Wednesday, May 30, 2012

2 Links: 1 :) & 1 :(

I stumbled across this first link while searching Tumblr for Croods-related pictures and news bits. It’s a very charming and heartfelt school assignment explaining the author's admiration for Chris Sanders. (As for those pictures and news bits? Nope. Still nothing.)

The second link is a little less lovey-dovey, yet it comes from an equally passionate place. Megamind mega-fan thatfilthyanimal's “Get it Together, Dreamworks Animation.” With Rapidly Fading Love, Filthy Animal is a thought-provoking piece about DreamWorks' frustrating inability to keep their characters alive in the hearts and minds of audiences. In it, thatfilthyanimal lists a number of smart, simple tactics that, were DreamWorks to implement them, might help the studio's animated output feel as timeless and vital as Disney's. Here's an excerpt:
So often I hear people say, “Oh, I remember that movie!” towards even Megamind, a movie that came out just under a year and a half ago. Nobody says “Oh, I remember that movie!” towards Disney like they’re just a distant thought. Disney movies don’t go hiding once you’ve finished giving them their dollar. The characters [...] linger.
Am I the only one blown away by this statement's laser accuracy? I first read it a month ago, and I've probably quoted it two dozen times already. Amazing work, thatfilthyanimal!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Animators Gone Wild: The DreamWorks Edition

The shameless silliness in these two videos bodes well for The Croods. After all, if the animators at DreamWorks can summon this much lunacy for a shot-for-shot re-make of Footloose, just imagine the insanity that a cast of cartoon cavemen could inspire in these same demented, desk-bound da Vincis.

First up, a shot-for-shot remake of the train-yard dance scene in Footloose:

This next video is a sweat-soaked peek at DreamWorks' annual Animation Day, a day long acting workshop for the animators:

Gosh, who knew animators had legs?
Mucho mercis to Cartoon Brew for the links!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Fan Art Friday

This week's fan art, 'Respect The Dream,' comes from Cody The  Maverick. Regular readers may recognize Cody as the mastermind behind the animated sabertooth tiger adorning this blog's tab and address bar. When DreamWorks finally starts sending me promotional materials (HINT, HINT), I'm gonna have to send something extra awesome her way. Until then, she'll just have to make do with my all-caps admiration.


To see more of Cody The Maverick's art, click here.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Only A Blogger Would Consider This News

Earlier this week, the TAG Blog reported that DreamWorks held a crew screening of The Croods on April 15th. Was it amazing? Was it abysmal? Is it cringe-worthy or a crowd-pleaser? On a scale from Lilo & Stitch to How To Train Your Dragon, where exactly does it rate?

Um...your guess is as good as mine. With zero insider info leaking to net, there's literally NOTHING to report to you on that front. So instead, I'm giving you Chris Sanders' recent Twitter review of The Avengers.

Chris Sanders ‏@Chris_Sanders_    4 May
In line for Avengers. I'm in the 12:30 screening. Wooooooo!
Chris Sanders ‏@Chris_Sanders_     4th May
No details, just tell everyone to see the Avengers. Fantastic. THAT'S how you make a superhero movie. I'm getting back in line.
Chris Sanders @Chris_Sanders_    4th May
Oh yes, stay till the end. It's worth it. And you get to hear more music, which is always swell.

Wow! Twice in a row! How's that for an unabashed endorsement? Oh, and in case you missed our previous post, the fella who scored The Avengers, Alan Silvestri, is also scoring The Croods. (Hmn, I wonder: Do you think he ever conducts his orchestra while wearing Hulk Hands?)

The preceding Tweets were cut and pasted w/out permission from Chris Sanders' Twitter feed.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Croods Crew: Links!

From Animfantastic:
Damon Crowe's adventures working in animation began with DuckTales, led to Space Jam and brought him through to How to Train Your Dragon and the upcoming Croods.
Animfantastic has a 10 minute video interview with Crowe that you can view here.

Animation Insider did an exhaustive gettin'-ta-know-ya with Croods animator Jennifer Harlow. It covers everything from her childhood love of Chuck Jones to her education to her daily DreamWorks routine. When you're through reading that, make sure to stop by her sketch blog. The creepy, crazy and cantankerous looks on her caricatures' faces are a deeply unsettling delight.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Fan Art Friday

This week's minimalist masterpiece is from 4-year-old magic marker maestro, Haylee deVeer. Too cute. Thanks, Haylee!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

DreamWorks Releases How To Train Your Dragon Game for iPhone, iPad, iEtc.

There's still ten more months until The Croods is released. You can either spend that time conceiving, carrying and eventually birthing a baby, or you can save yourself a lot of Deutsche Marks and stretchmarks by playing the new iPhone game, DreamWorks Dragons: TapDragonDrop, instead. At a measly $1.99, Dragons is roughly $226,918 less than raising a child. I'm no accountant, but that certainly sounds like the more fiscally responsible way to waste your time.

From the press release:
DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (Nasdaq: DWA) today announced the release of DreamWorks Dragons: TapDragonDrop for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, in conjunction with leading Smartphone games publisher PikPok®.

Available now on the App Store, TapDragonDrop takes players to the Viking island of Berk, where a great storm has struck the village and sheep are now scattered throughout the land. The goal of the game is to save the day by using their wit and new Dragon friends to solve puzzles throughout the dangerously funny, sheep-unfriendly world of Berk. Tap, Drag and Drop your Dragon’s powerful abilities to rescue the flock, and use catapults, drawbridges and much more to your advantage as you explore the breath-taking Dragon world.

Available at the app store on your ever-lovin' iTunes.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Alan Silvestri to Score The Croods!

Wonderful news! Composer Alan Silvestri has signed on to provide the musical score for Chris Sanders' and Kirk De Micco's The Croods. Fans of Lilo & Stitch will recall that Silvestri provided the score for that flick, too. In fact, in the Lilo & Stitch making-of featurette embedded above, Sanders refers to Silvestri as his "favorite composer in the whole world." How cool is that?

The news of Silvestri's involvement with The Croods broke on Monday in an interview with While the lion's share of that interview was about Silvestri's work on the monumentally popular The Avengers, Silvestri ended the interview with an excited plug for The Croods.

Alan Silvestri: I actually do have a film that I'll probably be starting in earnest in the beginning of the Fall. It's called The Croods. It's a Dreamworks Animation that I'm doing with Chris Sanders. Cavemen!

AS: It's fantastic and charming. I did Lilo & Stich with Chris — we had a spectacular time. I'm really looking forward to that. I've seen it, they're working for it and it's just lovely. It's basically about the creation of the first family. That sounds terrifying.

AS: [Laughs] Exactly. It should be!

To be honest, this interview excerpt thrills me for two reasons. First, there's the obvious: Silvestri is scoring! But the second reason is that Silvestri describes the film as being about "the creation of the first family." The exploration of family -- in all its forms -- is what Chris Sanders does best. I don't know anyone from a less-than-happy home who doesn't well up while watching Lilo & Stitch and/or the father/son scenes in How To Train Your Dragon. Both films perfectly portray the fears of fractured families. Both films also provide hope and comfort to those very same folks. To know that Sanders is still exploring familial themes makes me even more excited for The Croods than I already was.

To read the full interview with Silvestri, click here.

To watch the full score of Lilo & Stitch played without dialogue over the film, click the 'Read More' link below.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Does 'Cake Wrecks' Publish Pizza Pics?
No? Then It Must Be Fan Art Friday!

Two Fridays ago I asked for Croods-related fan art. Correction: I BEGGED for it. Hoping to appeal to your selfish inner-selves, I even created a contest around this request. (Contribute a piece of fan art, get entered into a drawing to win a signed comic book by Croods story artist Louie del Carmen!) This prompted a few emails asking me if (a.) the contest was real, (b.) did del Carmen know I was offering his comic as a prize, and (c.) did I pay for the comic that I was giving away -- but zero fan art.

(Oh, and for those of you keeping track at home, the answers are 'yes,' 'no' and 'you betcha.')

Dissed and discouraged, I did what any reasonable blogger does when he asks a favor of the internet and is answered with the sound of crickets. I did it my-damned-self. Yes, for the third straight Fan Art Friday in a row, I'm offering up a bit of my own no-talent in the hope that it will inspire some of you (heck, ONE of you) to do likewise. I mean, think of it like this: No matter how unsure you are of your own artistic abilities, ANYTHING you do will surely shine in comparison to my crummy creations. And if that's not a vote of confidence topped with a heaping helping of positive affirmations, I don't know what is!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Is This Really All That's Left of American Dog?

From Disney's original American Dog press release:

"Henry, a famous TV dog, finds himself stranded in the Nevada desert. Out in the world for the first time, Henry's tidy life of scripted triumphs has come to an end, and his 2,000 mile trek through the real world is just the beginning."

Sounds a little like Bolt, eh? Well, there's a reason for that. American Dog was supposed to be director Chris Sanders' follow-up to Lilo & Stitch. Like Lilo & StitchAmerican Dog was a story that originated with Sanders, starring characters created by Sanders, and featuring Sanders' unique blend of quirky comedy and heartfelt emotion. Then John Lasseter took over Disney Animation, deemed the work in progress "too quirky for its own good," and fired Sanders from the film.

And what did Lasseter give us instead? American Dog: Neutered (a.k.a. Bolt).

With Lilo & Stitch, Chris Sanders established himself as a truly unique talent and animation auteur. His volatile yet vulnerable characters were unlike anything that Disney had produced before, yet they became instant, according-to-Maltin classics. By using his own artistic idiosyncrasies (thick, squat shapes; widely spaced eyes; curvy everything; etc.) as the basis for Lilo & Stitch's characters and environments, Sanders launched an art style that is still being referenced today. Along with co-director, Dean DeBlois, Sanders also found the secret formula for combining broad comedy with subtle drama in a manner that actually enhanced the seemingly disparate elements.

Whether or not Bolt was able to accomplish any of these things...well, I'll leave that up to you to decide.

American Dog, according to those lucky folks who glimpsed it at the 2005 Siggraph show, not only possessed all of Lilo & Stitch's warmth and humor, it was also set to be a game-changer in regards to how CGI was used in animation. Gone were the cold colors and hard shapes made popular by Pixar. In their place was a deep, rich color palate, more of that patented Sanders-roundness, and an almost painterly look to the backgrounds.

(You really don't need me to compare this to Bolt's by-the-book look, do you?)

While I genuinely love How To Train Your Dragon and am OBVIOUSLY looking forward to The Croods, I can't help but feel a little saddened that Chris Sanders has yet to release another film conceived solely in his cranium. The man's mind is a whacked-out wonderland full of fuzzy creatures and curvaceous girls. I don't know about you, but I'm hoping to see lots more of it on the silver screen before I die of an ice cream-related illness.

Until then, we have these sixteen pieces of production art from American Dog to ponder over. While it sucks to know that the film will never be made, there's no denying these images' wit and beauty. Enjoy!

The preceding pictures were culled from the following websites: Ain't It Cool News, Always Animated, Cartoon Brew, Jim Hill Media and Michael Sporn Animation. Thanks y'all!