Tag Archives: Animation

Freaks

Directed by Tod Browning
Produced by Tod Browning
Written by Tod Robbins
Starring Wallace Ford
Leila Hyams
Olga Baclanova
Henry Victor
Harry Earles
Cinematography Merritt B. Gerstad
Editing by Basil Wrangell
Distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date February 20, 1932
Running time Original cut 90 min.
Released cut 64 min.
Country United States
Language English

“We accept her! We accept her! One of us! One of us! Gooble gobble, gooble gobble!”

Freaks is an interesting film that perhaps doesn’t deserve its notoriety. It’s not particularly scary or very well acted. The movie was banned in Britain (and Australia too I guess) for thirty years but it’s not that bad. There is a twist in the film in that the true monsters of the picture are not the Freaks themselves, but the supposedly normally looking aerialist and strongman who try to exploit one of the Freaks for their own profit. Perhaps the film works better as a satirical piece than as a horror film. It’s worth a look but I don’t think it deserves to be held as the 15th sacriest film of all-time. It is a film of its time though.


Tim Burton

Last week I went to the Tim Burton exhibition at ACMI here in Melbourne. I haven’t yet written about this experience as since then I have caught quite a bad case of football fever and have had a hard time concentrating on anything other than Saturday’s big game between Collingwood and St Kilda.

I found the exhibition to be quite interesting as it focussed mainly on Burton’s early work when he was at Disney and the stuff that inspired him.

There was lots of stuff from Nightmare Before Christmas and his stop motion animated movies, but very little from Batman or Batman Returns or any of his popular movies.

I like Tim Burton and there are some movies of his that I enjoy but I also think that he is massively overrated. I think that a lot of times when he is doing adaptations of other people’s work he takes creative freedoms a bit too far. An example of this I think is on the design of the Penguin character from Batman Returns. Nowhere in the Penguin’s 40 years (until then) of comic book history did he ever have flippers or live in the sewers.  Despite Burton being a self-confessed comic book geek he must have known that he would piss off the Batman fanboys by doing this.

Then there are his versoins of Charlie & the Chocoltae Factory and Alice In Wonderland. My problem with these films is that they take too many liberties with technology and CGI and look too freakishly unrealistic to work. Seeing Helena Bonham Carter‘s massive head bobble around just freaks me out and screams of uncanny valley.


Tim Burton’s Hansel & Gretel

Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melb...

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Written by The Brothers Grimm
Directed by Tim Burton
Produced by Julie Hickson & Rick Heinrichs
Original channel The Disney Channel
Original run October 31, 1983

This short early film by Tim Burton is being shown at ACMI as a part of the Tim Burton exhibition at Federation Square. I had never seen it before. It is a Burton-esque version of the Grimm’s fairy tale and has a few amusing moments. It runs for about 20 minutes and combines live-action with stop motion animation, although it is mostly live-action. Like most things Burton, it is slightly weird.


Vincent

The Nightmare Before Christmas

Image via Wikipedia

Directed by Tim Burton
Produced by Rick Heinrichs
Written by Tim Burton
Narrated by Vincent Price
Music by Ken Hilton
Cinematography Victor Abdalov
Studio Walt Disney Productions
Distributed by Touchstone Home Video
Buena Vista Distribution
Release date UK 1982
Running time 5 minutes 52 seconds
Country USA
Language English

I saw Vincent last week as a part of the Tim Burton exhibition that is currently on at ACMI in Federation Square, Melbourne. (I also have it on DVD as an extra on The Nightmare Before Christmas) It’s a great six-minute stop motion animated film that shows where Burton would be headed in his career. It features great narration from Vincent Price and the animation is very good.


Destino

The Persistence of Memory is one of the most f...

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Directed by Dominique Monféry
Produced by Baker Bloodworth & Roy E. Disney
Written by Salvador Dalí, John Hench & Donald W. Ernst
Music by Armando Dominguez
Music Adaptation: Michael Starobin
Editing by Jessica Ambinder-Rojas
Studio Disney Studios France
Distributed by Walt Disney Pictures
Release date USA: December 19, 2003
France:  June 1, 2003

Destino was a collaboration between Disney and Salvador Dali that commenced in 1945/46 but was unfinished. They had storyboarded it but due to financial difficulties and the war the project was cancelled. It was resurrected in 2000 by Roy Disney and finally premiered in 2003.

It has not been released onto DVD yet, although it could be an extra release with the forthcoming Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 release next year. It was supposed to have been a part of the Walt Disney Treasures line but that never came to fruition. It is quite interesting and very Dali-esque. Destino was a part of the National Gallery Of Victoria‘s 2009 Dali exhibition; Liquid Desires.


First Men In The Moon

Directed by Nathan H. Juran
Produced by Charles H. Schneer
Written by Nigel Kneale (screenplay)
H.G. Wells (story)
Starring Lionel Jeffries
Edward Judd
Martha Hyer
Music by Laurie Johnson
Cinematography Wilkie Cooper
Editing by Maurice Rootes
Distributed by Columbia Pictures
Release date November 20, 1964
Running time 103 mins
Country United Kingdom
Language English

First Men In The Moon is a 1864 adaptation of H.G. Wells’ novel featuring the great stop motion animation of Ray Harryhausen. It is an exciting film, even though at times Lionel Jeffries overacts.

This is typical 1950s/60s sci-fi stuff, with the ending sort of pinched from War Of The Worlds. Harryhausen’s monsters are perhaps not as threatening as in the Sinbad movies or Jason and the Argonauts, with the only real threat being the brief scene with a giant caterpillar-like moon cow. The other creatures created by Harryhausen are the insect like moon people called the Selenites.

The film is interesting and entertaining and a faithful adaptation of H.G. Wells’ work, but it is a change of pace from Ray Harryhausen’s usual film making magic.


The Smurfs And The Magic Flute

Directed byOriginal version:
Peyo
Jose Dutillieu
Eddie Lateste
English version:
John Rust
Produced by Original version:
Jose Dutilieu
English version:
Roger Guertin Written by Original version:
Peyo (based on his original Smurfs characters)
Yvan Delporte
English version:
John Rust

Cast

English version

  • Cam Clarke as Peewit
  • Durga McBroom
  • Patty Foley
  • Grant Gottschall
  • Mike Reynolds
  • Ted Lehman
  • Bill Capizzi
  • Ron Gans
  • X. Phifer
  • Dudly Knight
  • John Rust
  • Richard Miller
  • David Page
  • Robert Axelrod
  • Michael Sorich
  • Richard Ashley
  • Ed Devereaux
  • Harry Dickman
  • Paul Felber
  • Michael Fields
  • Kalman Glass
  • Stuart Lock
  • Anna Mackeown
  • Vernon Morris
  • Bill Owen
  • Richard Pescud
  • Yael O’Dwyer
Peyo signature

Image via Wikipedia

Music by Michel Legrand

Editing by Nebiha Ben Milad & Michèle Neny

Distributed by Atlantic Releasing (U.S. theatrical),
Vestron Video (VHS)
Release dates 1976 (Belgium)
November 25, 1983 (U.S.)
Running time 74 min.

Country Belgium
Language French

When I was 9 I loved the smurfs, I think that the love affair started because of BP, as they used to have the little figurines that you would get free when buying fuel. I must have had a hundred of those little guys. Little did I know then that the smurfs had been around since the 1950s in Belgian comic books or that the German company Schleich had been making those figurines for almost just as long. The smurfs may have been just a short-lived fad in the English-speaking world but they are huge in Europe. I must say that the smurf comic books that I have read seen to be pretty good and that it is a shame that so few have been translated into English.

My Dad must have loved us kids a lot, as when I was 9 he took us to Clayton drive in to watch The Smurfs And The Magic Flute. Unfortunately for us then, we got mixed up with the times and it wasn’t actually playing at the time that we arrived and we had to go home without seeing it, but the fact that my Dad was willing to take us to see such a horrible film is testament to his love for his children. I wouldn’t have done it. I think that today’s parents are blessed that they can take their kids to see animated movies and are also guaranteed to be entertained themselves, but in the 80s all animated films were strictly just for kids.

I guess that if I had of seen this movie when I was 9 I would have enjoyed it, as 9 year olds are happy just to see images moving up and down on a screen and enjoy anything. Then again this film is not the same as the smurfs TV show and actually predates it by a number of years. This film was made in Belgium in 1976 and was directed by the creator of the smurfs, Peyo, whilst the American smurfs TV show didn’t start until the mid-80s. This film wasn’t released into the English-speaking world until 1983. The voice cast is horrible, the actors are different from the ones who did the voices in the American series. It seems almost as if when translating it into the English language they decided to give the characters the most annoying voices possible. The animation is Ok by 1970s standards but the songs featured in the film is horrible.

I see that this has just been released onto DVD here in Australia but I suggest that parents avoid this like the plague. Even if they are at all nostalgic for the smurfs avoid this at all costs and instead look for the DVD box sets of the TV series which can also be found.

By the way I have seen the trailer for the smurfs movie that is coming out next year. It looks like soon The Smurfs And The Magic Flute won’t be the worst smurfs movie ever made.

I do recommend that you buy the Smurfs graphic novels which can be pre-purchased from Amazon.