Tag Archives: animation

The Lego Movie Animation

The Lego Movie Blu-ray Giveaway Winner!

I just punched the entries into Random.org and I’m happy to announce that GreySkye is the winner. GreySkye, I need you to shoot me a message at [email protected] with your name, shipping address, and e-mail so you can get your prize straight from the company.

Thanks to everyone who entered and remember: everything is awesome!

The original list and randomized list below the jump.

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The Lego Movie Footer

The Lego Movie Blu-ray Giveaway

Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, geeks of all ages, I bring you the official Everything is Awesome The Lego Movie Blu-ray Giveaway at Sketchy Details. That’s right. Sketchy Details has partnered with the WB through PartnersHub to run a contest. The Lego Movie is still at the top of my best films of 2014 list so far for being so gosh darn funny, smart, and adorable. Now you have a chance to win your own copy of the shiny new Blu-ray that just came out this past Tuesday.

It’s running like The Purge giveaway last summer. Leave a comment (using Disqus) below to enter. Or tweet @robertjgannon with the hashtag #TheLegoMovie to enter. Or leave a comment on the Sketchy Details Facebook page that will clearly state “Enter The Lego Movie Blu-ray Giveaway” as the title. That’s it. You can do one, two, or all three.

You have until Wednesday, June 25th to enter. I’ll put all the entries in a Random.org file and pull the winner. You must be in the United States or Canada to enter.

I’ve left the official app for the movie release below the jump. You get to make 6 second Lego movies that get uploaded to the official The Lego Movie YouTube page. It’s fun. Mine’s embedded at the bottom of the post.

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Lilo & Stitch Review

Lilo & Stitch Review (Film, 2002)

Lilo & Stitch is a film I just keep returning to over the years. It is such a profoundly weird feature in the canon of Disney animation that I have no choice to be drawn to it. Where else do you see a not-musical packed to the gills with Elvis songs about an intergalactic weapon of mass destruction posing as a puppy dog adopted by a pair of sisters trying to stop child protective services from separating their remaining family? Nowhere else.

Here’s reality. Lilo & Stitch should not work at all as a film. It is, from many different levels of production, a film at odds with itself. Yet the story is so honest and the quality of animation so high that it overcomes a lot of inherent flaws in its concept.

Let’s start from a strictly visual perspective. The film, set in Hawaii, uses this beautiful pastel watercolor background for all of the scenery and props. It’s lovely. A whole film in that style could have been gorgeous.

Then you get to the characters. They are straight up Disney cartoons. You think of Disney animation–Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Alice in Wonderland–and Lilo, Nani, and even Stitch fit that image. They have instantly recognizable features and color schemes that don’t change even as wardrobe (and appendages) come and go throughout the story. The inking is harsh and the colors are supersaturated.

Lilo & Stitch wisely starts on an alien space station filled with characters and settings in those tones. The watercolor takes over when Stitch crashes into Earth. It’s an alien world for him, one the aliens themselves know nothing about, and needs to look different. That’s why it works. The native Hawaiian characters have softer tones for their ink than the aliens, but the line weight and characteristics are the same.

That whole space station thing could easily have sunk the film, too. I didn’t even remember that the first 10 minutes of the film take place at an intergalactic trial and jailing facility. That’s the start of a whole different story.

It’s not even immediately apparent what Stitch’s exile has to do with Nani fighting against Child Protective Services to keep custody of her younger sister Lilo. True, Stitch and Lilo have volatile personalities and are the same height, but those are superficial qualities temporarily bridging the gap between very different stories.

At its core, Lilo & Stitch turns into a heartfelt exploration of family. The new CPS agent does not believe that Nani can actually provide a real home for Lilo after Lilo tears up the house in a fit of rage and depression. The head of the intergalactic order believes that Stitch needs to be executed because he is incapable of showing empathy or reason when it comes to any other creature. These young characters are set to be removed from everything they’ve ever known because people who only met them for a brief moment have decided they’re beyond help in their current environments.

Yet Lilo was raised in a household with a very important motto. “Ohana means family. Family means no one gets left behind.” It is revealed later on that Lilo and Nani’s parents were killed in a car accident. The only ohana they have left are each other. That is until Nani agrees to adopt a dog for Lilo to give her something productive to do with her time.

The dog she chooses is Stitch, the little blue alien engineered by a mad scientist to cause chaos. The two become fast friends, but not in a way that actually helps either of their situations. In fact, Stitch only agrees to go with Lilo because hiding behind the Earth child is the only thing that stopped Stich from being executed on sight by alien agents tasked with his capture and/or execution.

But for Lilo, Stitch is instantly ohana. He is not allowed to be left behind. It doesn’t matter how much trouble he causes. She brought him into the family, and she is going to teach him to be a member of the family. There is no other course of action for her. It doesn’t matter who is bullying her for her family at school or what CPS is threatening to do; Lilo, Nani, and Stitch are staying together because family is family no matter what.

The story does go into some very heady and mature content for a Disney film, but it is not so serious as to be inaccessible for a younger audience. Lilo & Stitch is a very cute comedy film. The slapstick gags with Stitch and the other aliens land very well throughout. The action scenes are tense and funny, not scary and serious. Best of all, Lilo and Stitch’s relationship allows an even playing field for hijinks. Lilo is young and Stitch is inexperienced. They’re the perfect pair to cause mischief but not mayhem for most of the film.

When Lilo & Stitch does gun it in the last 20 minutes and let the concurrent stories go to a much darker place than you thought, the story has earned its self-indulgence. The writing is on the wall from the first few scenes of what has to happen, but you never believe that Disney will actually go there. Obviously, there will be a happily ever after, but it’s safe to say that Lilo & Stitch takes the strangest path to it in all of their animated films, Jim Crows and flying elephants included.

Coming Soon: Short Peace

Coming Soon: Anime Collection Film Short Peace

Here’s a new one for the US market. Anthology films have been out of style for decades. Animation not obviously geared for children lives or dies based on awards recognition (and the whims of Disney when it’s a Ghibli film, like burying the Ponyo release).

So what about a collection of anime shorts actually getting a release in more than one theater in America in 2014? It’s happening. It’s happening and you should be excited.

Short Peace, a collection of four very different short films from Japan, is getting a 50 theater release in America on 18 April. Continue reading

The Lego Movie Review (Film, 2014)

The Lego Movie PosterI could easily be glib and quote the perfectly self-referential song in The Lego Movie and call it a day. “Everything is awesome.” I could, but I won’t.

Emmet Brickowoski is a perfectly average Lego living a perfectly average life in a perfectly average Lego city. Something in his daily routine gives him pause–an announcement about destroying all life during the most popular sitcom in the city–but Emmet continues to follow the rule book for a perfectly average day. That is until he runs into Wildfyre, a Lego revolutionary, and accidentally discovers the one artifact that will save the world Emmet doesn’t even realize is in trouble.

The Lego Movie thrives on the fact that it’s the Lego movie. All of the jokes derive from references to Lego or officially licensed Lego kits. The very nature of Legos being the toy that anyone can build anything with is the lynchpin of the plot. Emmet’s perfectly average job is destroying Lego buildings that weren’t built to the exact specifications of the instruction manual and then rebuilding them to code. The limitations are exploited at every turn (those little Lego people have no range of motion but are constantly thrown in high stakes action sequences) and the film even mocks the multi-digit part identification numbers for the advanced kits (like 22065 for the corner of a rocket ship).

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Frozen Review (Film, 2013)

Frozen“For the first time in forever,” Disney has released an animated musical that feels like it exists just to be a film. Not once did it feel like this was a test for a new stage musical, which wasn’t exactly the case with Tangled and The Princess and the Frog.

Frozen is the story of sister princesses, Anna and Elsa, who have lived under lock and key in the castle since a childhood accident. Elsa, born with ice magic, accidentally hit Anna while they were playing together in a winter wonderland of Elsa’s own creation. Her parents, under the advice of magical trolls living on the outskirts of the kingdom, separated Anna and Elsa and locked up the castle to protect their children. Now old enough to assume the throne, Elsa has no choice but to reopen the castle for her inauguration as Queen. She still cannot control her powers and accidentally freezes the entire kingdom while fleeing from society for everyone’s benefit. Anna is the only one who can convince Elsa to return summer to the kingdom.

Writer/director Jennifer Lee (writer, Wreck-it Ralph) adapts the story she created with co-director Chris Buck and Shane Morris into one of the most enjoyable American animated films to come around in a long time. Frozen is given time to wander between various subplots that create a far more expansive universe than suggested by the Hans Christian Anderson source material. Anna and Elsa’s relationship is the throughline; everything else is world-building.

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Wilson from Don't Starve

The NYCC Cosplay Experience: Putting It Out There

Futurama Source
Fry from Futurama is a simple cosplay (except for the wig) [click for full]
I normally have some anxiety issues when I go to a convention. I am not good with crowds and do not like to be touched at all. You would think that someone like me would not want to draw extra attention at a massive event like New York Comic Con.

You’d be wrong. I’ve really grown to love the challenge and community of cosplay. I’d like to have a signature costume that people know me for. I also prefer to have multiple costumes instead of one costume for an entire weekend. That’s the OCD kicking in. I don’t like the idea of people thinking I don’t change my clothes every day.

This year, I set out to do three new costumes but got derailed by illness. Wander from Wander Over Yonder got replaced with an updated Fry from Futurama costume. That was Sunday. Friday was Wilson from the indie survival horror game Don’t Starve and Saturday was Chris from the web series Bravest Warriors. Both were brand new costumes.

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