Tuesday, October 06, 2009

The art of animation: Two great glimpses

It was nearly called Monkey Piston's Frying Circle

That's really apropos of nothing at all, but in honor of Monty Python's big anniversary, that tidbit from John Cleese certainly made me chuckle.

And before we get into either of the animation clips today, there's what I would have to call pretty big and equally good news about just what Michael Mann will be up to next.

Though it failed to make my mid-year top 10, his "Public Enemies" with a certain Johnny Depp was an absorbing epic that unfolded slowly enough that I had to see it twice to really fall under its charms. I was surprised to find that it actually came very close to crossing the $100 million mark this summer, standing right now at just over $97 million, according to Box Office Mojo.

Now, it seems that Mann will turn his camera to one of my favorite subjects, photography, and specifically the story of famed war photographer Robert Capa.

Mann's flick, which he will produce and direct, will use the Spanish-language novel "Waiting for Robert Capa" as a template and concentrate on his romance with photographer Gerda Taro during the Spanish Civil War. If you don't know this story already and don't want to know more, please skip to the next paragraph now. Both Taro and Capa himself died while in action with their cameras, he much later than her, so this indeed has the potential to be a great epic romance, in that sense not unlike "Public Enemies" itself.

OK, now on to the main subject, which as is usually the case when I'm in a hurry on a Tuesday morning, is really just a couple of videos that caught my eye this morning (plus a bonus visit from the Boss.)

First up comes what is apparently the first five minutes of "The Princess and the Frog," which I have to admit I'm still rather excited about even if this opening sequence looks awfully treacly. Along with the fact that it's hand-drawn animation starring Disney's first black princess voiced by Anika Noni Rose, I just find it almost as fascinating as it is thoroughly depressing that it took Disney this long to return to a black lead character in the first place. (As an aside that I've disclosed here before, but it's been a while, "Song of the South" was easily one of my favorite movies as a kid, and I still love it to this day.) About half way through this clip, it reverts to the unfinished work, which is just kinda neat to see (sorry I don't have any thing more technical to say than "neat.") Enjoy.

Next up comes a new featurette about "Fantastic Mr. Fox," the Wes Anderson flick that has me more intrigued the more I see of it. I know that stop-motion animation is a painstaking process, but it's still interesting to see the detail they went into in creating the puppets that will bring Roald Dahl's tale to life in November. The implication that Anderson was sometimes jetsetting around the world as his underlings did all the dirty work is also rather funny. Enjoy.

And finally, a little Bruce Springsteen is just about guaranteed to make any Tuesday better, and this new song is pretty friggin' good. When I saw it was called "Wrecking Ball" it made me think of that great X song "Call of the Wrecking Ball," and while this isn't quite as good, it's still a new song from the Boss performed live at Giants Stadium, so enjoy, and have a perfectly passable Tuesday. Peace out.


Cullen said...

I just can't get excited about the Princess and the Frog. I don't know why; it just does not appeal to me at all.

Going to see the Toy Stories in 3D this weekend and really looking forward to that.

Reel Fanatic said...

I saw them this past weekend, Cullen, and though I can't say the 3-E added much to them at all, it was still great to see them, especially Toy Story 2, which is just an animation gem in my book