The Polar Express

Features, Shorts, Live-Action and Direct-To-Video
Animated Views Admin
Animated Views Admin
Posts: 6849
Joined: October 16th, 2004
Contact:

Post by James » December 6th, 2004, 10:13 am

GeorgeC wrote:Box office speaks nothing about a film's artistic value... or its enduring appeal to the mass public...
Not that I disagree, but you seemed to be singing a different tune when it seemed that The Polar Express would bomb!

http://animated-news.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=80
Last edited by James on December 6th, 2004, 10:35 am, edited 1 time in total.

Animated Views Admin
Animated Views Admin
Posts: 6849
Joined: October 16th, 2004
Contact:

Post by James » December 6th, 2004, 10:34 am

Ben wrote:But it speaks volumes that, as a HUGE Bob Z fan and someone who likes Hanks as an actor, that I haven't caught Polar Express yet, even though it's been out a week here in the UK
I admit I was the biggest detractor of this film before I saw it. And maybe my low expectations were why I don't think it was that bad now. And compared to other animated films from major studios of the past 5-8 years, The Polar Express was better than average! Note that this is not a ringing endorsement of the film, and especially not of the character animation!
Ben wrote:And big BO does not a third nomination make.
No not always, but it obviously doesn't hurt! And I said it would get the third nomination back when it seemed to be a box office bomb.
Ben wrote:I'm very suprised that it's been pushed for inclusion in the Animated Feature category actually. It's amotion capture extravanagnza...nothing more, nothing less. Sure, fans can say that they "tweaked the animation", but this is all (badly) based around live actors' recorded movements.

That, simply, is a cheat.
Some people think Sky Captain should be eligible for Best Animated Film, and based on the Academy rules it was probably a close call ("a significant number of the major characters animated, and in which animation figures in no less than 75% of the picture’s running time"). I think The Polar express gets in since motion capture only captures movement, everything else has be animated. And regardless of what Zemekis says, I'm willing to bet the animators DO consider this an animated film!
Ben wrote:I wanna like it...I really do, but I am truly scared by those soulless, lifeless eyes and the characters' stiff movements in "Edgar-bug"-type rubbery skin and clothes.
Just don't focus on it! When you watch a dubbed foreign film do you focus on the fact that their mouths don't match what they say? Don't we suspend disbelief at shows like Sesame Street or the Muppets when the character faces aren't close to using lifelike movements? Just sit back and watch it knowing that the motion capture tech they used wasn't perfect and then forget about it!

AV Forum Member
AV Forum Member
Posts: 7895
Joined: October 25th, 2004
Location: Binghamton, NY

animation

Post by ShyViolet » December 6th, 2004, 9:10 pm

Ben wrote:Tron is definitely NOT "best forgotten"!

But it speaks volumes that, as a HUGE Bob Z fan and someone who likes Hanks as an actor, that I haven't caught Polar Express yet, even though it's been out a week here in the UK (the fact I've been unltra busy hasn't helped), but I don't feel the urge to run out as I did with The Incredibles, Shrek 2 or even Shark Tale (however good or bad those films turned out to be).

And big BO does not a third nomination make.

I'm very suprised that it's been pushed for inclusion in the Animated Feature category actually. It's amotion capture extravanagnza...nothing more, nothing less. Sure, fans can say that they "tweaked the animation", but this is all (badly) based around live actors' recorded movements.

That, simply, is a cheat.

We didn't like it when Bakshi and Bluth extensively used rotoscoping in their animated films - how exactly is this CGI variant on the technique any different?

Frankly, as Andy Serkis' Gollum was unable to be nominated in the actor stakes, likewise I feel that Express should be placed (and, who knows, even perhaps win) the Best Visual Effects award (as The Nightmare Before Christmas was nominated).

After all...it's one big effect. Not an "animated" film.


Now, having said all this, I'm going to catch it sometime this week, and may end up liking it.

I wanna like it...I really do, but I am truly scared by those soulless, lifeless eyes and the characters' stiff movements in "Edgar-bug"-type rubbery skin and clothes.
I have to say that I agree with Ben. I think the movie might be a good movie (haven't seen it yet either) but if it's REAL ACTORS who are doing the performing, how can you count it as animation? Supposing that when they made Aladdin, Tom Cruise actually DID "act out"Aladdin's movements and they were able to rotoscope the character onto the actor.
Should Aladdin the film still have been counted as animated?

The category of Best Animated Film should be something creative that has come from the animator's soul, not a visual effect that was built around a fake set. Practically 75% of The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones is animated CGI, but it's not counted as an animated film because there's real actors in it. (including the actor who "played" Jar-Jar Binks) Why is Polar Express any different?
“I want it all—the terrifying lows, the dizzying highs, the creamy middles!”

User avatar
Animated Views Admin
Animated Views Admin
Posts: 18707
Joined: October 22nd, 2004
Location: London, UK

Post by Ben » December 6th, 2004, 10:37 pm

James wrote: When you watch a dubbed foreign film do you focus on the fact that their mouths don't match what they say? Don't we suspend disbelief at shows like Sesame Street or the Muppets when the character faces aren't close to using lifelike movements? Just sit back and watch it knowing that the motion capture tech they used wasn't perfect and then forget about it!
Actually, when I watch a dubbed movie (and pretty much any movie), I focus more on the eyes...something I can't do with the glazed expressions on the faces in The Polar Express.

The Muppets have more character in the "naked" hand underneath than the characters in The Polar Express.

Why did they make a movie in this way and trump up the motion capture technique if it's not perfect then? To hear Hanks and Zemeckis talk, you'd think they'd reinvented the way actors act and films are made. "The absolute pinnicale, state of the art at that very second" is what Hanks promised a year and a half ago. Whatever happened to that idea?

My basic point is that surely a film coming five years after Final Fantasy should look a lot more ADVANCED, shouldn't it? Polar Epxress is a giant step back.

AV Forum Member
AV Forum Member
Posts: 109
Joined: November 18th, 2004
Location: Austin, TX
Contact:

Post by Stego » December 6th, 2004, 11:06 pm

Ben wrote:My basic point is that surely a film coming five years after Final Fantasy should look a lot more ADVANCED, shouldn't it? Polar Epxress is a giant step back.
You said it, my man! Ok, maybe we're not on a "my man" basis yet, but....i concur. 8)

I watched some HBO special on this film and they really did make it sound like they had revolutionized filmmaking. They kept putting emphasis on how they were motion-capturing facial expressions to get even more amazing results! From what i've seen, it looks like the characters are all pressing their faces against a bedsheet.

Somewhere along the line, someone told me that they thought this would REPLACE ACTORS at some point?! (not sure how accurate that gossip was...)

I think Ben said it best...this is just a new-fangled way to roto-scope. Plus those eyes do seem to be endless vacuums of no-return. ...or somethin' :roll:

And George, i love that quote you wrote "movie refugee raft of escaped department store mannequins" ...that's brilliant...what's it from?

Oh...and Tron rules. :wink:

Animated Views Admin
Animated Views Admin
Posts: 6849
Joined: October 16th, 2004
Contact:

Post by James » December 7th, 2004, 12:12 am

Ben wrote:The Muppets have more character in the "naked" hand underneath than the characters in The Polar Express.
I agree!
Ben wrote:My basic point is that surely a film coming five years after Final Fantasy should look a lot more ADVANCED, shouldn't it? Polar Epxress is a giant step back.
I agree!

But the film is just not that bad, except for that one (admittedly hard to ignore) facet.

I feel that the people who are panning this film only because of the motion capture technology would probably not agree with studio executives who have started panning films only because they were hand-drawn animation. Both are just the means to the end. As we've been screaming for some time, it's not how the film was made that is important, it is the film itself.

User avatar
Animated Views Admin
Animated Views Admin
Posts: 18707
Joined: October 22nd, 2004
Location: London, UK

Post by Ben » December 7th, 2004, 3:29 am

But...you have to agree that with a technical whizzes like Zemeckis and Ralston pulling the strings, and Hanks shouting up about the process, that this side of it HAS to be brought into play on a project like this.

And in that they failed.

I'll let you know what I thought when I see it later this week. I probably won't do the Imax thing...everything I've seen doesn't inspire me to lay out around $50 to get there/park/buy the extraodinarily expensive tickets...

AV Forum Member
AV Forum Member
Posts: 243
Joined: November 1st, 2004
Location: New York
Contact:

Post by askmike1 » December 8th, 2004, 6:17 pm

Ben wrote:I'm very suprised that it's been pushed for inclusion in the Animated Feature category actually. It's a motion capture extravanagnza...nothing more, nothing less. Sure, fans can say that they "tweaked the animation", but this is all (badly) based around live actors' recorded movements.

That, simply, is a cheat.

After all...it's one big effect. Not an "animated" film.
I don't get how you can't consider this an animated film. Like James said, the technique only captures motion. The characters were animated, the scenes were animated, the objects were animated, the train was animated.

As for Oscar nomination, we already have two givens (Shrek 2, Incredibles) and have room for one more.
My Choice: Home on the Range
Obvious Choice: Polar Express
Most Likely: Spongebob
-Michael
[url=http://www.mainstreetword.com]MSW[/url]

User avatar
Animated Views Admin
Animated Views Admin
Posts: 18707
Joined: October 22nd, 2004
Location: London, UK

Post by Ben » December 9th, 2004, 7:09 am

askmike1 wrote: "The characters were animated, the scenes were animated, the objects were animated, the train was animated".


The characters were not animated - they were basically mo-capped. Split screen comparisons between Hanks the actor and Hanks the CG puppet are spot on. Very little tweaking going on here.

Objects and train? Manipulating those is called effects animation, isn't it?


But, I AM going with Mike here:

The Incredibles
Shrek 2
Spongebob Squarepants


You've got the critically acclaimed, the money-maker, and the "old-school" cartoon.

Money to win is, of course, on Incredibles, which would see Bird get a little taste of what he deserved for Iron Giant, plus his years of service to the industry. He's also created a warm, human film...not like the frankly cold, cynical, happy to joke-fill DreamWorks sequel (though I did like that too, contrary to my description there!), but Bob won't win, I don't think, because it doesn't really push any boundaries, and could be too healthily juvenile for its own good!

Anyway, with just one Annie Award nom, I don't think Polar Express will be in that top three - their best bet is to push for a Visual Effects award (which it probably DOES deserve).

AV Forum Member
AV Forum Member
Posts: 415
Joined: October 22nd, 2004

Post by PatrickvD » December 9th, 2004, 3:01 pm

Ben wrote:Anyway, with just one Annie Award nom, I don't think Polar Express will be in that top three - their best bet is to push for a Visual Effects award (which it probably DOES deserve).
I agree, although I am still kinda freaked out by it, I guess it still is an achievement.

It's starting to sound like a cliché, but Incredibles should win, and I think it will.

Post Reply