I've been working hard on my student film, the freelance gig and the next Fester Fish short (which I'll be posting some work from shortly). But as always, I've also been watching things. Specifically...
The Three Stooges
wasn't sure what to expect. I'm a huge fan of the original shorts (at
least the Curly ones) and I knew it was a passion
project for everyone involved, so I wasn't worried about the intentions
behind the movie. It just seemed like such a terrible idea-- a full-length movie with one-dimensional characters created for shorts over 50 years ago, with new actors? Another factor was simply
that modern life isn't as physical as it used to be, so there isn't as
much to work with in coming up with physical comedy. I thought it
might just regurgitate old jokes or feel out-of-date. But I was
First of all, it was very funny. I
couldn't stop laughing throughout the entire movie, and it was all
original material! No jokes were recycled other than the general eye-pokes, double-slaps and Stooge shtick. Secondly, the impersonations
and likenesses of the characters were spot-on. Third, it didn't feel
too out-of-date or striving to be timely, except for a cameo by the Jersey
Shore cast. But almost all of their screen-time consisted of them getting
physically abused, so I didn't mind. I had a great time with this movie, and if you like the Stooges, or slapstick in general, you will too.
Lupin III: A Woman Called Fujiko Mine
I like this new series for the most part, although there's not enough
comedy so far for me to agree with the people saying this is
the closest the anime has ever come to the Monkey Punch comics. I still
think the Yuzo Aoki stuff came closer, but this series does capture some
other aspects of the early manga very well.
It has great
exaggerated designs (although a little over-detailed for my taste; as
an an animator I prefer less pencil mileage). The music, while not as memorable as
Yuji Ohno's work, is fitting. I do love the opening theme, a sort of
neo-classical/ 60s psychedelic piece called "New Wuthering Heights." I
hate the visuals that accompany it though, and that's actually my
biggest problem with the series-- way too much nudity. I don't mind a
little bit of fan service, but Fujiko is naked almost half the time in
this series, often for no discernable reason in the story. It just
becomes embarassing to watch after a while. I'd have trouble
recommending the show because of this, but if you can get past the
nudity, it's pretty enjoyable so far (only the first three episodes have
come out). There are talks of the production falling seriously behind
schedule, which is worrying. The third episode did look pretty poor
compared to the other two, but hopefully this is an isolated incident
rather than a sign of things to come.
Genius Party & Genius Party Beyond
A few months ago I watched the anime anthology Genius Party. Yesterday I finally got around to seeing Genius Party Beyond,
which I liked overall a lot more than the first one. I was slightly
disappointed with the first GP film as a whole, but since all the
shorts were all created as part of one big project rather than two separate
anthologies, I prefer to look at it that way. It was pretty
uneven, as most anthologies are, but I really enjoyed Happy Machine, MoonDrive, Wanwa the Doggy and Tojin Kit.
Here are a couple of screenshots from MoonDrive.
All four of the shorts I listed had really great art and animation, but I think
this one translates the best into still images. For instance, a picture
of Wanwa wouldn't even give a hint as to what makes it so amazing.
Anybody who's interested in animation should find at least one short they really like in the Genius Party films, given the huge variety of art styles, subject matter and storytelling techniques.