The Alabaster Sock

We Will Fight the Threat with Fighting

Posts Tagged ‘Cartoons’

Posted by Matt on March 14, 2011

Okay, first thing’s first: I’ve been watching a lot of Teletoon Retro lately (for any American readers who may or may not exist, that would be the rough Canadian equivalent to Cartoon Network’s Boomerang. It started up a year or so ago, and has thus become the object of affection for ironic twentysomethings who don’t want to evolve their entertainment palates past third grade) and have to ask, what’s with my obsession with shitty cartoons? I watch the shit on this channel, and removing the old Looney Tunes shorts and the odd episode of The Real Ghostbusters it really is just a sea of shit, why? And it’s not just this, either. I braved the grating, unfunny Nostalgia Critic just because I kind of enjoy hearing someone talking about these shitty cartoons that I often remember as well. (And before you question why I waste so much of my time, remember that this is the age of multitasking. I am usually coupling these pointless adventures with something far more important, like…I don’t, sorting some files I have alphabetically. Something like that.)

They’re not interesting to think about, other than in a “I can’t believe real, adult people spent hours of their lives producing this, what the fuck”; the vast majority are the definition of pure mediocrity, a wisp of a thing (for whatever reason, animation does not seem to have a large number of fascinatingly/entertainingly-bad oeuvre like live action does; the bad stuff is by and large painfully boring), obviously developed for sugar-addled 7-year-olds who have time to be subliminally advertised to. Or maybe that’s not true….well, not for me. The fact that animation is not limited in its imagery, capable of so many thing, that sort of draws me to it. So…I guess it’s the fantastic stuff that endears to me? Or maybe part of me is secretly one of those dreaded nostalgia-driven nerds, and the dominant rational nerd part just keeps it under wraps most of the time? Who knows.

But yeah, I keep watching this shit. Here’s a list of observations that have developed over this time:

He-Man is really, really, really bad. Like, I think calling it animation might be giving it too much credit. It’s only a few steps above Clutch Cargo. I’m sure the people at Filmation did the best they could with the zero budget they had, but still. We really have had an television animation renaissance once the 80s ended; sure, some stuff is still stiff and ugly, but at least they seem to have enough money/skill to animate scenes where the characters actually interact with each other. (And yet Paul Dini and Bruce Timm would move on from this crap to much better things.)

The Real Ghostbusters is much better than pretty much everything else on the channel in terms of both animation and writing (which isn’t saying much, really); some of the stuff still plays up my folklore/weird monster love. However, it has that weird “Obviously outsourced to Japan” aesthetic that I often find pretty jarring. (And yet J. Michael Straczynski would move on from this okay stuff to become a rather mediocre comic book writer)

-The main difference between the G.I. Joe and Transformers animated spin-off movies? The Joe one is one of the few exceptions to my “animation doesn’t do interestingly-bad” observation from above. Even with just some cursory knowledge of that property, you are led to question every single story decision on display. It’s amazing in its ability to make both fans and people who have never heard of G.I. Joe have no idea what is going on. I still don’t recommend ever watching it, though.
The Transformers movie, on the other hand, is just a slog, with the only point of interest being the way it attracted a bunch of C-Level ‘name’ actors and Orson Welles in his dying days. It’s written almost as if they expect us to actually care about a story with characters named Hot Rod and Ultra Magnus, Weird Al Song Out Of Nowhere or no.

The Raccoons is quintessentially Canadian; who the hell else would think that kids would be interested in watching what is essentially a bog-standard family drama with cartoon animals? Heavy moralizing, a complete lack of excitement…yet this show was on television for 8 fucking years. It looks alright, but man, what the fuck?
Of course the breakout star of the show was the primary antagonist (most of those ironic twentysomethings I mentioned before all know the name Cyril Sneer), and this is of course because the protagonists were so boring that we really do cheer for the unrepentant cartoon capitalist to just bulldoze them all into oblivion. Yes, it’s one of those things.

I swear, one of these days I’ll actually have something worthwhile to write about.

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Posted by Matt on March 15, 2010

http://chud.com/articles/articles/22979/1/THE-CHUD-INTERVIEW-DON-HAHN-amp-PETER-SCHNEIDER-WAKING-SLEEPING-BEAUTY/Page1.html

I’m more negative on this – I don’t care if it’s hand drawn or computer drawn or live action combo or photorealistic. It’s about why use a technique to help you tell a story better. Is it better to tell the story in 2D or 3D or a combination? How do you tell the story emotionally? Whether it’s 2D or 3D I don’t think the audience cares – you might care as an animation geek – but I don’t think the audience cares, per se. They only care if you’ve transported me to a new world, have you told me a story I didn’t know about and have you made me laugh and cry? And if you’ve done all those three things you’re successful. I don’t know whether it’s 2D or 3D… who cares? Make a movie! Take a technique!”

-Peter Schneider, former Disney producer

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Posted by Matt on January 2, 2010

How is your new decade been? Guess what I did today? If you said ‘nothing’, you’d be wrong, because I did less than nothing.

The only thing I really did do was get flustered over one of my random Internet prowling missions for the name of something. It really is pissing me off. I’ve been able to find so much about so much other bullshit, the fact that I can’t couldn’t find it was CONFUSING AND INFURIATING.

Before I even finished that paragraph, I found what I was looking for. It was this show, which was shown on some local channels around ’97-’98. You know, I just didn’t see very many Australian claymation shorts featuring annoyingly cute little blobs and ass-faced space mercs back then, so there’s a reason it stood out, and why I was so adamant to find it again. That, and for pride. I AM A NERD WITH TOO MUCH FREE TIME, I WILL NOT BE DEFEATED SO EASILY.

Still, it’s interesting on its own. You can find episodes of it on Youtube. I’m not going to post them here, because I’m fucking lazy.

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What I Don’t

Posted by Matt on November 12, 2009

The group’s name changed from “The Chipmunks” to “Alvin & The Chipmunks” just like “Diana Ross & The Supremes”. Alvin, just like Diana Ross, was the lead singer.The Chipmunks name change sparked rumors of a possible solo career for Alvin.

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Oh my god, Animals!

Posted by Matt on September 13, 2009

It’s the new craze sweeping the nations!

(Don’t blame me, blame most of my blogroll. Warren Ellis especially.)

Another one for the brainfart files:

Do you know of the late 90s Disney-style, Fox-produced animated movie Anastasia? I’ve seen it a few times, and it just dawns on me how utterly bizarre and slightly disturbing it is, in a historical sense.

The Anastasia story, I guess, is completely divorced from where it comes from (IE the Russian Revolution) at this point, although it really shouldn’t be. So I guess it could make sense for Don Bluth and the crew to think it could make a good base for a more modern fairy tale type thing. However, there is still something incredibly off about the way the movie portrays, in a completely off-hand way, the actual Russian Revolution.

I mean, it’s still mainly a background thing that has no real importance on the overall story…even so, I think implying that the revolution was caused by magic and goblins is a weird weird thing to be selling to children.

So here, my imaginary readers, is the challenge: can you think of the most inappropriate way to Disney-fy a real world event?

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Pop Falter

Posted by Matt on September 2, 2009

Things that shouldn’t have Saturday morning cartoons but have them anyway:

Police Academy
Happy Days
-Siegfried & Roy
-NASCAR
-Gary Coleman and all manner of minor celebrities (That means YOU MC Hammer and Louie Anderson)
-Ewoks
-ALF
-Rubik’s Cubes
Robocop
Rambo

The last two (and the first one) are especially baffling. Who thought turning R-rated movies into children’s shows was a good idea? And why did they stop at those ones? Why didn’t Die Hard get one? Okay, the title alone makes it more difficult. Just call it John McClane’s Elevator Action Force or something.

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