Monday, February 21, 2011

Is All Star Superman Bruce Timm's Knightfall?

No, it isn't. He has years of a experience, knows how to create engaging stories and can produce a profit. WB would be insane to let him go. He's only 50. If you aren't aware Bruce Timm is the man who brought us Batman: The Animated Series and JLU. He's done more than that and is been behind a number of DC releated media, maybe all of it in someway. I'm not sure of he's actual title at WB animation, but he seems to be in charge in some way.

I attended the premiere in LA of All Star Superman Feb 17th at the Paley Center and I was not impressed in the slightest. Bruce didn't direct the movie, that was Sam Liu and he did a terrible job. He didn't do the design, he didn't write it, Dwayne McDuffie did. What he did is produce. I don't exactly now what that means he did. He said  at the Q& A he dropped it into Sam Liu's lap. He probably checked the designs and went to meetings to make sure it got made. He had control of what scenes stayed or were taken out. I hope to think he helped the animators and went over things with people.

He let the movie get made and it's lackluster. I like All Star Superman more as a comic book and taking the time to enjoy it. Letting it slowly unfurl as you read it and absorb it all. It didn't move over to animation smoothly. Frank Quitely's style couldn't be replicated very well. Even the Q and A explained many people attempted and failed to get it. It had to lose a lot and I understand that. Episodic, and a huge loss of background charcters that make up Superman's world bring down the film. Dr. Leo Quintum and Jimmy suffer out of scarcity. I don't know how much praise can be give to Dwayne McDuffie for taking the already storyboarded and written lines from Grant Morrison.

Like Luthor said in the movie , "I'm getting old, and he isn't" and that's what's happening to Bruce Timm, in a sense, there is no young upstart or someone else to take Bruce Timm's place. Or is there? Is Bruce Timm stopping new animators and artists to change animation? The negative side is there might not be anyone to change DC or WB animation.  Young Justice is awful and the farce that was The Batman a few years back was quite sad. I think they had to call in Bruce and other veterans from WB  animation to save the show. Batman: Brave and the Bold is a great show, however it seems it was created mostly for selling toys. It's animation is fine, but you can tell sometimes where they save money like when Batman punches someone and you don't have a background just a close-up action shot. Teen Titans was the work of Glen Murakami and he's Batman: TAS alumni, too.

Bruce is staying active developing the new Green Lantern series to connect with what looks like a terrible Green Lantern live action movie. The problem with the new series is it's entirely in cgi and not many shows pull that off well.  It seems a cheaper, faster way to do animation  Bruce is staying active, but how active is unknown. Another straight to home market is coming out called Green Lantern: Emerald Knights. I have hope for it, I did like the previous straight to home market DC feature Batman/ Superman: Apocaylpse, but I don't think Bruce is doing anything , but being producer again on the new one. Usually there straight to the home market titles are hit in miss.

When I watched All-Star Superman I wondered how much they spent on animation and then I thought this in no way compares to Evangelion 2.0. That animation was stylish and chaotic with some great fight's that upheld the highest animation. Then you have slow, undesirable All-Star Superman. The Q & A explained it was suppose to be slower and more touching than the regular beat-em up movies , but the style got boring fast.

Bruce Timm designs are simple and easy, but what he did with fights and action was entertaining in his other series. Panty and Stocking a anime from Gainax may have an even less complex design than Timm's work, but when Gainax animated a fight scene in the show it was stunning. All Star Superman lacks that. It's like watching a slightly animated book, that not even illustrated that stunningly.

Look at this short from a guy who works at Disney. The animation in this short was more entertaining then in the movie. The direction is also better than Sam Lui's. Who said he read the book twice at the screening. He probably should have used it as a guide bible and copy the storyboard from it. That might have not worked either, but what he showed was total lack of anything that entertaining. Superman was thrown to the moon and it was kind of boring. I'll give the lizard man thrown into space through a satellite was nice, but that was about it.

I also noticed some Miyazaki influence in the way Parasite moved in the prison scene. It looked out of place in the movie because, nothing else moved like that. Parasite didn't hold the same weight or feel of the world around him. Just like the terrible CGI. Stop mixing CGI and regular animation DC. It looks like clay and drawn art. At the start you see a spaceship near the sun and it looks out of place, because it's cgi and the world is drawn.

Voice casting/ direction by Andrea Romano was okay. I have to question why celebrities from tv shows need to voice DC comic characters. Apparently a lot are from Desperate House Wives. I also wonder why no one, but Andrea Romano does all the voice casting. It goes through many people, but I have no idea what she bring to the table or why she can't be replaced. She seems to be a veteran, I'm reviewing ReBoot right now and I see her name appearing. I wonder if it's a really small field of people doing it, like anime voice casting.

Getting back to Bruce Timm  the only replacement I see for him is anime artists and  I really don't know if any top notch anime artists would come to America or be allowed too. I don't know if the studios care to bring someone over or care about the difference in work as long as what they have is already profitable. There isn't a drive for that. There isn't any drive for superior animation from DC/ WB or Bruce. Just simple design and profit.

My main point is that Bruce Timm's is part of solid boring animation with no growth or development into new looks, styles or originality. Example: piss poor cgi like his upcoming series thats like Star Wars Clone Wars. Then you have anime with stunning new artists, growth, and bizarre stories that don't always have well known characters.

There are many problems with anime I won't dispute them and I can agree on a lot of them. Some are extremely cheap, some look or are copies of others with repeated stories. Yet, there are so many more new stories than we have here.

I don't hate Bruce Timm, I love a lot of his work and will always be a fan of Batman: TAS and many others shows his been a part of. He's probably one of the best animators of our time, but maybe he could do better now. I like that he hasn't become Matt Groening who just collects the checks and doesn't explain his role in the show he created. I just thought with all his experience he'd bring about new masterpieces of animation instead you have cgi animation thats nowhere near Pixar.

All-Star Superman is avalaible Feb 22 on all current media formats
DC animation movies that don't suck
Superman/Batman Public Enemies
Superman/Batman: Apocalypse
Batman: Under the Red Hood
Green Lantern: First Flight
Wonder Woman