Sunday, 23 March 2014

Episode II

It's a little strange for the people of my generation to witness the rebooting of our childhood cartoons for a modern time. In a way, much of the nostalgia can be lost because of how our beloved characters are now portrayed (simply to attract a different audience) in not only the animation style, but within the storyline and aesthetics also. I bring this topic up because of the recent, and upcoming, surge of movies that are based on some of the most beloved cartoon shows from the sixties right up through to the nineties. We've already seen the likes of Scooby Doo and Thunderbirds become live-action films, but because of the reoccurring success of many 'fully' CGI animated films over the last decade studios are not afraid to remain within this creative medium (hmmm but Top Cat flopped?!).
So one of the favoured trends has been to take the cartoon character and place him or her in a live action film as a CGI protagonist. This has been done with Yogi Bear, the Smurfs, Garfield and the aforementioned Scooby Doo. And in all honesty they usually do stink. Now, whether this is down to the script or narrative is not my concern; I personally think it's because of two other factors.

Firstly, these characters were created for various generations who loved them more because television was a child's only technological interaction (aside from video games). The generations of modern day children have popped out into a world of 'I-everything's', whether it's a pad, pod or going for a bloody Wii. Facebook is what children run home to now, not cartoon characters. And so secondly these films with classic 'old school' characters don't seem to have the same nostalgic effect and perhaps aren't as popular. Which is why upcoming films such as Paddington Bear may not do so well (and reasons why Garfield and Yogi flopped). I have no idea why the Smurfs were so successful. Perhaps it was down to the extreme culture adjustment that the narrative took; the little blue critters wound up careering through New York singing pop music and smurfing up my fond memories of mushroom houses. Although, Hank Azaria nailed it as Gargamel.

Basically, what I am saying is that I'm rather dubious about any upcoming films that are based on my childhood characters (even the upcoming Ninja Turtles movie has been heavily criticised). But I have just seen the trailer for Peanuts (Charlie Brown and Snoopy) and it's done in a CGI style that seems to be very withstanding with the comic strip and the eighties animated television series. I think it looks freakin' amazing and very promising. Here is it.

Now here is the trailer for the Paddington Bear film. I really can't be judgemental because we only catch a glimpse of our cuddly hero for a moment, and yet he doesn't look cuddly or friendly at all, let alone partial to a marmalade sandwich. All I'm seeing, at the moment, is a grizzly bear with a hat on hiding in a bag because he's shitting his pants and ruining everybody's post. You can all tell that I'm tired. I'm pretty sure that this film will prove me wrong.

And finally, I am going to show you a trailer that almost made me physically sick. I have already found it hard to cope with Fireman Sam, Postman Pat and Thomas the tank engine becoming CGI programmes, but that isn't the problem with this upcoming film. Based on Postman Pat, this story has taken a narrative tangent that I can't even explain. I have to warn you however, if you watch this... you will not be the same person afterwards. Fact. Oh god, excuse me for a minute.

I am not a happy bunny.

And now I shall continue with what my blog ought to be about... ME (hehe).

It has taken me a fair few years to download my first app. I am now the proud owner of Duolingo; Learning languages completely free, without ads or hidden charges. It's fun, easy, and scientifically proven. So I've been guaranteed some results. As you all know, I am going to be in South America this summer with Lucy, and learning Spanish was something that we felt compelled to do. But in all honesty, if I'd known that this app existed, regardless of the travelling, then I would have gotten involved ages ago.

But one app is quite enough. I have been seduced by the dark side of social media (and my adamant friends) to download 'WhatsApp'. I just can't be bothered with all these notifications about a cock in a sock (that has no reflection on what my friends talk about... or does it?). I get distracted too easily these days anyway. I shunted the back of someone's car with mine because I felt obliged to watch a bloody dog, so with an excess of apps or games on my phone I wouldn't really stand a chance at life.

The production for Pigeon Boy has begun to flow nicely with more sets, props and puppet development. Oscar has a new face and is waiting for his pigeon loft to be completed before his beloved birds can set up abode. Set in London, this tale follows young Oscar (below) and a trio of his favourite pigeons as the consequences of World War II takes its toll on their friendship. This month has been the first time that all of the Yaminators have worked on the Pigeon Boy project and it seems that we all have our roles.

'coo, what's that?'

Yossel and Andy mulling over Oscar 

I have helped Yoss with various sections of the set, including the roof for Oscar's home and the loft door. Working on the past two projects (Cravendale and that popular fizzy drink commercial) as an assistant carpenter has really helped me develop with model making on a larger scale (but still for miniature sets; large/small scale. Or smarge scale, as I so often call it). Ah look, there's Yoss working on the pigeon loft right now.

Everyone in the studio is working to their strengths and after getting incredibly positive feedback from previous work, we have assembled our skills in very much the same way the Avengers did. But we fight the tax break, not aliens. We are, however, incredibly partial to fancy dress.

So to your left you shall see the cunning silhouette of yours truly as Yoss takes some serious photographs of his set. Alas, I cannot live here, but I can sure help the young chap who can. The house is an MDF structure with fast-cast window frames made from silicon moulds and a well trimmed back garden.

The construction of the house has been done in the same way buildings have been made for other stop motion features such as Fantastic Mr Fox and Frankenweenie. And because Yoss has worked on these productions he has shown all of us the industry-standard way of building a set. Which is nice.

My tool box is brimming with delights at the moment. I'm very slowly shifting my 'collectable' nature from toys to tools, which is definitely restoring my manhood. I feel like I need a shed and a van. And a cigar. Ooo, why I have one right here!

However great the temptation may be, never ever buy safety goggles from Poundland.
Would've had better luck with a Kinder Egg.

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