Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Dreamworks' KungFu Panda Rocks!

Ever since Shrek 1 and 2, I hadn't been impressed by any Dreamworks Animations until today I watched Kung Fu Panda, and it finally changed my view on their production which almost always happen to focus on effects and voice casts instead of story plotting.
Kungfu Panda is so far is the best among other Dreamworks movies, even much better than Shrek overall. This Kungfu Panda movie is a serious-bring-fun movie, at least not like some stupid "unlaughable" gags from Madasgascar or Shark Tales which disgusted me so much...oh ~ and don't get me started on that...

The movie is touching, is well-plot, good story-telling, not so much focusing on famous voice cast anymore (for example, Jackie Chan, Lucy Liu's dialogue was awfully little BUT I LIKE IT~!! Initially I thought Dreamworks would force gags and boring dialogues to every single characters in order to "show the existence" of their famous voices on the screen, but i was so GLAD that they didn't! And all the gags throughout the movie was just nice and not too over, except the beginning part when Panda was trying so many tricks in order to get into the castle. (I thought that was overly done and very old type of gag and don't so well anymore.)
However, other than that, I never thought the whole movie would have worked so well! Good job to the production team for this project! Finally some good quality stuff was baked and served to everyone who have been craving for good dishes. The ticket for this show was really worth it, I must say. Good job Good job! haha..

After talking about the most important thing of a movie, lets move on talking about technical stuff and designs. And I really impressed by their animation styles and character's personality and almost all good poses and staging throughout the movie. The turtle was wise and touched my heart as if I feel that it's like my father talking to me. There was no unnecessary gag for the turtle, (which dangerously Dreamworks could have put that in, luckily they didn't.) I was so glad and I really like the character of the Turtle and also the Shifu!

The only one negative comment I could think of, is that there were TOO many effort-less passer-by (villagers) which turned out to be PIGs. Too many of them and designs does look like effortless. Well, i could think of an excuse or rather reason for them to do that, is that they want to make those main characters to stand out from the crowd. However, it just doesn't look so fun or comfortable just to see so many PIGs (of course also surprisingly a lot of Rabbits) just to bring out the attention of the main characters. hehe...

Anyway, the negative parts are just very minor, most importantly the story and animation have served all viewers with satisfied vision. Good job again, KungFu Panda Production teams! I don't mind to watch Panda 2, but please please.. cancel Panda 3 if you guys are starting work on it.. coz .. u know what i mean... i don't want to get disappointed like Shrek 3, which almost coming out Shrek 4... I can't believe it and I have no total interest on the next instalment anymore.. Please please! Go for new ideas and surprise all of us! Don't dig in the same hole... coz not all the Golds will be found in the same place! Dig somewhere else! ok?! Pleaseee .... Digging the same hole will only disgust a lot of people...


Sunday, July 20, 2008

崖の上のポンヨ Ponyo on the Cliff

I just watched the latest Miyazaki's new film - Ponyo last night. Last night was the first release day.

To be honest, I can't say it was a total disappointment but I have to tell the truth that, I wasn't impressed by the movie, compared to his all previous marvellous works.
No doubt, technical animation wise, was good. Drawings and backgrounds are still as stunning. Background wise, some parts may look unmatched, but overall looks great. I've been knowing Miyazaki style, but this time, it generally has some little difference compared with his previous ones.

This Ponyo movie reminds me of 2 animations. One, clearly, reminds me of Little Mermaid. Two, reminds me of one of the Miyazaki's 10-min short films shown in Ghibili Museum, which regarding few kids who had their own wonderful ocean imaginations in their kindergarten school.

After I watched finish the full movie, I felt that I would rather appreciate it more if it happens to be just a short film named Ponyo. Looking at the full-length movie point of view, I don't think I can accept totally what I saw on the screen. I mean, the story didn't actually touch me in some way or rather in other words, there was no climax nor important obvious messages to be conveyed. I always liked Miyazaki works. His creativity, his innovative of thinking, his fantasy world, his wild imaginations had always been locking my heart and brought me to his world, and also touched by his messages. But..... I have no idea why, this time, and for the first time, I felt I have lost touch of his great story-telling world.

For the first time, I didn't say WOW after seeing his movie, and for the first time, I felt "flat" and "emotionless" after the movie. There were gags and fun scenes around here and there of course to keep my face smiling, but I don't think this is what I was looking for from his movie. I was kinda expecting something big and heartwarming, some ups and downs, some great and strong story telling...... However.. sigh... sadly to say, the editing of the whole movie and the story telling and also the progress towards the ending, was .... was... kinda disappointing...... or may be it was too abstract? =(

I'm just telling what my heart feels. Ultimately, I really really didn't feel anything strong after watching Ponyo. And I still dont know what better words to describe the "emptiness" within this story. It looks like a short film to me, a funny character designs with great animation drawing skills, coloring and stuff.

The movie itself has not much complicated conversations. Mostly are kids talk and simple conversations to make the story pretty easy to understand even though you don't understand japanese so well, but of cors you also need some basic japanese skills to understand some basic conversations in order to understand what is going on during the important part when the adults talked. I may not able to master Japanese skill fully yet, but the movie conversations were simple enough for me to understand, so I am pretty sure that I didnt miss anything or misunderstood anything before I wrote all these comments.

However, despite of all the negative comments I wrote above, if you treat it as a cute fun animated short film, I guess it is still worth to watch in the theater. I was kinda studying his animation drawings during the movie too. The details, smooth animations, beautiful color sense, are all still there to be appreciated. Especially all the water animations! Undersea creatures! All of them are incredibly well-drawn and well-animated! No doubt for that!

But. The only thing that made my heart slipped away is just the story-telling. And this is the most important thing in a movie, and yet it was indeed weaker than his previous works, in my humble opinion, again.

To add on, when I talked to my friend this afternoon who happened to know a director who knows Miyazaki well, she told me that this Ponyo story was some kind of reflection of Miyazaki's own personal life and the ideal world which he thought his family could have been to. After hearing this, I kinda understand now what he was trying to tell and his intentions. However, watching from a total idiotic audience's view, the story somehow just couldn't work for some people, unfortunately. It is not just about the story intentions, but also the story-progressing and plots. It was just ....somehow...somewhere something is missing, and the progressing was weird too. Well, may be when you guys watch it for yourself, you may understand what I was trying to say.

Of course, different people may have different point of view in everything. Nothing is wrong or right. Children may like it, some adults may like it too. It just happened that it didn't work for me that well, as compared to his previous great story-telling. And hereby, I'm just leaving some of my words of honesty from the bottom of my heart, which means no harm to anyone or anything intentionally. So please don't get mad ya! Coz I'm Miyazaki's work fan too. Just that this time it doesnt work for me so well.

Despite of all the above negative words, honestly I still appreciate his great effort of this Ponyo film and still respect him as a great model artist in this 2D animation industry. He is still great! He is still a talented person. Again, my respect to him will still remain and never fades. Arigatou! Miyazaki san!