Tag Archives: animation

3 Reasons You Should Watch Home (According to Kat and Her Nieces)

Last weekend, I was lucky enough to steal a couple of my nieces and bring them home with me. For the last few days, they’ve been busy helping me out with the kids program I run at work, and in the evenings we’ve all been busy showing them around the bustling metropolis of Williams Lake. While I thought about skipping out on this week’s post altogether, I decided instead to write a quick post about the movie we watched last night.

Below, I’ve included 3 reasons why we think you should watch it.

1) The aliens are super cute

This was why my nieces loved this movie so much. The main group of aliens, called the Boov, change colour according to their mood and seem to be made up of a jelly-like consistency.

The main character, Oh, is considerably cuter than I thought he would be. When I first saw the commercial for Home, I assumed that Jim Parsons would play a cartoon version of his well-known character from the Big Bang Theory. It was a pleasant surprise to see him change things up a bit while playing an equally quirky character in Home. Oh, the alien played by Parsons seems considerably more fun to be around than Sheldon.

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Talking [And Continuing to Talk] About Sexual Assault in the Animation Industry

Last night Adventure Time storyboard revisionist Emily Partridge went to twitter to identify Skyler Page, creator of the Cartoon Network series Clarence, as the person who had sexually assaulted her, an incident she revealed earlier via the same method.

Cartoon Brew covered all of this about as thoroughly as it could be, so I’m not going to hash out for all of you exactly what went down. They compile tweets from not only Partridge, but also others in the industry such as Regular Show storyboard artist Ryan Pequin and Steven Universe writer and board artist Lamar Abrams. Again, it would be great if you could read it.

This isn’t going to be a post on mental health, which is a factor that can’t be ignored in this incident, and which reading through the article above would help explain. The reason I’m coming to the internet and adding my drop to what’s already becoming an overflowing bucket is because of how I initially heard about it, as well as follow-up commentary along the exact same lines. Continue reading

The Real Reason Assassin’s Creed Unity Has No Female Playable Characters

I don’t know a lot about video games nowadays, but I do know one thing: I love the Assassin’s Creed franchise. This may lie entirely in my simple love for stabbing and vaguely historically accurate settings, but I’m down with what they’ve got going on. In fact, I got thoroughly hyped for whatever game developer Ubisoft’s announcement was going to be at this year’s E3 without knowing almost anything about it.

Here’s the trailer they released:


The following tumblr post more or less sums up my reaction [after I finished gawking at the assassinations, of course]:

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Shame Day: Hollywood’s Attempts to Remake Akira

If you know nothing else about the Japanese animated film Akira you should know this: it’s worth every bit of praise it’s ever received. If you want to add another jot of information to that knowledge you should also be aware that it is beautiful.

It’s some of the most gorgeous animation that I’ve ever laid eyes on, and the gif above is only the smallest sliver of the visuals the movie contains. Even if you want to throw aside its mountain of accolades there’s the unquestionable fact that nearly every character skidding their motorcycle to a halt owes a debt to this film-

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Frozen: The Power of a Pretty Dress

I’ve been reading a lot about Frozen lately, and not even intentionally. I mean I watched it intentionally, but it was when I was having a slumber party with my niece. Okay, fine. You caught me. My niece is now a teenager and we were watching it in spite of not being the age demographic they were aiming for. Seriously though guys, why are Disney movies so appealing? There are so many things I can hate on in this movie. Like how it features ANOTHER typical white, skinny heroine whose eyes are bigger than her wrists.

Okay fine, I see you Jasmine… and Mulan.. and Pocahontas… and Tiana, but they’re still all skinny!

Or how the head of Frozen‘s animation shared about how difficult it is to animate female characters because you have to keep them pretty all the time.

Man that is tricky. I mean, they’re just all such unique characters.

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Fame Day: American Dad and Death

Last week saw the death of Family Guy‘s Brian Griffin. One of the most central characters in the show, it’s needless to say that  everyone was caught off-guard and most everyone, one way or another, wasn’t too happy about the decision.

When Evan covered it last week, he pointed out that Family Guy creator (and vocal talent) Seth MacFarlane has been suspected by some as having killed off Brian as an act of sabotage; intending to either run the show into the ground or shock the audience into returning as the shows ratings continue to decline. One way or another, Evan thought it was a pretty bold move, and wrote “…I think I’m going to applaud their decision.”

I disagree. Continue reading

Shame Day: Hollywood and the VFX Industry

Let me begin this by saying that I did not watch the Oscars on Sunday night. I made a little joke on Facebook about how I didn’t have to because everyone else was doing it for me, and 14 people liked it, so I’m pretty funny. Anyway, let’s move this along.

Ang Lee’s adaptation of the Yann Martel novel Life of Pi won the award for best VFX [visual effects], which I can only imagine was deserved because, well, I have not seen it. Bill Westenhofer, the VFX supervisor for Rhythm and Hues Studios, was giving his acceptance speech when he was cut off by music, as pointed out by Variety’s David S. Cohen:

Word on the street is that this is because of what he was about to talk about. See, it would be wonderful for Rhythm and Hues that they received so much promotion due to winning an Academy Award if they weren’t bankrupt. Westenhofer had planned on addressing the crisis within the industry during his speech, and was thankfully able to voice his thoughts afterwards to writer Bill Desowitz for his blog, where he said:

At a time when visual effects movies are dominating the box office, that visual effects companies are struggling.  And I wanted to point out that we aren’t technicians.  Visual effects is not just a commodity that’s being done by people pushing buttons.  We’re artists, and if we don’t find a way to fix the business model, we start to loses the artistry.  If anything, Life of Pi shows that we’re artists and not just technicians.

During his acceptance speech for best director Ang Lee forgot to thank his VFX collaborators at Rhythm and Hues, which prompted a letter from Phillip Broste, the lead compositor at Zoic Studios. It’s quite long, but I feel like quoting two of the last few paragraphs, because they really say quite a lot:

Mr. Lee, I do believe that you are a thoughtful and brilliant man. And a gifted filmmaker.  But I also believe that you and everyone in your tier of our business is fabulously ignorant to the pain and turmoil you are putting artists through.  Our employers scramble to chase illegal film subsidies across the globe at the behest of the film studios.  Those same subsidies raise overhead, distort the market, and cause wage stagnation in what are already trying economic times.  Your VFX are already cheaper than they should be.  It is disheartening to see how blissfully unaware of this fact you truly are.

By all accounts, R+H is a fantastic place to work; a truly great group of people who treat their employees with fairness and respect.  Much like Zoic Studios, the fabulous company that I am proud to work for.  But I am beginning to wonder if these examples of decency will be able to survive in such a hostile environment.  Or if the horror stories of unpaid overtime and illegal employment practices will become the norm, all because you and your fellow filmmakers “would like it to be cheaper.”

It’s no mystery that most summer blockbusters these days are built on the backs of animators, artists who spend hours upon hours trying to perfect the texture of wood grain or the way light reflects off of the ocean. Rhythm and Hues won two awards for Life of Pi, both the Academy Award and the BAFTA Award for Best Special Effects; they won both awards in 2007-2008 for The Golden Compass. This studio going bankrupt is like . . . . well . . . . an award-winning studio running out of money because they weren’t getting paid enough.

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People who work in VFX are just as much artists as painters, musicians, and photographers, and all have the right to be fairly compensated for their work. Good art takes time and effort, and if Hollywood refuses to give those in VFX the respect and money that they deserve then we need to let them know how wrong they are. Tell people about what’s happening, tweet with the hashtag #VFXprotest, check out VFX Solidarity International, and don’t be okay with Samuel L. Jackson talking over Robert Downey Jr. just because you like the guy as an actor: