Initially daily but now sporadic blog about anime and world animation with a specific focus on the artists behind the work. Written by Ben Ettinger.
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« The Animation Show 2005Nobutake Ito »

Thursday, February 24, 2005

08:34:47 pm , 376 words, 1404 views     Categories: Animation

A Scanner, Darkly

I'm kind of looking forward to this. (Thanks, Phil)

http://movies.yahoo.com/movies/feature/ascannerdarklyqt.html

It looks to be a slicker and hyper-detailed version of the animation process of Waking Life, with the added bonus of famous Hollywood actors and a plot. I actually quite liked the way Waking Life was devoid of both of those. When I first saw that film, it was one of the few times in my life I felt I'd seen something really new in animation, despite it being what most people would look down on as mere rotoscoping. I felt Linklater had managed to go beyond that criticism. Whatever reservations I might have had about it as animation, as a film it worked visually. Animation is just another form of filmmaking, of images in time, and I think people in animation tend to lose sight of that - of what is interesting and what works as a form of visual creation. Instead they fall back on the same old methods, and I felt Linklater's film shed light on that problem. I always felt that the most interesting new ideas in animation tend to come from people from other fields, and this was a good example. Interestingly, Satoru Utsunomiya is a big fan of the film.

Ran across that old Shinji Hashimoto interview for Animatrix. I'd forgotten all about it, so I'll make a link here. Not often you get interviews in English with interesting animators like this.

http://www.intothematrix.com/rl_cmp/rl_interview_hashimoto.html

Speaking of films in the works, I've always wondered what happened to Keita Kurosaka's Midori-ko, an hour-length film he's been working on for years. I heard that it was due for completion several years ago, but I haven't heard anything about it since. I'm still hoping to get to see his other films eventually. They sound quite unique and more experimental than those of the typical Japanese independent.

And Kihachiro Kawamoto's site reports that The Book of the Dead is now in the editing phase and is due for completion next month. It was animated at the Hachioji campus of the Tama Art School, where they just finished the wistful task of dismantling the various apparatuses and paraphernalia used in production.

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13 comments

Vahid
Vahid [Visitor]

Looks very good. Lintlaker may have a winner on his hands, and it should pull a large audience. Who knows, maybe the animation will even pave the way for Mindgame in the psyche of the masses.

02/25/05 @ 01:13
Leo
Leo [Visitor]

I’ve always thought that Waking Life was the way to go for computer animation. Definitely NOT the Shrek way! Ugh!

Waking Life is a film that FEELS alive in every sense: visually, intellectually and cognitivelly. I loved it.

Fantastic news about Kihachiro new film! This is one that I will definitely be watching when it finally comes out!

02/25/05 @ 04:54
Vahid
Vahid [Visitor]

Agreed about Waking Life. I always found the pixar way of doing things impressive but slightly ugly in its own way since it foreces everything to be so clean cut and bounded, even if they do stylize things.

02/25/05 @ 05:20
Tsuka
Tsuka [Visitor]

For me that’s not really an animated movie, but more an artistic way for live movie. They add drawings and filters on live shots, but when I see it I still feel the live movie basis.

A french tv-series called “Delta State” also use a technique of artistic rotoscopy. (watch a clip)

02/25/05 @ 10:19
Owen Carson
Owen Carson [Visitor]

I don’t think it’s an at all good or polished animation/visual technique, it only really looks “good” in shots with not much movement. But it does create a very wierd and surreal effect which works for stories like Waking Life and A Scanner Darkly. It just needs to be used appropriately. And I agree with Tsuka on the nature of the technique.

02/25/05 @ 11:24
jfrog
jfrog [Visitor]

I dunno…a couple hours ago I’d be inclined to agree with all of you, but I just saw a short film by one of the Waking Life animators in The Animation Show and I was just struck by how much *better* it looked than the Scanner Darkly trailer. In my opinion, this rotoscoping technique works best when it’s really simple and stylized (like in Waking Life and this short), and all the extra details and shadings in Scanner Darkly just seem distracting when I rewatch the trailer now.

I’ll probably still go see it, but it’s not that high on my to-watch list.

02/26/05 @ 00:01
tim_drage [Member]

I’m really looking forward to this… I loved Waking Life, and was impressed with the look of the Scanner trailer… I’m just hoping that this will be at last the first good Philip K Dick adaptation! I have confidence that Linklater could pull it off, I certainly hope so!

02/26/05 @ 06:01
Ben
Ben [Visitor]

I tend to agree with jfrog. I preferred this approach when it was less polished. I actually never thought he’d make another film using the same technique, and I was a little disappointed to hear that he did. That technique worked for that film, and I would have liked to see another technique for another film. I suppose he wanted to develop the knowhow he’d built up. I’m still curious to see the new approach, though. It looks nice in its own way. I liked the way everything in Waking Life felt all out of whack, the way blocks of the landscape would grind and wobble against each other, the way you could see each animator’s personality in each section. And I agree with Leo, this film is more alive = animated than much animation I’ve seen, regardless of the technical details of how it was made.

02/26/05 @ 08:54
neilworms
neilworms [Visitor]

Off topic yet again, but I think people might be interested in this project. There appears to be another project in the works that is directed by Kazuto Nakazawa see this http://www.s-manga.net/comics/cm_20040716_uj_yjc_4088766334_hells-angels-3k.html

I confirmed it in english on an announcement at AICN of all placed :P, though last night when a friend of mine showed it to me she could sort of read the Japanese and made out half his name… the Kill Bill Vol 1 was also a giveaway.

02/26/05 @ 10:35
Manuloz
Manuloz [Visitor]

Are you sure, Nakazawa will direct?

Because the first time I heard of it back in july 2004, it was supposed to be directed by Yoshiki Yamakawa at Madhouse, and Nakazawa as chara designer.

*A trailer for that game from SquareEnix featuring an intro by Hiroyuki Imaishi is online with some anime footage :]

http://trailers.gametrailers.com/gt_vault/t_musashi_sl.wmv

02/26/05 @ 12:08
Tsuka
Tsuka [Visitor]

Manuloz > Yes, for ex on this blog we can read that Nakazawa will be just character designer of Hells Angels anime, and Yamakawa director. Information also confirmed on Shinichi
Hiromoto website (author of original Hells Angels manga).

02/26/05 @ 14:20
Ben
Ben [Visitor]

Nakazawa will be character designer and animation director.

Thanks for pointing out the Musashi trailer. It was great. That was the most Kanada-esque animation I’ve seen from Imaishi yet.

02/26/05 @ 15:53
neilworms
neilworms [Visitor]

Thanks for clearing it up with Hell’s Angel, that’s actually why I posted the comment here, I just wanted to know if my assumptions were correct….

02/26/05 @ 20:17