Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Convention for the horrifically yet proudly deformed

Now thats an unusual dream...

I was walking through a dark and stylish hotel filled with creatures that looked as if human skeletons had been resized and rearranged in every conceivable way, then organs replaced in them at whim and finally, skin tightly stretched over the results. All this with no regard for wether the resulting construct would constitute a viable living being. These convention goers were mostly nude and displaying themselves to each other with delight at their great diversity of form. The handful that had working genitalia were very proud of themselves and demanded a lot of attention. Some smaller participants were in ornate glass cabinets but it was clear that they were not prisoners, instead, it was for their protection as they needed a more pure environment to survive.

I wasn't fearful, just astounded. The setting was beautiful and richly ornate. None of the creatures seemed to be unhappy... But I DO recall that they had a little display, like a model of many identical six inch high beings doing some type of forced labor and the plaque beneath it read "Abused" I took it to be some sort of memorial to a less enlightened time when "normal" people had taken advantage of a population of them.

I am sure the dream means nothing other than that my "internal storyteller" is a creepy little fellow.

Sounds like my "external storyteller" should work that up into a short story someday...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Shaun The Sheep Is GREAT!

Oh wait now it sucks...

I have a 2 year old and I am building a library of quality entertainment for him on a server so that he won't be exposed to broadcast TV (and advertising) for a while. I was so happy discover that Shaun The Sheep had his own TV show and that it was so great! I started buying up episodes of season one and it is really stunning! Like mini episodes of Wallace and Gromit! They are subtle, funny and completely non verbal. The characters tell the story with hand gestures, eye rolls, and body language. One of the best shows I have come across for him yet!

So Last night when I found a new DVD that we did not have yet and I snagged it with glee. I popped it in today and I got my first taste of season 2. I will now stop collecting...

I am so disheartened. What happened?! Not only are the characters less endearing, but the color palate of the whole world is super saturated, the players express emotions with much more broad and clownish facial expressions, the once beautiful pastoral farm sets now lack detail (the junk heap that the sheep always pull resources from to build stuff is now less "junky" for example), even the grass looks bad! WHY would Aardman do this to such an amazing show?!

Cost I imagine played a big role. Lots of changes seem to involve not using clay but instead using what looks like foam rubber. I believe that the new lines around the mouths on the charters of The Farmer and Bitzer allow them to switch mouths instead of whole heads to speed animation. Still many of the other changes just confuse and sadden me. Constant "rasberry" blowing has replaced the eye roll, glower, and "sheepish look" that were more common in season one. I get the feeling that they were under pressure to make it more accessible to a larger audience (profitable) and in doing so they have crushed out much of the charm.

I think kids crave some realism, not everything needs to look like a candy wrapper. This new art direction is a mistake. One thing I noticed that most people may overlook is that the ever present poo adorning the fields of season one is now gone... I guess in this new reality Shaun and the other sheep have stopped going to the baaathroom. (sorry about that)

I am dying to know the behind the scenes story as to why this gem has become so... average. I am searching for an explanation.

I am sure Wallace and Gromit are safe from such de-evolution... so at least we will can look forward to future high quality shorts and movies involving those characters.