.

  • http://www.dohtem.com Greg Method

    It’s the latest episode from the Robert Zemeckis series “Adventures in the Uncanny Valley.”

    There’s very little I can add that hasn’t already been covered in these comments. My main source of contention, though, is one question: Why does this need to be animated?

    This isn’t about a bunch of superheroes or dancing penguins. It’s an old guy who has four run-ins with ghosts…easily done in live action with occasional special effects. It’s been done many times before. It seems like such a waste to go through all the trouble to involve Jim Carrey and then make him play second fiddle to the technology. A live action movie where Jim plays all of the characters on-screen would be a far more intriguing concept, but instead ultimately Michael Caine will be regarded as a more expressive Scrooge.

    I’ve yet to see anyone associated with this movie explain why this is animated. Instead, the TV commercials just include on-set EPK interviews with Jim Carrey fawning over it…and that’s always a good sign.

  • Jason

    I was dead-set against seeing this until I watched the Japanese trailer. It contains some truly mesmerizing scenes involving actual dialogue and situations from the book, and it’s amazing how effective they are. (Japanese people apparently prefer films with involving content, as opposed to us jerkwad Americans who want lots of slapstick violence and comedic pain. I’m surprised there’s no scene of Marley in the American trailers with inserted fart noise; that seems to be Disney’s method of marketing lately).

    As for this comment:
    **I suspect it’s the film Bill Murray wanted to make in “Scrooged.”**

    Sirrah! Them’s fighting words. “Scrooged” is an underrated masterpiece IMO. Carol Kane’s sadistic fairy alone makes that film superb, while Bill Murray’s fine acting is the icing on that incredibly rich Christmas cake. Do not dare to smear that film, nor Murray. He upstaged Bugs Bunny in “Space Jam”. No other human – including Michael Jordan – has ever accomplished that.

  • Jason

    Mr. Norman, I think Zemeckis has succumbed to the dread Lucas disease, which causes a creative talent to fall hopelessly and unrequitedly in love with whizbang technology to the exclusion of all else. At least Lucas’ ailment affected only his own creation. Zemeckis’ illness is being inflicted on such great works as Christmas Carol and Yellow Submarine. I cringe over what Jeremy Hilary Boob is going to look like in motion capture. Like a fuzzy-bodied dead-eyed carnival mask no doubt. Brrrr!

  • http://www.elliotelliotelliot.com Elliot Cowan

    I think this looks great but I have to admit that I’m more excited by the mocap Yellow Submarine.
    I really hope it’s extra yellow.

  • http://www.flashcartoons.org Lavalle Lee

    I will probably wait for it on Netflix. I stopped paying to see CGI-3d movies in theaters. I will only goto 2d animated feature films.

    except for when Toy Story 3 comes out.

  • Tom D

    It looks like 3D flash for flash’s sake, judging from the flying and falling that is showcased in the trailer. The Uncanny Valley stuff looks a good bit better than it has in the past, but mocap is the worst. Characters being made to look so lifelike makes one wonder why they’re not live action, at a quarter the cost or less.

    I hated Polar Express, I never got through Beowulf, Monster House worked except for the mocap (and some of the designs of the characters), but this? This is a head scratcher.

  • Ethan

    I saw this in the theater with my 6-year-old daughter at the Toy Story re-release. She was frightened and I was nauseated. The characters look repulsive, and the Scrooge-riding-on-an-icicle-etc sequence is ridiculous. I am terrified to see what they do to Yellow Submarine.

  • Lance

    “Japanese people apparently prefer films with involving content,”

    HHAAAA! good one. Not true, but funny nontheless.

  • Garwik

    Find a picture of Grendel from Beowulf and then compare it to Scrooge from this film. I swear to god they look the same.

  • Isaac

    Tom Stazer: “My guest at the theater thought it looked really great. I can’t explain. It’s so obvious to me that the Zemeckis stuff is hideous.”

    Can anyone explain this? The stiffness and expressionlessness of the animation is plain to see.

    I like this quote from Wikipedia’s Uncanny Valley entry: “a robot stuck inside the uncanny valley is no longer being judged by the standards of a robot doing a passable job at pretending to be human, but is instead being judged by the standards of a human doing a terrible job at acting like a normal person.”

    Do the people who enjoy these movies have a heightened ability for suspension of disbelief?

  • Cyber Fox

    Again i say, Let’s be optimistic about this
    Sure, This whole “uncanny valley” thing is creepy (look at the Orville Redenbacher commercial from 2 or 3 yrs. ago) but often times it works well.

    Zemekis maybe going overboard with this Mocap thing but he’s doing it well
    Sure, There are a titanic load of Christmas Carol adaptations (some more rediculous than others) though people mostly remember Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol than the original book plus Zemekis’ last Mo-Cap film “The Polar Express” is now technically a modern christmas classic

    as for his version of Yellow Submarine, It’s WAY too early to tell if he is gonna ruin it or not. I say wait until a trailer comes out or better yet the film itself and THEN judge for yourself. Personally, I might give it a shot but if he stays true to the source material of the original than it will be OK

  • dave-o

    Z-Man now has his sights on ruining my favorite movie of all time:

    “I’ll tell you what is buzzing around in my head now that we have the ability—the digital tools, performance capture—I’m starting to think about ‘Roger Rabbit,’”

    Ugh, that quote is like a punch to my gut. Unless he can get Richard Williams, Steven Speilberg (not likely) and much of the talent involved with the first one AND has the good sense to stay clear of motion capture and ‘digital tools’, I can just kiss another beloved childhood classic goodbye.

    http://moviesblog.mtv.com/2009/04/29/exclusive-robert-zemeckis-buzzing-about-second-roger-rabbit-movie/

  • http://www.sibsy.blogspot.com/ Sabrina

    I don’t want to sound narrow-minded, but you *are* asking for a personal opinion, so here is mine:

    I hate everything about this.
    It’s ugly, it’s old news, and I don’t care if it’s in 3D.

    All these studios pumping out movies in 3D to try and get people to go see them….I don’t get it. It just smells of desperation.
    I saw Cloudy With Meatballs NOT in 3D and enjoyed it immensely. As for this ugly mo-cap garbage…there’s this thing in film we like to call LIVE ACTION.

  • BoskoBoy

    Wow. I didn’t realize this many people had already seen this movie in its entirety yet.

  • Terrence M

    I’m surprised at the reaction here. I like the way this looks, and I appreciate that it looks different from Pixar and Dreamworks’ offerings.

  • ask

    Mocap is a guarantee on this blog to get replies above 100, but I’ll share my two cents. My favorites of his are Roger Rabbit of course, Back to the Future, and I even warmed up to Happy Feet after some rewatches. But this looks to be another sad film that will ultimately gross high numbers only because it’s the Christmas Carol, Jim Carrey, and during the holidays. No different than what The Polar Express did. I’m not liking it.

  • Lance

    “Zemekis maybe going overboard with this Mocap thing but he’s doing it well”

    No. He’s wanking off. It’s not done well at all.

    And I’d love to see different looking films, so long as they’re nicely designed and have a story supporting it. This film doesn’t look well designed at all, and the story has little new to offer.

  • http://kitschensyngk.deviantart.com/ Kitschensyngk

    Safe to say I’ll be skipping this one, for three reasons:

    1) Dickens’ story has been adapted for film and television about a thousand times already, so this film promises nothing particularly new.

    2) I would much rather see Jim Carrey PLAY Scrooge rather than just VOICE him…especially when the CG characters look as horrifyingly plastic as they do here. The Ghost of Christmas Present looks especially freakish. I shudder to think that Zemeckis’ Yellow Submarine remake might look like this.

    and 3) I don’t do Christmas movies THREE WEEKS BEFORE THANKSGIVING!

  • http://animationaddiction.blogspot.com Kevin H

    See, the thing is, I had no problem with Monster House…it all comes back to story. And I don’t want to see a shitty Jim Carrey-gets-hit-in-the-balls movie again.

  • joe

    I have no quarrels on cg or mocap Robert Zemeckis should look into the choices of stories and subjects he wish to be done in cg.I think the only good cg film he did was Monster House.The rest Polar Express,Beowulf,Christmas Carol and heavens forbid Yellow Submarine were all terrible choices.

  • Kris

    I’ve long been disappointed that this trailer looks has a video game cutscene look to it. The staging bothers me in some of the scenes they chose for the trailer, too. The mo-cap is creepy.

    The thing is, when you watch it in 3D, you don’t notice the bad rendering and mo-cap creepiness much at all. I was not interested in this movie at ALL until I saw the trailer in 3D in front of Toy Story. Since then I’ve been curious as to whether it will be a fun thing to watch in 3D (like BEOWULF was–sure, it’s nightmare fodder in 2D, but the 3D looked cool).

    Though to be honest I would have rather just had someone re-release SCROOGED in 3D if they needed an A CHRISTMAS CAROL adaptation for 3D screens.

  • rab smith

    what on earth has happened to BOB Z’S once seemingly limitless imagination? In the mid-late ’80s, I actually preferred his stuff to what Speilberg was putting out: I honestly thought he was a serious contender to equal SS’ fantasy cinema output: perhaps BOB shone brightest when he utilized the technology of 20 years or so back: his seemingly dogged determination to ‘master’ mocap [even my mother, who has absolutely no interest in movie production whatsoever, commented that POLAR EXPRESS 'didn't look right'] has sent his creative vision into skewed, undernourished territory….a real shame, as his early promise is not yeiding real cinematic ‘gold’, if these scenes are anything to go by.

  • Kris

    P.S. Why does he want to remake YELLOW SUBMARINE? Two out of four of the star voices are dead and the other two are old enough where their voices sound different. I don’t want to listen to voice actors imitate the Beatles. :(

  • http://www.nofateandrazor.com Razor

    dave-o, don’t be too shocked if Speilberg gets involved with another Roger Rabbit

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/10/technology/10iht-disney.1.20070342.html

    (Disney & Dreamworks form Partnership)

  • http://robcatview.blogspot.com robcat2075

    I have a theory that the generation of people who grew up watching weak animation of realistic characters in video games accepts this “uncanny” look as the norm and perhaps even the ideal. It doesn’t bother them.

  • Giovanni Jones

    CORRECTED VERSION:
    First of all, the star-sudded, “can’t miss” SGT. PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND “proved” you don’t need Beatles when you’ve got Bee Gees.

    And MoCap or no, this new CHRISTMAS CAROL will have to go very far to become as memorable, touching and yes, faithful, as one of the most enduring versions:

    http://www.mrmagooschristmascarol.com/

    That said, how about CLUTCH CARGO in MoCap?

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Thanks Jerry for making me feel even more depressed than I needed to be today. :-(

  • Geordie

    I think it looks good. And I think Scrooge looks amazing. If you’re going to mocap a person, Jim Carrey has the best cartoon face for it.

    I think it petty to continually put anti-mocap threads up to stir the flames.

    You can’t even think this can compare to UP or Kung Fu Panda. totally different types of films.
    I’m bored with these bash threads.

  • Brendan Spillane

    I’ll stick with not only the ORIGINAL “Yellow Submarine”, but the Mr. Magoo & Richard Williams versions of Dickens’ story as well, thank you.

  • http://www.smartcomix.com/ Robert J. Hemby

    While some of us (well, most of us … all of us? … most of us) will agree that what Zemeckis has done (The Polar Express; Beowulf) via motion capture, and is doing (A Christmas Carol; Yellow Submarine) cannot be considered “true animation”, there is still something about these films that is quite compelling. I believe we shouldn’t view his efforts as animation, or an encroachment upon the animation genre. I believe he is attempting to create a whole different genre of film which allows him to realize a vision that was impossible to portray until now. He is realizing a director’s dream of having nearly total control over all aspects of the visual spectrum. A spectrum that is ever expanding with each new technology enabling the director to realize something he was previously unable to without. Again, I would like to stress, this is not animation. It may use similar techniques defined as animation, but it is simply a way for a director to utilize his actors’ performance in a different, and in most cases, a much more expanded way, and in settings that are impossible to realize without the digital technology used to create them.

  • Ben

    “Does anyone in Hollywood have the cajones to tell Zemeckis to just STOP?”

    Maybe in Hollywood, Alabama.

  • dave-o

    Thanks for the info on the Dreamworks/Disney partnership, Razor.

    Sure bet that a motion-capture/CGI-laden Roger Rabbit sequel is one of the 30 films that are part of this distribution deal.

  • http://dreamhive.blogspot.com/ mathias

    to Kris:
    the beatles did not participate in the original ‘yellow submarine’ except for the live action coda at the very end – you already ARE listening to voice actors imitating the beatles…
    Namely Paul Angelis, John Clive, Geoffrey Hughes and Peter Batten

    but the question of course for all of this remains: “WHY???”
    and the answer is money…

    m

  • Brad Constantine

    Definition:
    Appeal (É™-pÄ“l’)
    the power or ability to attract, interest, amuse, or stimulate the mind or emotions: as in: The trailer has lost its appeal.

  • http://spungella.blogspot.com Jean-Denis Haas

    This might be a detail thing but what bugs me is that the rules of this world are inconsistent (at least to me). When you have realistic renders and design (the humans are slightly off but not super stylized) it sets the world structure and rules closer to ours and far away from Looney Tunes. Yet around the 2min mark Scrooge is bumping repeatedly into the ice picks and of course nothing happens to him. He’d be dead by now! And don’t tell me “It’s okay, it’s a cartoon!” because it really doesn’t look like one!

    Enough ranting…

  • Ken

    Come on guys. You have to respect the fact that Zemeckis is at least TRYING to do something different from the rest of Hollywood with this weird type of CGI. Don’t forget that the stuff that Image Movers had developed blazed the trail to Avatar, Disney’s John Carter of Mars, and everything else requiring performance capture. I think of Zemeckis as like a mad scientist of the cinema world: he sometimes creates a Frankenstein, but he’s creative with his technology and has very good intentions.
    Michael Bay, on the other hand, is someone you guys should insult. His movies are TRASH!

  • Mike Fontanelli

    I’ll take Alastair Sim, thanks anyway.

  • http://chippyandloopus.com/ John S

    Yawn. The movie looks like shit, and I really can’t bear yet another spin on “A Christmas Carol”. I’m with Mike, Alastair Sim played it best, second only to the radio version with Lionel Barrymore.

  • Joe McCabe

    I agree with Robert Hemby’s remarks — the reason Zemeckis does these things is for control over every aspect of his production. It’s the reason Lucas and now Cameron, Jackson and Spielberg are obsessed with digital non-animation. But instead of a new medium, all they’re creating is evidence that power and control mean more to them than the collaborative medium of feature filmmaking.

    In a way I understand — ego is necessary to direct a feature film, and they’ve just taken it to the ultimate conclusion. (The obsession with 3D is further proof: a bigger, splashier toy that resists most piracy attempts.) Unfortunately, it’s also resulted — and will continue to result — in a lot of nonsense thrown our way by people whom many of us used to revere.

    I suppose I should feel angry or sickened, but the strongest emotion I can muster is pity. I mean, if only these guys were skilled enough writers, artists or musicians they could work in media that does grant total control.

    Then again, their pesky egos may not let them.

  • sporridge

    All I had to see in one of the trailers to stay away: The Ghost of Christmas Present bopping Scrooge with a goblet. Chortle chortle, guffaw guffaw. I’ll stick with Alastair Sim on the psychological night trip, thanks.

    My beef with motion capture: Can’t make up its mind whether to be a movie or a video game.

  • Gobo

    What really baffles me here is that Zemeckis keeps saying in interviews, “With mo-cap, I can finally do something nobody’s done before: make A Christmas Carol verbatim as it appears on the page. For the first time, Dickens’ vision won’t be compromised!”

    And then you see Scrooge riding the Ghost of Christmas Past like a bottlerocket, getting shrunk to the size of a pea, and smacked in the crotch by a dozen icicles.

    Zemeckis, have you no shame at all, man?

  • Mantichore

    I suppose it can only be a Research & Development project. A very expensive one. Why else go through so much trouble and money in order to make a movie which, if all goes according to plan, will end up reaching the level where all live films start from? Looking life-like. Duh.

    And judging from this trailer, we’re not there, yet. Why recruit Tom Hanks, Anthony Hopkins and Jim Carey, if you are to turn them into plastic zombies?

    (And, yes: snow flake on credits, kick in the nuts, wild chute ride, and A CHRISTMAS CAROL: imagination was off on holidays, the day they decided on the script!)

  • Anna

    to me, this trailer looks boring! And to much like a “video game” (which is really something, considering video games ARE turning into this! one long-ass boring cutscene u sleep thru and all)

    Am I imagining it or do they NOT BLINK in that movie???

    PS: I’ll take the Bill Murray’s “Scrooged” spin on the story over this train wreck any day

  • http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=052C631F61EE2838 Iain

    I’m actually kind of interested in seeing how Zemeckis would pull this off, but I agree about his motion-capture orgasming.

    Letter to Zemeckis, motion-capture isn’t the future of animation! The minor box office disappointment of “Beowulf” and the recent backlash against your plans for “Yellow Submarine” made it clear!

  • Tom Ruegger

    It’s gonna be tough to beat out the “Magoo” version, from my POV.

    One thing that bugs me about this trailer: They mention “Disney” or show the Disney name at least five times (“Walt Disney Pictures,” “Disney-Digital-3D,” etc.) and the movie is entitled “Disney’s A Christmas Carol,” but not once do they mention the famous author of this famous story, Charles Dickens.

    You’d think that someone at the Disney Studio who had final approval on this trailer — perhaps Mr. Carrey or Mr. Zemeckis or Mr. Iger or someone else — could’ve brought up the point that the author of the source material might deserve a mention. But alas, no. Not only is Mr. Dickens not mentioned, his authorship has been co-opted by the studio: it’s not “Dickens’ A Christmas Carol,” it’s “Disney’s –.”

    No, in this trailer for “A Christmas Carol,” the filmmakers feel no need to mention Charles Dickens, who rightly deserves a credit, but they do feel compelled to mention “Forrest Gump,” who doesn’t.

  • Emily

    The motion-capture feels very unsettling. This maybe works for caricatured people, but not for regular people-people. Story wise, I don’t see how this telling of A Christmas Carol will be inventive at all.

    As far as motion-capture goes though, I did enjoy Monster House.

  • Jim Engel

    I shut it off one minute in…I couldn’t watch that movie with a gun to my head, and I couldn’t watch POLAR EXPRESS, either. It just looks like re-animated corpses (like SHREK).

  • http://goldenagecartoons.com Matthew Hunter

    I don’t care what it LOOKS like so much as what it IS…yet another “Christmas Carol” adaptation. It’s been done, in just about every medium imagineable, to death. It’s a book! It’s a stage play! It’s a radio show! It’s a live action film! It’s a puppet film! It’s a cartoon special! It’s a 2-d animated film! Now it’s a 3-D animated film! Not to mention that it’s been more than one version of each of those things.

    I love it, it’s a great story. But give it a REST! Humbug!

  • Gepinniw

    Well, it is looking better than his earlier mo-cap movies. The eyes aren’t looking so freakish and dead. Characters still don’t seem to blink much. Just my pithy 2 cents.

  • Professor Pantsalong

    What’s viscerally disconcerting about the clues we get from this trailer, is its’ cold perfectionism. One of the hallmarks of contemporary filmmaking is that we can bring digital control and visual perfection to soulless material.

    Yes, it’s fun to pour over Cinefex and learn how the efx wizards pull it off, but what difference does it make when you know that anything is possible visually? Doesn’t that just make it more disposable when there’s nothing happening with the writing? What’s more astounding to me is how they pulled off a practical tornado in the Wizard of Oz, from a hutge nylon sock filled with manure! …and the film had a huge soul too. Whoah!

  • Pedro Nakama

    Here’s a spoiler… Scrooge turns good at the end.

    I keep asking this…
    When is Robert Zemeckis going to make real movies again?

  • Mike Johnson

    It’s all about making a profit, and I’m sure this will do quite well, given the talent involved. Today’s audiences, though certainly more jaded than they used to be, will still eat this up, and I am positive that the studio will come out ahead.

    That having been said, it does look like a rush job, and I’m not too happy about the comedic element of the film…A Christmas Carol is supposed to be a GHOST story after all…and if it has to be told it should be with a reverence for the original material.

    I for one wouldn’t mind another hundred versions of the story, as long as they were well made. Quantity is not a problem with me as long as the quality is there.

    I will probably go see this only because A Christmas Carol is one of my all-time favorite stories, and I have seen all of the live action and animated versions so far. But that is the ONLY reason I will be seeing it.

    I truly hope I will come away surprised at how good it is, but the trailer doesn’t give me much hope.

  • http://www.onanimation.com Daniel Caylor

    It just looks terrible all round. I can’t stand to watch it. I haven’t watched any of these films because I could barely stand the trailers without cringing. For this film in particular SOME still frames look really good from a nerdy 3D computer graphics perspective, but as soon as it starts to move…ick.

    But what do I know? I pointed out this stinker to a friend of a friend and she said, “Well I like that kind of animation.” Maybe that’s who is buying the tickets, because I don’t think half of us are.

  • Matt

    @Ken:

    Image Movers mocap technology is not even remotely the seminal thing you make it out to be. There are different veins of the tech in use throughout the entertainment industry. For example, the mocap for Avatar is a very different system and it shows.

    The technology that Image Movers is working with didn’t even originate with them. Its roots go as far back as Final Fantasy, the technique for which was carried over for films like Polar Express and Beowulf.

    And the tech still suffers from the same issues that plagued Aki and friends in Final Fantasy, giving audiences everywhere further exposure to the discomforts of the uncanny valley.

  • http://swoffordart.blogspot.com/ Mike S.

    Maybe the trailer only shows the whiz-bang parts with the flying toward the camera and the juvenile slapstick. Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” is a frightening ghost story and a deeply emotional tale about the opening of a human heart, and maybe Zemeckis’ version has that to offer as well, even though the characters look like audioanimatronics from Disneyland.

    Beowulf wasn’t a bad movie; it actually had an interesting story. And this movie appears to be technically more advanced. The Alistair Simm “Carol” can’t be topped for drama– all the other versions are just re-stagings of an “old chestnut” with the possible exception of “Mr. Magoo’s Chrismas Carol”.

  • Andrew Kieswetter

    Several things;

    1.I’m surprised that there was no mention of ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’ among Zemeckis’ past movies in the trailer.

    2.This is the third time Disney’s tackled ‘A Christmas Carol’. The first was the 1983 short ‘Mickey’s Xmas Carol’,followed by the 1992 ‘Muppet Xmas Carol’ and now this.

    3.I wonder if some of the more creepy elements of Dickens’ classic tale will be in it,like the part where we meet the Ghost of Xmas Present’s children;Ignorance and Want.

    4. Jim Carrey’s Scrooge looks fun.

    I probably will go and see it when it opens.

  • http://weirdurl.com Zekey

    I wish he’d do something like Monster House with mocap again

  • http://gagaman.blogspot.com Gagaman

    When I saw Up in 3D there was a trailer for this film at the start that was ore like a third of the entire movie. More than anything I don’t see why we even need yet another adaptation of the Christmas Carol when it’s been done so many times before (and really well in some cases). I’m also kind of saddened that the director of two of my all time favorite movies of my childhood (Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Back to the Future) is now making nothing but these motion capture films. I’m not a fan of the technique but there is an audience for it out there that enjoys this stuff, but has he given up on live action films?

  • toddes

    I agree with Mike S. that we need to take a wait and see approach even though I usually avoid Jim Carrey movies like the plague.

    I also agree with his choices for movie adaptations though I would add The Muppets’ Christmas Carol as well. I have watched this with my children for many years and my oldest daughter (13) insists that the “only thing better than reading the story is watching the Muppets.”

  • http://www.sisterson.co.uk Dennis Sisterson

    Motion capture is still in its early days so it’s too early to say that it will always look bad, but if it’s only ever used for this type of thing then it’s a missed opportunity. I’d like to see it used for, say, period drama serials where the whole cast has to age from childhood to old age without a jarring change of actor or dodgy make-up job… but we won’t see that until they REALLY get it right, and we feel as viewers that there is nothing between us and the actor’s performance to spoil the illusion.
    None of this should be seen as a threat to the animator’s art – it’s just one more way of making films. You can only use motion capture (to good effect) when you’re trying to imitate real life – in the visual style of the film as well as in the movement. For anythnig at all sylized, you’ll still need an animator. It may be a challenge to animation, but it’s not a threat – much the same as photography was to painting.

  • http://brigetteb.blogspot.com brigette b

    When I saw the trailer for this I was really confused, cause I thought it was a commercial for a video game, because that’s what it looks like. Besides that, is this REALLY a story that needs to be told AGAIN?

    Really??

  • http://katiecropper.com Katie Cropper

    I’m about ready to burn my homemade hover board.. because really when I saw the print ads in the subway I thought this film was live action and was honestly stoked. I really did think to myself “ooooh Jim Carey as scrooge, that could be good.” .. I am dissapointed. I really can’t get into this mo-cap thing.

  • Lance

    The “visual-effects” approach to animation (and most film) is killing the business. Just because someone is good at vfx doesn’t mean they’re an animator or designer (hence the reason most vfx/mo-cap films are crap).

  • http://www.freewebs.com/jonpernisek Jon Pernisek

    I just now realized this was a ‘new’ trailer, so despite my better judgment I gave it a look. Wow, that really was awful, if even just as a trailer. No focus on the story whatsoever. Just a bunch of ridiculous, shrill sequences where Scrooge gets thrown around, smacks into a bunch of icicles, and generally gets the shit beaten out of him by his environment. Reminds me a hell of a lot of The Polar Express, which this trailer references like it’s some sort of Goddamn classic. That too was a soulless exercise in nonstop action beats. The train’s sliding around on ice! The train’s going down a mountain really really fast! Fucking Christ almighty, this is not filmmaking, this is a shitty $5 XBox game.

  • http://www.candlelightstories.com Alessandro Cima

    I’m not sure what people are looking at here, but what I see is bloody damned impressive. The constant harping on unappealing or ugly characters is strange. Most classic illustrations of children’s books feature extremely ugly characters. This trailer, for me, captures some sense of the illustrated story coming to life.

    I would never want to criticize Mr. Zemeckis for making many motion capture movies because it is quite obvious that he is working toward an ultimate goal and that he probably will not stop until he gets there.

    What’s the goal? Ask him. But I can see very clearly that he is getting closer and closer to it with each movie.

    I’m going to go see this film right before Christmas.

    Motion capture is a fantastic tool and no artist should fear it.

  • Mykal Banta

    Here’s my guess. If Jerry Beck had done the intro to this same clip with – “Finally Zemeckis turns a corner! This one looks great!” you would find 150 messages like – “couldn’t agree more. Wow! This looks fanstastic!”

    Not a fan either of this type of animation, but c’mon people, is this really the coming of Satan on earth? It looks OK, and it’s a holiday movie that kids are gonna love. Get your noses out of the air. — Mykal

  • Jam

    I also much preffered the Japanese trailer. Gives a whole different vibe to the film. I don’t know what the promotion firm in North America thinks their audience is looking for when they made the US trailer, but it didn’t work for me.

    As for the movie itself, I am intrigued to see more, but unfortunately do not feel interested in seeing another version of this tale so I won’t be rushing out to see it in theaters. Personal preference.
    I won’t judge it before I finally see it though. I’m not a huge fan of mocap or its looks. One exception: I don’t know why, I seem to accept it better when it’s for a video game:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_8hJsgZSNA&feature=player_embedded
    Maybe Mr. Zemeckis should work on a video game next?

  • CartoonCrazy

    I might have given it a try if it weren’t for those character designs. They’re just so creepy! I’ll skip and give Disney my money for “The Princess and the Frog”.

  • cady

    oh YES! finally people who agree that his animated movies are AWFUL. I got totally voted down on youtube comments. makes me lose faith in humanity.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YV7SwUmSuvc

  • cady

    also! check out this crazy article about the Uncanny Valley being proven thru monkeys

    http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/10/uncanny-monkey/

  • http://www.james-blueskies.blogspot.com James Clarke

    What fascinates me is how much more interesting and indicative of the source material the Japanese trailer of the forthcoming adaptation is. I don’t know that it matters too much about Dickens’s book being adapted again.

  • TonyM

    “Motion capture is still in its early days so it’s too early to say that it will always look bad, but if it’s only ever used for this type of thing then it’s a missed opportunity.”

    The above quote from earlier poster on this topic rehashing the same propaganda from the CG pushers (studios), when the technique took off since the first ‘Jurassic Park’ ….”The technology is young, it’s in it’s early stages, it’s still developing ….yada, yada, yada”. Using the ‘technology not yet developed’ as a perpetual EXCUSE and cop-out.

    Even if the quality of this new BZ mo-capped ‘Scrooge’ flick is perhaps better than past stuff, my ISSUE is, that IT is attempting to classify itself as ANIMATION. In my view and of many ….. It is NOT. So the question is: Will the studios behind this mo-capped Scrooge, attempt to enter it in the Oscar’s, ‘Animated’ category or ‘Visual Effects’? IMO, Scrooge and other mo-capped stuff is a ‘Special Effects’. True Animation (movement/motion) is, FRAME by FRAME (each image) CREATED from the Artist/Animator.

  • rab smith

    BOB ZEM: I hope you are reading these [very valid] comments!

  • http://www.citizenmustard.com The Citizen Mustard

    Well, there are at least over 100 negative comments so far on here… what’s one more? So much fail. Holiday movies are fail, another tired rehash of a now-very-old story is the last thing I want to see, especially in stiffly animated 3D mocap.

    Blech…

  • pheslaki

    Well . . . I rather liked Grendel in “Beowulf”. That seems like the sort of thing mocap should be used for. This, though . . . nah.

  • Squonk

    I think the motion capture stuff is interesting and can co-exist with other forms of animation. The thing that bothers me about “A Christmas Carol” is that Zemeckis is a filmmaker who used to break new ground with every movie he made…the Back to the Future films, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Death Becomes Her, Forrest Gump…even Cast Away…but with three motion capture films under his belt, for the first time he’s in a rut.

  • Daniel spencer

    Quint from Jaws summed up the charms of what i think semi photorealistic mo-cap cgi characters achieve…..

    “And, you know, the thing about a shark… he’s got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll’s eyes. When he comes at ya, doesn’t seem to be living…”

    Beowulf, Polar Express and now this. Creating a Mo-Cap performance from Jim Carey is like colorizing Citizen Kane for a more “eyecatching” effect

  • http://spungella.blogspot.com Jean-Denis Haas

    “Maybe the trailer only shows the whiz-bang parts with the flying toward the camera and the juvenile slapstick.”

    Aren’t most US trailers like that though? I remember the Japanese trailer for The Incredibles and it was so much better than the domestic one. US trailers seem dumbed down and formulaic most of the times.

    And to stir the pot a bit:

    Are animators just unhappy because someone else created the performance instead of them and they’re left with clean-up work? Sounds like the mocap hate is more of an ego/elitist thing. Because look at the pipeline:

    You have an animation/performance idea. You thumbnail. You shoot reference. You pick the good poses and movement ideas from that reference and put all of it onto your rig. You push the poses and timing in order to make it more stylized and to fit the style of the movie. You clean up your animation. Done. You did all the work. It’s animation.

    vs.

    Director has a performance idea. Someone does previz. They shoot actors performances which serve as reference. The director picks the good takes and shots and mocap guys transfer the data onto the rigs. No one pushes the poses and/or timing because the style doesn’t ask for it. Now you get it and you clean up the jiggly animation. Done. You only did the clean up. It’s not animation.

    Hmm….

    If ‘frame by frame’ is really your argument, then CG isn’t that much animation at all. I don’t key EVERY FRAME. The computer does some of my inbetweens thanks to organized curves. Effects are simmed. Water, fire, smoke, hair, cloth, that’s not CREATED by someone FRAME BY FRAME, it’s simulated.

  • Sherill Mainard

    Some of the comments I’ve read here appear to be written by jaded adults bellyackin’ about crappy mo-cap / vfx and the lowering of movie quality due to animation, blah-blah-blah. Do you realize the target audience for this film are young kids some who still believe in Santa Claus? Try explaining any of this adult stuff to a kid and you’ll be met with a ‘deer in the headlights’ reaction. Some of you have been adults so long you have lost your inner child. The sparkle in your eyes has dimmed or is totally gone. You’re turning out like Scrooge! GET A GRIP, PEOPLE!

  • Scott

    “Do you realize the target audience for this film are young kids some who still believe in Santa Claus?”

    Making a BAD film just for kids is WORSE than making a BAD film for adults. And I can speak from a unique perspective, because I’ve actually SEEN this atrocity.

    Technically, it’s rated “PG,” so it’s not for “kids.” In reality, it was mostly rated “pg” due to the ugly nature of the film. The so-called “designs” for this film are badly tweaked (and in NO way caricatured) photographs that move poorly. The “look” of this film will give people nightmares, and not because it works for the film. DAMN this film is just ugly and completely unappealing.

    But who cares about the “look” of a film if it’s got nothing in it anyone can care about? This version of the story adds NOTHING. There’s no interesting “take” on the story (or even an attempt), it’s loaded with BAD and CONFUSING film making, and a complete and utter disrespect for the audience.

    It deserves to fail, and fail big. “Kids” films deserve the same set of standards as EVERY film. Stop ghettoizing. It’s just sad.

  • Ken

    I don’t know what is with some people here. Christmas Carol is obviously more sophisticated than Beowulf and Polar Express, but all people can do is cry out “Uncanny Valley!” to fit in with the so-called majority. Bashing Robert Zemeckis seems like movie fans’ favorite past time these days. Afterall, nobody would dare insult Holy-man Peter Jackson, and his Gollum from the DEEP Valley of Uncanny.

  • Scott

    That’s because Gollum utilzed Motion Capture brilliantly. Zemeckis is trying to replicate what’s done BETTER in live action than in animation. Visual effects these days could do wonders, and Disney should look at the costs (reportedly near $300 million) vs. doing as such. Why hire such capable actors and have their performances ruined by this technology? I don’t agree with remaking Yellow Submarine, but here’s hoping he eschews going after “reality” and stylizes it a little. And some good taste would help.

  • José Faria

    I liked it very much, I hope he continues making good movies like this one.

  • http://www.stopmotionworks.com Lionel

    Jean-Denis Haas: “Are animators just unhappy because someone else created the performance instead of them and they’re left with clean-up work? Sounds like the mocap hate is more of an ego/elitist thing …. If ‘frame by frame’ is really your argument, then CG isn’t that much animation at all. I don’t key EVERY FRAME. The computer does some of my inbetweens thanks to organized curves. Effects are simmed. Water, fire, smoke, hair, cloth, that’s not CREATED by someone FRAME BY FRAME, it’s simulated.”

    ————————————————–

    Not ‘Zemeckis Bashing’ as some are attempting to label us.

    The Academy’s definition/rule for award eligibility in the feature Animation category:

    “An animated feature film is defined as a motion picture with a running time of at least 70 minutes, in which movement and characters’ performances are created using a frame-by-frame technique. In addition, a significant number of the major characters must be animated, and animation must figure in no less than 75 percent of the picture’s running time.”

    http://www.oscars.org/awards/academyawards/rules/rule07.html

    Gene Deitch’s definition of Animation which he states could also include CG ….

    “Cinematic Animation: The recording of individually created phases of imagined action in such a way as to achieve the illusion of motion when shown at a constant, predetermined rate, exceeding that of human persistence of vision.”

    http://www.awn.com/articles/tutorials/animation-what-heck-it

    Unfortunately, a few years ago the Academy could not even follow their own RULES and nominated ‘Happy Feet’ (2006) and it went on to win Oscar for Best Animated Feature Film. I am sure the studio can ‘claim’ their animated feature was supposedly 75% done ‘frame by frame’ but I likely thinks that is a bunch of B.S.. Academy seems slow to move or make changes. If an Animated feature falls into a ‘gray area’, then it should not be nominated. Probably a better solution is ….. the Academy should just add a different category for ‘Motion Capture’.

  • john rascal

    best movie ever girlfriends can i get a amen to that? AMEN SISTAS(:

  • Phil.P.

    How sad that entertainment in any fashion is now only to be labelled and beguilled. Myself, I enjoy a film for what it is, not what was previously done, or will be done. Not for what it ‘could’ have been, or if indeed it ever should have been.

    Shouldn’t we all really just enjoy what we like and not get soooo involved in what we don’t? None of this type of film is about to changge the world in bad ways (unlike real garbage horror films like that centipede rubbish created by truly sick minds with no good points in the whole film, just nothing).

    Yes this film could be classed as too creepy for children, but then what’s perfect? has one film/story/legend ever completely set the world straight?

    The story behind Christmas Carol still stands true – oddly enough it’s that we learn to be nice to others because it could be your last day, any time. Yep, odd and ironic that this story has backfired somewhat lol.

    Personally, i think its great fun, wonderful pictures, great script-work, many thanks to all involved :-)