THE PEANUTS MOVIE is a 95% respectful and pure tribute to the American institution that is the comic strip Peanuts by Charles Schulz and its animated adaptations by director Bill Melendez (especially 1965’s A Charlie Brown Christmas and 1966’s It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown). With surprisingly little compromise or update it brings all the characters back to the screen in recognizable form. It doesn’t add new characters or celebrity voices or make them talk like smartass sitcom shitheads, or try to make some kind of meta commentary about what Peanuts represents, or give some origin story about how Charlie Brown got his dog or the first time he tried to kick a football, or some joke pointing out that it’s weird that he seems to only have one hair on the front of his head and two on the back… basically, it doesn’t do any of the one hundred dumbass things that you can guarantee almost any asshole who would make this movie would think was a good idea. Luckily, those assholes were busy trying to ruin The Muppets or something when this was made. (read the rest of this shit…)
Archive for the ‘Cartoons and Shit’ Category
Disney’s POCAHONTAS is the big animated feature of the summer of 1995, a part of the “Disney Renaissance” and feature animation resurgence that started in the late ’80s and early ’90s. But if the popularity of Disney animation was a motherfucker trying to ice skate uphill, this would be the point when he had just reached the top and now was beginning to slide back down in reverse. It came out a year almost to the day after THE LION KING, the tale of fathers and sons and a bunch of unrelated songs about a farting warthog and a smartass weasel guy or whatever, which smashed all box office records for animated features and remained the highest grossing of all time until TOY STORY 3 beat it 16 years later. More importantly, POCAHONTAS came about 5 months before the first TOY STORY arrived like a European with an infected blanket, triggering the end of the popularity of line drawings on the big screen.
Though not very highly regarded, and controversial for its fictionalization of history, I think POCAHONTAS is a respectable swan song for the age of Disney hand drawn animation. It goes whole hog with the house formula of glamorous heroines in a Broadway-inspired musical format, but takes some risks and, most notably, gloriously showcases the artistry of the studio’s best animators, designers and colorists. (read the rest of this shit…)
Hey, I’ve admitted it before. I’m a Modern Man, I can dig on the cartoons sometimes. But I don’t always gotta go public about it. For example I didn’t need it on record that I thought FROZEN continued the evolution of the Disney Princess formula in smart, pro-girl ways. The rest of the world took care of that, I didn’t need to say anything. Stoicism. But I just saw THE BOXTROLLS which was amazing and I don’t trust the rest of the world to make a big deal about this one, so here I am.
THE BOXTROLLS is the third movie from Laika, the stop motion studio out of Oregon who did CORALINE and PARANORMAN. Because of modern technologies like motion control, digital photography and now 3D printing this artform keeps getting more detailed and sophisticated, yet it has a very old fashioned charm to it. It’s all about the tactile and the textured. It’s puppets moving around on elaborate model sets. You can see the fabrics and stitches on the clothes, the brush on the paint. I like how you can see that the eyes are a hard, shiny material under the rubbery skin. That the eyelids look like separate pieces. I like computers, but this shit has an appeal that computers can’t re-create. (read the rest of this shit…)
With the critical and commercial success of THE LEGO® MOVIE, Hollywood and corporate America are hard at work trying to figure out what other consumer products and trademarked property brands they can get away with adapting into feature film franchises. Recently for example we heard about plans for a movie based on Barbie dolls and even one based on Marshmallow Peeps candy. CHEETOS: RISE OF CHESTER and REVENGE OF THE NERDS™ CANDY can’t be far behind.
While THE LEGO® MOVIE is the most brazen product placement movie to be accepted by society, it is not the first one to be made. The innovator in this field is 2012’s computer animated feature FOODFIGHT!, the directorial debut of TRUE LIES and MORTAL KOMBAT executive producer Lawrence Kasanoff, who’d already helped pave the way for the hit movie with a number of Lego®-based animated TV shows. (read the rest of this shit…)
“I’m not a weapons system. I’m a man.”
In 1998, 11 years after the first ROBOCOP movie, five years after the last ROBOCOP movie, ten years after the first ROBOCOP cartoon and four years after the first live action TV series came the second ROBOCOP cartoon, ROBOCOP: ALPHA COMMANDO. This was cartoon RoboCop reimagined for a very different age of TV animation. After the success of prime time cartoons like The Simpsons and the influence of Batman: The Animated Series, most cartoons were still aimed at children, but the standards for storytelling were a little higher, and many seemed like they were no longer made with utter contempt for the little shitbags they expected to be babysat by the fuckin thing.
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Look man, I don’t want to take away from Black History Month, which is still ongoing, but circumstances have led to me deciding to declare RoboCop History Week. As a new remake of ROBOCOP approaches it is imperative that we remember all the previous RoboCops who have made their impact on RoboCop history throughout the years.
Of course the most important RoboCop is 1987’s ROBOCOP by Mr. Paul Verhoeven. This is an all time classic. Significantly less important is ROBOCOP 2, a pretty bad movie but with some cool parts and ideas in it. In my opinion its greatest contribution is in demonstrating that maybe Irvin Kerchner is not 100% responsible for THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK being a great sci-fi part 2. It is possible that he couldn’t have done it without the strong hand of a certain writer/producer/creator who perhaps people don’t want to give any credit to because of how he spurned them many years later when they were old and goateed.
On the other hand, ROBOCOP 3 is a piece of shit but it came from a director whose other works are pretty much flawless for what they are. So who knows. These things happen. (read the rest of this shit…)
Speaking of weird animated martial arts videos, this week for my column on Daily Grindhouse I investigated a weird VHS tape I found of a 1976 animated movie purported to have Bruce Lee in it. Or a cartoon of him. It’s called CHINESE GODS, aka THE STORY OF THE CHINESE GODS. Bruce has a third eye and he fights a nine-tailed fox lady and that sort of thing. You know how it is.
Round 1, Bout 3: TEAM VIDEO GAMES vs. THE MEN FROM HONG KONG
MORTAL KOMBAT: THE ANIMATED VIDEO, aka MORTAL KOMBAT: THE JOURNEY BEGINS was a straight-to-VHS-and-Laserdisc release made as a tie-in with Paul W.S. Anderson’s 1995 live action theatrical MORTAL KOMBAT movie. The cover boasts that it allows you to “GO ONE STEP BEYOND VIRTUAL REALITY WITH 3D ANIMATION LIKE YOU’VE NEVER SEEN BEFORE!”
It is true that I’ve never seen animation like this before, but only because most people who would make it would know it was not good enough to release on a video. This video alternates between substandard Saturday morning cartoon type drawn animation and extremely crude animatic type computer animation. More on that in a minute. (read the rest of this shit…)
It’s hard out there in Neo-Tokyo. I don’t have to tell you guys. I’m sure shit was even worse right after the old Tokyo got nuked, but it’s still no picnic. You got a police state trying to crack down on all the protesters, not just the terrorists setting off bombs everywhere. You got cultists carrying on about the end times and the second coming, and it doesn’t seem as far-fetched as it used to. All you can really do is go to bars, buy capsules, steal motorcycles, customize ’em, then get out there with your friends and attack some other gang, chase ’em through the streets, hit ’em in the head with pipes, try to murder them. That’s what childhood pals Kaneda and Tetsuo do, fighting some clowns. And I don’t mean that like jokers or bozos, but an actual gang of guys who wear clown makeup. I don’t see any juggalo type symbols on them, so I’m not sure if it’s that type of deal or not.
Anyway, it’s the only fun a young man has these days and the cops even interfere with that. Ruin everything. (read the rest of this shit…)
I am an individual who thirsts for knowledge and understanding, so I figured I should find out more about where these GI JOE movies come from. In my review of GI JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA I explained how the Ain’t It Cool Newsies put a nerd fatwah on me for saying GI JOE was based on a toy commercial, and made me read some comic books and admit that i could see how somebody good could turn the GI Joe saga into a colorful action movie with fun gimmicks and larger than life characters.
But since them I’ve talked to other dudes who never knew of the comics but have a nostalgic attachment to the toys and cartoons they grew up on, even if they know they’re dumb. And these cartoon-faction Joeists insisted I watch GI JOE: THE MOVIE, a 90 minute cartoon extravaganza intended for theatrical release IN 1987 but then it went DTV because, let’s face it, it was more of a TV cartoon than a motion picture. A reverse TOY STORY 2. It’s really something though.
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