Actually, the release date for The Ant Bully had been moved up to July 28th from the original August release, long after I'd already set my Yahoo Calendar for a reminder to go see it that weekend. So, I saw it this weekend.
I actually liked it better the second time. :) Next weekend I'm gonna go see it IMAX style.
The story was nicely adapted for the screen in some rather unexpected yet interesting ways that weren't in the original children's book by John Nickles. This time, however, I didn't get all teary-eyed during the "Here we come to save the day!" battle scene near the end. I can be such a sap for heroes. Reviews that I've read mentioning an almost communistic manifesto in this movie shouldn't be all that surprising. Several fictional books about ants have explored that same line - the fictional struggle of an ant society is something that adults can immediately relate to with their own human experiences. Do a bit of research and you'll see some of the same "communist" themes of equality and teamwork in the ever popular Star Trek, too. ;)
And...it was a major improvement over the previous DNA feature film, "Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius", which I admit I didn't like. D'oh! Didn't like the look, the story or the characters. The JN tv series, for the most part, was sooo much better than the film of Neutron that I saw back then in theaters. But, then I really wasn't the target market for it, not being under 10 years old and not a parent bringing her children with her. I don't have any kids.
Anyhoo...I liked the AB movie and most of the audience, parents and kids, etc., seemed to like it, too. I give it a B+! Cool to see the scenes that I'd gotten a brief mention about here and there during production from people that I knew at DNA. I bet Ant Bully does really well on DVD...if Warner Brothers ever decides to finally do some marketing for the movie. The odd tv commercial here and there isn't helpful...and looks really bad if you compare it to the marketing efforts done for "Happy Feet", also being distributed by Warner Brothers, as well as the other animation projects this year by other studios and their distributors. Anyone recall "Hoodwinked" and how much repeat tv advertising that one had? How about all the voice talent spouting about "Open Season" in the last week, in theaters and on tv?
Only a few minor things to quibble about with The Ant Bully (and it's only because I've seen the movie twice...and was looking for the stuff):
- The ant animation wasn't consistent as far as how they got around on four legs. Occassionally they'd also float about a bit, rather like marionettes, or move like camels rather than the usual four-legged movement that seemed to be the standard. Kind of funny in its own way, but inconsistent to most of the other scenes.
- Continuity. The firecracker size fluctuated from the original introduction to the fight scene with Lucas and the wasp. Lucas's "glasses" were on when he jumped over the fan - yet the next shot, the glasses were back up. Since his hands were rather occupied with holding tightly to the flower petal, how did they move back up on his head...and why? Thought he couldn't see much otherwise or why make them?
- The lighting. At random times the ant eyes glowed oddly, mouth interiors were lit up, shadows were strange, blah, blah, blah. I did like the atmosphere that was created when Lucas was with the ants in the ant hill. And the night scenes were really nice. For some reason, just didn't get that same feeling of appreciation during the day scenes.
- The wasps. Why didn't they keep with the original dark, almost black coloration that I saw in the character designs? It would have been nice to see a more subtle patterning and could have made the characters more believable...and threatening. Just my opinion. :D
- Lucas and the Wizard. I totally didn't believe in the friendship that occurred at the end between Lucas and the Wizard (Cage). And this is where, particularly the first time I saw the movie, the end third of the movie just didn't connect for me like the first half of the movie. The characters weren't true to themselves even if the point of the story was to become more than what they were. But, hey, it's not my story or character development.
- The end design of the Exterminator. It just didn't look funny when he was unevenly shrunk, but was rather disturbing. One of the little kids sitting next to me got scared even, although everyone was laughing when he got stung. Twice. Well, bitten then stung.
I'd previously gotten to see The Ant Bully at the DNA Crew Premiere Party a few weeks ago because of an invitation from a friend who was both a texture and IMAX artist on the film. She also happened to be a classmate and my former VP for the school's student animation group that we'd both helped get started. In fact, several of my AID classmates had gotten the opportunity to work at DNA Productions on The Ant Bully in various departments - animation, lighting, texturing, etc. They all received some awesome animation industry experiences, both good and the "could have been better" (well, that's crunch time for ya), and seriously learned alot - I was really happy to see all their hard work in theaters at last.
I was both very sad and disappointed not to have had the same opportunity, of course. Who wouldn't have been? Didn't even get in as janitor. sigh. Now that the studio has pretty much disbanded, it's cool to hear that so many of them are finding excellent opportunities to grow even more at other studios. Good luck to them all!
It's been awhile since I've done an illustration that wasn't most if not all digital. This one is pencils, inks and watercolor - a pirate caricature for a birthday present. A fairly quick project that was a gift for a friend. That was alot of fun. :)
Few people have actually seen my cat, Theo, although there have been occasional sightings. It's rather amazing that there haven't been many Theo encounters with my friends and family when they visit my apartment considering how big he is. I affectionately will call him "Orca" on occasion, because of the big tummy and the random white splotches on his black coat. I promise, he doesn't get any treats because I am definitely concerned about his weight and the potential for kitty diabetes. However, regardless of his size (call him fat or call him big-boned, he doesn't care) and the fact that he's easily three times the size of his brother and sister, he's very frightened of strangers - basically, anyone that isn't me.
His refuge is always the dark cave under my bed.
Decided to color this sketch to have another color concept for my portfolio. Not that I don't have plenty of stuff, but it's always good to have something fresh and new. :)
This one is just where I've added most of the flat color pass to all of the image, and now I get to play with the details. I'm working with my Wacom tablet and Photoshop. I'll probably finish it tonight. I need to get to my sketch table now for another project. Multi-tasking...always fun!
Sometimes one of my cats will be looking fiercely at something, all ears and whiskers to attention, that only they can see. It's certainly caught my own attention often enough that I'll come over and investigate...and then there's nothing there to see!
Or was there?
This past weekend, Mina and Marco were all focused on their brush basket by the hall bookcase, which happens to be across from the bathroom, which happens to be where I was cleaning the mouse aquarium...can you see where my tale is going? One of the two mice (mouse one and mouse two as mentioned in a previous post) had decided to go adventuring, and somehow got herself down from the counter and behind the bookcase when I left the bathroom for a bit to let the little tank soak before scrubbing. I have to guess that at some point the mouse was checking out the brush basket because my cats were certain sure she was in it. My fear was that my cats had realized they had a fun lively toy to play with, however briefly, and had let their teeth and claws get into the mouse (blood and gore, EEK!!), but that wasn't the case. The mouse was fine, and quickly brought back into the bathroom to be reunited with her roommate, and the cats continued checking out the book shelf for the rest of the afternoon in the hopes that another mouse would happen by.
That did NOT happen.
The COW (creature of the week) art challenge this past week was to create an Orange Sea Leviathan. Not an "orange sea", but an "orange creature". That doesn't mean that it couldn't be living in an orange sea; however, subsequent additional information posted by the moderator ordered that the creature itself had to be orange or your entry was forfeit.
I didn't plan on participating in the activity since I didn't actually read the info till Sunday afternoon, but then I got to thinking about the possibilities of an orange leviathan type of sea creature...and got inspired. So, even though I didn't submit an entry for the COW, you can see a quick concept of my new critter here. :)
Description: The "Orange Leviathan of the Archipelago Floating Isles" is the foundation of an oceanic civilization commonly called "The Island Folk of the Floating Isles". This civilization would not exist if it were not for the Orange leviathan. The creature's own body makes up the floating land masses. At its mature stage, its massive size, bouyancy and the natural growth of its branchlike collagen spine which forms into a kind of unique floating island, makes it the perfect traveling oasis in a world of mostly ocean. While building a new settlement on the leviathan, the island folk begin a relationship of mutual benefit. The folk have a new home, and the leviathan receives care, feeding, and protection. At its death, the Orange Leviathan structure has the potential to become interconnected with one of the various larger stationary settlements anchored to the ocean floor, many of which were also originally founded upon leviathan creatures. This death, rather than the end of a village, becomes a time of treaty and negotiation as the leviathan island folk determine the best final location for their unique needs - whether for trade, crafting, farming or some other industry. An interesting culture that is formed from a unique ocean creature, the Orange Leviathan.
Just another "work in progress". :)
A quick post before bedtime. Feeling sleepy at last.
I had striped pajamas like that when I was six years old. Lovely stretchy fabric. My sister and I would play Skippy kangaroo...each of us would carry a stuffed animal in our shirt pouch, hopping around. Can't remember the story, although I'm sure there was one to explain it. My mom has pictures of us wearing our striped PJ's that summer we were in Sweden, playing late into the night that never quite got there.