Sunday, October 4, 2009
So Many Snarky Headlines To Choose From...
It's a horrible trainwreck of film. I won't go into describing it or discussing it, just as I wouldn't discuss the carnage of an Amtrak running off the rails at full speed.
There are a few important things we can get out of this film.
First it demonstrates the criteria for a good student film are vastly different from a professional film. Like the original short, if this were the work of a student it would be remarkable. A student piece can showcase visual and technological mastery and be thin in the story area. After graduation -unacceptable.
At David Levy's recent "Animation Development" panel, Amid Amidi decried the current system of "wanting to get your own show", of kids right out of school gunning to be Creative Director. As a counter example he cited John Kricfalusi who had held nearly every position in the animation process before producing "Ren & Stimpy". Ironically, Kricfalusi's battles with the network and the schedule ultimately got him removed before completing the contract -but the point is taken. Some of the problems in "9" may have been alleviated by experience. At the very least, not exacerbated in the hands of a novice.
Which emphasizes the most important flaw of them all -the script. It's highly questionable. Not only was the director rushed into a position for which he clearly wasn't ready, the script was rushed into production long before they bothered to work in any semblance to logic or decent storytelling.
The creative (and apparent financial) failure of this film is a greater disappointment than most. If "Shark Tales" or "Monster House" flops, that won't prevent studios from producing more family comedies in the same vein.
This film is science fiction. The last thing filmmakers who use animation need is another big flop to reference. "Titan AE", "Atlantis" -you could even put "Fantastic Planet" in here, although no producer would know about it have all failed financially or creatively. Even "A Scanner Darkly", which I think is an excellent piece of work has yet to recoup it's $8 million production budget.
The success of films like "Persepolis" and "Nightmare Before Christmas" -even "Coraline" (which I think is almost as bad storywise as "9") have broadened what is acceptable to non-niche audiences. There's an old saying in Tennessee, I know it is in Texas, probably in Tennesse, that says "fool me once, shame on... shame on you. Fool me. Can't get fooled again."