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Destroy All Podcasts Episode 82 - Claymation Christmas Celebration

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13 comments posted
Here we come a-waddling

Oh wow, I haven't seen this since it originally aired back in 198_...um...well, it was the 80s, I know that. It was certainly the last time claymation would ever grace national television, before all of these characters, including the California Raisins, Gumby, and the Noid, were all mercifully shoved into a Pla-Doh shape-pumper, never to be seen or heard from again. And thank God!

~Neil

___________________________
http://www.dasiencomic.com/

117ufcbetting's picture
Posted by 117ufcbetting on 24 December, 2008 - 18:19
:P

Uhm, I love Claymation. I suppose you prefer the lifeless, creepy eyes of CG people like in Polar Express? Yikes.

-Jeremy

Destroy All Podcasts DX's picture
Posted by Destroy All Pod... on 24 December, 2008 - 20:31
I prefer stop-motion too for

I prefer stop-motion too for what it is. I should point out though that the whole "Claymation" name is essentially a copyrighted trademark that Vinton had used to brand his own form of clay-animated productions. There has been clay animation made before his time but it was not called "claymation". Too often nowadays people tend to use the name indiscriminately as a generic term for this type of stop-motion puppet animation, regardless of whether clay was used in the process or not (other materials include foam, vinyl or wood).

Chris@StudioToledo's picture
Posted by Chris@StudioToledo on 24 December, 2008 - 21:23
Claymation (TM)

Yeah, I know Claymation is a registered trademark, and we were talking about a Claymation brand special, so it's fine. I really like Will Vinton's stuff. Some clay animated or otherwise stop motion stuff is pretty unimpressive (like Mr. Bogus or those old Rankin-Bass Christmas specials), in my opinion. The Will Vinton stuff is way more expressive. The characters have faces that ACT.

-Jeremy

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Posted by Destroy All Pod... on 29 December, 2008 - 15:29
You suppose wrong

Jesus Christ, NO! Where the hell did that come from? Polar Express is horrendous! I never said I prefer CG animation.

What I said is that I don't like claymation...or clay animation. Whatever.

Actually, there is some form of clay animation that I like, particularly Aardman. I also like other forms of stop-motion puppetry.

But in general, clay animation has to be one of the least inspired form of animation, but I don't necessarily feel that it's the medium's fault. I just don't think that there's ever actually been that many clay animators that were worth a damn. Nick Park is certainly at the top of the list of quality work, and I would even put Will Vinton at a distant second, although I don't particularly like Vinton.

I find clay animation to be more of a novelty with very little entertainment value, again, due to the lack of talented animators. Nick Park is really the only one whose animation was good enough to distract me from the fact that I was looking at clay. I don't think Vinton every really knew how to do that.

Although, I will retract my putting Vinton in the same league as Gumby. Gumby was just pure garbage.

~Neil

___________________________
http://www.dasiencomic.com/

117ufcbetting's picture
Posted by 117ufcbetting on 25 December, 2008 - 05:09
Gumby rules! And for good

Gumby rules! And for good claymation (or stop motion animation or whatever he decides to work in) Jan Svankmajer amazing.

"This must be settled the way nature intended....with a vicious, bloody fight!"
Onyx Blackman
Principal, Flatpoint High

NekroDave's picture
Posted by NekroDave on 25 December, 2008 - 10:32
Gumby rules! And for good

Gumby rules! And for good claymation (or stop motion animation or whatever he decides to work in) Jan Svankmajer amazing

Indeed. People should see a few of his shorts including "Alice".

Another group of people I could probably recommend is The Brothers Quay.

Chris@StudioToledo's picture
Posted by Chris@StudioToledo on 25 December, 2008 - 11:34
Adding more...

Jesus Christ, NO! Where the hell did that come from? Polar Express is horrendous! I never said I prefer CG animation.

At least someone hates that. I still haven't seen it myself (and most wouldn't even call it animation due to the use of mo-capping of live-action actors needed for that).

What I said is that I don't like claymation...or clay animation. Whatever.

Actually, there is some form of clay animation that I like, particularly Aardman. I also like other forms of stop-motion puppetry.

I often think Aardman's work differs greatly form what the Vinton Studio did, only because their characters and settings don't try to reveal any sort of non-linear surrealism that often Vinton often had in their projects. You had way too many morphing stuff going on at Vinton while Aardman was more about the setting, ambiance and plot.

I find clay animation to be more of a novelty with very little entertainment value, again, due to the lack of talented animators. Nick Park is really the only one whose animation was good enough to distract me from the fact that I was looking at clay. I don't think Vinton every really knew how to do that.

I do think it comes more from experience and the fact that Park started doing his thing long after Vinton established his career. Sometimes the technology might also be a factor in it as well, such that in the past, they didn't have the kind of assistance like a video freeze-frame device to check back previous frames of the production or the ease of doing it digitally where if you mess up on a frame, you could go back and do it over. You had to make ever effort and guess that it will turn out well in the end once the film was developed.

Although, I will retract my putting Vinton in the same league as Gumby. Gumby was just pure garbage.

~Neil

Some would think the earlier Gumby shorts (when he had BB's for eyes) were far better than the later incarnations, some of them got pretty advant-garde and very confusing to me at an early age.

Chris@StudioToledo's picture
Posted by Chris@StudioToledo on 25 December, 2008 - 11:29
Rex and Herb

I actually have the short Dinosaurs! film you mention on VHS. It's oddly enough starring Fred Savage.

And as for the Raisins, we mentioned the other specials and the cartoon in the podcast.

As for the Walrus breasts, we didn't think it was sexy, we just thought it was really bizarre! Strange design choice.

Star thought Joy To The World was clay as well, but I thought it was just paint. Whatever it was, compared to all the fun cartoon antics of the rest of the special, it is ironically joyless and abstract, and the awful new age reinterpretation of the song doesn't help things. It was always the part of the special no one liked around my household growing up. Maybe the technique itself is interesting, but it just does not fit the tone of the rest of the special at all.

I'm kind of thinking of doing a podcast on the clay Little Prince contrasting it to the anime version that was aired on Nick in the US during the 80's, but we'll see what Zuey and Star think about that idea.

I'll check out some more of those videos, Chris! Thanks for the links!

-Jeremy

Destroy All Podcasts DX's picture
Posted by Destroy All Pod... on 29 December, 2008 - 15:59
I actually have the short

I actually have the short Dinosaurs! film you mention on VHS. It's oddly enough starring Fred Savage.

Strangly I never saw that tape, but the film itself was originally produced years before that tape came out anyway, and was designed essentially to be something you would see in class anyway (aside from it's tongue-in-cheek look at a typical classroom dictation). I sorta dig the climax of it, where the discussion of dinosaurs turns into the environment of a prehistoric age with one coming slowly at you, the entire classroom was in shock at the thought of being eaten by a raptor before the chalkboard was erased. After the kid finishes his report, he has to act like a big shot to some girl in class with lines like "It's all in a day's work!"

And as for the Raisins, we mentioned the other specials and the cartoon in the podcast.

I remember.

As for the Walrus breasts, we didn't think it was sexy, we just thought it was really bizarre! Strange design choice.

One of the things I've learned applying feminine qualities to cartoon/funny animals of this nature, is that you often dealt with the need for human attributes to characters who wouldn't have 'em in the real world. Giving a walrus a bust probably would be out of the question if all they had to do was stick on eyelashes and a bow and be done about it, rather than to go further defining it's sexual characteristics. Usually female characters are often depicted as sleak, slender models against the more stocky, broad-shouldered males in cartoons.

It's that same line of thinking that made Pixar go back and remove giant orb boobs on a figuring that appears in the 1989 short "Knick Knack" (man fans bitched about that when it was shown paired with one of their movies).

Star thought Joy To The World was clay as well, but I thought it was just paint. Whatever it was, compared to all the fun cartoon antics of the rest of the special, it is ironically joyless and abstract, and the awful new age reinterpretation of the song doesn't help things.

Hey, I like new age!

It was always the part of the special no one liked around my household growing up. Maybe the technique itself is interesting, but it just does not fit the tone of the rest of the special at all.

I did't mind at all. It was an interesting departure from that other stuff (much like the way Fantasia went through different approaches to music as well).

I'm kind of thinking of doing a podcast on the clay Little Prince contrasting it to the anime version that was aired on Nick in the US during the 80's, but we'll see what Zuey and Star think about that idea.

That would be interesting. The anime series itself though is not meant to be a true adaptation of the book, rather an interesting expansion of the premise of that story, where the kid travels to many places on earth and back to his own planet in every episode. This was one of those shows I had seen way back in the days when Nickelodeon used to buy whatever they felt like showing and not care for the ratings they do now. Surprised me recently to find out Yoshikazu Yasuhiko worked on this show, let alone that there was another four episodes that were made, but never aired until they got released on video in Japan later (though I don't think they got dubbed into English anyway as we only got 26 episodes anyway).

I'll check out some more of those videos, Chris! Thanks for the links!

-Jeremy

Sorry if it seemed like I had a lot to say here, I'm just a bit too informative and detailed to give my opinions on the matter. Hell I have a lot to say about your latest podcast for Heavy Metal, and how that became the gateway drug to anime most of my generation was inducted into.

Chris@StudioToledo's picture
Posted by Chris@StudioToledo on 29 December, 2008 - 23:15
Dinosaurs

Oh, hmm, so they filmed a new framing segment and pasted it around the existing dinosaurs short? That sort of makes sense. It always seemed really oddly matched to me, and the the kid in the Claymation sequence sure doesn't have Fred Savage's voice.

No idea on the Pixar stuff. Not really up on Pixar history and such, and that was really too new for my history of animation class in film school.

Yaz worked on the Little Prince, huh? What did he do, character designs?

-Jeremy

Destroy All Podcasts DX's picture
Posted by Destroy All Pod... on 31 December, 2008 - 02:52
More on Dinosaurs

Oh, hmm, so they filmed a new framing segment and pasted it around the existing dinosaurs short? That sort of makes sense. It always seemed really oddly matched to me, and the the kid in the Claymation sequence sure doesn't have Fred Savage's voice.

You bet! This short was originally made in 1980, I can only guess the producer/s of the Dinosaurs video probably remembered this film and got permission to use it for that purpose.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0080629/

No idea on the Pixar stuff. Not really up on Pixar history and such, and that was really too new for my history of animation class in film school.
Oh well. I never did have a class like that to go to where I was, so I had to learn this all on my own (meaning, watch a lot of tapes, comb through books at the library, etc.). Now I feel wasted I know so much pointless stuff!

Yaz worked on the Little Prince, huh? What did he do, character designs?

-Jeremy

I believe so. Funny the kind of stuff he was doing outside of Gundam in those days, such as this 70's cartoon about some prehistoric Dennis the Menace-type called "Kum Kum"...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V90TeXn4A50
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyF4nq6uNrg

Chris@StudioToledo's picture
Posted by Chris@StudioToledo on 31 December, 2008 - 13:13
Wasted Time

Haha, don't feel like you wasted time. Learning something is always valuable. I'm just not that into Pixar. Not downing on them or anything, just not really my cup of tea.

-Jeremy

Destroy All Podcasts DX's picture
Posted by Destroy All Pod... on 5 January, 2009 - 17:43
 
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