Saturday, April 17, 2010

How Do You Feel About Human Eyes On Cartoon Characters?

Human eyes, but a cartoon expression that actual human eyes don't ever make. Maybe he has a tick in his left eye.

The human body but with cartoon proportions adds to the perversion. To me that makes him look like a sideshow freak, rather than a wacky cartoon character, but then I'm "old-school".

I wonder when this type of thing started and what the reasoning is behind it?They must think there is something wrong with this design. But then why make a movie of it? Because the stories and characterization were great? Has the whole world gone crazy? I would love to be in on a meeting when some big executives decide how they are going to fix old cartoon characters by changing everything that made them popular. Is there film of a meeting of executives doing this? Now that would be pure entertainment. They should make a movie about the nutty world of executives who hate common sense.
This reminds me of when Hollywood takes comedians who are really popular on Saturday Night Live or other shows and then makes depressing serious movies with them. Modern Hollywood purposely goes against what seems to be common sense. They are supposed to be trying to make money, but they go go out of their way to play against everything they know the public expects and wants. It's like a big contest between the major studios for who can make the sickest ugliest most depressing 90 minute torture sessions. It's the modern Inquisition.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/movies/2010/04/mighty-mouse-remake-paramount.html


69 comments:

Jeff Overturf said...

Human eyes on cartoon characters look like something out of a horror movie to me...creeeeeeeeeeepy!

You've made the point before, and I whole heartedly agree. If they don't like cartoons, why do they keep using them and screwing them up? Why do they always want to take the fun out of what used to be fun?

Kali Fontecchio said...

That top pic isn't going to be turned into movie is it? Y_Y

C said...

They almost look like miscalculated Bambi or anime eyes.

Sean_Mills_Hospital said...

I think the issue comes in from business analysts presupposing that cartoons were inherently flawed- that their "cartoony-ness" was an incidental side effect of an imperfect system. These creators overly humanized cartoon figures are mistaking abstraction for random error.

Matt said...

I think human eyes on cartoon characters looks both creepy and hilarious

Calvin said...

what the @#$% is going on?

I love to sit in on one of those meetings too. I bet if we pitch them even stupider ideas they'd run with it.

I don't know how much of this I can take. I couldn't stand the real life porky pig movie:

Porky's BooYAH Adventure

947247 said...

Yogi bear on crack

Roberto Severino said...

For the most part, human eyes make cartoon characters look extremely unappealing and weird, unless they're actually using funny human expressions from life on the cartoon characters, instead of boring stock expressions, like in your cartoons or Bob Clampett's WB cartoons. At least that's why I think.

Think about this way though. Even if this Mighty Mouse remake ends up being an ugly ass childhood crushing disaster, but it ends up doing well in the box office, then Paramount might actually attempt to release some of the Terrytoons library on DVD. I for one believe that the Terrytoons cartoons were just as important as the other cartoons made in the Golden Age (even if a lot of them paled in comparison). Have you thought about this whole remake thing that way?

Trevor Thompson said...

It may have started in 1938 in The Wizard of Oz when Denslow's illustrations and Oz characters had to be turned into props and costumes, but of course, they handled it more cleverly.

Elana Pritchard said...

They are all on pills.


A side note:

I just picked up the collection of the Landon correspondence school cartooning lessons and I was thinking of posting them on Cartoon Critique. What do you think of them and the Landon school in general?

Matt said...

I think the sculpture looks great. This is a really old sculpture done by Cam de Leon, an artist who did a lot of promotional art for the band Tool. He also did this. I think, as a sculpture, it generates more interest in this style, rather than the traditional cartoon version. Not that I'd like to see a whole movie done in this style, but as a standalone piece, I think it works.

Jeff M said...

It's just so weird that they want to keep taking characters that were created specifically for cartoons and turn them into live action characters. The characters are so cartoony that it's really not possible to do that, yet they still try. It would make more sense for them to make a new traditionally animated movie. That article you linked to mentioned the Sponge Bob movie and how much money it made, so why are they making more CGI live action hybrids? You'd think they would see that the market for classic animated films is still there.

Doctor Jones said...

Why can't we just call it someones take on something, and appreciate it for just that?
I'm not the kind of person that overly enjoys altered re imaginings of classic character designs by any means... But I don't really think this Mighty Mouse example is total crap either. I can see the artist was trying to go with a realistic approach (or whatever you wanna call it).
Bottom line, he was trying to do something different.
If he doesn't, then all those Mighty Mouse Statues on the shelf, look the same.
I wouldn't buy it, but it doesn't bother me. Variety is the spice of life.

JohnK said...

That's not variety. It's the same thing over and over again.

It's the complete opposite of variety.

Variety would be CREATE A NEW CARTOON CHARACTER and make it appealing.

Craig said...

Aren't ALL your meetings like that?

JohnK said...

Not quite that bizarre.

thomas said...

Kind of like MM on steroids

akira said...

john please tell me you're in negotiations to direct this thing and do it right!

i'd pay 3d movie ticket prices to see a fully animated cartoon movie like this.

they have two ways to go really, sink a crapload of money into an attempt to duplicate the success of a crappy crappy movie like alvin and the chipmunks in the idiotic assumption that making a crappy movie equals box office cash, or they could find a guy who already revived this classic character into the modern world and brought fun and happiness to millions of children (and adults) in doing so. man i bet you could put together a seriously kick ass crew to make this movie and prove that cartoon animation isn't dead yet.

geez i just saw some of Princess and the Frog, and almost had to throw up as it was SUPPOSED to be a return to classic disney animation.

C said...

Off topic, but look what I found!

Nightmare fuel.

Calvin said...

hahahahaha! That glenn beck video is hilarious! He definitely is a man pig. The resemblance of him and the photo above the video is uncanny.

But to get back on topic, 'tude' has been done to death and there is no variety in that expression, or any of these type of movies for that matter. I'm not an expert on the subject, but it doesn't take a rocket scientist to recognize that.

I think the next groundbreaking idea they'll have in mind is to put all the characters with tude expressions into one CG-3D movie and have them battle it to the death... and of course to win the heart of Princess Tude! dun dun dunnnnnn!

yawn said...

Reminds me of that scene, from the new Mighty Mouse, when Mighty's face looks like Bing Crosby, for Madame Marsupial.

John A said...

It didn't work for Howard the Duck a whole quarter century ago (jeez, I'm old)but the same bad ideas keep washing up on shore. Big glassy eyes do not make for an appealing character.

A cartoon image is direct. It's an idea boiled down to its base components in order to communicate in less than an instant, and all that texture mapping is no substitute for a good strong pose.Would Bugs Bunny be "improved" if he were covered with synthetic fur?

Damiano D said...

I still haven't understood the point of trying to make things look as realistic as possible. Whether it be classical animation or CGI making things look like real life is both boring and completely against the logic and purpose of making a cartoon in the first place. This piece looks really uninspired and just plain ugly.

On another point, whilst I understand that CGI is "the future" and everything how expensive can it possibly be to make a proper adaptation in classical animation? Why has 2D animation died out so far in favour of CGI? I don't think kids care whether it's CGI or 2D as long as it's fun and exciting. Is there a bigger cost in production for 2D nowadays, or what?

Arielle P. said...

Good god, that is just disturbing. Please tell me the realistic Mighty-Mouse won't be a movie... O.O

Dan Jackson said...

Yeah, sorry folks, but Mighty Mouse is gonna be a movie.

http://www.aintitcool.com/node/44692

That's an article from 2 days ago. Weep for the future.

Gad said...

it is amazing how many people i meet, who have no connection to art animation and cinema, who distaste the currant CGI craze that took over the world. And the rest usually can't tell the difference between 2d and 3d animation.
it seems to me that this craze for CGI that the people with the cash got is based solely on some none founded delirium this people have.

The simple fact is that Pixar make pretty good and more important very profitable animated films. So it's easy to understand why every one wants to imitate them, just like that in the 80's and 60's there where lots of Disney imitators
The thing is… when Pixar started no body was willing to spend his cold hard cash on a new dangerous endeavor. It took them lots of hard determination to get were they are, replacing Disney. And just like Disney, people will eventually get tired of Pixar.
So all we can do is wait, until the time comes, when 2D will have its opportunity to strike back.

Isaac said...

As much as I like linework and brush strokes, I can't see people getting tired of 3D. It doesn't have to be all bad -- How to Train Your Dragon took a major step towards good old cartoniness, and I think that's where 3D is heading. Hand drawn cartoons will probably have to make do with television programs.

drawingtherightway said...

Wow that cgi mighty mouse is terrible! If his other eye was squished down too, he would look like he's constipated! That part you wrote in the article about snl people doing serious roles made me think of what happened with Jim Carrey who was on In Living Color who at first did comedy films, but then started doing dramatic stuff.

TedM said...

Interesting post. Lets hope that none those movies see the light of day.

ChrisK said...

If I may ask one question... What the heck is wrong with these CG character's expressions?!?

ther1 said...

The character for this movie doesn't look human-more like a headless cockroach on 2 legs. (Warning: turn the audio down if you dare to click the link.)

He's supposed to be evil-and he is. He and his stupid movie are brainwashing kids who could have grown up with taste if they saw actual cartoons.

The guy's still not as evil as Plastic Mouse there though. That expression it's making is contempt for children incarnate.

Kel said...

Hey look! It's Mighty Mouse sporting the 'tude expression! As mentioned before, that picture is so wrong in many ways.

Scrawnypumpkinseed said...

JESUS! That pig scared the crap out of me! Eeew... I feel like I need a shower after looking at that.

They aren't really making a Mighty Mouse remake are they? Who else guesses they'll get uninteresting voice actors and writers who don't know how to write this character?

Bill Field said...

I actually am shocked that I'm not repulsed. I am almost pleased with the result---GULP!

MistahB said...

I think that it's just down right disgusting! I mean What's the point of making cartoon characters realistic anyways?! It just makes them just as ugly as heck.

kurtwil said...

Perhaps the idea of the CGI human-eyed MM was, since humans usually look first at each other's eyes, having human eyes on a cartoon character would make it feel "Human"?

JK, how much time roughly do you spend on a character's facial features .vs. a character's entire pose?

Classic Disney artists I knew (not the "new" crowd) spent most time on eyes / facial features to make sure their character's emotions and personality "read" well.

I remain amazed how folks like Peter Emslie, Ron Dias, Philo Barnhart, and JK (to name 4) get so much expression out of line art.

Ther1, your character (and its film, Despicable Me) comes from Illumination Entertainment (IE), run by Universal and former folks from Fox and Dreamworks. IE's policy's to contract independent studios around the world to do their various productions.

...and if that pix of MM human eyed voxels is indeed what the MM CGI will be, two letters describe it - P_U.

Mad Max Winston said...

terrible. ALWAYS terrible. Realistic eyes = horrifying.

Toole said...

The TV Set, a film with David Duchovny that came out a few years ago, is exactly about this exact thing you're talking about.

Geneva said...

Uuuughhhh!! Now my mouth tastes bad.

tropt said...

IF we all stuck with doing things like they did in the old days John, you'd have nothing to moan about on your blog.

For that reason alone, I hope the studios keep turfing out the crud. My vote is for more human eyes on cartoon characters

Gregg said...

This is unfortunately the way the world is going.

Hybrids... The cars, the food, and
this human eyed, dog nosed mouse.

SoleilSmile said...

It's called the Uncanny Valley, desu yo! And no sir, I don't like it!

skillz said...

The people partly responsible for pumping out the tude:

http://www.tropt.com

Of Course TROPT wants to see more human eyes on cartoons. They're responsible for it.

Watch the scary video on their site.

skillz said...

Anyways, I am terrified by human eyes on cartoon characters. In fact I am terrified by human eyes on anything that is not 'HUMAN.'

They look like, as mentioned in an earlier post, I forget by who, the WALKIN DEAD!

I just want to curl up under my sheets and cry...

skillz said...

Tropt,
In John's defense, this isn't just a rant blog. It's one of the last beacons of hope left in what animation should be like. 3D included. The theories, philosophies, and techniques discussed here are applicable to all platforms of animation.

You can learn a thing or two from here.

I must correct myself though. Tropt is not animationmentor.com, he is a student from there. Sorry for the mistaken identity, Tropt.

skillz said...

John,
No human eyes here. But I'm curious as to what you think about the animation coming out from this french school:

http://conceptcentral.blogspot.com/2010/02/why-you-should-study-at-les-gobelins.html

Lohen said...

The first pic make me laugh a lot!
It´s horrible...

Martin Juneau said...

They don't look Mighty Mouse anymore. Realistic eyes in cartoons character is most scary than antyhing.

K. Nacht said...

How do you feel about squint-eyes?

How about dot-eyes, (I suppose you use 'em sparingly)?

Hey brother, whatta 'bout EMPTY dot eyes, like Little Orphan Melvin?

What's your take on trade unions?

Timothy Merks said...

I was watching the new adventures of mighty mouse the other day, the ep when he traveled back in time. I loved the ending when the iris closes in on might mouse and he looks like hes going to wink but then breaks into a seizure.

That was so dam funny, I must have rewound that 10 times. Maybe this new 3d series is based solely on that shot

David Germain said...

I remember reading about something an actual executive said during a meeting at Warner Bros. He suggested that they scrub Chuck Jones' name off of What's Opera, Doc? for some sleazy reason. Thankfully, that suggestion was turned down emphatically, but it just shows you how stupid and/or sleazy those animation executives can be.

Yeah, that image of Mighty Mouse is disgusting on many levels, not just in the eyes. It looks more like a foam rubber statue brought to life by a demon than a fun cartoon character. I hope that's not the final design.

Niki said...

I actually find the Mighty Mouse to be outrageously hilarious. I guess because it makes me realize how retarded he'd look if he were almost really real. I'd hate to see that in my house stealing my food.

TedM said...

I really hope that those images on your blog do not see the light of day.

Cameron said...

"This reminds me of when Hollywood takes comedians who are really popular on Saturday Night Live or other shows and then makes depressing serious movies with them."

The difference is that those can be GOOD. I doubt "realistic-cartoon" movies are ever going to produce their Punch-Drunk Love.

Tony DiStefano said...

Your right ,they just ruin the whole design.I still can not figure out how these chipmonk movies made so much money when they have all that bad stuff in them.I guess its the conditioning of an audience over the last 10 or so years.

JohnK said...

The Chipmunks may have made money, but most of these movies don't.

The studios think that if they blindly imitate some superficial aspect of a hit movie, they will automatically make hits too - even though history consistently proves that thinking wrong.

Mykal Banta said...

John: Chimming in late. - Yep, creepy as all hell. -- Mykal

Kingfish said...

It's a complete artistic failure that happens again and again. I mentioned this on my blog in reation to the Yogi Bear movie- WHAT IS THE POINT of a live action version of a cartoon character? It can be funny to look at, as a joke- as in this-

http://www.geekologie.com/2008/03/yikes_what_a_human_mario_would.php

But why convert a 2-D cartoon character to a 3D-looking object? You abandon al the qualities that make it work in one fell swoop, so your new movie loses all merit instantly. MIghty Mouse works because he is well-designed, has a "cute" cartoon face and funny proportions. To make him work, you give him human eyes, porous, textured skin etc. and end up with this hideous freak of nature.

That "real" Porky Pig is hilarious and the perfect illustration of why this sort of thing doesn't work.

Jeff M said...

here's a really terrifying realistic version of a cartoon character: http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/photos/uncategorized/2008/03/17/realmario.jpg

georgeliquor said...

"This reminds me of when Hollywood takes comedians who are really popular on Saturday Night Live or other shows and then makes depressing serious movies with them."

I think it's fun to see the Creatives [a strange race of people that creates fun things] try to challenge themselves. Sometimes it can work very well, like when you, Jim Smith, and...people I don't remember the names of did Son of Stimpy.

RooniMan said...

That realistic Porky just made me gag.

The whole concept of human eyes on cartoon characters is ludicris. It's ugly, its deprssing, and it's something that completely boggles my mind. Those executives really go too far with this @#$%!?*$#%#.

A movie about executives in a meeting would definatley get my attention.

Raff said...

If you're going to use human eyes, why not...use actual eyes!

Like this:

http://www.tetesaclaques.tv

murrayb said...

is that top pic the actual design? sigh.
Called it on cartoon brew. I knew they'd go this way.
Why try to make such an outlandish concept "believable" ? why not just revel in it's silliness and do a superman send up staring goofy cartoon animals, but make it cinematic and great?
Why does ever cartoon character who gets their own movie nowadays have to exist in the real world? Then they need tear ducts to act toe to toe with Jason Lee or someone.
In scooby doo it made partial sense, because Iwo Takamoto made scooby doo such a strange show, paring hanna barbara's johnny quest adventure style with the talking cartoon scooby.
Alvin and the chipmunks was always strange, because human dave adopted these chipmunk brothers and forced them into a singing career.
is mighty going to be mouse sized beating up live action human goons? is he going to be an ordinary lab mouse who is accidentally transformed into the worlds first wisecracking super powered CGI mouse?
It's so predictable!!! Bring on the emotion captured Dane Cook MM, as long as I get me some box set terrytoons on DVD.

georgeliquor said...

Executives love to imitate past successes in the hopes of creating future successes, rather than trying new, creative ideas. This has been taken very literally lately. When the crappy Alvin and The Chipmunks film was a HUGE success, suddenly every corporation got started on doing more remakes. We're getting Yogi Bear, Smurfs, Tom and Jerry, Speedy Gonzales, Marvin the Martian, and more.

What I'm saying is; I've discovered the source of the plague: that first, 2007 Alvin and the Chipmunks film. Somebody get a time machine, go back in time, and kill the director!

Michelle Klein-Hass said...

Humanoid Pig Experiment in CGI...scary, scary, scary. I'm going to have freaking NIGHTMARES.

Mighty Mouse CGI...are you shitting me? THIS is what they plan on doing with the Caped Rodent Crusader?

There is NO WAY to do the MM movie without doing it as traditional animation. Period. End of story. This is going to SUCK severely. Then again, Alvin and the Chipmunks in CGI not only SUCKED but BLEW. And it made megabucks. (headdesk)

Roberto González said...

I don't mind these things as standalone sculptures or digital artwork. But not for a whole movie.

In fact I would confess that I'm usually a little curious when they announce one of these movies and I usually want to catch the trailer or the stills to see how the character looks in realistic CGI.

Then I see it looks like crap, and later I see how bad the whole thing seems to be and I wonder why they even tried.

I think it's the novelty of seeing them in a different way what makes the executives think this is ok, and sometimes part of the audience that didn't even know the characters that much, they see that and say "hey, this is a different take". But novelty only goes so far. I'd like people to care about quality more often.

Then again it's the combination of the horrid designs and awful stories that makes those things so terrible. I am such a generous person that I would even be sort of condescendent if they made the characters look ugly but at least they reflected the spirit of the series or the characters. I thought the first Flinstones movie wasn't extremely bad at that. Sure, it was a very silly movie, with silly acting and not that much of a plot, but at least it seemed that the guys who did it had watched some of the cartoons and liked the original personalities of the characters. Now I didn't watch the Garfield movies, but the trailers make them look as if they got everything wrong. Same thing with the upcoming Smurfs and Speedy Gonzales movies.

Chipmunks movies, I watch the first one online, and thought it wasn't one of the worst. A kids movie that it's quite dumb for adults, but it sort of reflects the characters. Maybe that's why this one was succesful.

Now that CGI has proved that it can be very cartoony in movies like Cloudy With a Chance Of Meatballs I would like studios to take that route a little more often. Since it seems pretty implausible that studios would try with traditional 2D animation in modern features they could at least made those Mighty Mouse and Popeye movies in cartoony CGI, and I think they could look great if well done.

James Sugrue said...

Pig-men are ever so frightening!

Lil' Al said...

CG Mighty Mouse looks like Michael Chiklis.

dAvE said...

I don't like it...