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View Full Version : Landreth expresses his views on The Incredibles and Polar Express


GregRinaldi
12-19-2004, 08:23 AM
Interesting article/interview with Bingo and Ryan director Chris Landreth on AWN:

Something still bugs me about this film. Part of it is that underneath their superpowers, The Incredibles are really just another sitcom family from central casting and that makes the story rather formulaic. But even more is the fact that, while Brad Bird is clearly a great director, the hard truth about The Incredibles is that the character animation would have been far better and more believable in 2D.SOURCE:

http://mag.awn.com/index.php?ltype=pageone&article_no=2329&page=1

EDIT: Please note that in the above quote are the words of the interviewer, Ellen Besen. Not those of Chris Landreth. Sorry for any confusion.


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furre
12-19-2004, 08:59 AM
A bit OT, but does anyone know where I can get my hands on or at least see Ryan?

2muchcoffeeman
12-19-2004, 09:01 AM
Seems that quote is from the interviewer, not a quote from Landreth. It reads like she's just using his name to validate her own opinion.

GregRinaldi
12-19-2004, 09:24 AM
Seems that quote is from the interviewer, not a quote from Landreth. It reads like she's just using his name to validate her own opinion.
Yes, the above quote is from the interviewer, Ellen Besen. It should also be noted that she doesn't quote Landreth too often in the article, but instead does alot of paraphrasing. Readers should definitely take this interview with a grain of salt.

SOPLAND
12-19-2004, 03:19 PM
By the same token one could say that Ryan would have worked better had it been live action intercut with animation. Ryan is creative and interesting to look at, but Ryan and Chris both lose all their humanity in the documentary. In particular, some of the shots where Chris is speaking feel really forced.

She says this of Polar Express

"In spite of all expectations, the characters come off as nothing more than puppets sophisticated puppets, yes, but puppets nonetheless. There is a mechanical quality to the movement:... these characters looked manufactured and that distracts from the performance and undermines credibility."
which is quite funny to me because I see the same thing in Ryan.

Stahlberg
12-19-2004, 03:48 PM
I agree. I admire Chris, his approach and philosophy regarding animation sounds like mine, his work is brilliant... at the same time, if I'm not mistaken 'Ryan' was based on live footage, which makes it just another form of performance capture (rmore skilled but still), and making a feature using that technique will probably never be cost effective, seeing as it has to be slower than both mocap and pose-to-pose keyframing.

Brad Bird is a genius and Pixar's formula may not be working for Besen, but it's working for most of the rest of the world, so I wonder if the "hard truth" she mentions shouldn't have been written "IMHO" instead... Incredibles need more character development? Huh?? Incredibles better as 2d? She must be kidding. Take any still from The Incredibles, and compare it with any still from one of the latest 2d features like Home on the range, or Sinbad (which is roughly what Incredibles would have looked like if it was 2d). IMHO: no contest.

Walx
12-19-2004, 03:50 PM
this was an interesting article...

I'm curious as well about this Ryan movie.

StefanA
12-19-2004, 04:06 PM
I've read numerous articles from Ellen Besen when she is always in favor of 2D instead of 3D. Articles from here should (as someone said) be taken with a grain of salt. Not a very objective writer.

unchikun
12-19-2004, 05:26 PM
Landreth probably has the most unique approach to CG in the industry, taking advantage of the stylized look CG tools can achieve.

(Spoilers)

However I was not too sure about the content of Ryan. Although this seemed like a documentary about former 2d animator Ryan Larkin, Landreth injects himself into the short quite often. In fact the short starts out with Landreth and theres a smattering of his own conflicts with substance abuse and his mother, what about Ryans mother?

One ironic part was when Landreth talks to Ryan about quitting drinking. Ryan gets quite upset and almost seems to be asking for money then complains about constantly being exploited. I get the feeling this short should have been titled "Landreth featuring Ryan" ;)

Seriously though, if this animation is an avenue for Ryan Larkin to get his life back in order, then it was all worth it. Anyone have any updates on him?

amygdalae
12-19-2004, 11:59 PM
It's hardly fair to compare Chris & his team's 15 minutes of animation to pixar & spi's 120 & ~100 minutes of animation in wide release features vs. an artistic short. It's also not fair to compare spiderman, the action characters in incredibles, or the characters in polar express to his movie about people sitting still and recollecting & emoting in interviews.

I dont fault Chris though, he's a cool guy. But the writer of this crap clearly doesnt have a clue. She barely even quotes her subject and exerts her own opinion all over the place. What has she done to speak so authoritatively especially when interviewing someone very talented?

I'd rather there be more people like Chris & Brad Bird & Bob Zemeckis around than snooty interviewers from the NFB ragging on other people's hard work with very simplistic and skewed comparisons.

xynaria
12-20-2004, 12:15 AM
Incredibles as 2D.. a raft of limitaions but.................

Incredibles as 3D .. a raft of limiations but.............


A trade off really but who cares..if it works it works, if it's really working how is not something that immediately springs to mind.......... :)

embodiedform
12-20-2004, 12:33 AM
I contacted the National Film Board of Canada a couple months back in regards to the release date http://www.nfb.ca/ryan/ and they told me early December.

Since I didn't recieve any updates I recently called them and they told me January now-

So who knows:shrug: But I am looking forward to purchasing it:) (Just got the making of which was included in my Maya student bundle)

keithlango
12-20-2004, 12:51 AM
Somebody asked for an update on Mr. Larkin's life post -Ryan. Chris Robinson, another AWN columnist, shares his thoughts on the real Ryan, the film Ryan and how everybody around Ryan (the man and the movie) seem to be using it as a scratchpost for their own enjoyment while other people who have truly overcome difficulty end up going unnoticed and uncelebrated.

http://mag.awn.com/index.php?ltype=Columns&column=pimp&article_no=2311

I normally have a hard time identifying with Mr. Robinson's writings (he's a bit bitter, even for my tastes), but this one felt really honest and true to me.

-k

MunCHeR
12-20-2004, 01:27 AM
I was expecting the "ryan" short to actually be on the alias dvd "the making of ryan", alas maybe licensing issues or something beyond my comprehension, would be nice to see the whole thing, unless I skipped the menu :shrug:

I think the incredibles looks just fine in 3D imho.

MunCH

SOPLAND
12-20-2004, 01:40 AM
Somebody asked for an update on Mr. Larkin's life post -Ryan. Chris Robinson, another AWN columnist, shares his thoughts on the real Ryan, the film Ryan and how everybody around Ryan (the man and the movie) seem to be using it as a scratchpost for their own enjoyment while other people who have truly overcome difficulty end up going unnoticed and uncelebrated.

http://mag.awn.com/index.php?ltype=Columns&column=pimp&article_no=2311

I normally have a hard time identifying with Mr. Robinson's writings (he's a bit bitter, even for my tastes), but this one felt really honest and true to me.

-k
This article pretty much encapsulates my sentiments about the whole thing. Thanks for linking it, I hadn't read it before.

GregRinaldi
12-20-2004, 02:16 AM
Man, all this talk about animators and alcohol reminds me of another brilliant animator whose career was cut short by the bottle. For those of you not familiar with Fred Moore, here's a short bio.

http://disneyshorts.toonzone.net/artists/fredmoore.html

It does seem like Robinson has a point with the Larkin article. Although I can't fairly judge it since I haven't yet seen Landreth's film.

As for the Besen article, I'd rather have seen a straight Q&A with Landreth rather than the self-righteous ramblings of Besen. It's really hard to tell if the article accurately represents Chris' views or if it's just a hack job to give Besen a soapbox. :shrug:

unchikun
12-20-2004, 05:58 AM
I normally have a hard time identifying with Mr. Robinson's writings (he's a bit bitter, even for my tastes), but this one felt really honest and true to me.

Thanks for posting the article. I have to say that the author comes off quite callous. Sad to hear the Ryan is still in bad shape. Instead of constantly feeding him alcohol during the festival they should probably have done an intervention, get him into counceling!

It would be nice closure if Ryan could make a return to animation... sober of course.

2muchcoffeeman
12-20-2004, 06:01 AM
Chris Robinson, another AWN columnist, shares his thoughts on the real Ryan, the film Ryan and how everybody around Ryan (the man and the movie) seem to be using it as a scratchpost for their own enjoyment while other people who have truly overcome difficulty end up going unnoticed and uncelebrated.
Wasn't Robinson one of the people who put 'Ryan' and its protagonist in the spotlight in the first place? Hailing both the movie and Larkin as the best thing since sliced bread?

Maybe it's just me, but I think there's something very nasty and hypocritical about shoving someone into the limelight only to try and shoot him down a couple of months later. Remember that Larkin didn't climb on that pedestal, it's people like Robinson that pushed him on it. Maybe Robinson should consider that before he decides to try and kick it out from underneath him.

Slurry
12-20-2004, 06:42 AM
I think that is what Chris is getting at in his article. That he feels guilty about his role in exploiting this man's life.

I was at the OIAF and personally witnessed Landreth and entourage sitting down on a patch of grass with Ryan Larkin, settling in to drink a 6-pack of Carling's Black Labels.

It should be clear though, that Ryan has been given opportunity to get off the street and clean up. But he remains a pan handler. It's his choice. It's sad but what are you going to do? People need to decide for themselves they want to change. No one can force it upon them.

I was also at a master class hosted by Landreth where he went on a wild rant about pose to pose animation and how his subtle animation style is more realistic and in his opinion better. While he brought up some interesting points to consider, to my eyes, it was self-indulgent at best. But, to each his own. :shrug:

Pose to pose may not have been as effective for Ryan than the methods Landreth chose to push on his team of animators. It's hard to say unless they were to go back and animate it with p to p.

At any rate, if you get a chance to see Ryan (the film) make sure you do. It's a very interesting piece.

Art

Brettzies
12-20-2004, 06:44 AM
Let's face it guys, she's just smarter then the lot of us. :rolleyes:

Or maybe she's just upset because Brad Bird is making fun of her? Notice how she sort of looks like the Edna character:

http://www.zed-ed.ca/ellen_besen.html

Seriously. I don't know if animation will ever outgrow it's "for children" stereo-type in America. As for pulling emotion out of the viewer with more complex animation?!? Man, I just watched ToyStory2 the other day, and that scene where Jesse gets left behind by her 'owner' is still really powerful. Anytime you can get an emotional response out the audience, I think you've done an amazing job, whether it be animation or live-action. Of course, these were frickin' toys we're talking about, so that's gotta say something in and of itself.

unchikun
12-20-2004, 07:49 AM
It should be clear though, that Ryan has been given opportunity to get off the street and clean up. But he remains a pan handler. It's his choice. It's sad but what are you going to do? People need to decide for themselves they want to change. No one can force it upon them.

I completely agree, however if it were me, I would feel obligated to help Ryan anyway I could, especially after making an animated short on him. True, it's up to the individual, but he now has people that are aware of his problems and are in a position to help out. It could be a long process, take a number of years even, but at least try to help. Maybe just be a support system.

It seems Ryan is being treated like an amusing sideshow when it's actually quite a tragic situation.

unchikun
12-20-2004, 07:53 AM
Let's face it guys, she's just smarter then the lot of us. :rolleyes:

Or maybe she's just upset because Brad Bird is making fun of her? Notice how she sort of looks like the Edna character:

http://www.zed-ed.ca/ellen_besen.html


OMG! It IS Edna!! LOL

SamChen
12-20-2004, 10:59 AM
Edna indeed! :D Reading her bio.. she was at Sheridan which is known for their 2D. After visiting many animation schools all over the world during the last 1.5 years, many students have confirmed to me about their schools being sharply divided between the 2D and 3D depts. ..and not just the students but faculty as well. Don't wanna start a tangent here, so that's all I'll say... which could explain her biased views against The Incredibles in 3D.

So back to Ryan, Chris Landreth & Robinson, I did hang out with all 3 of them for quite a while at Ottawa Animation Festival this year and the Chris Robinson article is quite honest indeed. The first reaction you get when you meet Ryan in person (after seeing the film), is that you wanna help him. You want so bad for him to get back on the wagon and start animating again. But after a few hours of observing him and soaking his presence in over dinner and conversations, you realize that the only person that can help him is himself. He's as stubborn as an ox.. but with a lovely heart and spirit that's clouded by years of substance abuse.

I think what both Chris' (Landreth & Robinson) are experiencing is a very natural path... characterized initially by the overwhelming desire to help a fellow alcoholic in Ryan (e.g. Robinson invites Ryan to be a juror a few years ago, and subsequently, Landreth decides to do a film on him w/ the intention of encouraging him to get back to work), then reality sets in (e.g. Robinson has strong doubts about Ryan's will to change, and Landreth recognizing this as well)... to the finality where both feel a little guilty about possibly "exploiting" him w/ the lack of success in turning Ryan around.

Is it their fault? ...I don't believe so... I think Ryan could have seized this opportunity to not only dig himself out of a hole, but to secure the funding he so desires (as expressed in the film), and take a step towards finishing his life's work. Is it Ryan's fault? ...not so easy to answer... if you've ever struggled w/ the type of demons that haunt Ryan. Very few people know about his tragic childhood .. which Landreth's film doesn't touch. Now that I've had a few months to think about the time I spent w/ all 3 individuals, it's a little bittersweet. I wish Ryan the best.

Lastly, in case you didn't get enough of Landreth in the Ellen Besen article and you missed it the first time, you can check out this interview about Landreth and Ryan along with the making of the film. Read it here:
http://www.animationtrip.com/item.php?id=55

Vril3D
12-20-2004, 11:08 AM
Brettzies (http://www.cgtalk.com/member.php?u=1436)
Or maybe she's just upset because Brad Bird is making fun of her? Notice how she sort of looks like the Edna character:



That is so true!
Man i laughed when i saw that photo, thats just a crack up, she is the spitting image of Edan.

janhath
12-20-2004, 11:53 AM
Seems that quote is from the interviewer, not a quote from Landreth. It reads like she's just using his name to validate her own opinion.
Thats what I thought.still quite interesting.:)

unchikun
12-20-2004, 04:57 PM
I think Ryan could have seized this opportunity to not only dig himself out of a hole, but to secure the funding he so desires (as expressed in the film), and take a step towards finishing his life's work. Is it Ryan's fault? ...not so easy to answer... if you've ever struggled w/ the type of demons that haunt Ryan.

Hey Sam, great interview with Landreth, much better than the Edna interview... I mean Ellen! :)

As you mentioned Ryan is quite stubborn and it might take more time to help him, even several years. Although he might appear as a happy content person, we all know internally he is not. Thats why he drinks. At this stage I doubt he will have an epiphony to get sober, not on his own thats for sure.

From my perspective Landreth "owns" this situation now, if not, it wreeks of exploitation regardless of actual intent. Most important step is probably counceling, maybe lure Ryan into a few sessions with some sixpacks ;)

My Fault
12-20-2004, 05:23 PM
Ugh, why even bother interviewing Chris Landreth if you are going to spend the whole time using your own quotes and paraphrasing. What a great disservice she is doing to him and the readers. I certainly won't go out of my way to read another "interview" done by her.

It's great that Chris is always doing things that are so different from the norm. He may have an ego or may not, I have no idea, but the field is better for having him in it. Now if I can only find someplace playing Ryan. Is it in any current festivals in the US, Northern California specifically?

Martin_G_3D
12-20-2004, 07:01 PM
Somebody please teach Ellen how to write a article properly, it was horrible to read.

About Ryan the person; From what I've just read, I think that nobody is able to help him, it's just waiting for the day that a switch might be turned in his head and that he really realizes that things need to change.. an epiphany

Anyway, the so called 'interview' could have been three pages shorter, last pages I ignored the non quoted bits as it would waste even more of my time.

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