Animators unite against SF Chronicle

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Old 07 July 2006   #1
Animators unite against SF Chronicle

Mr. Mick Lasalle, film critic from San Francisco Chronicle has published a shameless review on the film Monster House in which he's literaly mocked traditional animation and keyframe animation comparing it to motion-capture,

"...There was never any point to a close-up in an animated film -- there was never really anything to see. But with the motion-capture process, real actors give their performances with computer sensors attached to their face and body, and that recorded information becomes the template for the computer animation."

and

"...Imagine what Disney might have done with this in the creation of the Seven Dwarfs. Imagine all the things that will be done with this in the future. "Monster House" looks like the ground floor of something important."

you can find the review at this link
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/artic...DTL&type=movies


As Amid Amidi writes in CartoonBrew.com there's one thing to praise a new technology for it's achievements but it's another thing to ignorantly belittle 100 years of animation and all the masters who have devoted their life to making animated films that we all love and grew up with.

There's already been a huge wave of response from the industry professional, but if you feel like me and if you think Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston and the nine old men's work shouldn't openly get belittled and dismissed like this, maybe you'd like to email this guy or SF Chronicle and let them know what you think.

Jenny Lerew, storyboard artist, dreamworks, writes in response to Mr. Lasalle review:
http://blackwingdiaries.blogspot.co...oat-gotten.html

Thad Komorowsk's response to Mr. Lasalle:
http://classicanimation.blogspot.co...ack-rabbit.html

Get more of Mr. Lasalle's amazing reviews at:
http://www.cartoonbrew.com/archives/2006_07.html#002133
http://www.cartoonbrew.com/archives/2006_07.html#002140


*Edit: more response to Mr. Lasalle review at:
http://feldsparia.blogspot.com/2006...communiity.html

**Edit: Jaime J. Weinman response to Mick Lasalle:
http://zvbxrpl.blogspot.com/2006/07...uelessness.html

***Edit: Jeff Pidgeon, Story Artist, Pixar, writes in response to the above mentioned review:
http://pidgeonblog.typepad.com/pidg...critics_do.html



**** Edit: Jeff Pidgeon writes to Mick Lasalle about his review:
http://pidgeonblog.typepad.com/pidg...ail_to_mic.html

Last edited by maninflash : 07 July 2006 at 08:03 AM.
 
Old 07 July 2006   #2
Originally Posted by maninflash:
"...There was never any point to a close-up in an animated film -- there was never really anything to see.




damn - has he ever seen any facial expressions on the Seven Dwarves not o mention my fav character as far as facial animation's concerned - the Coyote from WB?! Honestly! 0_o
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Old 07 July 2006   #3
Everytime I see the trailer for Monster House i think how cool it would have looked if it was keyframed by hand instead of mocap. People outside of animation don't seem to care though, my family can't tell the difference. This guy seems to be the same way.
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Old 07 July 2006   #4
what a moron
 
Old 07 July 2006   #5
Bay area movie reviewers are morons. The guardian and the chronicle are no different.
 
Old 07 July 2006   #6
Quote: "...There was never any point to a close-up in an animated film -- there was never really anything to see. But with the motion-capture process, real actors give their performances with computer sensors attached to their face and body, and that recorded information becomes the template for the computer animation."



An uninformed, pompous windbag of a journalist? Whatever next?

This guy's ignorance is literally staggering.
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Old 07 July 2006   #7
How some newspapers explain motion capture...

Quote: A.O. Scott, New York Times- It also represents, to the technology nerds in the audience, an interesting refinement of animation techniques. Like Robert Zemechis's “Polar Express,” “Monster House” (for which Mr. Zemeckis served as an executive producer) uses the digitally captured movements of real actors rather than computer-generated algorithms as the basis for its animated images.
So character animation without motion capture comes from "computer-generated algorithms"? I guess A.O. Scott doesn't think much of animators...

Quote: Scott Bowles, USA Today- Using the same stop-motion animation featured in The Polar Express, Monster fills the void of films such as Cars and Finding Nemo. Pixar's otherwise wonderful movies tend to shortchange one subject: humans.
Maybe the USA Today just isn't edited carefully, and that was a typo when he said it was a stop-motion film. (Or does Scott Bowles really not know stop-motion animation from CG???) But still, why does he say Pixar shortchanges human subjects, then skip Incredibles in his list of recent Pixar films?

-jeremy
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Old 07 July 2006   #8
It doesn't appear that he's done any research for this article.
Today's media "reporting" leaves much to be desired. Their doesn't seem to be any balanced reporting in any media these days.

Art
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Old 07 July 2006   #9
What's even more irritating is that I emailed this guy and told him that his review has no ground and that he should at least try to research about what he's going to write. told him that his review has made a lot of us animators really angry because the animation industry is really like a big family of some sort and gave him links to disney and pixar films that had so many amazing human close up acting shots which could rival any live action actor,

you know what he replied,



said he couldn't care less about how we feel about his review.
 
Old 07 July 2006   #10
You know, I totally understand where you all are coming from, and I don't necessarily agree with his opinions on animation... but overall, and as a longtime SFChronicle subscriber, I have to say that I really like Mick LaSalle's reviews. They're always a good read, and he really comes at his reviews for a thoughtful perspective. Okay, so animation is certainly not necesarily his forte. In general, I don't always agree with most of his opinions on genre films, which is likely why the Chron has been assigning most of them the Peter Hartlaub (who also writes the game review column.)

Look, so the guy doesn't know as much about animation as all of you who do it for a living and are devoted fanatics... Is it really his job to research the history of animation before writing one review? I hear some of you clamoring 'Yes,' but the guy's got tons of movies to review, and doesn't really need to cater to a small niche market of fans. We all know the difference between motion capture and hand-animation and stop motion and cel-based, but do most Americans? Why should he care about your opinion? When it comes down to it (as LaSalle himself pointed out in 2 weeks ago's Sunday's pink section) a review is just one person's opinion. It's no guarantee that you will or won't like a film, it's just his own personal thoughts that may or may not offer you some insight into a possible path to enjoying a film. Or not. Your mileage may vary.

In short, go hound your own local movie reviewer. Don't be so quick to take every iota of ignorance about your trade as an intentional slap in the face.

-mike
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Last edited by walrus : 07 July 2006 at 01:59 PM.
 
Old 07 July 2006   #11
Kind of reminds me when some local movie reviewer praised cats and dogs perfromance in some movie (i forgot the name, there was a lot of cats talking) when in reality 99% of the scenes were some sort of CG/composite tricks (cat's faces were replaced). He even wondered how they taught cats to make such great facial expressions and phonemes.

Anyway, it's usual mocap vs keyframed debate. I think that animators should be confident enough (especially with such strong evidence presented in Komorowski blog, which every animator on the earth knows and loves) to take reviews with grain of salt. The shots speak for itself.
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Old 07 July 2006   #12
Originally Posted by maninflash: said he couldn't care less about how we feel about his review.



I couldn't care less about his review.
I don't got time to crusade against every idiot that opens his mouth about something he has no knowledge of.
 
Old 07 July 2006   #13
Originally Posted by walrus: Is it really his job to research the history of animation before writing one review?


Yes, that is exactly his job.

A reporter get his facts straight and does whatever research is necessary to validate his facts.
The problem with that article is that he does very little reviewing of the film. In fact, he dismisses it entirely as being unimportant.
The article focuses instead on part of the technology behind the film and off-handedly belittles the work of traditional animation as well as current CG animated films.
So, no, he wouldn't have to justify his opinions on the film, but yes he should care and should justify his remarks concerning the animation methods and techniques which he writes about in the artcile.

Art
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Old 07 July 2006   #14
I could almost forgive this review if he didn't mention a previous work. It seems the man's only exposure to animation has been either the quickly done Nicktoons, the Flash based Adult Swim titles, or vague memories from his childhood. Truth be told, I want to see Monster House but I have seen much better expression in animation from even the low budget series like Animaniacs (which is out on DVD, so why don't you own it yet?). Then again, I've always been a big fan of squash and stretch and sadly, it seems Dreamworks is trying their best to defy very basic principles of animation. Which is probably why this asshat loved it so much.
 
Old 07 July 2006   #15
Originally Posted by SheepFactory: Bay area movie reviewers are morons. The guardian and the chronicle are no different.


I agree with you 100%!

Mick LaSalle writes his reviews like he constipated or something.

The Guardian/SF Weekley reviewers are more interested in writing literary pieces than informing the public. I swear, I have to use a dictionary to look up every obscure word in those movie reviews.

The absolute worst critic is that woman with the big Hat on channel 4. She always gives a positive review to chick flicks and a negative review to any guy flicks. If a movie has any whiff of testosterone, it gets a thumbs down! Talk about bias!

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Just remember folks, the following works of art were trashed by critics: Bizet's Carmen, Every Led Zepelin album before Physical Graffiti, Blade Runner, the list goes on and on!
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Last edited by Xevious : 07 July 2006 at 06:03 PM.
 
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