Thursday, October 05, 2006


I just finished this book yesterday. Actually, today, very very early in the morning. Probably around 4.30am. I was up late painting my bedroom, and after finishing my second coat (of the top part of the walls, I'm being naively ambitious and going two-tone), showered and did some workywork and coughed a lot and couldn't get to sleep. I started with the painting at 11pm or so, after getting a load of laundry into the washer and cleaning some of my painting paraphernalia from the night before. This after getting home from the 7.30 show of RENAISSANCE at the Kendall Square cinema, which was only my back-up movie option, the one I had to take when I couldn't rally anyone to go with me to see the *FREE* 7pm advance screening of BORAT in Harvard Square, a movie that I just didn't think I'd enjoy watching by myself, y'know? RENAISSANCE was fine for alone-watching, tho, and when I looked ahead at the Kendall's schedule online, I saw that it would be gone on Friday, so it was my last chance to see it on the big screen. PHANTOM OF THE OPERATOR at the Brattle was the other possible fallback movie option, but I felt getting a big screen experience of RENAISSANCE had more value.

It should've frickin been better.


It had some gorgeous moments, but it suffered from some animator/director/editor conceits, mostly involving soft editing decisions, that is, keeping sequences that were probably difficult and time consuming to animate and render, just because of the work involved, when the film as a whole would've benefited from cutting it. That's me projecting some amateur animation attitude on the creators of the film. Maybe unfairly, but that's my best explanation of what I saw on screen.

Lucas is so guilty of this. Only, I think it's just as much a weakness for gimmicks, gadgets, and cutesy moments and laughs, as it is a desire to show off the technical wizardry at his disposal.

Although the actual production process probably wouldn't jive with this observation, it seemed like the main characters didn't blink in most of the first 15-25 minutes of the film. A simple thing, something you probably never think about, unless perhaps you're an eye doctor, or hunting replicants, but it totally humanizes a face.

The story wasn't awful, but should have been better. Actually, the story could be left alone, but the dialogue needs a lot of improvement.

Hrmm... That's funny. I'm *certain* I didn't see Lucas's name in the credits.


And I think pushing the neo-noir visuals would've helped a lot. The hard black and white/ciarascuro look would've done more if I could've seen more long shadows, lurking figures striking a match in the dark alley, streetlamplight illuminating the rain or snow, the headlights of a turning car as spotlights on a fugitive... Some of that *is* there, the movie does it just a bit, and a beautiful environment is built for it to happen in, but the movie should've OVERdone it. Maybe the filmmakers were afraid of doing that? That it would turn visually cliche, somehow? But until animated films are not considered so special and different, and the script is not about getting laughs, I really think you have to play to the strengths of the animation style.

I wonder how a Japanese anime production house would've done with this story. I kept thinking of APPLESEED. *THAT* is the best stylized all-cg animated feature I've seen so far. It benefits from having an existing body of manga to draw on and refer to for its characters, but making them MOVE, there's no reference for that. But they did it right, and they did it beautifully.

I overheard a couple of other patrons after the movie talking about how the style of the animation didn't match the story (and that the story sucked to begin with). I dunno. It's no INCREDIBLES, true, but yhe story actually seems like it could be a decent graphic novel, and with better dialogue, could have been as good as the story in the GHOST IN THE SHELL movie.

As for the style being a match for it. Well, I wouldn't say it was a complete mismatch, rather, it wasn't pushed in all the ways that it could be to support and enhance the mood and atmosphere (I don't think shadows thrown by blinds, or a statue or cross, made an appearance even once, bleah).

The one place where the film breaks the black and white rule is just dumb. Maybe it seems cool to DO it, put a shock of bright color into this black and white world, but, man, do it with some real purpose. Enlighten your audience with it. Another conceit.

APPLESEED. Damn. I'm gonna hafta buy that so that I can watch it whenever I want.

Frack. I'm getting tired-tired and haven't even gotten around to talking about the frickin BOOK, ha!


I'll try to pick this up in another post soon...

Keep on keepin on~

No comments: