March 3, 2014
I have to admit, I have not watched the Oscars in many, many years. These days, I mostly do not go to the ‘theaters’ to watch the current crop of movies. I suppose it is my unconscious & indirect personal protest of today’s mainstream film products pumped out by corporate studios with their excessive production budgets. Where does the fricken millions & millions of the cash go!? Also, these award events from Tinsel Town at times becoming politically correct. IMO, the ‘Arts’ should be neutral.
I sometimes have alluded to in past posts/comments, that I do not care much for these current times, in general. As for the movie business, I do know it has always been a Business combined with Art offering an entertainment product, however, in the earlier days of mainstream films, for me and I am sure, for many of you also … ‘The Movies’ back then were somehow more special, more meaningful, and having much greater longevity (becoming classics) when compared to today’s, often derivative & formulaic movies.
Remember, I am speaking about ‘mainstream’ movies. I do see much more diversity and flavors of movies coming from Independent Film-making . You may not see them at theaters, however, here is where I applaud technology … it has made film-making much more affordable to artists, also, especially …. we can see those kind of niche movies through alternative distribution such video on demand, rental, satellite and you can enjoy them in the comfort of your residence on your large LCD flat-screen TV.
Again, I did not watch the Oscars this year, however I do sometimes catch a glimpse of the news after the awards, showing brief clips of the ceremony. Here is the In Memoriam segment, then actress/singer finishing it off with a song. At the 2 minute mark, for those of us that have interest in cinema special effects, you will immediately recognize. Also, other names not familiar to many of you, but were either behind the camera or in front of, who have made their contributions to the, more Golden Age of Movies ….
February 24, 2014
So it looks like ‘The Lego Movie’ is the box office hit du jour for this month . Of course now that it has been released for public consumption, it has made itself known that it is not Stop Motion, however, I want to play a little Sherlock Holmes and do some timeline reconstruction of the pre-release publicity hype suggesting that it could have been Stop Motion. These are my observations so far from my brief net surfing looking for clues.
At first, it seemed as though the ‘The Lego Movie’ PR department, Warner Bros, and/or the Directors (Chris Miller & Phil Lord) maybe wanted to keep it somewhat of a MYSTERY about ‘what’ animation technique was used. Is that possible? Last year, before release of movie, they sort of hinted that it was a mixture of CGI and some Stop Motion, however, nearing the release of movie or just after it was in theaters, they appeared to ‘walk-back’ their ‘CGI & Stop Motion mix’ implication, not by direct admission, but instead, the Lego Movie people released behind the scenes information to bloggers, article writers, about the actual truth how the ‘The Lego Movie’ was made. An example here … a 30 Minute (just released) about The Lego Movie behind the scenes (Animal Logic studio in Australia). Guess what? All you see & hear are mostly talking heads and a few CGI techies at their workstations building the Faux Legos in the computer, all mouse click animated … particle simulation, specular highlights, ray tracing renderer, etc. …. yawn ….
Again, me playing ‘detective’, I think it was perhaps an orchestrated campaign (intentional, planned) by the studio, directors, etc.. Months before The Lego Movie was released, they were vague & somewhat misleading about how it was made and of course, which would generate buzz & gossip about the movie. Look here, directly from Lego Movie directors lips, Chris Miller Is The Lego Movie Stop Motion or CGI? Also, do you see any Stop Motion related credits at IMDb ? To the best of my knowledge, so far, I am NOT aware if there are any behind the scenes yet of the supposed Stop Motion used in The Lego Movie. One more thing … I found this from an article, not a direct quote from the CGI studio, but the article author/writer I think paraphrasing someone from the studio, as follows ….
“The whole movie really is stop motion. Sort of. Okay, Internet, slow down. Technically speaking, a huge majority of the film was made on a computer by the animation team at Animal Logic. But, but … that CG animation was created according to the rules of classic stop motion”.
WTF ? To me that sounds like Orwellian double-speak. You know ‘white is black’ and ’up is down’. So supposedly, the mouse clicking animators followed rules of Stop Motion and they can now claim some kind of Stop Motion bragging rights? (again, WTF?) Look at this other video. So this is in the spirit of Stop Motion? Where are the actual puppets, miniature sets, etc.? ….
Okay, this is my Final closing thought … Would you believe, a sort of deep philosophical article about ‘The Lego Movie’? Is The Success Of ‘The Lego Movie’ To Be Celebrated…Or Feared? My conclusions are more simple … it is a crap economy, things all around us are unsettling, there is uncertainty in the air (depending where you live) and ‘The Lego Movie’ timing was just right, like the ‘perfect storm’! A completely offbeat & not typical feature from a mainstream corporate movie studio, that provided pure fantasy escapism for the masses .
The general public are going gah-gah about ‘The Lego Movie’ and likely DO NOT CARE about these details, so why the hell am I commenting (ranting) about this!?? Well, I am only trying to DEFEND our Stop Motion Animation Art & Craft!!
LATE BREAKING UPDATE!: Chris McKay whose credit includes the Stop Motion series Robot Chicken, was co-director of The Lego Movie. Also, I am just finding out that The Lego Movie in an indirect way, does have Stop Motion but not within the Story. I know, you are saying WHAT? The Stop Motion used, was in the END CREDITS. So perhaps, Chris Miller did not mislead but more like, he did not complete the sentence? Just a mere accidental omission? Our Stop Motion Brothers & Sisters at Stoopid Buddy Stoodios provided the actual REAL Stop Motion for The Lego Movie end credits.
February 17, 2014
As of this posting, 5th Voyage opened in theaters last week, Friday, February 7, however, my brief search now, it looks like 5th Voyage has already gone & vanished from the theaters?? Let me say first, that I thought it was a miracle that 5th Voyage was finally released after taking a very long production time (years) and then, repeated postponement & changes of release date. If you are not aware of it, this was an very limited & quick showing at a micro-small number of theaters across the USA, which is understandable because Indie films usually do not have the corporate studio clout and mega-budgets for marketing & distribution.
Because the general public was not aware of 5th Voyage, one can see why there was very minimal buzz (talk, news, etc.) ‘out there’. I asked myself ‘Where are the reviews?’ I only heard the sound of chirping crickets‘. Only ONE frick’n review on Rotten Tomatoes and Fandango has random minimal comments about Sinbad. I do not consider those actual ‘reviews’.
I thought, why not offer to movie reviewers or popular bloggers like Ain’t it Cool News, JoBlo.com , and other interwebz outlets, a free private streaming of 5th Voyage so that they might be motivated to do a review? Back in 2010 the Jo Blo website commented about Sinbad but no update by Jo Blo. IMO, it should be the responsibility of the 5th Voyage publicity people to be MORE pro-active & creative in promoting their product! Such as press packages to key film reviewers & bloggers and as mentioned free screening of the film. Even if the reviewers or film critics gave Sinbad, mediocre or bad ratings, at least it would help bring attention to the movie! Publicity by whatever means, you know?
It appears that 5th Voyage will be available internationally and also through Video on Demand from the movie streaming vendors. Perhaps, when stream viewing is available, there might be some attention given to Sinbad, by reviewers & bloggers. Read this 5th Voyage Finally Rebooted Vintage Style in Theaters
One more mini-tirade thought … After some years ‘observating’ the Stop Motion Animation evolution to present day, it seems that Creature Character Stop Motion Effects (Hi-tech Harryhausen-esque) is in the extreme minority, even among the general stop motion fans & animators. They get all excited about the Paranormans, the Frankenweenies, the Aardmans, the Nightmare Before Christmases but when it comes to Harryhausen style character stop motion, there seems to be no support from them. Last week, when 5th Voyage was playing in 10 theaters in the Los Angeles area, I clearly noticed in my social-schmocial facebook circle/connections, not much comments or sharing from the Southern California Stop Motionists about Sinbad! Hey … just SAYING … Capisce??
January 20, 2014
A new great Arabian Nights adventure awaits this legendary super hero ….
Presented in the miracle visual imagery process of Super Animotion™….
Note – This is an independent feature and not a mainstream type national release. Will be shown at select theaters. So far, not able to determine exactly which specific theaters but in the 5th Voyage poster ad, the cities are listed.
January 5, 2014
Stop Motion Works should probably charge for tickets so you all can watch this unique animated work by Yamiken Hori. I would then send all the ticket profits to Yamiken as he & others devoted much personal time, talent & effort to create this 30 minute animation, and they very much deserve to be compensated for this.
We originally posted about Junk Head 1, back in November. Here is the finished complete version, no commercials … get yourself some popcorn & soda pop, turn off the room lights, turn up the speaker volume, click full screen view … and experience an original & fresh Sci-Fi Fantasy story ….
What better way to promote a sequel to Junk Head 1? Yes, Yamiken has desires to create a follow-up, Junk Head 2 and has started an Indiegogo campaign. The above animation is the best sales advertisement and leaves no question that Yamiken CAN PRODUCE a finished & polished creative work. His campaign goal of $100,000. (in 55 days) which might appear to be ambitious but hopefully people out there who watch Junk Head 1, might be motivated & consider helping his Indiegogo project. Donations is the direct way. Another way, is to SHARE, SHARE, SHARE, via all your social media, such as facebook, twitter, email your friends, through your blogs, also post on other forums. It seems though, sometimes difficult to get people to just do a simple thing, and SHARE a link.This is the only way to reach a much wider & bigger audience.