Thursday, April 28, 2011

Subtract two dimensions

I am a big Hoodwinked supporter. I'd even go so far as to say I have a special place in my heart for it. My wife and I saw it together when we were still only dating, and we thought it was cute. Plus, I remember it a bit better than some other movies we saw because it was the only movie we ever saw together in Glendale. (For those of you outside Southern California, there's nothing special about Glendale. I just remember it because it's the only movie we ever saw there.)

In fact, for awhile, I held up Hoodwinked as some kind of example of how you didn't need Disney's or Dreamworks' millions to make a good animated movie. All you needed was a good script, and animation passable enough not to stand out. Hoodwinked had a pretty easy time meeting the former standard, and just barely met the latter.

If the animation was what kept it seeming kind of scruffy back in 2006, you'd figure that would be the easiest way to step forward if the movie is a hit and you make a sequel. I don't know that Hoodwinked was a hit hit, but it was close enough that they thought there would be money in a sequel.

Were they confident enough to put more money into the animation?

Not quite.

In fact, not only is it not a step forward from the original, it may actually be a step backward. The quality of animation you'd see on a movie released straight to DVD.

Perhaps the third dimension will make it better.

That's right, like everything else, Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil (ugh, don't get me started on that title) is coming out in 3D. If it's changing a dimension from 2D, though, it looks better suited to going down one than up one.

Really, doesn't it look terrible? It's like you can see the program they used to make it on their home computers. "Move Character A through Environment B." I mean, that is what they do a lot of the time -- they create a character and then they animate his or her movements against different backgrounds. But it's supposed to seem seamless -- it's not supposed to look like one computerized image moving in its own plane, against another plane that contains the background. Except that is exactly what it looks like.

I mean, just look at that poster. Even the fonts are low-rent.

I hate to poop on Kanbar Entertainment. I mean, they're the consummate little guy trying to play the same game as the consummate big guys.

But it's kind of strange to get a taste of success, and then botch the follow-through. Even with another good script, the animation in this movie looks like it could alienate today's viewers. What earned an A for effort back in 2006 has seen the passage of five years without a significant upgrade. If they'd been able to make Hoodwinked Too the same amount worse than the 2011 industry leaders as Hoodwinked was worse than the 2006 industry leaders, that would be one thing. But a pale, clunky version of 2006 animation in 2011? I don't think it's going to fly.

Which is a shame, because I really have confidence in Cory and Todd Edwards, the brother who are basically the heart and soul of Kanbar. They wrote the script for Hoodwinked, but they also directed it and even provided some character voices. They are DIY at its best, and they wrote a clever movie. They've probably written a clever movie this time, too.

But 2011 kids are already a lot more advanced than 2006 kids. Will they go for the Kanbar animation when they can get better-looking animation in their ipad apps?

We'll see starting tomorrow.

No comments: