Tuesday, July 05, 2005


At Last, All About Animation

Look at this. Now, I’ve never been a big fan of the new Batman animated dreck currently airing on Kids’ WB, but I never in a million years would have expected the WB to pump out a The Batman DTV (Direct-to-Video) this quickly. You know, this is beginning to feel like the Golan-Globus/Filmation 80’s, where nearly everyone who’s a major player in Animation is attempting to spend much less and make much more.

Not one to constantly bore you with tales of the old days of animation, but in 1993 Batman: Mask of the Phantasm was produced on a $40 million budget, not exactly shoestring. In fact, there still are many films that can be competently made with that amount of money (this year’s Alone in the Dark, for instance, could have been a much better movie with a different director and improved casting--not with more money, per se). But these days, the prevailing belief is that to solve complex production issues one must throw more money at it, rather than do the heavy lifting by coming up with creative cost-efficient solutions. This can be applied to animation as well.

No one, not even 20th Century Fox’s Bill Mechanic, will admit that the reason Titan A.E. went so far over-budget (the budget ballooned to $80 million) had nothing to do with the competence of the crew, or the capable management of the production. And it certainly had nothing to do with Gary Goldman or Don Bluth. Ideas ran out at a critical time in the production (the middle) and the powers that be had no other choice but to request more money. Now, there was a way around these hang-ups--but why take a plane that’s leaving in the evening when you can board a motorboat that sets off in 10 minutes? Sure, the option may be more expensive, and it’ll most likely take longer, but what the hell? At least you will get to where you intend to be.

But the failure of many other animated movies can be blamed on poor management and an understaffed (also commonly known as a skeleton) crew, and vice-versa. And then, there’s the strange case of Flutemaster, that extremely poor excuse for an animated series that many of you have likely never seen (and for that you are blessed and fortunate), but that’s another article for another time.

Suffice it to say, the warped economic beliefs of the studios somehow made CGI more appealing to them. I really do feel then, that this is why 2-D is getting the royal tree stuck up their ass. And that Japan is one of the few countries where organic animation is accorded any amount of respect.

I will write more about the lack of love 2-D is getting from America, when I have the time.


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