Sunday, August 31, 2008

Yoinks and away!

This is what I feel like whenever I leave for Amherst.

I also saw I am Legend tonight; I loved the beginning (not so much the ending), but one of the things I really like about that movie is storytelling without hitting the viewer over the head with it; instead of explaining what's happening flat out, they leave a bunch of small clues as to what happened before. Which means that some frickin' telepath in Hollywood read my mind years ago because that's how I was going to build up a character for an animated feature I hope to make eventually.

I also managed to find a way to hook up an old VCR to my computer; last night I enjoyed the old Raggedy Ann and Andy "Musical Adventure" from my youth. Did you know that Richard Williams did that? I didn't. I usually don't say "style" too often, but after watching Who Framed Roger Rabbit and The Thief and the Cobbler, I was completely taken by surprise because the acting and the animation didn't match the styles of those other films.

Apparently Art Babbit and Eric Goldberg worked on that too.

I need to find an animator from the golden age that's still alive so I can latch onto them and sponge as much knowledge as I can from them. My attempts to at least send Ollie Johnston a thank you/fanboy letter fell through last spring. And then he died a couple weeks later. It's funny how all the people who's work I idolize die around the time I'm learning about them, or how they died shortly before I started studying their work, as if this process of learning is sucking the souls from their bodies. Should I stop before every animator drops dead?


David Nethery said...

A book you ought to look for is "The Animated Raggedy Ann & Andy" by John Canemaker.

The book documents the making-of the Raggedy Ann animated feature that was directed by Richard Williams.

The film is a mixed bag (parts greater than the whole) but the book is one of the best ever about the making of an animated feature and actually goes into real details about how animation is done that most "making of" documentaries leave out.

It shows up on used book lists from time to time

David Nethery said...

I know you mentioned you had an old VHS of Raggedy Ann, but just FYI , it's also on Google Video:

Raggedy Ann and Andy a Musical Adventure

Like I said , in my opinion it's a mixed bag and not really successful overall as a film, but there is some fantastic work in it and I find that I actually enjoy watching the film in little bits than in one sitting (skip all the boring parts) . It's one film I'm very surprised is not yet out on DVD.

Another one that I'm surprised doesn't have a DVD release is the Richard Williams' directed "A Christmas Carol" , which also happens to be on Google Video:

Richard Williams' "A Christmas Carol"

I love his version of "A Christmas Carol". My only complaint is that its too short ! They had to cut out too much of the original story to make it fit into the half-hour running time for television (originally broadcast on ABC in 1971) . It ends up being more like "Favorite Scenes from "A Christmas Carol" . But it's really quite good. The drawings are beautiful.

The problem with what's posted on Google or YouTube is that that the image quality is very low-res. and the Flash player they use plays back choppy at times and drops frames so you're not always seeing the animation at the correct frame rate. Better than nothing I suppose ...

Didn't they show some of this at the MOMA retrospective ?