Table of Contents:
This issue contains stories on Rugrats celebrating a decade, Planet of the Apes problems, and a new animated series on Playhouse Disney. Plus there's a review of Jurassic Park 3. Enjoy! -- Joe Tracy
A few weeks ago the Rugrats received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Problems for Planet
of the Apes
Movie studios bank so much on a set opening date that a movie is often be released even if it isn't up to par. A prime example is Tomb Raider. The filmmakers hired a new composer the last minute, giving him only 10 days to finish and record the score to the movie. Tomb Raider also lacked a lot of composition and balance as poor editing and lack of time for reshoots resulted in a disjointed story.
While delaying a film's
release date could result in temporary negative publicity, releasing a
film that is not up to par with the original vision can spell disaster
after a film's opening weekend and negative reviews that cloud the work
of the cast and crew.
New Animated Series
- Stanley - Set for Playhouse Disney
The series is based on characters from the "Stanley" children's book series and follows the adventures of six-year-old Stanley Griff.
Here is an official synopsis of the series:
"Stanley is an extremely imaginative and creative little boy who is wild about animals. In fact, he loves to make simple drawings of his favorite animals. His supportive and loving parents as well as his teasing, yet affectionate, older brother are privy to only part of Stanley's world. They can't see or hear the conversations he has with his pet goldfish, Dennis.
As Stanley's best
friend and closest adviser, Dennis serves as a guide throughout each episode,
bringing Stanley to an important understanding or life lesson that adds
to his personal growth and self-confidence."
Shrek Now Second
Highest Grossing Animated Movie
To view the top animated movies of all time (including the inflation-adjusted list), click here.
Top News Stories
of the Past Two Weeks
A Look at Jurassic
Park III (Contains Minor Spoilers)
The result is a movie with weak character development, story problems, and a weak ending. The movie is one of the poorest examples of director Joe Johnston's work (October Sky, Jumanji). Yet even with all these problems, Jurassic Park 3 manages a better overall feel than Jurassic Park 2 even though both movies still a far cry from the original (which also had its own problems).
Top screenwriters teach their students that the first thing you should work on when creating a movie is the ending. By creating a solid ending, the writer has a direction for the creation of the rest of the story. It seems that the "writers" and director didn't have a direction for Jurassic Park 3 as it mostly just plays itself out to a point where the filmmakers wonder how to end it and throw in a quick "chicken exit" sequence to wrap up the movie. This has become a pet peeve of mine with so many poor endings to Hollywood films this year. It is time for a new slate of writers and directors to invade Hollywood with fresh ideas and solid endings to wrap up well-written (and produced) stories. Yet that isn't likely to happen anytime soon.
So Jurassic Park 3 has a weak story, weak character development, a weak ending, and a script written on the fly like the hastily written (and poorly produced) score for Tomb Raider. So how does JP3 manage to be better than JP2? The answer is in the casting (particularly Sam Neill) and the introduction of new dinosaurs like the flying Pterandons. The Pterandons are quite possibly the best dinosaur villains yet because of their strategic ability to attack from the air. This new element of "dino-fright" plays well in Jurassic Park 3; so does a short (and I mean short) battle between a T-Rex and Spinosaurus.
Jurassic Park 3 also does an amazing job at humor (a few hokey lines aside), making it more lighthearted than Jurassic Park 1 and 2. The humor works too, particularly with scenes relating to a satellite phone. Another impressive aspect of Jurassic Park 3 is the differences between the trailer and movie. The trailer makes you believe one thing for a particular scene, but when the scene plays out, it is a bit different resulting in the preservation of some of the "surprise."
So what dinosaurs will you see in Jurassic Park 3? Here's the list (with the first three being the main focus and main villains):
Jurassic Park 3 opens domestically this Wednesday. The movie is only an hour and a half long. By entering the movie with low expectations you are likely to enjoy it (particularly after seeing a massive amount of bad and disjointed movies like Tomb Raider). This movie should have been postponed, however, to fully flesh out the script and character development. It would also have given ILM more time to create a longer T-Rex versus Spino sequence and would have preserved the solid name director Joe Johnston had built for himself.
Most of all, enjoy the visual effects as, once again, ILM and Stan Winston do an amazing job of bringing history to life:
"If you go completely CGI, you end up with a movie more like Toy Story. If you just go with the physical effect, you are limited by physics. The idea is to combine them, defy physics and do things the audience would never suspect is possible.This was by far the most physical of the three Jurassic movies." - JP3 Special Effects Consultant Michael Lantieri.
Thank you for being a part of the Digital Media FX team through your daily visits to www.digitalmediafx.com. I hope that you've enjoyed this edition of the Digital Media FX newsletter and I look forward to providing you with continued coverage of the animation and visual effects industries.
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