Saturday, May 20, 2006

Hedging My Bets

The new computer animated film Over The Hedge, which opened yesterday, is going to tank. It'll be at the second run theaters in less than a month.
Why do I say this? Because Wendy's has the kid's meal toy account, and over the last few years every film that Wendy's has helped promote, from Quest For Camelot to Muppets From Space to, most recently, Curious George, has been gone from theaters after just two or three weeks. You know I don't believe in curses, so let's call it a "trend."
One thing that Hedge has going for it that may help it buck the trend is that it's computer animated, which has pretty much box office gold ever since Toy Story, so much so that traditional hand drawn animation has all but disappeared. Even Disney has abandoned hand drawn features in favor of compute animated fare.
I'm not sure this is such a wise decision. On a behind the scenes documentary on The Incredibles DVD, one of the animators relates the trouble they had getting Violet's hair right. At one point, the animators and programmers were ready to give up, believing the realistic animating of long hair to be "theoretical" at that time.
That's the main reason why I'm not in favor of the wholehearted embrace of computer animation at this time. Computer animation just isn't at the stage where it's ready to completely replace hand drawn animation. To a man with a pencil and pen, after all, nothing is "theoretical."

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