Tag Archives: Animation

See You Soon, Space Cowboy

It’s probably obvious that I’m a science fiction fan and, if you look at my own series, Rogue Tyger, a fan of the “crew on a ship and mayhem ensues” sci-fi sub-genre. And while it’s a very different show from what I’m trying to do, the landmark anime series Cowboy Bebop was and is a huge influence — and not just in terms of the title.

So, of course I’m going to check out the upcoming live-action version from Netflix and immediately checked out their opening credits teaser that dropped the other month:

Okay, exciting to see the transition to live-action. I fully expect things to change, but it feels a bit Adam West Batman at times. I mean, Cowboy Bebop is nothing if not style and you get a sense of style, but I still remember Disney’s Black Cauldron and the cute-ification of Gurgi. Don’t mess this up, folks.

So next, this drops.

On the one hand, this is an absolute blast. There’s a sense of play and meta-storytelling that tells you this isn’t your average show. On the other hand, even with the hint at Vicious, is this too wacky/silly? Maybe. I mean, part of the joy of Cowboy Bebop for me was not just the inventive worldbuilding and sense of style, but the fact that they could go from absurd and comical to serious quite quickly. Because even if the characters didn’t approach life somberly, it was a very serious solar system out there with things that could quickly kill you. And again, I get that something with the tone could change in going to live action, and it could be its own thing, but even so:


Finally, this drops:

Yeah. There we go. Many of the beats hit just right. Funny. Serious. Bizarre. That’s my Bebop right there.

Just don’t mess it up.

The Rise and Fall of Saturday Morning Cartoons

Tomorrow, your kids may be binge-watching some cartoon on some streaming services. They may even do so whilst consuming copious amounts of Chocolate-Frosted Sugar Bombs. But they will not be viewing a network broadcast slate of cartoons like generations of kids have. Why is that?

Charles Moss in The Saturday Evening Post has your answers in a article so perfectly titled, I just used it above. He also provides a whole lot more detail about the business forces that led to the animation domination of Saturday mornings, the migration to weekly afternoon, and the hang-wringing (in some quarters) all along the way.

Thanks to Netflix on disc (which, incidentally, still exists) and now streaming services, I have quite firmly gone away from almost all “Event TV,” though the threat of spoilers has led to accelerating some viewing.

But knowing that our kids will never know the ritualized weekend kick-off we did? A slight bummer.

The Little Prince: Worth a Watch (or Rewatch)

This is one of my rare time-sensitive posts, so bottom-line up front: if you want to watch The Little Prince on Netflix — and my premise is you should — it’s leaving on May 4th, so do it now!

Those of you who have read last year’s installment of my Favorite Films list already know I hold this film in high esteem, but I believe the 2015 film version of The Little Prince is one of the best animated films released in the past 10 years. And there have been some good animated films in the past decade.

And here’s the thing, due to a distribution kerfuffle, people here in the United States almost missed an opportunity to see it until Netflix stepped up — and we’re all better for it.

Many people may not realized just how many different adaptations of The Little Prince that have been made. It’s a story that touches all of us (assuming we’re not too much of the wrong kind of grown-up). And while some people of my generation may remember Stanley Donen’s musical version from the 70s (aka the one with Bob Fosse as the funkiest yet disturbing snake you ever saw), the story of The Little Prince is not, to my mind, a feature film length tale. Much like Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, it’s better as a compact and moving half-hour special — though look how thoroughly Hollywood has ignored that assessment.

So what I love is that the 2015 film version tells the original story, but wraps it in another story of The Aviator passing the story along to a little girl. The girl herself is being raised by a single mother who, while loving, has clearly been buffeted by events offscreen in ways far too many of us can imagine. And so she wants her daughter to be serious and “essential” to better survive this crazy thing called life.

What I love, and why I would urge all of you to give it a rewatch on Netflix, is how many lovely little notes are adding into this as the story unfolds. There’s great truth and depth beyond the dialogue that hearkens to Terry Gilliam’s ‘Trilogy of Imagination’ (Time Bandits, Brazil, The Adventures of the Baron Munchhausen). In this way, I find the film to be great family viewing, because adults can get references and moments understandable only by experience, but it doesn’t make the tale too scary or dull for kids.

And for those of you who haven’t seen it yet, you will be treated to great voice work by Jeff Bridges, Rachel McAdams, Paul Rudd, Paul Giamatti, and more (the French version is similarly impressive from what I’m told for you French speakers). The score from Hans Zimmer and Richard Harvey is exhilarating, and the mixture of computer animation and stop-motion animation just feels right.

At the end, you’ll find you’ve seen a film that clearly tackles themes of imagination and the human spirit, but softly meditates on how we face life and face death. And that’s no small feat to introduce to a child, or remember as a grown-up.

So I hope some of you make the time to watch it before it leaves Netflix and, yes, I am aware of DVD/Blu-Ray technology and already have my copy in preparation for its departure. But for those of you on the fence, you’re more likely to click over to Netflix than order a disc. So go ahead. Treat yourself to a little movie magic.

Stan Lee: Animated… and with a little Salt

As longtime perusers of the site may know, I count myself among the legion of Stan Lee fans. Being introduced to “The Man” at an early age helps.

So I was delighted to see this animated rendition of an outtake made by Stan Lee about what has been termed “the Queen Mother of dirty words.”

So, yeah, this is not safe for most workplaces or kids’ ears. But it’s delightful in a @#$%ing wrong way.


Nobody’s a Nobody

It’s a busy week, so just one post. I don’t know who needs this bit of delightful wackiness, but someone you know does.

The Brothers Chaps Return!

Okay, so it’s not exactly Homestar Runner –unless you’re thinking of some of the alternate realities Strong Bad emails visited, but there’s an interview and clips of their new surreal Disney XD cartoons in this Vox article.

And for those of you who miss Homestar and Strong Bad, there are some wonderful new ‘toons as well, including this particularly meta one.