Archive for June, 2011

Logorama

Posted in Uncategorized on June 29, 2011 by dpallee

This short film animation was a Pan-European award nominee in 2010, created by the French graphic & animation company H5. Attached to this post is a snippet from the sixteen minute, nine second production which for the moment can be seen in it’s entirety on the Belgian website Garage TV. I’m quoting the director here who describes this film spot on; “Logorama” paints the image of an “over-marketed” world by repossessing the visual codes of a consumer society that has been part of our lives since childhood. A clean and ordered universe, whose established order is headed straight for destruction through the cataclysm feared by every Californian: the Big One.” Take the time to see the entire version to see how creepy Ronald McDonald can actually be. The technique used to animate this piece is formidably considered 2 1/2D – a little 2d animation, a little 3d animation. The use of corporate logo overkill is genius and the quick moving story takes it to the very end. Watch and enjoy.

Paprika (2006)

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on June 24, 2011 by dpallee

Dr. Seijiro Inui (middle, english version voice of Michael Forrest) parades into the dreamworld in 'Paprika'

A lot of you may have passed this movie by if you only viewed the promotional poster for it, which  was kind of bland and very misleading…picture of a girl on the front, title of the movie, what can you say about a film from that, right?  Trust me on this one and venture into a story that is half acid trip, half gripping detective story. Paprika is a blockbuster animated feature directed by Satoshi Kon, distributed in the states by Sony Pictures Entertainment and a must see even if you’re not a fan of traditional anime movies.

Paprika is a science fiction drama based on the 1993 novel of the same name about a clinical psychologist that enters people’s dreams with the use of a dangerous new machine. The psychologist, Dr. Atsuko Chiba (English version voice of Cindy Robinson) uses an alter ego persona known as ‘Paprika’ to venture into the minds of others dreams. This new form of treatment called dream therapy soon gets out of hand and the Dr. must rely on the aid of an investigator, an obese genius who invented the machine making dream therapy possible and clues from within the dream world itself as it begins to unravel into our world.

The graphics are among some of the best out there, vivid, imaginative and hypnotic. You’ll find yourself watching the dreamworld sequences repeatedly to catch a glimpse of something you missed the first time. There is so much imagery in it that you begin to experience visual overload, which plays into the whole feel of the story.  Most voices for the English dubbed version will not be noticed but for a bit of trivia, you should note that the voice of Dr. Sejiro Inui, chairman of the Institute of Psychiatric Research, is made by Michael Forrest. Forrest played Apollo in the 1967 Star Trek television series episode titled “Who Mourns For Adonis?”

The Triplettes of Belleville (Les Triplettes de Belleville) 2003

Posted in animation reviews with tags , , on June 20, 2011 by dpallee

Madame Souza (left, sitting) meets theTriplettes in "The Triplettes of Belleville"

This Academy nominated animated movie written and directed by Sylain Chomet is a full entertainment film that achieves a great story without any real dialogue. I applaud any artist who can deliver a tale that transcends a language and can be understood by all; The Triplettes of Belleville  does this with amidst a moody European backdrop of muted color and stylishly drawn characters. The story revolves around Madame Souza and her grandson, Champion. The grandson, a world class bicyclist, is captured by the Mafia to race in a mini Tour De France for the mobster’s entertainment. Madame Souza with the help of Champion’s dog, Souza, and the Triplettes of Belleville (smash singing sensations from the 1930’s) embark on a wild journey to free the cyclist. There isn’t much dialogue to the movie, mostly incidental background chatter. The story is conveyed through the use of pantomime gestures and expressive images. Especially eye-catching is the opening number which won an Academy nomination for the song “Belleville Rendez-vous”-reminded me in style of something Robert Crumb introduced us to in Zap comics. Tame enough for most families however there is some brief nudity and a small bit of violence so those with young kids be forewarned.

The Iron Giant (1999)

Posted in animation reviews with tags , , on June 11, 2011 by dpallee

Hogarth (left) and the giant robot (right) from Warner Brothers "The Iron Giant" 1999

When I started to write the review for this movie I thought ‘I can’t believe I let this one slip by for so long’ (but then I say that about most of the posts). Warner Brothers 1999 classic The Iron Giant is based off the novel by Ted Hughes and tells the story of a boy named Hogarth (voice of Eli Marienthal) who discovers a giant robot from outer space. Hogarth, along with a beatnik friend named Dean (voice of Harry Connick Jr.) help keep the robot away from the U.S. military, who want to destroy the alien. Since it is a Warner Brothers production (actually Pete Townshend of the rock group The Who is listed as one of the producers as well) and if you are familiar with their style of work you should have a good  idea what caliber artwork went into this film. Excellent backgrounds but not quite the same anticipation and stretch movements one is accustomed to from WB characters like Bugs Bunny or Daffy Duck. Their use of computer generated animation is well handled and plays seamless with the entire production. The set designs really give one the feel of the 1950’s era. The story itself really holds no surprises, boy meets robot, trouble confronts them, all ends well, but it is a fun watch for fans of all ages. Noted voices include Vin Diesel (with the help of some nice electronic distortion) as the robot,  Jennifer Aniston, Harry Connick Jr and John Mahoney (most known in the U.S. as portraying Frasier’s father on the tv series, Frasier).

The Big Snit (1985)

Posted in animation reviews with tags , , on June 7, 2011 by dpallee

This is a great 10 minute short from Richard Condie and produced by the National Film Board of Canada. Enjoy.

TheThief and the Cobbler-aka The Princess and the Cobbler (1993)

Posted in animation reviews with tags , , , on June 2, 2011 by dpallee
The Thief and teh Cobbler

Zig-Zag the Grand Vizier (left, voice of Vincent Price) and King Nod (right, voice of Clive Revill) from "The Thief and the Cobbler" 1993

This film’s history is a tale within itself, having (technically) been in production 31 years. The Thief and the Cobbler (also know under the name “The Princess and the Cobbler“)  went through a host of changes and alterations, various voices introduced to characters (the voice of Tack the Cobbler was originally voiced by Sean Connery, in the Allied Films version Tack was voiced by Steve Lively and  finally, the Miramax version had Steve Lively singing and Matthew Broderick’s voice), rewrites, delays…the sort of thing that happens to a lot of animated films but none so extensive as this one. The end result, however, is what I consider a must-see classic.

The story begins as so many stories do, once upon a time, in this grand city where the lives of a timid cobbler, a thief (voice of Johnathan Winters in the Miramax version-the thief never spoke in the original version), a King, his daughter, Princess Yum-Yum, and the royal Vizier Zig-Zag (voice of Vincent Price, who recorded his dialogue for this movie from 1967 to 1973). When Tack the cobbler upsets the Vizier, he is taken to the palace to be executed. Princess Yum-Yum falls in love with the cobbler and saves his life. Tack decides he wants to marry the Princess and succeed King Nod, and while all this is going on, the shifty thief is trying to steal three large golden orbs that are perched on a tower high above the city-unbeknownst (or maybe just unimportant) to the thief, the orbs guard the city from being attacked by the One Eye Army.

As good as the story is, the artwork is twice as entertaining. The thematic look is based off ancient Persian design concepts and the mesmerizing backgrounds of checkerboards and inlaid color give it a rich, hypnotic quality . The way one scene will fold into the next keeps the pace of the storyline going. See for yourself and I think you’ll agree that this masterpiece from Canadian animator Richard Williams  (probably best know state side for his Art Direction of “Who Framed Roger Rabbit“) is a classic among fairy tales.