Saturday, September 17, 2011

Lion King 3D = FAIL

Let me start off by making one thing PERFECTLY clear.  I LOVE the Lion King. In my opinion, which HERE actually matters, it is the best animated feature movie Disney has made.


OK. OK. You say, it is a very good movie. But the best? EVER?

So why the FAIL?

Simple. 3D messed it up. Adding the 3D element to this movie literally broke it.

I remember watching this movie countless times with my young son and every single time I watched it (on video) I thought, WOW! I would love to have seen this movie on the big screen. We laughed, cried, cheered, sang the songs, and recited the lines (You gotta put your behind in the past). Because truth be told it is a powerful film, a feast for the soul and the senses. Seeing it on the big screen multiplies the films power tenfold. So when my six year old son asked me, who surfs the internet CONSTANTLY, to see the Lion King when it comes out in theaters, I of course said yes. That he knew it was coming to theaters where I did not is a testament to how much Nick he watches "elsewhere". But I digress. Anyhoo, about the movie.  Right.

The quality of the animation (very very smooth) tells a tale of much labor put forth by animators to create such a wonderful piece of art. Lush visuals and beautifully animated EVERYTHING. The music captures and holds your heart. You WANT to sing (and in the theatre today MANY people including myself did) and it lifts you up when it is supposed to. The story was and remains original and certainly not formulaic (unlike almost every animated feature from isney-Day). And the story is still fresh and new even though the entire audience during our early morning viewing, was reciting whole sections out of familiarity. And noone seemed to care. It was fun. And would have been a great experience if not for one thing.


Why Disney why? Why would you add 3d to this wonderful work of art? Because when you did, you broke it.

From the first scene, Simba's presentation to the herds, and on through the entirety of the movie, my reverie, my enjoyment of the film was constantly interrupted by the supposed 3D effect.

How?  I'll tell you.

As a 2D animated feature, The Lion King, was nearly perfect. No jerky motion, no clunky art, It was so beautiful (for american mainstream animation sorry) and flowed so nicely. In 3D? Not so much. Objects, characters, scenery actually LOST depth and became themselves flattened. I felt like they had remade it using Flash. I actually took my 3D glasses off at several points to compare and found it restored somewhat to its original beauty. The motion of masses in 3D (herds, trees, anything in groups of objects) went from flowing organically in the original natural chaotic randomness to marching rows and separate layers that seemed to move in erratic lines that jarred the senses. I felt almost carsick. And I don't get carsick.

Was that such a big deal you might ask? YES! Watch it for yourself and see if you must. Because honestly, the film is STILL the film. Just not nearly so much fun to watch on the big screen as a result of the 3D, but still very good.

 So back to the question at hand. Why add 3D to this movie? I might get on to a rant here about companies being all about money and so forth. But in reality, I believe some marketing exec somewhere just didn't get it. This change was unnecessary. And it probably cost them a LOT of money to do this. The time and energy put in to making this work even as badly as it did, must have cost them a fortune. Oops.

Nothing against anyone who might have worked on this, because I know alot of animation professionals must have spent countless hours working on this.  But quite frankly I dont think ANYONE could have made this work. It was just plain unnecessary.

 So would I recommend you not see it? No. To me the theater experience is primal (yes primal) It harks back to the cavemen days of humanity when some shaman (maybe a baboon) deep in a cave told stories of the hunt by the light of an oil lamp with cave paintings as a backdrop to his story.

 So I say see it, but maybe take off the glasses. It might be blurry, but at least it won't leave you feeling carsick.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

If I were on fire would you piss on me to put me out?

Since I am so new (again) to this blogging thingie, I may go overboard with posts. Nonetheless, I will when inspiration strikes. Hopefully, that will be frequent.

I just walked in the door from a class where I endured 2 whole hours of Kirk Cameron's mindless drivel about Christ saving his marriage.

Hold on. Did I actually say that? Yes. Yes I did.

I won't name this atrocity of a movie since you could easily figure it out if you really want to. From looking at the cover of the dvd, I knew from the beginning what lie ahead. Aside from REALLY bad acting and a mind-numbingly predictable script there was a lump of dialog somewhere about the middle of the movie consisting of pure sermonizing. Not story dialog. Not plot development. No. Just plain ol' 'come to Jesus' preaching.

Now to be honest, I don't mind the class. It offers a good outlet for my ill-feelings about my own personal situation (which I will NOT go into). And it does provide some much-needed baselining about good human interaction. But to be subjected to hours of Christian sermonizing disguised (very thinly I might add) as a movie. That is just inhumane punishment on a grand scale.

And Kirk has NOT aged well. Just thought I'd throw that in there.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Or rather we all are. Mostly.

On Sunday May 23 2010, along with many viewers around the world, I watched intently as the LOST saga came to a close.

Of course it is hotly debated (and will continue to be for as long as there is broadband access) how plausible, palatable, acceptable (insert your preferred adjective here) or not it was.

Personally, I was late to the table and so many will poo-poo my opinions as unimportant. I actually enjoyed the ending even though I did not want the show to end. Reaching the finale of a lengthy story is always satisfying regardless of my feelings about the outcome.

Not everyone feels the same as I do and that is their option. But allow me to offer my thoughts in the form of an open letter to the people of LOST.

Dear LOST cast members (and everyone else involved with the show),

The show that set records and set tongues wagging (till the next big thing) has come to a close and WOW! what an ending. As a recovering pessimist, my first reaction was "Oh man you have GOT to be kidding. They were all dead?!" Then as the final scene played out with Jack and his father, I realized that it was about more than that.

Over the years and the seasons you wove a rich and wonderful tapestry that we all came back to every week. Offering up more questions than answers made the very imaginative and far-reaching story more credible than incredible. During the show's course my own life went through several changes as well and while I do not look to television for the answers I do sometimes find them there anyway.

It was a story that captured our primal fears and hopes from the first episode. Many try to reach that lofty goal, but few succeed. And as the story became broader and more complex it managed to keep hold of our hopes and fears for the people of the island. That the end was, in many people's eyes, a cop-out is naive and cynical. What did we expect? All the answers in one neat, tidy, two-hour package? Good luck with that.

What many fail to recognize is that for this to remain so successful for so long meant something. It is and was entertainment. That word, entertainment, itself has positive connotations and implications. Eventually, we will be happier i.e. entertained (if only temporarily) as a result. That feeling comes from the emotional investment of those involved. Who would WANT all that to end up badly? We all want the happy ending even if we won't or can't admit it.

So to you the cast, crew, and all who made LOST come to life, I say thank you. It must have been one HELL of a ride.


So that is my letter to the LOST folk and indirectly to those who enjoyed it, but may have some misgivings about the ending. I won't say get a life. But someone ELSE might.