Tuesday, 15 December 2009


These two drawings are my entries for the wonderful SHREWSBURY CARTOON FESTIVAL. The GORGON drawing was inspired by that great old film ,JASON AND THE ARGONAUGHTS. And i noticed that over the festive period they're showing that other ol' classic 1000000 MILLION YEARS B.C. These are two model- based animated films by that wonderful RAY HARRYHAUSEN. All the monsters, gorgons, giants, etc, in the Argonauts epic and the dinosaurs fighting RAQUEL WELSH...As far as i know she wasn't animated by Harryhausen and is all real, but that could be a matter of opinion. Then model animation has in its corner the WALLACE AND GROMIT stuff, made from plasticene, all great stuff. Lest we forget , not so much animation ,but definitly model-based is all the GERRY ANDERSON stuff and still looking good after all these years since i started watching SUPERCAR and FIREBALL XL5, as a wee lad in me short pants (Don't wear them so much now, just for special occassions). The other day i was watching a couple of old DISNEY films on the box, THE JUNGLE BOOK, and THE ARISTOCATS. And i loved them, the characters , some were hilarious, especially two dogs in the ARISTOCATS. The other thing was that the voice and characters were studio personnel, not 'Superstars', Brad Pitts, EDDIE MURPHYS, ETC, ETC and all that stuff, just character actors voicing the cartoons, a lot funnier and a lot cheaper. Then, of course, the WARNER BROS cartoons. I still wet myself laughing at the relatively simple drawn stuff, and characterised by the voice of one man the astounding MEL BLANC. Bugs Bunny; Daffy Duck; Foghorn Leghorn; Sylvester n' Tweety, etc,etc all done by one man.
I've been to CGI and PIXAR films and although some are very clever ,there just doesnt seem to be any soul there, no spirit, i smile, but dont laugh, theres the difference for me between the old and the new. Yes, i know, as i've been constantly reminded i'm a miserable old fart.
All the CGI is making all the live action films go and look totally over the top and busting a gut to cram as much chaos and graphic activity into the screen as ic digitally possible and to my mind makes them all look very similar. The actors dont need to go to locations, etc just go into a blue or green room and pretend they're in space or somewhere weird talking to a martian or monster, or even at the head of a 10000000000 soldiers. Watch one of these films ike TROY then watch some of the epics like BEN HUR, or SPARTACUS, or WATERLOO, or the KURASAWA epics where they had millions of extras and it shows, even if some of your Roman Leigions are wearing watches, or theres a bus passing in the distance, all part of the fun. Has anybody actually seen the car in the background of the chariot race in Ben Hur?

And now its Christmas time again, the repeats are running even more regulary then normal and in between everything theres the celebrity cooking programmes. Where our culinary hero whizz through a variety of 'simple but effective' xmas recipes"that anyone can make"...Sprinkling and splashing all kinds of liquids and powders and diced stuff "Bish, bas bosh!"..There y'go ! A sooper x mas dinner or variation, thereoff . I think the only people who come out on top after christmas are these bloody celebrity chefs


Thud said...

Tim...you are onto something here v is the cartoons of yester year but I think cgi is a great tool when used in the right context...not avatar certainly but a good usage would be in the film 300.

Hypervox said...

Gotta agree with Timbo here. I prefer drawn or model animation to anything CGI. There's just something very... human, about them. CGI will always feel lifeless because the human brain is a complex animal - we can accept drawn or model animation because no attempt is made to appear real. Instinctively, we know that a cartoon is not real, we know wallace and gromit is not real, so our brain accepts it. When we look at a film with CGI effects, our brain sees something that looks real, but is not moving in a realistic fashion, so the illusion fails, and instead of immersing ourselves into the film, we say "oh, good effects!".

I get more satisfaction watching Loony Toons than Batman Begins (but then again, I'm weird...) :)

Tim Leatherbarrow said...

Oh yes Cgi i a wonderul tool and if used along with real life can be great, but its rapidly becming total cgi. Terry Gilliams got the right idea using locations, sets and models with some cgi to add the finishing touchs n' sparks. I must admit to having not seeing 300, i'll look out for it on Sky.
And hyp' , there nothing to worry about , we three are weird, miserable ol' farts and proud of it.
All the best
madbadninkstainednocgi..Tim xx

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