Sunday, May 23, 2004

So I watched Shrek 2 earlier today. I have to say, it was funny, I laughed. Not as good as the first, and at times I get the feeling things are a little TOO detailed in the animation, but the timing is quite good and overall it's an entertaining piece of work.

What was very interesting were the trailers that preceded it... one showing Pixar's latest offering, The Incredibles (which looks to be hilarious, as their past work generally is) and Dreamworks' Shark Tale.

Shark Tale was interesting, because it's essentially Dreamworks' answer to Pixar's Finding Nemo. I love it when companies do this, because it's an excellent way to analyze how the two companies go about creating an animated feature, since it offers an interesting side-by-side comparison.

A Bug's Life
Shark Tale
Finding Nemo

The visual differences are uncanny. I've heard Pixar employees praise classic Warner Bros. animation and the like, mentioning it's humanity. I feel that Pixar is doing a better job capturing that humanity... their stuff feels more like an animated feature, rather than a CGI feature, if that makes any sense... in my opinion, when the realism becomes almost overpowering, it feels gimmicky.

I also find that Pixar does a better job of cartoon characters, while Dreamworks does superior anthropomorphics... meaning that Dreamworks creates incredibly realistic humanoid fish, whereas Pixar creates a round, bright-eyed cartoony fish. I also prefer Pixar's ability of matching a voice to a character, rather than vice-versa... am I the only one that's really annoyed when Angelina Jolie's fish has big lips like Jolie actually has in real life? What's the point? Do these characters suffer because we try so hard to fit them to their real-life counterpart? Would the character even exist if Angelina Jolie didn't?

Dreamworks' gags tend to be more story-driven as well. For example, Antz really centered on one type of insect... ants. So any jokes that happened had to take place within the ants, and as such were story-driven in nature... in A Bug's Life however, the possibility of many different insects created an opportunity for one-off "gags." Gag-driven humor is really what fuels the Pixar films, though they don't lack in great characterization.

There are anamolies in this, though... for example, Shrek has a pretty broad "universe" of characters, so there are plenty of gags littered throughout, whereas Monsters, Inc. was more story-driven.

And at this point I'm ranting.

Which method is better? That's up for debate, and, like anything, is pretty much a general matter of opinion. I prefer Pixar's stuff, which pretty much follows the type of humor I dig: I always liked Warner Bros. shorts over Disney films, I'd rather watch a Zucker Bros. comedy than something more story-driven, etc.

I think I will definitely have to reread this later and fix it, I'm not at my most literate at the moment.

   - posted by Tyler Sticka @

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