What do you think of Ralph Bakshi?

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What do you think of Ralph Bakshi?

Post by Darkblade » January 13th, 2009, 10:05 am

I looked everywhere on the site but there isnt a topic of the man who gave life to Adult cartoons. Now what do you guys think of Ralph Bakshi? Anyone like his stuff?

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Post by James » January 13th, 2009, 12:39 pm

Some of his stuff is reviewed at Animated Views. Also you can check out our Comic-Con report where we all got to hear him tell his stories - sometimes more than once!

http://animated-views.com/2008/animated ... -con-2008/

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Post by Ben » January 13th, 2009, 4:40 pm

While we've had <I>many</I> conversations about Bakshi and his work (past, present and future), I don't think we have a dedicated thread so unless Dan comes along with something else here I think we'll go with this as a starting point for a discussion.

As James said, you'll find a lot of our views in the Comic-Con story linked to above. :)

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Post by EricJ » January 13th, 2009, 4:54 pm

Well, I'll say in his defense that Bakshi's neurotic "Hookers or pouting-bimbos" misogynism indirectly resulted in a more sympathetic Galadriel than Cate Blanchett's, in his version of Tolkien...

(And....that's about it. "New Adventures of Mighty Mouse" included.
As for the cultural shelf-life of old-old-school Fritz-era "Bambi talking dirty" Disney-deconstruction, I was on a disk forum where someone posted the cover of "Cool World", and some newer kid responded "Quit kidding...You made that up in Photoshop!")

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Post by Sunday » January 14th, 2009, 1:29 pm

Well, what does the current gen know anyway other than rapid fire texting and self-portraiture.
Image

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Post by EricJ » January 15th, 2009, 5:36 pm

I know, just struck an old-school animation fan funny about how much some things don't last over time...
Y'know, like if I was to say, "Hey Sunday, what's with the Blue-Meanie avatar?" ;)

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Post by eddievalient » January 15th, 2009, 11:31 pm

Wrong movie, Eric. That's not a Blue Meanie, it's Zigzag.
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Post by EricJ » January 16th, 2009, 1:12 am

(Er, that's the joke--YOU know it, and I know it, but who outside this website even remembers Richard Williams nowadays? ;p
Tying it in with the Bakshi/Cool gag, you see.)

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Post by droosan » January 16th, 2009, 2:51 am

(sadly) I think the percentage of the general audience who knows what a 'Blue Meanie' is would be as low as those who might recognize Zigzag. :?

The average person's first wild guess might be either "the Genie from Aladdin?" or "a deranged smurf ..?" .. :lol:

---------------------------

As for Ralph Bakshi .. I have a good deal of respect for his Spider-Man and Mighty Mouse TV series. He also directed a Christmas special for Nickelodeon in the late-1980's called Christmas in Tatter-Town, which I rather liked.

I saw Fritz the Cat and American Pop at midnight screenings while in college, but was not sufficiently impressed enough with either to seek them out on video. On the other hand, Heavy Traffic and Coonskin have several interesting scenes within them, but (as a whole) they have not 'aged' well; they are firmly rooted in the 1970's 'blaxploitation' culture.

I liked Bakshi's The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and Wizards when I was a kid .. but, of course, these now pale in comparison with Peter Jackson's LotR trilogy and the current slew of modern fantasy films.

There were many nifty ideas and designs on display in Cool World .. but, coming on the heels of Who Framed Roger Rabbit and the then-emerging 'Second Golden Age' at Disney (including their high-quality Touchstone genre films like The Rocketeer and Dick Tracy), CW unfortunately came across as nothing less than a 'train-wreck'.

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Post by GeorgeC » January 16th, 2009, 10:51 am

I'm not a big fan of Bakshi. I don't hate the guy personally, but his professional work leaves a lot to be desired and isn't necessarily a good thing to emulate. He gets props from people who have a problem with authority but his finished film output is so scatter-shot it's hard to understand WHY anyone would want to do films his way.

In general, from what I've seen of his films, he lacks a coherent sense of story and has always been crippled by poor budgets and the fact that he's been forced to use inexperienced beginning animators and students to complete his films. The obvious and extensive use of rotoscoping in his movies doesn't help, either. It makes the crudity and lack of polish in his films that much more obvious.

He also tends to do very earthy films set in urban areas. With the use of slang, swear words, and settings in red light districts they basically come off as sleazy. Debates about reality set aside, these kinds of films are not going to be commercial enough to be successful. Again, career-suicide.

How much of Spider-Man (1967) is Bakshi, I don't know. I've been under the impression that he "saved" the project after the original producers bailed when they went bankrupt but I don't get the impression (based on what I've read) that he's responsible for the higher-quality, truer-to-the-comics episodes of the first season of this show. Rather, he's responsible for later episodes that reuse footage (a lot more obviously) and that are more psychedelic and deal with all kinds of trippy and campy sci-fi plots that Stan Lee would have been embarrassed to put in the original comics. Without being able to go back 42 years in the past and witness production, it's hard to say what -- if anything good -- he's responsible for.

It's been so long since The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse was done and its general lack of availability makes it hard to assess. What I do remember was a show that was generally good. How much of that is Bakshi, I don't know. Some claim he hardly did anything on the show and let his subordinates run wild on the show. The fact that Bakshi now admits or takes credit for purposely planning the infamous "snuff" scene makes me think the guy was an idiot and committed near career suicide for very selfish personal reasons considering other people had jobs on that show, too. That fact/proclamation makes me lose whatever shreds of respect I have for the guy personally.

The best producers in the business try to be creative and work within standards and practices and thrive -- they survive management which constantly changes faces; rebels tend to be the anti-social jerks who don't last very long within the system which is what it is and tend to not be very prolific. They don't grow as artists and remain stuck in the past. If you thrive long enough and can be creative, you can elevate your situation and negotiate with S & P and move on to freer avenues like Bruce Timm has and do more grown-up stories...

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Post by EricJ » January 16th, 2009, 2:55 pm

GeorgeC wrote:I'm not a big fan of Bakshi. I don't hate the guy personally, but his professional work leaves a lot to be desired and isn't necessarily a good thing to emulate. He gets props from people who have a problem with authority but his finished film output is so scatter-shot it's hard to understand WHY anyone would want to do films his way.

In general, from what I've seen of his films, he lacks a coherent sense of story and has always been crippled by poor budgets and the fact that he's been forced to use inexperienced beginning animators and students to complete his films. The obvious and extensive use of rotoscoping in his movies doesn't help, either. It makes the crudity and lack of polish in his films that much more obvious.
Basically, the "message" he wants to create in his animation is to tell the world how much he hates his job of being an animator. (Doubtlessly traumatized by all those Terrytoon years, which he also took time out of his artistic career to parody.)

That's all very well, but even the work he DOES get hired to take seriously, like Marvel, LOTR or that one Dr. Seuss special, aren't made with any particular liveliness or creative elan--
About the closest thing Bakshi had to disciplined emotional involvement in his work was his Fantasy-Geek Trilogy, which--like Robert Zemeckis believing that mo-cap could "make all his movies for him"--was the first phase of Bakshi believing that rotoscoping could "make all his movies for him"...

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Post by eddievalient » January 16th, 2009, 8:29 pm

Cool World was disappointing, but I actually like his "Fantasy Geek Trilogy", especially Wizards (very underrated IMO). Since I'm a fantasy geek, I guess that's not surprising. Oh, and Droo, not to be a know-it-all but Bakshi didn't make The Hobbit, Rankin-Bass did (they also did Return of the King-presumably to follow Bakshi's LOTR-and an excellent, little seen piece called The Flight of Dragons).
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Post by Randall » January 16th, 2009, 11:02 pm

Quick facts:
Bakshi was not involved with the first season of Spidey '67. George is right there. However, I like the trippy Spidey, fighting giant Vikings from outer space and such. :)

At Comic-Con, Bakshi explained that it was John K. who was responsible for the Mighty Mouse coke sniff. It was too late to change it once Bakshi caught it, then the censors subsequently missed it. Bakshi kept quiet, figuring no one else would notice, but obviously many parents did notice. This is the version of the story I know, straight from Bakshi. If he's told other versions, I'm not aware of them.

Opinion: I find his films to be intersting, but they are ugly, disjointed messes. But he gave a great talk at Comic-Con.

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Post by James » January 16th, 2009, 11:27 pm

he gave a great talk at Comic-Con
Both times you heard it , eh? ;)

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Post by Ben » January 18th, 2009, 10:56 am

Good points, all! I agree with most of them (too keep my tardy post short!)

I was going to chime in and agree with Droo that I'd be surprised if many knew what even a Blue Meanie was, but he's made the point now. But I guess I just chimed anyhoo!

Bakshi's work is sporadically interesting, but <I>frustrating</I>! Like the mo-cap Zemeckis, there are some good things going on but hampered terribly by the reliance on rotoscoping (down to budgets, apparently, rather than a style choice). It was great to hear him speak at the Con directly to us about his productions, but one thing was clear: he doesn't seem to be much of a businessman: all the stories seemed to involved being swindled out of deals late in the game, meaning that he's either not a very tough negotiator or he doesn't read his contracts properly to begin with.

The New Adventures Of Mighty Mouse, of which I have around twenty episodes on VHS, was the show that I feel opened the doors to the current TV animation style that Cartoon Network and Adult Swim have picked up on. Certainly no-one took anything from what MTV was trying to do in the early 80s, so one must give Bakshi credit for spearheading that style of show. It grew more and more disjointed as the series went on, but there are some great concepts at work.

Full reviews on two of Bakshi's works, from two ends of the spectrum:

WIZARDS (1977) - http://animated-views.com/2004/wizards/

COOL WORLD (1992) - http://animated-views.com/2003/cool-world/

:)

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