The Ranting Inkblot -- Performance Capture

Ladies and Gentleman, I'd like to introduce you to the Ranting Inkblot.

While going over movie news the other day, I ran across this gem on

"Oscar winner Robert Zemeckis (Beowulf) is set to direct a Disney remake of Yellow Submarine. The original 1968 film was based on the music of The Beatles. Disney has apparently secured a deal that would give Zemeckis access to 16 original Beatles songs for use in the movie. The film will be shot in performance-capture 3-D.

The film is set for release in summer 2012."

I feel the need to comment on this, and not just because I'm a die-hard Beatles fan and honestly think re-making this moving is a bad idea (the idea of Disney producing it, notwithstanding). While not my favorite technique, I have never had a problem with 3-D animated movies... when done right. Working with 3-D computer-animation is tricky: if you make it too blocky and smooth, it looks like something out of a bad video game and no one will pay attention. But if you make it too realistic, then people lose their interest. Performance-capture 3-D is tricky, because there is literally a line when working with this medium. Make it too realistic, and you lose the audience. Make it too "cartoony", and again, the audience is gone. This was the problem with Zemeckis' previous creations, Beowulf and Polar Express. The animation was so realistic that the audience (myself included) kept forgetting that they were watching an animated movie, but found themselves unable to accept it as a live-action film... so what is it?

All in all, while I love the idea of using performance-capture to create animated creatures in live-action movies/TV shows (Peter Jackson, I tip my hat to you for creating Gollum & King Kong this way), doing one's entire creation in this format makes it impossible for the audience to accept it.

And even though I haven't seen Zemeckis' latest creation, A Christmas Carol, yet, I can't help but look at the trailer and think: "...seriously Rob, who told you that using performance-capture like this was a good idea?!?"

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