Today’s Sketch is another from the Boston Museum of Fine Arts Collection. “Semiramis Receiving Word of the Revolt of Babylon” by the Baroque Italian painter, Guercino. done in 1624 It illustrates a myth from the Roman historian and moralist Valerius Maximus.
For today’s selection we are going with John Coltrane‘s version of Dick Gasparre, George Fragos and Jack Baker’s “I Hear a Rhapsody” from his album Lush Life. To be honest I’m not sure if it actually counts as a Rhapsody. But hey why dither over an excuse to play Coltrane?
Well, I finally went to see Rise of the Guardians. It was one of the films I had been looking forward to this year. I liked the concept and I liked the William Joyce books they were based on, It had Guillermo Del Toro as one of the producers and it had Santa and the Easter Bunny fighting the powers of darkness to protect childhood, what’s not to like.
Regrettably while I enjoyed it, and didn’t feel as if I had wasted my money, I was more than a little disappointed. The design was beautiful and the actors did their job, especially Hugh Jackman as a very surly Easter Bunny, but all the way through it felt like it should have been better and I have a bad feeling I know why. I’ve been seeing numerous reviews that facetiously call Rise of the Guardians the Avengers with holiday characters that it is in fact another superhero film. If that is the case it suffers from what is the problem that most superhero films have out there have. The producers just have to make it an origin story showing how the characters become what they are, or how the band got together, or both. Nearly all of the time the story, no matter how good it is, gets dragged down by so much exposition it is almost impossible to follow. Very frequently in these franchises you almost want to ignore the first film completely and enjoy the sequel since it’s the one where they took care of all the baggage earlier also because of this I’ve seen a lot of these films suffer because they feel like all they’re doing is establishing the franchise.
In Rise of the Guardians the main plot (along with the fight the bad guy stuff) is about Jack Frost becoming a Guardian and learning his purpose and his place in the group. Because of this the rest of the cast spends a lot of time preaching at him. There’s also a lot of time put into the importance of belief. One thing that annoyed me throughout the film is why everyone says the power of faith should be, saying things like: “Do you stop believing in the sun on a cloudy day” What they show in the film faith is ridiculously fragile and this is exactly what the children do when their belief is challenged for more than a second.
Still Rise of the Guardians is a very pretty film with some utterly gorgeous designs and set pieces. My favorites include the eggs being prepared in the Easter Bunny’s warren; all of the scenes in Santa’s workshop and Jack Frost giving a boy the best sleigh ride ever. As I mentioned previously the big problem with this film is that it could have been so much more.
Today’s sketch is the preliminary sketch for the background crowd of protesters for an establishing shot of the convention center at International storyline I did last year. I still like this original pencil drawing better than the finished inked version.
So I finally got around to seeing Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph. I was expecting good things for the most part. While I may not have liked the works of Disney’s Digital Animation studio quite as much as I like the works of say Pixar, Bolt and Tangled were perfectly solid pieces of work so I’d be perfectly willing to watch antybesides I’d been hearing good things about it from friends of whose opinions I trust
So while I was never into video games that much. My parents were never that big on us kids wasting our allowance that way and to make matters worse I totally sucked at them, because of that the arcade scene was something was something I was only aware of at a peripheral level. Despite all this the whimsical fantasy appealed to me greatly. I decided to make it my choice of Thanksgiving viewing.
Wreck-It Ralph tells the story of a 80s video game villain who after 30 years of smashing (and being thrown off of) the same apartment is developing serious dissatisfaction with his job.
His efforts to improve his lot in life takes him to a first person shooter game called Hero’s Duty and an anime style race game called Sugar Rush. In the mean time his absence in his own game has great consequences.
I had a great time the look of the thing was fantastic each of the different game worlds Niceland, Ralphs game is starkly minimalistic consisting of only the apartment and Ralph’s dump, the Sugar Rush world has you looking into getting an insulin prescription and Hero’s duty adds yet another weapon to the arsenal for anyone who is sick to death of all of Hollywood’s endless excuses for not doing quality science fiction films.
It was the little details of the fill that appealed to me were all of the references and cameos from other games. The way the Nicelanders move in a very jerky manner compared to everyone else since they are only background figures. I almost wish they had gone further with things like this. There is a scene where Fixit Felix Jr (The hero of Ralph’s game compliments the high resolution of Calhoun (the heroine of Hero’s Duty.) As far as we the viewers are concerned, both characters have the same resolution. I doubt I would have liked to seen the “real version” of a 12 bit character but I’m sure there would have been some ways to show the difference between characters in different generations of computer animation.
It’s hard not to watch Wreck-It Ralph without thinking of Toy Story. Both films deal with our playthings do when we all go home not to mention a certain level of existential angst in there for example it’s flat out said that one of the character’s “tragic back story” has been programmed into her so you know that it never happened even before you hear what it is. Also you can’t help noticing that none of the characters in this film are unique and one wonders if the thousands of other Ralphs have the same issues that the one in the movie does. (That last one is completely irrelevant to the film just an example of a chronic nitpicker thinking way too much about a kid’s film)
All in all Wreck-It Ralph was an entertaining piece of fluff that I would recommend to anyone.