Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Dr. Seuss Gets 'Tude. Big Budgets for Small Budget Thinking

Remember how much you loved this as a kid?
Well Hollywood has improved it.

HORTON HEARS A 'HO
I've always wondered why people in charge of animated projects like to take classic properties that completely stood on their own because of their inherent uniqueness and appeal and then change them into the same thing as every other cartoon.

At one time this kind of thinking was relegated to low budget bargain basement Saturday Morning cartoons. It seemed outrageous to anyone with taste or respect for creativity way back in the 70s and 80s, but you could use the excuse that it's low budget and therefore trash by definition, and trash doesn't deserve original or creative ideas.

Now Hollywood will invest huge fortunes on low-budget trashy 80s Saturday Morning type thinking. "Let's take a highly beloved classic character and 'tude him up!"
Cal Arts does Seuss

Kali and I went and saw Beowulf the other day, and besides the obvious outrages of the movie itself the theatre walls were littered with the movie posters of what else was going on in big-budget Hollywood. It was like looking at the Saturday Morning Cartoon lineup from 1985. Almost every poster advertised the types of ideas that 12 year olds come up with in the schoolyard at recess. I see this and wonder why ideas that anyone on earth could come up with deserve such vast amounts of money to produce. Couldn't a computer program generate the stories and concepts a lot cheaper than a bunch of Hollywood execs and writers?

The posters boasted something about people who ride the Coca Cola polar bears in the mountains. Hip Hop Chipmunks (with hairy human noses). Dr. Seuss who were designed somewhat like the originals, but standing around in poses and expressions from modern Cal Arts feature animation. The same expressions that are in every single animated feature made in the last 30 years. If you're gonna take Dr. Seuss characters, why not take the expressions and ideas along with them? That would be so refreshing to see something different. Why turn it into what we already have too much of? And why spend so much money on it?

Bad ideas don't deserve big money. I would think some smart executive somewhere would say we can do bad for a lot cheaper than the rest of Hollywood and therefore make more money back per dollar spent.

I wonder how much is spent on the scripts for ideas that anyone on the planet could come up with.

I really want to know how much they spend on movie poster bylines. "Honey just got funny". I hope they spend a lot on that department. Is there market research to demonstrate that having an awkward pun under the title brings in more profits?
How many car accidents has this billboard byline caused?

A comment worth answering:

Wes: How do you know the style of animation in this movie? Have you seen it? How can you judge a body of work from a poster that was more and likely done by a marketing team instead of the artist at the studio? You know as well as most people that even trailers are usually unfinished shots or shots cut from the movie. I do agree with some of what you say, but as far as people judging something before it's seen is really too bad, you might miss something great. Surf's Up was a great movie and Beautifully animated, but people judged it because of the characters and the movie failed. Don't judge a book by it's cover just because if it's bad you can say you were right....






These animators are obviously very talented, but the whole concept is playing against Dr. Seuss. It's acted and directed like a Pixar film,



rather than tailored to Seuss. I'm sure these artists could do a great movie, with some direction and an idea with more conviction. Technically, it's ready to go.Whoever animated this is pretty damn creative. The last scene in the trailer looks more custom than the first scene of this character. The first one looks Cal Arts. Anyone know why the 2 are different?



Do you like the normal sounding voices?

I think animators really would benefit from strong more distinct voices. When you have normal voices, then the broad animation actions don't seem to fit. To me, anyway. I'd like to see this animator do something to Mel Blanc or someone with real power and conviction in the acting. Good dialogue would help too.