Talking Bee and Ed Hooks craft notes

One of the current animated feature films on cinema screens in Brisbane is Dreamworks and Jerry Seinfeld's "Bee Movie" (there are some opinions in the ARF Forum).

I was impressed by the flying perspective of an insect and how animators would take on that task.

The character animation, I thought as a student, was quite good as well. Particularly when the bees found they had no more work to do and were lazing around the hive. Their poses didn't just say 'resting' they oozed boredom.

But in looking for words on how to discuss my dissatisfaction with the whole movie I was lost. And there was that key point about a bee talking to a human. Until the latest Ed Hooks email newsletter arrived. I sat there thinking, "yes, yes, yes," as I read his 'craft notes'.

I attended the Ed Hooks workshop hosted by the Queensland College of Art (QCA) and Queensland Animators (QA) last year. It was great, so much interesting knowledge stuff to soak up about acting and animation. I think until Mr. Hooks returns to Australia, it's worth reading his interesting, educational, comments by subscribing to his email newsletters.

Do other animators use Ed Hooks as an educational resource? Do you agree with his notes on the Bee Movie? What did you think of the Bee Movie?


Ian said...

I didn't hate Bee Movie, the humor had some good moments.

I think this relates back to an earlier issue we discussed about who we should be pointing the finger at about not pushing animation in new directions.

To me Bee Movie felt like a copy of a Pixar movie with some Seinfeld jokes thrown in. I don’t know if the blame for this can be levelled at Seinfeld himself, unless he is a huge Pixar fan and I don’t know about it. I dare say it was the Dreamworks folks pushing it towards the “formula”. I so tired of story that turn out with characters learning that things were better off the way they were and they just needed to appreciate it.

All that having been said, and something I should perhaps have said in the previous discussion, I am still totally in awe of the artist involved in all of these films. AWE!

They for example make great animations of waves, or at least write mathematical formula to generate great waves. It’s the big picture people who are the issue. Or even looking beyond that, the issue is the nature of blending art and commerce. If people are going to invest money in a film, they are looking for a safe investment, risk takers and rule breakers are not safe. Risk takers and rule breakers can be the best artists.

It’s a ying and yang thing. The Commerce of film making could not exist without the artists, and the artist could not exist without the commerce.

Hmm maybe then it needs to balance out. Maybe for every Pixar we need a Dreamworks to maintain a healthy financial interest in the whole idea of paying people money to make animated films.

This idea keeps growing in my mind to encompass more and more of life. You can’t own a car without learning the rode rules, enjoy owning a home without the burden of debt, can’t enjoy being a parent with out the responsibility of keeping the child safe. It’s a law of nature, not just commercial film making. It’s part of the human condition.

The trick is finding a sustainable peace with it in your own head space so that you can lead a constructive life.

. . . . . . . . . . . deep.

animation_student said...

Saw the Dreamworks SKG "Bee Movie" today. I found it quite interesting and very yellow. Very American-centric with allusions to American TV personalities and that a New York bee would legally represent all the bees of the world (Imperialism is alive and well).

There were some annoying biological glossovers as well, for me. Bees have 6 legs dognamit! All insects do. Pollen doesn't make flowers bloom by direct application. And if bees are working all the time, why does their hive apartment have a pool full of honey to lounge around in? Why do bees drive cars?

The Chris Rock mosquito proves it is best to get to work on the supporting characters in narrative animations as they seem to get the best lines to animate.

The animation and some of the gags were good in parts. See it on DVD, so you can deconstruct it at animation dinner parties. It's not memorable, so take some notes. In my opinion, it's another parasite riding on Shrek's back. I wonder if Jerry Seinfeld interfered in it's production very much? Der.

frank said...

Here are snippets from another review of the Bee Movie that I agree with:

"In addition to a lame plot, "Bee Movie" carries a lot of collateral baggage. The heaviest is that the Seinfeld bee actually speaks English out loud to the Renee Zewilliger human character. Indeed, he even develops a crush on her. This inter-species interaction is a deal killer...

Brad Bird got it right in "The Iron Giant" and "Ratatouille". DreamWorks got it wrong with "Bee Movie". None of this is the fault of the animators, modelers and designers at DreamWorks Animation. These are some of the most talented people in the industry. In particular, the aerial shots of Central Park and the up-close shots of the beehives are truly marvelous. But these talented people understandably work on what they are given, and this time it was dreck instead of "Shrek". I'm sorry to see movies like "Bee Movie" because I think they are bad for the industry."