Posts Tagged ‘animation’

Jack Sheldon, RIP

Thu ,02/01/2020

Jazz great Jack Sheldon, the voice of Schoolhouse Rock!, RIP

RIP. Of course my fave work is the Simpsons version of I’m Just A Bill, included below too 🙂

candybowl

RIP, Syd Mead.

Wed ,01/01/2020

one of the great ones…..RIP.

Legendary sci-fi artist Syd Mead dead at 86

Iconic Concept Artist Syd Mead Passes Away

candybowl

B5….a bit more

Sun ,22/12/2019

interesting side issue, following up on yesterday’s DS9 post – I didn’t really watch B5 in its original run, then watched it on my buddy’s DVDs several years ago, then a couple years ago rewatched it all. On DVD it holds up fairly well – it’s obviously lower budget than DS9 was, and while the overall plot holds up, there are definitely lame moments from time to time (DS9 wasn’t completely immune to this problem either, but barring the Vic Fontaine aspect near the end, at least they didn’t resort to the holodeck every time they ran out of ideas – TNG, I’m looking at YOU).

Anyway, interesting read to be sure…and F people who don’t realize the impact of the Amiga computer – Ask Spielberg and Jurassic Park on that one among many, many others 🙂

‘Babylon 5’ is great, so why does it look so bad?

candybowl

What We Leave Behind – DS9 documentary

Sat ,21/12/2019

Watched this recent Deep Space Nine documentary this week, by the showrunner Ira Steven Behr and some others. As a huge fan of DS9 (I personally think it’s the best of all the Trek series, albeit Discovery season 1 is right up there too now) it was long overdue for me to see them re-examine the show. Plus, earlier this past year I rewatched the vast majority of the episodes (along with Babylon 5, but more on that in a minute) so was excited to see DS9 finally getting its due.

So I think this is a great documentary. There are some things I would have done differently, and while I know they were trying NOT to do a linear, ‘history of the show’ approach to the series – mission accomplished on that – I think a bit more of it would still have been cool.

One thing I really liked was the ‘writer reunion’ that ends up crafting a rough outline of a proposed Season 8 kickoff episode. Not only did they come up with some very cool and interesting ideas (which I won’t spoil but if you must know – you can read about them here) it was just neat to see the writing/brainstorming process in action, even if we don’t get to see the bulk of it (I think they spent the day doing it, and then included the key highlights in this movie).

It was really good to see them make an effort to connect with most of the cast, even if many of them don’t end up getting a lot of screen time. And while Avery Brooks isn’t ‘in’ the movie per se – I believe the interviews with him were separate from it but not completely sure – they paid him a lot of respect in this, which he definitely deserves in a number of key ways.

A couple bittersweet points for me – the fact that René Auberjonois (Odo) and Aron Eisenberg (Noq) both passed away only in the past couple months this very year, and the film notes that Barry Jenner (Admiral Ross, recurring character) passed away a couple years ago. RIP to all of them.

So while I won’t offer spoilers here as noted before, there are a couple key actual *gripes* I do have with this film:

1) They don’t address the whole Babylon 5 situation. It’s well established by now that the creator of Babylon 5, J. Michael Straczynski, pitched his ‘space station series’ to Paramount well ahead of DS9’s appearance, and while Ira, Berman and Piller may not have ultimately been in on it at the studio mgmt level, it still looks pretty fishy to this day. While Straczynski has ultimately let it go by now, read and judge for yourself.

2) It’s obvious there were several motivations for telling this story – ‘Give DS9 its due’ (for which it was long overdue if you liked DS9 :)); Showcase all the VERY hard work that went into making it – the quip where Colm Meany talks about time in the makeup chair is a great example, but even if it was just about many of the actors having to get into work around 5am for 3 hours of makeup, EVERY DAY – gives me new respect for their dedication! The pioneering nature of several things DS9 did and did very well (watch the show itself and this documentary for more on that)…..the list goes on. But what I felt was lacking here was getting into the writers’ head (excepting the great ‘proposed Season 8 opener’ mentioned above – they don’t really address it. Moreover, there were a number of turning points in the show (several of them involving Louise Fletcher as Kai Wynn, one of the great all-time bad guys if there ever was one, otherwise known as Nurse Ratchet 🙂 – what was the thinking behind these, where did you think you were going with the story, etc. etc.? Not really discussed. For a series way more detailed-story-heavy than the previous TNG, TOS and the animated series (yes, remember that? great stuff) this is somewhat inexcusable? When they make probably a reference to this (“…the documentary would have been 8 hours or more…?” – BFD. Every fan hates that because it’s an excuse, they ALWAYS say that, and we ALWAYS want more??! Cry me a river. At minimum, there were likely a lot more fan interview extras out there they could have thrown in? Just throw in a DVD of that stuff too? Cost, schmost.

In the end, I’m really glad they did this, it was worth it just for the ‘writer’s room Season 8 opener’ thing alone but I definitely enjoyed it, even with its ‘flaws’. Just like DS9 itself 🙂

candybowl

Other links:
Interview: DS9’s Ira Steven Behr Sees Something Familiar About ‘Star Trek Discovery’
Interview: Ira Steven Behr Talks What We Left Behind: Looking Back at Deep Space Nine (Exclusive)

weird….

Sat ,02/11/2019

as seen originally on Boing Boing – pretty weird. definitely a Yellow Submarine vibe, among others…

candybowl

new Anime video – Flying Lotus

Thu ,11/07/2019

definitely Cowboy Bebop, with a bit of Dali and Aeon Flux in there too…

Flying Lotus – More – (feat. Anderson .Paak) Animated Video

The Conscience of the King – Star Trek:TOS

Fri ,05/04/2019

So i’ve watched a few original Star Trek episodes here and there over the past few years, despite having seen them all a bazillion times by now. However they may have dated – and definitely many have – there are still some cool aspects of them to watch.

But, since CBS took over several years ago, they reissued all 79 original episodes on DVD. You’d think that was a good thing, and for the most part, it’s fine, BUT, they also took the ‘liberty’ of updating CGI into them. Again, you’d think well, in some cases, the special effects are pretty bad (i’m thinking of The Constellation flying into the Doomsday Machine scene in particular, where it is ridiculously obvious it’s a model on a stand in front of a tv screen showing the effects, right at the very end of this clip:

.

However, I find in watching these ‘redo’ episodes that I mostly dislike the redo of the “CGI”. Maybe it’s just an old man ranting, but I just think in many cases, the original approach with the huge original model lit from within just simply looks better than their attempt at ‘muted’ CGI – naturally they can’t “really” do CGI because that didn’t actually show up until TRON and The Last Starfighter, over 16 years later.

The first YT video below shows the difference side by side (original vs update), from this episode, and you can see what I mean.

As to the episode itself, mixed reviews. Too much Kirk (no Sulu, Scotty at all), the plot is somewhat contradictory of itself (why does Kirk keep the attempt on his life such a big secret and, why does he yell at Spock, twice, for trying to keep him from getting killed, especially when that’s Spock’s JOB?). Also, his attempts at getting laid are simply lame and way too obvious, and like so many ST attempts at including Shakespeare – this probably being among the first given it’s from the first season of TOS – just detracts from the melodrama already in play (literally). And Uhura’s otherwise fine song in the rec room is obviously dubbed, much like the clip I watched of good ol’ Clint Howard in The Corbomite Maneuver as a (literal) kid, playing a scary alien. But i’m probably just jaded….

candybowl

Men…Doooo….ZAAAAA!!!!!

Wed ,06/02/2019

candybowl

SIFF short sci fi films, 2018…

Sun ,25/03/2018

In what’s become something of an annual tradition, a buddy and I went to the SIFF SFF Encore film festival today. While all the films were well made, many this year weren’t really as ‘sci fi’ as in years past.

Here’s the films I was able to find online – pretty much my faves from the show – enjoy!

FTL:

M.A.M.O.N (Monitor Against Mexicans Over Nationwide):

Time Chicken:

GEAR:

Dead Hearts:

Strange Beasts:

Jiminy:

The Privates:

candybowl

The Challenge of….the Superfriends! Episode 1 – Wanted: The Superfriends.

Mon ,26/02/2018

So in achieving a somewhat dubious milestone yesterday – turning 51 – I received a special DVD set, one that contains significant wisdom and lessons for our future – the first season of Challenge of the Superfriends, circa 1978.

A classic in renowned, highly regarded animated cinematography, this series not only challenges our intrepid heroes of series seen earlier in the 70s (DC Comics heroes such as Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, etc.), but challenges many aspects of the viewer’s sense of reason and world view, to boot.

For you see, not only are our heroes confronted with the biggest assortment (well, as of 1978, anyway) of ‘super’ villains in one place, at one time (the Legion of Doom), but commensurate with this threat, both our heroes (and the viewer) now is threatened by a set plots and one-liners both ridiculous and entertaining at the same time.

Together, dear reader, we will now examine these episodes under a closer lens, providing scrutiny, skepticism, and comic relief where needed, as needed.

We begin with Episode 1 – Wanted: The Superfriends.

As always with these shows, it opens with the usual shot of the Hall of Doom rising out of a remote swamp somewhere. As this is the first episode, Lex Luthor sets the stage by introducing all the villains in the room, some of which who show off by blasting out a lamp (Captain Cold); creating a huge, levitating snake (Sinestro); smashing a huge hole in the table (Solomon Grundy); and scratching huge gouges in the same table (Cheetah). So already they’re causing societal damage! And of course Luthor introduces himself in the third person as the most intelligent and dangerous of them all, natch.

He then proceeds to show off a hovering, dronelike ‘dream gun’ that he uses one by one to infect the Superfriends’ dreams so they will commit crimes and get blamed for it (of course).

So Superman, caught sleeping at his desk at the Daily Planet, flies off to steal all the gold at Fort Knox (after binding up the guards in the wrought-iron fence and tying a tank into a pretzel and throwing it into the street (with unintentionally funny background sound effects);

Batman and Robin (I was previously unaware they lived together) are commanded to drive/fly the Batmobile and Batcopter to the US Mint (in apparently only about 5 min – Batman must live in Alexandria or somewhere nearby – convenient!) where they ignore the bell-bottomed guards yelling at them and steal pallets of freshly printed dollars, lifting them through the roof into the Batcopter and then taking off – what’s impressive here is that Robin uses what seems like a lightsaber to cut into one of the vaults – but I guess they did in fact have that technology, given Star Wars was in 1977, over a year before this came out :);

They then show Flash ripping off Big Ben and the British Crown Jewels (apparently just running by the cases at super speed is enough to get them); Black Vulcan takes all the sarcophagi and treasures from The Great Pyramid in Egypt, and Wonder Woman lassos (really?) all the paintings out of the Louvre, among other crime sprees.

Cut back to the Hall of Doom, and the Legion of Doom with a couple scenes of gloating, then to the Hall of Justice, with the Superfriends discussing (in fairly nondescript, objective ways despite now being ‘super criminals’?) their crime sprees of the night before with Hawkman pointing out the gold and other crap in a storage locker. Hmmmm..

But it gets better. The ‘police’ now ask them to turn themselves in – but it’s not really the police – it’s Cheetah and Bizarro, who (after the requisite gloating – I think we’re seeing a pattern here) – press a button on what looks like an oversized 70’s TV remote, and a mind-control ray kicks in to immobilize them (save their ability to complain) and then the jail cell (literally) blasts off, headed into orbit, straight for the sun (yes, you heard both of those right).

Cut back to the Hall of Doom, for the obvious cliffhanger, begun by yet another round of Luthor gloating, then Black Manta leading off to take the Hall of Justice (and rename it the ‘Hall of Injustice’ – apparently the Hall of Doom isn’t good enough) so they can then use the Justice League computers to REALLY amp up the crime spree themselves! Cue the announcer ‘can the Superfriends escape…?’ etc.

Resume with the second act – while the Superfriends continue their space-based whining as they plunge towards the sun (while I’m still wondering what air they are breathing and how the Legion of Doom managed to get a rocket-powered jail cell capable of travel all the way into orbit and the sun built into a local Washington DC jail in advance of capturing them, but these are minor details) Luthor (after yet *another* round of insults at the SF’s expense – ‘Superfools’ seems to be a crowd favorite) hooks up some ridiculous mind control device to the computer, which then hooks in the Justice League Satellite to beam rays all over the Earth and turn everyone (?!) into Cheetah and Bizarro clones, who then proceed to rob literally ‘everything’ (I’m not kidding) and turn it in to the Legion of Doom, now camped out in the Hall of Justice.

But our heroes aren’t beaten yet. Superman spots a meteor nearby, and Wonder Woman saves their asses by mind-controlling her magic lasso to adjust the rocket to make the jail cell collide with the meteor, knocking off the Doom control device. Then Superman jumps out into the vacuum (which I realize doesn’t affect him but what about the rest?) and steers the jail cell back to Earth.

Superman, Batman and Robin (Batman looking fairly fat as he runs along with them, apparently his time in jail wasn’t calorie-challenged), seeing a bunch of Bizarros standing on the lawn, objectively evaluate the situation in a matter of seconds (smart) and then Superman takes on the Bizarro-driving some big street sweeper truck who is attacking them (Bizarros apparently forget that Superman could actually fly OVER such a truck). But Superman cuts them a break and uses his arm (with requisite Skil-saw sound) to disable the sweeper brushes – then verbally admonishes the Bizarro, and flies him over to a phone booth and eye-laser seals him in.

In typical illogical fashion, the Superfriends now spend their time flyins all over the place trying to prevent more crime (instead of of just going to the Hall of Justice to stop Luthor directly) – this despite Superman already having **said out loud** what the likely cause was in the previous scene (a Luthor mind control device)? No prize for brains in these cinematic masterpieces, to be sure.

We now see Batman and Robin in the Batcave, running endless calculations on the Batcomputer to “figure out what’s going on” (again, see previous comment) – Robin notes they are low on power, and his a button to ask Alfred for a ‘nuclear power pack’ (yipes) – but excellent plot twist! Alfred is a Bizarro now, and mid-series of one liners, attacks them with a double-electric lasso, then explains (after throwing them in the Batmobile) how he’s set it to drive them off a cliff (cue maniacal laugh). It blasts out of the cave, Robin starts the inevitable whining, but despite them flying off the cliff, Batman hits the rocket button somehow in his belt and the car blasts upward into the air.

Cut back to the Hall of Justice for yet another round of gloating by Luthor, Captain Cold and The Riddler. Then, Batman and Robin (now safe and driving around in the country somewhere) complete the ‘calculations’ on the Batmobile mini computer – a dot-matrix computer printout tells Robin how to fix the problem (on Bat-paper?), and radios Superman, who, using a huge walkie-talkie, answers and then heads into orbit to fix the satellite.

After he jiggles the satellite around a bit, Superman calls Batman back on the same Radio Shack walkie-talkie – which apparently works well even in space – to tell him to now go after the Legion of Doom (phase 2).

The Superfriends sneak back into the Hall of Justice disguised as Bizarros and Cheetahs (carrying more money), then the inevitable final battle (which is mostly comprised of one-liners yelled at one another) begins.

Grod throws a large computer at Green Lantern, which he ‘catches’ using a big catcher’s mitt (and then employs a stupid baseball comeback), then Wonder Woman lassos Cheetah with a similar lame verbal rejoinder;

Bizarro (literally) wraps up Batman and Robin with a steel girder he rips down from the ceiling, but Batman makes a snide comment and casually lobs out his Batarang, which loops back and saws through the girder, then shoots some sort of ‘plastic bag’ at Bizarro, who gets caught AND has to endure more taunting from Batman to boot!

Ah, but the inveitable conclusion, something of an anticlimax – Luthor, yelling more threats, tries to use the mind-control drone on them again, but Superman grabs him and then aims it at the Legion of Doom, who supposedly go to jail. But then when the Superfriends are sitting around later, patting themselves on the back, Luthor appears on the big screen and brags yet again how they have escaped, and how they are already back at the Hall of Doom, planning more crimes! Superman of course gets in the last word, warning them they won’t succeed. Whew!

Until next time…..candybowl