Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Well... at least it's not Loonatics.

I was told back when my favorite movie that I've never seen came out that they played this brand-new CGI Warner Brothers cartoon featuring Wile E. Coyote & Roadrunner before the show.  Well now it's on the internet and I watched it, and... I guess I'm not sure how I feel about it.  I don't really have any ill-will to the transition from hand-drawn to 3D (I mean it's not a process that I particularly care for to begin with but it could be worse), I just think they could've picked a more interesting cartoon to make.  Take a look for yourself:

Okay!  You've seen it.  Glad you did?  Good.  Me too.  Our relationship will only grow because of it.  Let me break down my own personal opinion regarding this cartoon.

What I liked:  I think they did a great job of avoiding the stiffness that you see a lot of in CG.  These characters stretch and bend and come as close to their hand-drawn counterparts as I've seen.  I think the general mood of the short is pretty spot-on too... I mean I guess it'd be pretty hard to screw up a Wile. Coyote cartoon.

They got that swooshin' animation down!  Mmmm...

What I ... didn't like:  I mean I guess if you don't laugh at the Coyote being hit by a truck the first time you're probably not going to laugh the next fourteen times it happens (I counted).  Is that really a great idea to bring to the table for a new Wile E. Coyote cartoon?
WRITER:  "Ok, remember sixty years ago when we had that gag about the coyote getting hit by a truck?  Let's do that again, but...
DIRECTOR: "... I'm listening."
WRITER:  "But we do it 15 times in 2 minutes.  That's 30x more laughs!"
WRITER:  "... and we'll make it in THREE-DEEEE."
DIRECTOR: "Sold.  We'll call it Coyote Falls for some reason." 
Also, what better screams 3D ANIMATION better than opening on a particle effect?

Living up to the original's particle effect scripting.  Oh you cad, Chuck Jones!
I think what really bothers me about this cartoon is I have no sense of caring what happens to the Coyote.  I'm not trying to say that he was ever that relatable of a character and they ignored the depth of his intrigue or anything, he just never gets HURT.  He just takes one hit after the other after the other after the other after the other and never shows any sign of slowing down or even a scratch on his body.  I know he never technically got hurt in older iterations, but he'd at least have something to show for being blown up or being crushed by a boulder.

It's not like I want to see him get beheaded or anything, but give me a little payoff and a chance to breathe in-between all the bumper denting.  Here's what we get instead:

"Who else looks as bored as I do right now?" 

A sad-faced reaction shot and a black eye are all I'm asking for, folks.  I guess it's harder to render realistic-looking charred coyote fur than it is just to draw it in a cartoon.  Maybe they should've just stuck with that.

DISCLAIMER:  If I seem to hold Looney Tunes on a pedestal, it's generally because I try to ignore everything that happened with the brand after the early 60's when they moved production to DePatie-Freleng Enterprises and beyond.  That includes all the weird and cheap-looking Looney Tunes from the 70's, Space Jam, That Other Movie they did with Brendan Fraser, Loonatics, etc.  However, I do have a special place in my heart for the likes of Tiny Toons and Tazmania.

Loonatics.  Because we're out of ideas.


Kevin said...

Mark! I agree with you on the entire matter...except there is one thing that you didn't mention.

Where did the iconic freeze frame of the characters side by side, with the varying subtitles.... "COYOTE- CARNIVOR VULGARIS" and "ROAD RUNNER- ACCELERATI INCREDIBUS" go? That is one of the keystones (if you will) to the charm of the originals.

M. Phillips said...