A Christmas Carol

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A Christmas Carol

Post by Josh » September 25th, 2008, 4:07 pm

SlashFilm has a new banner for Robert Zemeckis' A Christmas Carol. The banner was part of Disney's presentation at the Kodak Theatre on Wednesday.

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Post by Ben » September 25th, 2008, 4:18 pm

Nice!

The look is about what I was expecting...basically the Polar Express feel (blues, snow, etc) set in Victorian London.

Despite almost hating Bob Z's previous two mo-cap features, I <I>do</I> actually have high hopes for this, both as it's based on a terrific tale of redemption and because if anyone can carry off the feat of bringing life to Zemeckis' CG movies, it's going to be Jim Carrey.

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Post by Josh » January 8th, 2009, 2:18 am

MarketSaw presents a new poster for A Christmas Carol, providing a sneak peek of the design for Ebenezer Scrooge.

Image

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Post by EricJ » January 8th, 2009, 3:04 am

So, Carrey seems to be going back to his Count Olaf mode from "Series of Unfortunate Events"... :P
Last edited by EricJ on January 8th, 2009, 3:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Dacey » January 8th, 2009, 9:22 am

That's exactly what I was thinking.
"Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift--that is why it's called the present."

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Post by eddievalient » January 8th, 2009, 10:02 am

I'm a big fan of Image Movers' films (Beowulf is underrated IMO), so I'm definitely looking forward to this. Jim Carrey should pull this off nicely.
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Post by EricJ » January 8th, 2009, 3:59 pm

Pretty sure this one was greenlit BEFORE Beowulf, and now Disney may be finding out that their flea-market purchase of Zemeckis's "up-and-coming" studio was a white elephant:
Warner was desperate enough to keep Bob Z's industry-fantasies in business, but it's not exactly like Disney's hurting for real feature-animation alternatives.

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Post by Ben » January 9th, 2009, 2:45 pm

Better the devil you know, Eric. ;)

Yes, a bit of Count Olaf in there to be sure, but where else <I>were</I> they going to go with this?

The yellows and blues still remind too much of Polar's feel, to me at least. However, I <I>am</I> VERY much looking forwards to this: for me it's the ultimate testing of Bob Z's mo-cap system. If it doesn't work for the director third time around (not counting the BZ <I>produced</I> Monster House) with no less a physical performer as Carrey in the roles, then there's just simply not much hope for the future of that method.

Can't beat the keyframes, folks! :)

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Post by EricJ » January 9th, 2009, 3:54 pm

Ben wrote:The yellows and blues still remind too much of Polar's feel, to me at least. However, I <I>am</I> VERY much looking forwards to this: for me it's the ultimate testing of Bob Z's mo-cap system. If it doesn't work for the director third time around (not counting the BZ <I>produced</I> Monster House) with no less a physical performer as Carrey in the roles, then there's just simply not much hope for the future of that method.
(Insert Monster House "Theme-park costumes" joke here)

I'll agree with that last sentence:
Bob Z found himself at an impasse, when trying to adjust his tech-philia to the Real Moviegoer World--
Beowulf looked too "pointless", and "cartoony" Monster House designs didn't work, and artsy Polar Express's attempt to make blank watercolors move looked too "creepy"...What else IS there?
We're not complaining about one more version of ACC (well, that too) or Carrey, we're complaining about animated movies made without any particular artistic or industry interest in the movie itself, which is exactly the same reason whatever defenders it has defend it.

Any discussion of favorite "Carols" will obviously bring up favorite live-action versions, which brings up the question of why Bob Z would make it, and with Bob Z....we know why. :x

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Post by Ben » January 9th, 2009, 7:34 pm

I <I>think</I> I know why, but would you care to elaborate?


I don't actually have a problem with another Christmas Carol...it's a perenniel that should maybe come along once every decade, like a theater troupe putting on their annual production. I think there's been at least one or two versions every decade since way back when, and I like that each time we get a critique on movie-making styles at that point in time.

We'll each have favorites, but Alistair Sim's 1950s take is definitive, the 1970s Finney musial a little odd but the first such take on the material, Mickey and the gang proved it could be done as a "stage show" in the 1980s using familliar characters in the roles, which the Muppets did one better in the 1990s, and now "state of the art" animation will seemingly go back to basics on the original story.

However, one of the best and most cynical takes has to be Bill Murray's late 1980s classic Scrooged, which never gets the credit it deserves.

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Post by EricJ » January 10th, 2009, 3:13 am

Ben wrote:I <I>think</I> I know why, but would you care to elaborate?
Because Bob Z isn't an animator, and grew up devoid of possessing sufficient artists' instinct to know why animators animate--
But he doesn't care, because he's just found one of those shiny new high-tech machines that will pump out animated movies for him, and soon, he'll be just as popular as Pixar! :D
Say, Christmas's coming up, and new studio and all; they're going to want another Polar Express to earn the keep...Better not try and do the Santa thing again; what else can he put into the machine and tap a coupla buttons to pump out something for the big Christmas-opening studio week?

(Hence the general dread that there's...not really going to be any particular groundbreaking reason to go see this movie when it opens, previous-version debate or no.)

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Post by Ben » January 10th, 2009, 5:16 pm

Yep. Same reasons. ;)

I wrote a piece for the front page a while back, Whatever Happened To Robert Zemeckis? The guy was my favorite director, from the days of Used Cars and those early films. He used to follow the story is king ethos, especially through the BTTF movies, which he either co-wrote or suggested story points on.

Compare those films' (yes, all three) tight storytelling with the slop of Polar Express, all padding and very slow moving scenes, which he also wrote on. It's not just the medium that's making these films feel off...the man has very unfortunately lost the very thing that made his films unique visually, as he has moved into this non-existent realm.

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Post by EricJ » January 10th, 2009, 6:05 pm

Ben wrote:I wrote a piece for the front page a while back, Whatever Happened To Robert Zemeckis? The guy was my favorite director, from the days of Used Cars and those early films. He used to follow the story is king ethos, especially through the BTTF movies, which he either co-wrote or suggested story points on.
Compare those films' (yes, all three) tight storytelling with the slop of Polar Express, all padding and very slow moving scenes, which he also wrote on. It's not just the medium that's making these films feel off...the man has very unfortunately lost the very thing that made his films unique visually, as he has moved into this non-existent realm.
A movie's also only as good as its screenwriter, and much of BTTF also came from Z's second-half, Bob Gale (who, if even not the greatest screenwriter, knew how to keep things going along at a fast-'n-goofy 80's-popcorn clip as far back as "I Wanna Hold Your Hand")
The tradeoff, unfortunately, was that BTTF became so in love with its own "franchise" running gags (what time did lightning strike the clock? What will happen to Biff in the chase?) it's a punishing Groundhog Day experience to watch all three.

As for Bob Z...think he crawled inside the tech bottle sometime before or after "Cast Away":
This was around the same time as he was taking heat for spoilering away his entire movies in the previews for "Cast" and "What Lies Beneath"...His "WTH, the audience wants to know" does tend to suggest he was shrugging off the "hard" work of making films with live actors, and just wanted to find a way to grind out stories by pushbutton.
He seems to have found it, or at least THINKS he has.

(As for PX, to be fair, that was Tom Hanks' idea originally--
Hanks wanted to do a children's-book movie, any children's-book movie, as his own gushy-daddy project, after "Where the Wild Things Are" and "The Ant Bully" fell out of his hands and into others'.
Z picked up PX's Neato Tech Idea as a personal favor to Hanks, and, well...let this be a lesson, Friends Don't Let Friends Mo-cap.) :cry:

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Post by American_dog_2008 » January 11th, 2009, 8:06 am

Looks promising!

But will it flop?

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Post by Ben » January 11th, 2009, 10:40 am

While I agree that Bob Gale obviously brought more to the BTTF party than BZ (indeed let's not forget he wrote all three screenplays, BZ was only a co-writer on the first), I can't agree that watching all three in a row is "punishing". It's this way that one can only really appreciate all the nuances and, yes, the repeatability of the situations. The more things change, the more they stay the same...


On BZ...I'd say it was 1997's Contact that really saw him step away from the tricks he developed in the real world and start to integrate Lucas-style "invisible" effects. He'd obviously fallen in love with the computer during Death Becomes Her and Forrest Gump, but Contact was the first time he went to town on pulling off a melding of live and purely CG shots. After that, I wasn't sure much of what I was actually watching in Cast Away and What Lies Beneath was "real", especially given the reveals in the DVD supplements.

Going complete CG was the natural next step for him, and I wouldn't mind it if they'd just move away from relying so much on the mo-cap. They're just <I>not</I> getting naturalistic movement from these "actors". Mo-cap needs <I>performers</I> to bring the technique alive. I'm going over stuff I've said countless time in other threads before, but there are reasons why WETA stand head and shoulders above what SPI are able to achieve, and most of it is down to two things: having a pyhsical being aware of the mo-cap process for starters, and then a creative team that uses that information as a basis for the final character performance and doesn't rely on it to carry the whole thing off.

After all, the <I>house</I> was the most "realistic" thing in Monster House! ;)

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