Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Pixar and Miyazaki

"At the same time, though, Miyazaki's presence points up the limitations of Pixar, which are the limitations of American commercial entertainment generally. Pixar landed on this list, and in the penultimate slot, not strictly on its own merits (which are, as I've said, considerable), but because of its imaginative dominance of family entertainment, and its capacity to shape future moviegoers' sense of what animation (and entertainment) should be. Pixar represents the best of what American commercial filmmaking is. But Miyazaki shows what might be possible without Pixar's inhibitions (or constraints, take your pick).

"Factor out the few dark and disturbing moments in Pixar's films this decade (there haven't been many, really) and you're looking at a body of work that's fairly easy for even the youngest children to grasp and process, and ultimately not challenging compared to Miyazaki. In Pixar films, good characters sound (and usually look) conventionally lovable. Good and evil are clearly defined, and no "good" character's goal is left unmet. And no potentially confusing or disturbing apparition, incident or twist is left unexplained for long.

"Contrast this with Miyazaki's much freer and deeper approach to family entertainment, and you start to see the aesthetic gulf between his work and Pixar's (and, by extension, between the splendid array of animation that thrives internationally and the homogeneous, Pixar-inspired type that dominates U.S. screens). Miyazaki's films are just as visually imaginative as Pixar's and often more so — more painterly and less beholden to the rules of "realism." More importantly, they are never content to define characters as good or evil, or even mostly good or mostly evil, and be done with it. Through a canny combination of sharp draftsmanship, clean animation and simple dialogue, Miyazaki throws children (and often adults) off balance, leaving them unsure what to make of a certain character or situation and forced to grapple with what Miyazaki is doing and showing."

Read the whole article here.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


Here's my holiday gift to you, dear readers... an entire set of background art from Mr.Magoo's CHRISTMAS CAROL!

I hope you enjoy the distinctly modern style. There are many recreated pans here. I think the graveyard scene artwork is particularly inspired.

Happy Holidays!

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Mr. Magoo's CHRISTMAS CAROL was produced by the UPA animation studio and first aired on NBC on December 18, 1962. The look of UPA's modern animation is stylish with an intriguing graphic energy.

Here is the first installment: as usual, digitally re-assembled artwork... including a marvelous pan background of the theatre building where Mr. Magoo is starring.

Here is the theatre marquee:

The terrific pan B/G:

So you can enjoy a look at the details, here's the left side of the pan B/G with "Stanley's" restaurant and a partial view of the theatre marquee:

And here's the "alley and stage door" right side:

Friday, December 25, 2009


THE SMALL ONE is the perfect Christmas treat! It is a miniature Disney masterpiece, with lovely music, sweet sentimentality, great characters and charming animation.

Let's start by having a look at the title art:

Now, enjoy a variety of newly digitized background art... including several pan B/Gs.