Monday, May 16, 2005

Metropolis



On Saturday night Cartoon Network showed the movie 'Metropolis' on it's Adult Swim block. At first I was kinda iffy on this film, but I warmed up to the character design and the pacing of the storyline. Japan spends a lot more money and time crafting their cartoons as a general rule. Plus their ideas tend to be far more cerebral and hard hitting than American animated films. Everything is well thought out and carefully designed to provide a wonderful cinematic experience.



The visuals can be stunning in this retelling of the classic silent b&w live action movie. A crisp and dark blending of hand drawn animation cell work and CGI give the audience a nice suspension of belief that is only marred by the clunky and disappointing 'worker robots' that look like garbage cans with arms & legs.
While watching this movie I got the chills and misty eyed during the climax when they played a Ray Charles (?) song 'I Can't Stop Loving You' which contrasted brilliantly with the rich visuals and dynamic action taking place. Whoever made this decision should get a raise.

Now if only American film and tv producers would take the hint and step up to the plate. We gotta lot of talent here and we haven't done much in the way of Kick Ass animated films and tv shows since 'The Secret Of Nimh', 'Mighty Orbots', and the begining sequence of 'Thundercats'.
Let me add the Rankin/Bass 'Hobbit' series and Ralph Bakshi's 'Lord of the Rings', and...maybe...'Cats Don't Dance' and 'Little Nemo'. Only the classic Disney works seem to stand the test o' time, like 'The Rescuers', 'Fantasia', and 'Snow White'.
The stop-motion and CGI animated films are cool, but American entertainment has to Import most of the good stuff nowadays. That's too bad, we seem to dumb down most of the modern storylines (such as: there must be cute talking animals, a singing and dancing sequence, overly simplified character designs and backgrounds, no violence unless it's soft-core slapstick, no controversial ideas nor mature subject matter, all voices must be celebrities, the music must be bland and uninspired, and worst of all...butchering an already established and beloved story- you know- like 'The Black Cauldron' or 'The Swan Princess').

That's my rant. Are we losing our capacity for quality and creativity or is it just being ignored in favor of a quick buck ?
Talk back to me...

4 Comments:

At 6:59 PM, Anonymous janey said...

They made a cartoon of Metropolis with a little blond curly headed guy? Now that's chutzpah and that's what's missing from American animation (and I had to do a spellcheck on chutzpah). I'm not really a cartoon fanatic but I am in awe of the extreme talent that goes into that type of art which is why I love japanese cartoons - digital and hand drawn. As for your question if creativity and quality are being ignore in favor of a quick buck? Well, of course it is. It's the American way.

 
At 7:18 PM, Blogger steve said...

( Actually, it's a lil' girl ) But you are right, they do have chutzpah ! The amount of talent that is nurtured in Japan is incredible. Just look at 'Akira' and 'My Neighbor Totoro' and 'Spirited Away'. As for the American way, mmmmm, I think our culture evolved to this state, it can still be reversed. But...we gotta stop feeding the beast (at least 1/2 of current pop culture needs to starve). If we all ignore Paris Hilton, she'll fade away because she feeds on attention. If a newshow is commenting on her, I change the channel.

Bam !

 
At 5:50 AM, Blogger Perriette said...

Ooooh, I wish I'd seen this. I love the silent film.

Nothing is allowed to be "adult" any longer. NC-17 is the kiss of death for some reason. Companies can now strip DVDs of adult content. It's ridiculous. I'd think that adults would appreciate stuff that is strictly for adults. I know I do. But god forbid one of the kiddies should demand to be included. Can parents no longer say "NO, now get your ass to bed"?

Yet, strangly enough, look at what is shown on MTV. And in magazines. And on CD covers. Go ahead, sonny, have all the sex and violence and junk food you can swallow but it better not be in something that is supposed to be for adults. Also, seems a lot of people are all knotted up because Lucas's next installment of "Star Wars" isn't going to be "cute." It is all so contradictory.

Have you noticed the commericals for the v-chip? All chirpy and colorful and reassuring in how easy it is to use. They are obviously trying to get parents to utilize the thing which leads me to believe they are not.

All in all, so much is expected to be watered down and made palpatable. Just ends up bland and boring. Paris and Brittney pass for "sexy" and "beautiful" in today's world. They both look like trash. Bland and tasteless. Yep, just the way we like 'em. GAG....

 
At 3:23 PM, Blogger steve said...

Our puritan heritage from plymouth rock and salem has created a psychotic dychotemy between soft core porn with simulated violence and the sanitized disney ethos with the religous crusaders. The culture we live in worships knee-jerk reactions and the false front of 'Image', while schools demonize evolution and ban books by and about gays.
We need cerebral movies and tv shows, but look at what we have: Have you ever seen a movie poster that DOESN'T have a gun in it...or a tv show that isn't a 'reality show' ? We have a glut of crime drama and midriff baring bimbos who love only misanthropic thugs who should be locked up for their 'character building pasts'.

Maybe if parents and elected (I say that loosly) officials acted mature then there would be a greater chance for the kids to have role models. Can you imagine being a kid and having Kobe Bryant or Christina Agulera as heroes ? Or maybe Condi Rice and Gary Condit.

Gives you the willies, huh ? I remember in high school there was a kid who was brilliant at math, including such subjects as geometry, trig, euclidean, and boolean. He was virtually ignored yet all of us had to be herded like cattle into the gymnasium to be subjected to screaming sports maniacs (they called it a pep rally, more like shrieking neanderthals) or to vote for class presidents (people that I'd never met, let alone exchanged pleasantries, so much for garnering my vote, I usually put down 'Madam Curie' and 'Oscar Wilde')

That's enough ranting. Thank you Miss Daze for agreeing with me. Luv ya.

 

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