Written by Fred Patten, and intended for Apa L, 2115th Distribution, LASFS Meeting No. 3563, November 24, 2005.
Golden State Colonial Convalescent Hospital, 10830 Oxnard Street, North Hollywood, California 91606-5098.
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|L.A.con IV in 2006!||Nippon 2007 in 2007!||Salamander Press #2598|
I said a couple of weeks ago that I might see Disney's Chicken Little once or twice more for its Furry characters. But I did not expect to see it as soon as this, or in its 3D version.
Walt Disney Pictures presents a special screening of Chicken Little for members of ASIFA-Hollywood
Tuesday, November 15th
CHICKEN LITTLE in 3D
Directed by Mark Dindal
See it again - in 3-D!
Tuesday, November 15th Screening of CHICKEN LITTLE in 3D
at THE EL CAPITAN THEATER
Start time: 7:30 p.m.
Address: 6838 Hollywood Boulevard, 90028
Rob Powell took me again to this screening. The "Disney Digital 3-D" effect ("a revolutionary new digital 3-D experience") was truly spectacular, but as for the "Unlike the 3-D of yesterday, Disney Digital 3-D will completely immerse you into the world...", it seemed to me to be almost indistinguishable from the Polaroid-glasses 3-D process that brought back memories of all the 3-D movies of the 1950s; complete with the "WARNING! Not Safe For Use As Sunglasses" notices with the dark-gray-lensed plastic glasses. The established name "Polaroid" is nowhere on Disney's "ground-breaking" polarized glasses or its accompanying publicity. ("See the movie! Keep the Glasses!! Take Home Souvenir 3-D Glasses!" Leaving after the movie, the El Capitan's trashbaskets were overflowing with discarded 3-D glasses.) Any improvement in the 3-D effect seems due to the digital computer nature of the film itself. Chicken Little uses a "cartoon" imagery which seems especially well designed for such a 3-D presentation, almost exactly like the childrens' View-Master slide-reels which go back to my childhood, showing fairy tales in 3-D miniature dioramas when viewed through the toy's stereoscopic viewer. This seems to be acknowledged in a statement that the Disney-produced animation was then given to Industrial Light & Magic "which rendered the film in 3-D using newly invented technology creating amazing digital imagery." So the digital magic is in the film more than the viewing technology/hardware.
I wanted to see Chicken Little again anyway as a Furry fan for its anthropomorphized animal characters, so I particularly enjoyed this 3-D version which made every fluff of fur and feathers stand out even more on Bunny Wunny, Foxy Loxy, Goosey Loosey and the others. I also was able to look at a lot of background details that I missed the first time around. Unfortunately, I noticed even more annoying stupidities and inconsistencies in the story, too. If you want to see Chicken Little for its computer-graphic technical excellence, the 3-D enhancement may well be worth a trip into Hollywood to see it at the El Capitan. Otherwise, the 3-D excellence does not change the fact that it is probably the most irritatingly silly movie of the year; banal fluff that you would expect Don Bluth to produce.
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I received my contributor's copy of Jerry Beck's The Animated Movie Guide last week. You can see its cover at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1556525915/104-6565581-9905566?v=glance&n=283155. I was happy to find my name on the title page. Right under Jerry Beck's name as the primary author & editor, it says: "Contributing Writers: Martin Goodman, Andrew Leal, W. R. Miller, Fred Patten". The "Contributors' Biographies" are prominently at the front of the book, on pages xiii-xiv, instead of being buried at the rear of the book as in others that I have written for. I wrote the profiles of the Japanese features released from Magic Boy in 1961 through Ghost in the Shell 2: Innocence in 2004.
The Animated Movie Guide is a book that I am proud to be associated with. It is sure to become a reference book in almost every academic and public library in America. It is xx + 348 pages, plus 16 glossy color pages in the middle of the book. There are one or two black-&-white illustrations on the majority of the double-page spreads; stills or illustrated movie ads from the movies discussed. The main text consists of writeups of every animated feature released theatrically in the U.S. from 1926 through the end of 2004; a total of 308 movies. This has profiles of every animated feature from the classics like Pinocchio and Gulliver's Travels to obscure films like The Man from Button Willow and Shinbone Alley that are barely mentioned anywhere else. To cover other animated movies that the public might expect to find in here & want information about, there are appendices listing "Limited Release Animated Features" which only had screenings at film festivals or children's Saturday matinees when such existed; the "Top 60 Animated Features Never Theatrically Released in the United States" to cover well-known features like The Animatrix, The Little Norse Prince, most of the animated Batman movies and Animalympics that were released directly to TV or home video; and the "Top 20 Live-Action Films Featuring Great Animation" like Anchors Aweigh, Mary Poppins, and Stuart Little. Since probably 95+% of animated features are fantasies and s-f films, this book deserves to be in the LASFS Library. I presume that it is in the ubiquitous Barnes & Noble and Borders chain bookshops (as well as available by mail order from Amazon.com), so I urge all LASFen to take a look at it and decide whether it is worth buying for themselves. I consider it fun to read, as well as an essential reference book; but of course I'm prejudiced.
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I also received this past week, as a member of ASIFA-Hollywood, a free DVD from DreamWorks of Madagascar, with a request to vote for it for Best Animated Feature Film in any of this year's film awards that I may be a voter for. And, separately, an invitation to submit any animated film that I produced during the past year to the AniFest 2006 film festival in Trebon, Czech Republic, on May 4 - 10, 2006. There are more international animation festivals than most people realize.
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Michael Burlake brought me to the LASFS meeting last week. Even though we arrived early, the handicapped parking spot was already taken so we had to settle for curbside parking around the corner. At least that will not happen next month, thanks to Kay Shapero who bought the Alderson parking spot for December and donated it to me. She also brought three more s-f books from the Los Angeles Public Library for me. Thanks, Kay.
The main event of last week's meeting was the election of new LASFS Board of Directors members. This lasted so long that I had to leave before the ballot-tallying was over. But I got to cast my votes, which was the main thing. I can find out who won later.
Scott Beckstead asked if I still wanted to be Fan Guest of Honor at next year's Loscon. I had almost forgotten that he had invited me when he was organizing his bid for it, before I had my stroke. I confirmed that I did, since if Howard DeVore can be Fan GoH of L.A.con IV in his wheelchair, I should be able to be a Loscon 33 Fan GoH in mine.
There was no Cartoon/Fantasy Organization last Saturday. Usually the C/FO finds an alternate venue in November so it can continue to meet on the third Saturday when the LASFS needs the clubhouse as a staging area for the Loscon the following weekend. But this year, the C/FO got the bright idea of trading Saturdays, since nobody else uses Freehafer Hall during the Loscon. So the C/FO will meet here on this 4th Saturday, while everyone else (including me, and probably several other C/FOers) are at Loscon 32. This strikes me as a bad idea. I will be interested in finding out how many attendees the C/FO gets this month.
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-- Comments on Last Week's Distribution:
De Jueves #1453 - (Moffatt) Speaking of the Science Fiction Book Club, I was recently asked which if any of the Anderson & Dickson Hoka books are still in print, and I was surprised to find that Amazon.com has a listing for the SFBC's exclusive collection of all the Hoka stories, The Sound and the Furry. "Used & new from $1.19" the Amazon.com entry says, and they all turn out to be used copies. Amazon.com has become a super-used-book shop as well as a definitive store for (almost) all new books. So much for the SFBC's exclusivity of its exclusive editions. There has always been the possibility of the SFBC's exclusive titles being sold to used book stores, but it used to be that the chances of finding a particular title were small and required searching through many used-book stores to find one that had a particular book. Now Amazon.com makes it easy to find almost any "pre-owned" book in America. But I digress. The Science Fiction Book Club has been online for a long time at http://www.sfbc.com/. ## Considering how Roald Dahl complained about Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory's changes from his original story, I suspect that the screenplay in his name was a courtesy credit. Either that or the producers threw out his screenplay and rewrote it to suit themselves. ## The IMDb's synopsis of the Purple People Eater movie is: "Plot Outline: A kid plays the old novelty song "Purple People Eater" and the creature actually appears. The two then proceed to help an elderly couple who are being evicted by their greedy landlord. User Comments: Horrible family comedy. You'd have to be insane to actually go out and rent this, and then take it to your family. The Purple People Eater looked like a bad halloween costume some kid threw on just to get candy. Sure, it's not heavy on violence or anything, but come on! I could film a better remake with my camcorder! A complete and utter waste of time, don't even bother. "
Vanamonde #653 - (Hertz) I was amazed decades ago when I found out "where animated TV commercials come from". There are tiny animation studios all over America that keep in business by producing TV commercials, educational films for classrooms and home video teaching aids, movie & TV cartoon openings & closings (which was how the Pink Panther character got started), and more recently cartoon segments for TV comedy programs such as parodies of Disney movie trailers. Acme Filmworks is in Hollywood, hidden behind the old Athletic Club on Sunset Boulevard. See its promotional website with lots of samples of its animation at http://www.acmefilmworks.com/.
Another One-Page Zine - (Cantor) Thanks for volunteering to get Apa L to me no later than Friday on the weeks that I cannot attend LASFS meetings. I do not expect to be at the club this Thanksgiving Thursday because, as of right now, both my regular drivers will not attend because of personal Thanksgiving dinner plans. ## You sound reassuring, but I will believe that the LASFS Directory has my correct new address when I see it in print. What about my new telephone number, which is not on the De Profundis mailing label? ## Did the Kazakhs have a capital city when they were nomadic tribes? Most of the oldest permanent cities in Kazakhstan only date back to the administrative centers established after the steppes' annexation into the Russian Empire, which were used by the Russian governors more than by the Kazakhs themselves..
Godzillla Verses #63 - (DeChancie) I am unfamiliar with the business practices of Wildside Press, but George Scithers was one of the first fans outside Southern California whom I encountered after joining fandom in 1960, and he has always had an honorable reputation as far as I know. ## I am currently reading Seven for a Secret, by Clive Woodall (Ziji/Gerald Duck-worth Ltd., March 2005, £9.99), which is a highly unusual novel in being horribly written yet grippingly powerful despite that. Sort of like Robert E. Howard's writing style on steroids, or "it was a dark and stormy night" with short sentences. A sample of the dialogue, between two robins: "'Mother, why are you so troubled?' 'I am afraid, Olivia my dear. I had thought that we had put the darkness behind us when we defeated the magpies. But evil arose once more when Traska returned and kidnapped Merion and yourself. Then Traska was vanquished, and the light returned to Birddom. But now I fear that a shadow is again among us. I can't see where the threat is coming from, although I agree with Tomar. I do not trust that owl, Engar. Don't ask me to explain why. I'm not sure that I could. But he seems false; albeit that he is a fine specimen of a bird.' 'A fair face hiding a foul heart?' Olivia replied." I guess that any author who can sell his movie rights to his first novel (this is its sequel) to Disney for six figures (according to the publicity) does not need writing lessons.
I Sing Jabberwocky - (Gold) I agree that no computer graphics has perfectly gotten the look of realistic humans yet, partly because of not-quite-convincing skin. "The Final Flight of the Osiris" in The Animatrix comes the closest. The skin in motion-capture computer graphics like The Polar Express is even worse. ## The movies of Carousel (128 minutes), Oklahoma! (145 minutes) and The Music Man (151 minutes) may not seem over-long because they are so enjoyably lively, but they are each over two hours long which was much longer than the average movie length of the 1950s and early 1960s. They really fill up a day when seen all together. ## The lack of nearby hotels to the L. A. Convention Center is cited by the Comic-Con as one of the main reasons it is not considered a viable alternative to the San Diego Convention Center if the Comic-Con should ever have to leave San Diego.