Ok folks, I'm going to do a short update. I've been up for 38 hours now, and am exhausted. So I'm going to let Trumpfy here report on the WORLD ANIMATION CELEBRATION in PASEDENA. There is all types of animation knowledge in here, very heavy on the DREAMWORKS work. Sounds glorius. Anyway, I'm off to dream of Peter Blood and Captain Levasseur....
Trumpfy here, back from the biggest baddest celebration in animation. The World Animation Celebration in Pasedena. (also known as WAC fest) Well, were do I start?
Dreamworks/PDI - Definately the companies to beat. They will set the standard for the next 5 years in animation, although the movies need some work. First off is the Antz trailer. H-O-L-Y S-H-I-T!!!!!! This fuckin blew me away. Sorry for the colorfull metaphors but it's that good! It begins with a cartoony silhouette of a city. Woody Allen starts his monologue voice over, "The big city..." It then is lit and we see it's really grass. The camera slowly pans down through the ground while Woody complains about stuff like " I can never lift over 10 times my weight." and yada yada. My eyes had such a sensory overload my ears barely picked up any of the VO. There's allot of cool stuff in the dirt like coroded wires, buried action figures, bones, wrappers, It was real dirt. The camera pivots down so were looking below at a major system of roots. As the camera moves through the roots we zoom in on the talking figure. It's Z, the ant, on a psychiatry couch. He continues complaining about how he's insignificant as he walks about an earthlike room. the camera does alot of different cuts and he ends up by a window. Light is coming in the window and we see the top of a dome-like structure. Z stops talking and a deep VO says something like," Z, you have come very far. But the most important thing you accepted that you are insignificant." he rattles on a bit more as the camera moves through the window and we're treated to the most fucking unbelievable cg shot ever. It's an ant colony. Thousands of ants are carrying food across complex bridges. There were glowing buildings with cool lights. I can't properly describe this and do it justice. The doctor finally says "Okay, time's up. That'll be $350. Then the title screen appears with Z holing the "Z". I talked to a guy at Dreamworks who said I was lucky to see it because they're not showing it until Prince of Egypt comes out. The ant design was amazing. PDI said they didn't want to go cutesy on it at all. There won't be any singing. I saw some production art that had a flood scene, a scene where a shoelace cuts through the grass, and a shot of ant utopia.
Dreamworks didn't show the trailer for POE but they had some clips and production shots. This is without a doubt the most beautiful piece of film art I have ever seen. Shots include: "Heiroglyph Nightmare" which had Moses with a torch looking at a wall of heiroglyphs. "The Plague" It looked like a canyon where a eerie smoke from the heavens part in 5 directions. "Exodus" a close up of Moses and a long shot of a crowd. Although I forget the titles there was a shot of Moses being drug through the desert by a camel. Lot's of chariot stuff and those beautilful "Parting of the red sea" storyboards. The video clips included a POV of a chariot racing through a city, the basket floating through some curtains, the salves pulling stones, and some dialogue scenes.
To finish on the Dreamworks/PDI stuff: The Road to El Dorado, formerly known as El Dorado: City of Gold. Saw some production stills. This looks the same quality as POE. Some shots included the main character in a sewer, multiple shots of Spain, the 5 main characters on a model sheet, a shot of the tribal observatory, a production painting of a scene with a rock jaguar, and alot of village and temple paintings. the characters reminded me of Lucasarts' Curse of Monkey Island. Very cartoony. It's very beautiful but doesn't have the epic quality of POE. Finally they had some stuff on Shrek. They replaced Chris Farley with Eddie Murphy. Cameron Diaz was also cast. This is their weakest property. Saw some non-textured 3-D models. They still hold up quality wise but it won't be the spectacle of antz. I guess they're giving people some down time after the first set of projects.
Disney/pixar - Not much to tell. Pixar showed it's in house short Geri's Game. It's about an old man who plays a backstabbing game of chess against himself. It starts off humorous, turns to disurbing, then ends humorous. First he walks to one of those chess tables in the middle of an abandoned park. He sets up all of the pieces and moves the white pawn and waits. He then slowly gets out of his chair, makes his way to the other side of the board, sits in the chair, and moves a black pawn. He does this about 2 more times then it get's disturbing. the camera cuts back and forth making it seem like there are two people playing. The "black" Geri is evil and has red trees behind him. The "white" Geri ,who is being pulverized, has green trees behing him. The split personality is brought amazing to life. Kudos to pixar for their camera work. The montage stops when the White king is Geri's last peice. The black Geri begins a wicked laugh as the White Geri nervously sweats. Then White Geri starts to groan and clench at his heart. Beleive me when I say there was nothing comedic about this shot. Black Geri gets worried as White Geri falls to the ground. Black Geri Begins to sob and wipes his glasses as White geri pops up and turns the board. Black Geri then puts his glasses back on to the shock of White Geri and the bigger shock of his last piece, The white king. White Geri then with a wicked laugh put's the piece in Mate. He continues laughing as Black geri hands him a set of false teeth. White Geri puts the in packs up and leaves, laughing all the way home. Remeber that the two characters are never on the screen at the same time. It was quite brilliant.
Pixar didn't show anything else. Disney only had 4 posters for Mulan, Dinosaur, Kingdom of the Sun, and Tarzan. I talked to an Ex-Disney employee who saw Mulan. She said it was typical Disney fare. She also told me Tarzan was in development hell. Something with the tone of the story. Powerful people with different visions type of thing. Dinosaur looked really nice. It was a shot of the main character in the jungle. They also had a poster of Fantasia 2000. It had 3 flamingoes standing in water. Very suprising how little was shown.
Fox - Dark Town: At the tribute to Henry Selick he said the story was about where the soul goes when you're in a coma. It goes to this run down town in limbo that has these cool western bars and stuff. He said the main character has to figure out how to get back to his loved one before they pull the plug in 12 hours. The movie would be a mixture of live action, stop action, puppets, masks, and cg. Production begins in the fall. He also said the Corpse Bride was on hold cause WB doesn't want Tim Burton working on anything but Supes. They're a little nervous I guess.
Fox also showed some paintings of Ice Planet. I'll send ya a pic tomarrow.
Warner Bros. - Posters of Iron Giant, The Zoo, New Gods, and Quest for Camelot. New Gods should kick ass. I'm still hoping Iron giant will be the best animated movie ever made, but I think they'd have to give it to Dreamworks. Prove me wrong WB.
Nickelodeon - They showed the rugrats trailer and a song from the movie. It looks solid. More cg and shading then the normal show. Nick was bragging that it's the only animated feature that takes place in modern day. I guess they forgot about beavis and Buthead. This one could suprise everybody... Remember what corholio did? They also mentioned a Hey! Arnold feature and possibly Angry Beavers.
MTV - Didn't show anything feature wise but mentioned the sequel to B&B.
That's all for the up and coming stuff. Tommarrow I'll give reviews on some of the cool events like the "I Married a Strange Person" west coast premier, the Nightmare before X-mas showing, and the ultimate, best show of the week: The Tribute to Ray Harryhuassen!