2012 August

More Lactose Intolerant stuff

Preparing for a pitch to Cartoon Network this week. These are for that.


The Dark Knight Rises

Quick thoughts on THE DARK KNIGHT RISES. True IMAX presentation is always worth the money. It’s stunning.

But this installment is a big drop off from THE DARK KNIGHT. There’s something wrong with the structure – Nolan seems to want to take things away from the Batman mythology so much, he cripples his own story (and hero) to do it. Alfred disappears. There’s no Batmobile. They never say the name ‘Catwoman’ once. And most importantly, Batman is out of action for the majority of the movie. I get why. Bruce Wayne is fighting an inner struggle with himself, and being in that jail is a reprise of being stuck at the bottom of the well in BATMAN BEGINS. Unfortunately, it means there’s no overt hero in your superhero story.

The other problem I had is with the ticking time-bomb at the end. This is so ridiculously literal, especially with the numbers counting down on the side. There had to be a better way to create urgency than that. Also, I really missed Heath Ledger’s Joker. I know that’s sadly out of anyone’s control, but he was noticeable by his absence. It highlighted how much Batman needs the The Joker to come alive, character-wise.


Licence to Drive

I learned to drive.

This is quite amazing if you account for the fact that I have spent the last twenty years not knowing how to drive at all. Sure, I had some lessons when I was at college, with a man called ‘Fat Stan’, beloved of many learner drivers in Woodley, Berkshire and beyond. But Fat Stan and I did not get along. I would try to make light-hearted jokes which he refused to acknowledge just happened (very uncomfortable) and his instruction technique consisted of getting me to drive him from one fish & chip shop to another so he could feed his face on a constant basis. On one occasion I was tasked with driving Fat Stan to his home, where he disappeared inside for twenty minutes (taking a dump), returning to the car with a piping hot Pot Noodle, which he ate as I was (trying) to learn how to operate a moving vehicle. So that didn’t work out. And after that amount of trauma, I was never compelled to learn for many years – until now.

I had three lessons and passed first time. Eat it, Fat Stan.


Rory Tinysaurus

Some characters for an idea I’m working on.


My Disney Day

The day before I moved to LA, I got a call out of the blue from Disney Junior asking if I was interested in doing some character design work. Apparently they’d seen my characters on the Lamington Facebook page and thought my style would suit a project they have. Talk about good timing. A meeting was booked and, after a few pushbacks (it’s the Hollywood way), I got to go to Burbank and talk cartoons, which is essentially the best way you can spend your morning. The overwhelming impression I got is that people at Disney are mega nice. It’s brilliant. Do you think people work there because they’re so nice already or do they become nice after working there, through some kind of nice osmosis? WHO KNOWS. Anyway, hopefully I will be doing some designs for a preschool show, which is ace.

After that, in the evening, we went to see BRAVE at the El Capitan. Man, I was not prepared for the onslaught of WTF I was about to experience. All I knew is that Disney owned the theater and ran it right. The El Capitan is actually a venerable old theater – it’s where they premiered CITIZEN KANE – and it has one of those gorgeous interiors that looks like the Muppet Show should be happening any second. Well, I wasn’t far off – when I saw the guy playing a massive Wurlitzer organ, I knew something was different. He ran through all the Disney classics, even a rendition of The Circle of Life which is always welcome. Then he sank into the ground and about fifteen curtains swiped in from different directions. Only these weren’t ordinary curtains, these were laser-curtains, containing about a million lights each. They proceeded to put on a light show that would make Stanley Kubrick blush, and then they parted for some 3D trailers. Don’t know what 3D system they are running there, but it was snazzy as hell, as was the Dolby Atmos sound which is just ridiculously powerful.

The trailers ended. So now it’s time to watch BRAVE, right? Wrong. The screen itself lifted, revealing a huge stage with two people who started singing and dancing. Naturally, this was the beginning of a full-scale song and dance spectacular, featuring a cast of dozens, with people dressed up as Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Snow White, Woody, Buzz Lightyear, Daisy, etc. Parents were clapping, kids were screaming at their favorite characters, streamers were falling from the ceiling, general mayhem in the aisles, until the finale bought the house down. The whole thing took like an hour.

Then we watched BRAVE. It was okay!


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