The “Tangled” trailer asks an old question…

Just because you can do something, should you? In this case, the latest non-Pixar Disney CGI animation is “Tangled,” a renamed action-comedy version of “Rapunzel.” I don’t know how I missed this earlier in the week, but here it is now. My reactions are below the embed.

Okay, so its heroic leads are very much in the tradition of 2D animated princesses and princes and it thereby avoids the dreaded “Polar Express” uncanny valley most, but not all, of the time. On the other hand, I can’t think of a single thing this gains by being in CGI, except for the perception of greater commercial credibility.  (I’m still far from convinced that audiences really care that much whether a movie is in traditional or CGI animation, as long as they like the way it looks.) Sure, the more traditionally cartoony characters look very good, but wouldn’t they perhaps look even better as traditional cartoons?

Tell me, anyone reading, one single thing in the trailer below that was in any way not slightly degraded by being in this style of animation and one single thing — other than throwing stuff at the audience — that couldn’t be down with hand-drawn animation? It’s great that they were able to do this while mostly avoiding the uncanny valley but, with this kind of material, why not just bypass it completely? I’d really like an answer other than “audiences expect CGI now.” That simply is not a good enough reason and I truly hope that regular moviegoers aren’t that shallow and set in their ways.  In any case, it’ll be interesting to compare the grosses of this to “The Princess and the Frog.”

  

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Comic-Con treats and tricks

I’ll be writing a little bit more about the unwisely dropped direct-to-DVD festival hit, “Trick ‘r Treat,” after I return from the con. That particularly includes what I gleaned from a trio of round robin interview things with writer-director Michael Dougherty and co-stars Lauren Lee Smith (“CSI”) and Brian Cox, definitely one of the toppermost of the poppermost, acting wise. Including Mr. Cox, all very personable folks, which never hurts in show bidness.

My reaction to the film was muted by my own tiredness, but I do think there is something there. Dougherty, a co-writer on the last couple of Bryan Singer superhero projects, has an outstanding eye for creepy beauty and he certainly brings human values and humor to his horror. However, the muddy acoustics of the hall drowned out much of the dialogue for me, and the impossibility of obtaining coffee at the convention center  in the evening dulled out much of my brain. (Why, oh why, Mrs. Fields, have you abandoned me this year?) The audience reaction was, as far as I could tell, divided between wild enthusiasm and muted nitpicking. More to come.

And now, a few other more high-profile movie related con related matters live from my horrifyingly small shoe box hotel room. Also, I wonder how long I can hold out without ever setting foot in the dreaded Hall H.

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