Final Blog Specimens

Blog Specimen 1: I chose Blog Post #13: Remaking 80s Cartoons: Rainbow Brite. I did some editing on the wording and added all of my sources which I didn’t realize were not there before.

Blog Specimen 2: I chose Blog Post #10: Peeps Inspired By Animation. I did some editing and figured out how to embed the pictures so I added them in the post. I wrote a new concluding paragraph as well.

I enjoyed the class! Have a good summer!

Blog Post #13: Updating 80s Cartoons: Rainbow Brite

I recently found out that my favorite childhood animated TV show is being revamped to make its way back for girls in this generation. This favorite show of mine was Rainbow Brite (make fun of me all you want but it was a good show!). The main character, Rainbow Brite originally named Wisp, brought color to the world that the Dark Lord had taken away. She saved the seven Color Kids, and made her mission to keep color in the world forever. This post will discuss the original show from the 1980s and talk about the changes made in the revamped version and the implications thereof.

Hallmark Cards introduced Rainbow Brite in 1983. The TV show aired on June 27th, 1984. The show only had 13 episodes and ran until 1986. Reruns ran on TV for quite a awhile after the show ended which suggests it was still very popular among kids. As well there were two popular Rainbow Brite movies named “Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealer” (1985) and “Rainbow Brite: San Diego Zoo Adventure” (1986) that did fairly well. Overall Rainbow Brite generated over a billion dollars in sales of toys, coloring books, and other products. This is very impressive for a show that only ran for two years.

Playmates Toys worked with United Media on updating Rainbow Brite’s image. United Media was the original creator of the animated show while Mattel was the original creator of the Rainbow Brite toy products in the 1980s. Below is a picture of the original Rainbow Brite animated character versus the new and improved one.

I do not like the newer character at all. She looks too much like Barbie which is funny because Mattel (the creator of Barbie and the original creator of the Rainbow Brite toys) did not have her look that way in the 80s. I also do not like the newer computer-animated look of the show which is common now. I always appreciated the hand-drawn look of 1980s cartoons such as “The Care Bears” and “My Little Pony.” I feel that in this generation and animation today, that niche has been lost. Rainbow Brite was supposed to not be so pretty pretty, she rather was cute and a small force to deal with. United Media has decided to age the characters in order to aim the show towards preteens instead of an audience of 6-10 year olds which explains the new more adult appearance of Rainbow Brite. This aging could have been less sexualized though. Many preteens do not look anything like this and really should not be worried about looking like this.

The newer animated characters and the accompanying dolls even look like Barbie dolls which I find incredibly disappointing. The original Rainbow Brite dolls were plush with plastic faces. (Seen below)

While the new ones look like this:
The dolls are a good recreation of how each animation looks like. The original Rainbow Brite was a cute, short, chubby little girl and the doll was plush and full-bodied with a plastic face and a yarn material for hair. She was not the typical skinny model looking doll which Playmates is making her into to be now. The newer Rainbow Brite now looks exactly like a plastic Barbie doll. This is incredibly unoriginal. I think it would have been better for girls to see the original character come back with a revamped story line rather than something so generic.

I think the animations overall in this generation look too generic and too much alike. An example of other recreated 80s animations can be seen on this web page. They all have been turned into computer animated cartoons which do not look very distinct from each other. I feel that newer cartoons have lost the hand-drawn, artistic look to them which made them so interesting and unique to watch. I think it is unfortunate for younger girls to be subject to looking at characters who are so skinny just like models in magazines. It sets up an unrealistic image to strive for. The original Rainbow Brite character was a chubby, little girl who could always save the day despite being so small.

I think hand-drawn animations have lost their popularity because they are harder to make and have not been as successful as computer-animated shows and movies. This was seen with the recent hand-drawn Disney “Princess and the Pea” movie which did not do as well as hoped for. I hope the new Rainbow Brite show will be successful as it is a great idea but it is unfortunate the show has to look so generic. The character was supposed to be unique and not super skinny like a Barbie doll. Despite this, a heroine for girls to look up to is something we could see more of.

I responded to Samantha Francis and Andrew Steward.

(Sources: Information, Image of new Rainbow Brite dolls , Image of older Rainbow Brite dolls.)

This entry was posted on April 25, 2010. 8 Comments

Blog Post #12: “Shrek” Scandal: Risque Fashion Shoot with Shrek Characters

When fashion and animation meet, they do not always go well together. This post will be talking about the recent fashion spread appearing in a risque men’s magazine that Dreamworks allowed to feature Shrek characters alongside scantily clad models. There is controversy over the Shrek characters being used in such a way when they are supposed to be wholesome kid’s characters.

The fourth “Shrek” film: “Shrek: Forever After” comes out May 21, 2010. It is the final chapter of the “Shrek” films. In anticipation of the movie’s release, Dreamworks allowed for the characters to be in a fashion shoot where they were posed alongside models. The magazine is called, “VMAN” which is a popular men’s magazine and the model, Emma Dumont, is the winner of the V Model/Ford Models contest.

The shoot was styled by Lady Gaga’s stylist Nicola Formichetti and shot by Ellen von Uwerth. I think many people before even seeing pictures can begin to worry once they hear that Lady Gaga’s stylist was the one who was in charge of the look for the shoot. Dreamworks at first thought this would be a good idea to advertise the final chapter of “Shrek” to their more adult audience. Although now, they are beginning to regret their decision even before the magazine hits the stands on April 20th.

Below you can see for yourself the fashion shoot that is very racy. “Shrek” is supposed to be both for adults and kids. “Shrek” definitely features many adult humor jokes but it was never risqué enough to show as much as these pictures do. In one picture, Donkey is next to a model in lingerie on a bed with a man looking on in the background that has no shirt on. I found the Gingerbread man holding the lollipop for the model and the Puss being fed grapes humorous but they are way too suggestive for characters that are supposed to be okay for younger kids.

I usually am a fan of when animation and fashion collide. As I have talked about before with Disney wedding gowns and with the Alice in Wonderland inspired fashions. These were tasteful and artistically inspired by the Disney films. This “Shrek” spread is not very artistic in my opinion. I think it is a last ditch effort to get the movie in the press and grab attention. I just wonder if kids will see the “Shrek” pictures on the cover of the magazine and pull it off the shelf to look at it and then their parents are stuck with their kids seeing something they should not be.

I think that they could have done a fashion shoot that was way more tasteful and that was friendlier to kids but also pleasing to adults. I want to know what you guys think. Should they have done something more creative and tasteful or do you find this an appropriate way to advertise the final “Shrek” movie?

Source for pictures.

I responded to Ian Crawford and Katherine Danoy.

This entry was posted on April 13, 2010. 6 Comments

Blog Post #11: The Tangled History of Disney’s “Tangled”

Disney originally planned on naming their new CGI animated movie Rapunzel instead of Tangled. Their shift in name change came shortly after The Princess and the Frog unfortunately flopped in theaters worldwide. Disney wanted to steer away from the Princess storyline. The creator Glen Keane, who is the son of Family Circus creator Bil Keane, was the major push behind making the story of Rapunzel into a major Disney film. This post will talk about the troubles Disney has had with the making of the Rapunzel-inspired movie.

Disney wanted to turn Rapunzel into another Disney princess movie following in the line of classics such as Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, and The Little Mermaid. They thought this would be a hit in the movie theaters but since The Princess and the Frog did poorly in theaters, Disney felt the need to revamp the name and story line. Even though the Disney Princesses merchandise line earned $3.4 billion dollars in 2006 alone, Disney thought that they needed the change away from the Princess theme. Glen Keane “struggled for many years to bring Rapunzel to the big screen.” The story will be more like Tarzan or Aladdin where the boy is just as important or even more important than the Princess. Glen Keane has worked on both Aladdin and Tarzan so it may not be a a bad change shifting the story line away from Princess based.

Glen Keane is named, “animation’s version of a rock star,” so no matter what the changes are, I am sure the film will be animated well and the story line will hopefully be better than The Princess and the Frog.

When Keane proposed the retelling of Rapunzel to Walt Disney Feature Animation head David Stainton and Disney CEO Michael Eisner. They had two conditions that needed to be met before they allowed the animation to go forward. They said the story had to be a “fractured fairy tale” similar to DreamWorks’ Shrek. This would mean modernizing the story and making it into a spin on a classic fairytale. This first condition obviously prevents the Rapunzel-inspired story from being a classic damsel in distress princess story where the brave man comes to save the day. The second condition was that it needed to be CGI animated since cel animation was not doing well anymore and they saw how Pixar and DreamWorks were succeeding with their CGI films. Also at this point in the process the name of the film was “Rapunzel Unbraided,” a very fitting name for the remix of a classic story.

Glen Keane was upset over the order to make the film, CGI instead of hand drawn. He noted in 2005, “After all, I was the guy who kept saying ‘I’ll kill any person that tries to take a pencil out of my hand.’ Now I have to eat those words.” Keane was a big proponent for keeping with cel animation but was forced to get into the CGI animation in order to survive at Disney. In 2006 John Lasseter from Pixar, who inspired Glen Keane, became his boss. Lasseter wanted to change the Rapunzel story into a classic fairytale much like Disney classic Princess stories.

Lasseter and Keane compromised and decided to lose “Unbraided” from the title and make the story a more modern heroine story. Rapunzel is voiced by Mandy Moore and her costar male figure is Flynn Ryder voiced by Zachary Levi. At this point Dean Wellins, who worked on Iron Giant signed on as co-director.

Now, Rapunzel seemed to be on set for production but problems arose again in 2008 when Glen Keane had to give up his director status because of health issues. “Bolt co-director Byron Howard replaced him, and supplanted Wellins with Nathan Greno. Keane stayed on as executive producer and animation director for Rapunzel.” This was another stepback in the process of making Rapunzel. It went through so many hands that changes were bound to occur again which they did.

This change came about from the change in hands of directors but more so because of the cel animated film The Princess and the Frog not being successful in theaters. Disney thought that the audience the film was geared to was too small. They wanted to include a wider audience like Shrek had attracted. A film that both male and female adults and children could enjoy. Because of this Rapunzel was renamed Tangled in order to advertise the film to both boys and girls. A simple Disney Princess story would not do anymore. Either way the plot of the film turns out to be, it will be beautifully animated through CGI animation.

I will leave you with a synopsis of the film (and some pictures) in order for you to get an idea of what the film will be like. What do you think the Rapunzel-inspired story should be like? Would you rather a classic damsel in distress story or more of a mainstream adventure story?

“When the kingdom’s most wanted (and most charming) bandit is forced to make a deal with the golden-haired, tower-bound teen, the unlikely duo sets off on a hilarious, hair-raising escapade complete with a super-cop horse, an over-protective chameleon, and a gruff gang of pub thugs. The handsome prince Flynn Ryder has sailed through life by looking good, talking fast and being lucky – but when he picks a mysterious and secluded tower as his hideout, it looks like his luck may have run out.

“Flynn is knocked out, tied up and taken hostage by the beautiful and feisty Rapunzel, whose 70 feet of magical, golden hair, which she can use like powerful tentacles, isn’t even the strangest thing about her. Locked-away and lonely, Rapunzel sees this smooth-talking bandit as her ticket out of the tower. One comical kidnapping and a bit of blackmail later, Flynn and his curious captor are off on one of the most tangled tales ever told.” Source.

I responded to James Davis and David Dinnison.

My Animation Project!

My animation is a Lego stop-motion video. It is very basic but humorous! I hope you enjoy it because I enjoyed making it! If you look closely at 10 seconds in, the storm trooper’s eyes move to being wide open because he is scared that his friend went missing!

Blog Post #10: Peeps Inspired by Animation

In the spirit of Easter, this blog post will be about the annual Peeps Show put on by The Washington Post. There were over 1,100 entries of dioramas making use the household Easter staple of marshmallow Peep chicks or bunnies. I will be showing various Peep designs from over the four years that the contest has been running that were inspired by animation.

The winner of the Peep Show for 2010 did a design of the house and balloons from “UP.” The designers, Michael Chirlin and Veronica Ettle, appropriately named the design, “EEP,” a mix of UP and Peeps. The design perfectly fits the whimsical style of the thousands of floating balloons carrying the old man, Carl’s house. The balloons are made up of Peep heads in various colors capturing the multi-colored look of the balloons from the film. The diorama includes Carl’s walker, the little boy,Russel, with all his badges stuck on the porch, the hanging hose, and even Carl and Ellie’s mailbox with little hand prints painted on them. The intricate design and hard work, matching the look from the animated film, earned the duo the winning spot for the 2010 Peep Show. A picture of the diorama is below but to get a better look at the intricate details check out the video at this link.

Another Peep diorama was inspired by “Alice in Wonderland.” The design, made by Amy Billingham, Rob Black, and Lauren Emeritz, is named, “The Mad Hatter’s Peep Party.” The close-up video of the design can be seen through this link. The Peep design shows a peep Mad Hatter, Alice, and the White Rabbit sitting around a table decorated with beautiful bright colors befitting of “Alice in Wonderland.” It is interesting that the designers used a real branch with real leaves for the tree. As well they used real lights with their own paper around them on the tree to look like paper lanterns. The peep shaped potted plants were also a nice touch. Overall the design was very unique and captured the whimsical and wacky style of “Alice in Wonderland.”

Lastly, I will draw your attention towards the Avatar Peep design. The diorama is named, “Avatar: The 3P Experience.” The design shows peeps in a movie theatre watching the peep version of Avatar. There is a peep riding the dragon/bird creature on the screen while the peeps in the audience have their “3P” glasses on watching the show. The diorama even shows the concession stand which offers snacks such as “peetzels,” “peepsi,” and “peepcorn.” There is even one peep who is leaving the movie theatre with his googly eyes going in different directions showing he is dazed and not feeling so well. This is very cute and is poking fun at the few reported instances of people feeling sick from the 3D “Avatar” movie experience. This diorama is #37 seen through this link.

The names of the designs added to their appeal and originality especially the play on words with adding some form of “peep” into the titles. I think this kind of contest is very befitting for animation because both need originality, creativity, and make use of savvy designs to create an experience for an audience.

Animation is increasingly becoming a part of pop culture just as important as live-action shows. Many animations are even outlets of pop culture like South Park and Family Guy. Animation is continuing to even beat out live-action movies on the big screen. Hopefully, we will see much more innovative animation in the future and all the other creative projects that are inspired by it.

I responded to Katherine Danoy and James Davis.

This entry was posted on April 4, 2010. 1 Comment

Blog Post #9: Star Trek Stop-Motion Commercials

While I was researching stop motion animation, I came across the Star Trek commercials that appeared on G4TV. I remembered seeing a few of them and thinking they were just a bit wacky. This post will show you the four commercials that were produced in order to advertise the older Star Trek episodes to a younger crowd.

The purpose of the four commercials produced was to revamp the older Star Trek episodes starring William Shatner into the new “Star Trek 2.0.” 72andSunny, a Los Angeles ad agency, teamed up with G4 to make these commercials. The show contained interactive features like “The Spock Market,” Trek Trivia, and a real-time chat function. 72andSunny had help from NYC’s Rogue Creative company to create the stop-motion animation of Star Trek dolls hanging out in the modern world. Although the “2.0” version of the classic Star Trek shows have been cancelled, the show is still being played on G4TV.

The four commercials, “Cribs,” “Karaoke,” “Coffee Shop,” and “Pool” are somewhat crude but resonate with people who grew up from the 80s to today. One commercial features the characters hanging out poolside, while another shows the characters in their house hanging out in a style that mocks the “MTV Cribs” show. The commercials end with the clever tagline “Tune in and Prosper” which everyone probably knows is a play on the Star Trek “Live Long and Prosper” saying with the hand up with the fingers parted in two.

The “Cribs” commercial (seen below in the Director’s Cut, an extended version) is very funny. Spock is voiced by Charlie Murphy, the brother of Eddie Murphy. I think the stop-motion is mixed with clay-mation as the viewer can see the mouth move while Spock talks. Notice the modern MTV style, Spock is supposed to be like a rapper who is bragging about all the things he has.

Next I will show the “Coffee Shop,” and “Pool” clips which are also pretty funny. Spock gets angry about not being able to get WiFi which has most likely happened to all of us one time or another. In the “Pool” clip, Spock asks Kirk to put suntan lotion on him too which is awkward, a bit crude, but ends up being funny.

The “Karaoke” spotlights Spock singing “My Prerogative” by Bobby Brown. The lyrics used with Spock are fitting because Spock is usually portrayed in the show (since he is only half human and other half is Vulcan), he rarely shows emotions so this was a good song choice to portray Spock in a humorous light when he usually seems pretty mean. (May be reading too much into it but it was fitting for his character overall.)

Overall, these creative animations were done very well and were ingenious. They have a short plot and are quite humorous. I enjoyed watching them and they did make me want to watch the shows again. Although many people think the older show is completely nerdy, it is worth checking out. The story lines can be cheesy at times but hold great moral and leadership lessons. Also the show featured the first interracial kiss on American TV between Captian Kirk (William Shatner) and Uhura (Nichelle Nichols). This show may not have ran very long but it has become a great popular culture icon and I’m glad the classic shows not only the Star Trek franchise are being revamped.

I responded to Ian Crawford and Megan Pettry.

This entry was posted on March 24, 2010. 1 Comment