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» AnimationNation   » General Discussion   » "Monster House" opinions?

   
Author Topic: "Monster House" opinions?
Inkan
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I had been working on the assumption that most professionals here were hostile to "Monster House" because it uses motion capture. But I just saw the review of it by Ebert and Roeper and they fell over themselves praising it. Roeper even asserted that MH should win the Best Animated Feature Oscar. So I wanted to ask, are people here actually looking forward to this movie's debut, or are people hostile to it like I thought? If "Monster House" winds up a Monster Hit, will people here welcome that, or decry it as mo-cap threatens the animation artform?

Me, I'm not a pro and so my opinion is unsophisticated, I'm afraid. Judging from only the trailers, I think the animation for the house itself actually looks pretty good, and imagery from the house's inside looks as scary as it should. The characters are mo-capped, but they don't look like the pseudo human zombies in the awful "Polar Express". Instead they look like run of the mill Tim Burton knockoffs. Unremarkable, but OK, and "Polar Express" showed that they could've been a lot worse.

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Christian
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Don't care too much about the technique used but the preview I have seen didn't really float my boat. I am entirely open to the possibility though that the preview didn't accurately convey the grandeur of the film that Ebert and Roeper have seen in it.
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Jasen
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Is this the same Ebert that gave “Tomb Raider” a thumbs up and the same Roeper praised “Coyote Ugly”?
Paid them no mind since. [tipsy]

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Matt Wilson
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I saw the trailer too, and didn't see anything that would be worth a thumbs up so far, let alone worth advocating motion capture. The characters and their dialogue felt very recycled from other movies of this nature. Felt like I was watching a preview for an episode of Jimmy Neutron rather than an animated feature.

Also does Jon Heder have to play Napoleon Dynamite in every film he's in? I hoped Benchwarmers would've been the end of that.

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Matt Wilson
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Also, Ebert gave Garfield 2 and Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift a thumbs up too, so...
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intergalactic
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I'm glad that my fellow animation artists who worked on this had a chance to work on a large scale project and to actually be employed, this is a good thing.

When I saw the movie poster at Siggraph I was really excited, when I saw the trailer and the art direction I was really excited. When the characters started to move and speak I was so disappointed.

I'm sure this will open a can of worms but the long and short of it is this...

There's just something odd about using human actors movements to animate cartoon characters, I haven't even seen the movie yet but you can see it in the trailer. The movements and dialogue have a life less feel and the strange, it worked great for Gollum but it just doesn't seem to work for cartoon characters.

It really disappoints me that Sony isn't willing to spend the time to allow these incredibly talented animators the opportunity to actually hand animate the characters and not just clean up MoCap data.

By using Motion Capture Polar Express and Monster House fall short of allowing the character animators to bring what they do best to the big screen, in a word....ANIMATION!

My opinion.

...i

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Matt Wilson
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quote:
There's just something odd about using human actors movements to animate cartoon characters, I haven't even seen the movie yet but you can see it in the trailer. The movements and dialogue have a life less feel and the strange, it worked great for Gollum but it just doesn't seem to work for cartoon characters.

It really disappoints me that Sony isn't willing to spend the time to allow these incredibly talented animators the opportunity to actually hand animate the characters and not just clean up MoCap data.

By using Motion Capture Polar Express and Monster House fall short of allowing the character animators to bring what they do best to the big screen, in a word....ANIMATION!

My opinion.

I don't think it opens a can of worms, I think most people would agree here. I think the public will too. There's no emotion on the characters at all. The animation was really not much different than the motion capture used in video games and their cutscenes. Robotic, soulless. Completely NOT the animators fault. They deserved to animate it by hand.

I still don't get the benefit to motion-capture... motion capture studios are extremely expensive to shoot in, aren't they? Especially for a full length film. And then they end up having to clean up and fix all the mistakes they made anyway. And the films using it have had questionable success. Why do the studios bother?

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Christian
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quote:
Also, Ebert gave Garfield 2 a thumbs up
I believe it was sort of a reserved thumbs up (as opposed to an "enthusiastic" thumbs up) where he basically said, "At least it's a little better than the first one."
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animator-boy
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My thought from watching the trailer was pretty much "why isnt this live action with a CG house?" Why use mocap for animated human characters... when there are still plenty of real people around who can help ya out here.

Technique aside the movie looks like it could be fun in a Goonies-eque sorta way...

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Kevin
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I echo everything Intergalactic wrote. I looks better than Polar Express, because they're taking a looser, more playful approach, but I thought the animation on the house itself completely blew away any of the character animation on the humans. I kept thinking, "If you're going to mo-cap actors, shouldn't you at least get some actors who are going to move and act in an interesting way?"

I'll bet the film is actually pretty good. It's a good, simple premise, and has plenty of potential for both comedy and fright. I just think the animation could have been pushed much further, and could have had a more integrated feel.

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willryan
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I'm guilty of rooting for Monster House: I'm secretly hoping it does well since the two guys responsible for the story put out an indy comic book a while back that I'd love to see resurrected. Here's to hoping both this and Kung-Fu Panda do well enough to bring back Scud: The Disposable Assassin in some fashion or form!
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-FP-
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The house was mocap, too.

Here's the performer:

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intergalactic
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lol

...i

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Ganklin
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my initial reaction was like everyone else's here. the action instantly looked stilted and betrayed the designs. there's one or two little takes in the commercial that are very subtle and look very nice ("are you both mentally challenged?" sneers the little girl). overall, it looks like a fun premise, but the mocap sticks out to me. im sure the laymen won't see a differnce...maybe?

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ApeLad
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-FP-
HA!!! Brilliant!!!! [funny] [Big Grin] [blush]

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knowledge
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I have heard that this film is very entertaining.

On a side note, I heard that they did put Kathleen Turner in a mocap suit at one point and actually did have her crawling around "being" the house! Would love to see footage of that!

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Leo Santos
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I think that, at some point, it all comes down to design issues. It's easy in CG to "apply" any kind of motion to any kind of model. But does it fit?

I'm actually looking forward to seeing the movie. Looks fun and well directed. Would I be more excited if it had been keyframed? Definitely, yes. It would fit the design better, the same way drawings are most of the time better than photographs in a comic book.

MoCap can be a cool "digital live action" tool in the future, with great visual possibilities and projects designed to fit the technique well. But it's a different creature than keyframe animation. Not sure whether Hollywood producers will understand that difference, though.

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Doodles
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After watching the trailer for this thing a couple of times at the theatre just before Cars, I can sum up my interest as [puke]

I have a greater interest in shaving my genetaila with a cheese grater than watching that mess.

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VAN_Paulus
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Most people I talk to that are not animators are telling me they can't wait to see this film. And that it looks really good.
Animators , and I am one, have more mixed feeling about the film.

I would prefer this film to be all keyframed. Good character animation is way more appealing. Some of the posters above have mentioned the house and some of the keyframing scenes.
The producers and director chose to spend their ressources to make this a mocap picture because They think it looks and feels better.
They beleive they have a unique looking film in the marketplace.

I know many here will disagree but
I am Curious to see how big an audience will turn out for the movie.


[Confused]

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Charles
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Monster House will probably be a monster hit and once again, AN's lurkers will delight in a film's success after reading the negative comments.

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Floyd Bishop
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I can't help but think that, for people like us, celebrating an "animated" film like this is a bit like the indians welcoming the pilgrims to the "New World".

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Jennifer Hachigian Jerrard
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quote:
I can't help but think that, for people like us, celebrating an "animated" film like this is a bit like the indians welcoming the pilgrims to the "New World".
If it makes you feel better...

Rotoscoping's been around for several decades, but folks still flocked to see the non-rotoscoped Lilo & Stitch.

Polar Express was a success at the box office, but it didn't kill the audience's appetite for the hand-keyed Ice Age 2, Over the Hedge and Cars.

I figure good animators will be still be in demand years from now, whether or not Monster House succeeds or fails.

[lamer]

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Jasen
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Thank you Floyd!
Also see frustrated animators just wanting to do their jobs that's all.
I mean that thread that was posted here on Run Away Brain, geez hadn’t been that nostalgic on anything like that in a long time. It was almost like finding & watching an old video cassette of a pet that passed away years earlier.

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Mr. Fun
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I'm afraid I'm in agreement with Floyd.

Don't mean to bag on the movie's creators, but this isn't the animated medium moving forward.

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animator-boy
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Interesting... many folks on this forum busted out the trumpets for Hoodwinked because it was "independent"..way to go Hoodwinked! The praise seemed to ignore the fact that the animation was outsourced....to me that is the greater danger to the industry..

I am by no means defending mocap o mation, however if you really want to be worried about something, be worried about your job going overseas....cheaper..faster...all that..

Just my opinion...

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SoleilSmile
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I'm not sure if anyone had mentioned this before, but, what bothers me is that the eyes on the characters are dead.
I don't mind the style, it makes me think of Encylcopedia Brown, Magic Tree House and the work of the Hoban's, but please, give the eyes and the rest of the supporting features some life.
I do hope Sony improves it's technique and finally come into stride. Dreamworks did so with its hipness for Madagascar. Therefore, I'm really hopeful that Sony's distonctive vision will truly shine one day soon.

Keep trying Sony crew!

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Scarlett
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I completely agree with other members on here in that it should have been live action with a CG House, but the premise itself is just weak. What are people thinking these days!!??
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Kion
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Just got back from watching 3d monster house, pretty cool movie. I think it works well, It reminded me of Monster Squad ,Goonies( both movies were my childhood favorites "classic"). For mocap "animation" at times it didn't look right but the most part it didn't bother me and I think it was a good fit for the movie, the general public won't notice. I was also thinking that the film should have been live action but after seeing I think animation was the right choice. Its way different from most cg animated films out now. I've said this before all cg films should be in 3d, its so friggin cool. If your interested you should go see it. I think kids will love it. Dare i say it might "might" be a cult classic like goonies or monster squad. I had fun watching it!

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Kion
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On second thought I'm on the fence about the animation, i guess the most important thing is that it works, i mean i don't want to settle for crap but i wouldn't say the animation was crap,arrrrg I need to got to sleep.

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SquarejawHero
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Just watched Monster House. I really enjoyed it, a fantastic kids flick with a sharp script adults can enjoy and a lovely surreal edge to the design. I've heard it compared to 80's kids flicks like The Goonies and I'd say that comparasion is justified... Certainly, it's got smarts and a dark streak that makes it feel a bit like "Gilliam for children" - even more so than the fun but slightly lacking Gilliam-directed Brothers Grimm!

Although... yeah, as it did in The Polar Express, the mocap got in the way for me - as an adult. The characters, although visually beautifully rendered, often took me out because they tipped off the edge into uncanny-valley territory. Not cartoony enough to be cartoons, I think what does it is the "looseness" of Mocap, wherein they don't feel properly jointed, and the almost complete lack of facial extremes. People don't react or act quite as they should do, and as such... professionally I think it lacks detail.

This can be seen particularly when characters are panicked or, most jarringly, when the Mum is fussing over her son at the beginning. Yes, it really bothered me that her face wasn't matching the voice. Cartoons NEED to feel LIKE cartoons, otherwise they're not cartoons. More so than some realistic animé (in particular that of Satoshi Kon), where I can appreciate the technical and artistic effort but understand the criticism... I think that the lack of emotion in some places played against it. It's not a film that requires subtlety, yet the technique is subtle. Whereas Kon pushes his realistic characters in Tokyo Godfathers, for example, into extremes to add emotion, Monster House fails to take any advantage of the possibility of letting go.

EXCEPT... in the case of the house itself, which is utterly remarkable and displays far more range than any of the kids. The rest of the movie beyond that is far more dependent on the script, the marvellous ideas and some brilliant voiceacting. But I don't think that's enough.

Mocap does feel like a shortcut... and to me Monster House, although an excellent kids film that adults can enjoy, didn't really go as far visually as the script went... and as such, a nagging part of me feels that there's a bit of a lost opportunity for greatness.

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rdelgado
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How come the house chases the kids around suburbia without a single person hearing the noise and coming out to help?

Loved the art direction and the basic scenario, but the plot holes and humanizing of the villain worked against the story. Cool stuff, but more of a brunch than a full course.

Ricardo Delgado

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-FP-
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quote:
How come the house chases the kids around suburbia without a single person hearing the noise and coming out to help
People probably looked out the window, saw the commotion, and pulled the blinds. Didn't want to get involved. That house might have been a gang member, in the kind of gang that kills witnesses. Better safe than sorry. Too bad about the kids, but feckem. They make too much noise all the time anyway.
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SquarejawHero
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I liked the humanisation of the villain, it added a depth I've not seen since The Iron Giant in some ways. Gave it an emotional core beyond being a monster story.

I guess different people take different things.

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devourax
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I too just barely saw "Monster House".

I was excited to see it because it really looks promising.

I wanted to like it....I tried to like it.....

Frankly, it just looks cool. Story didn't do it for me at all.
In fact, most recent 3d films are total eye candy. Stunning in art direction, layout, rendering etc....but the storyline falls flat every time. (ex: over the hedge)

I buy movies because of the stories they tell. Visuals are more secondary.

To me, it was barely worth the dollar rental.

dev-

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eboles
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It wasn't the total package, but I did find it superior to certain key framed animated features this year.

The mocap is strange at first, but you get used to it. It doesn't get in the way of the story. I don't think films like this are a major threat to keyframe animating, I think it's more like another sub-medium that can only add to the visual variety of what's on offer. Most of the animated movies we are getting these days are of the Pixar/Dreamworks cg mold. It's good to have the occasional mocap, 2d, stop-motion and rotoscope movies as well.

My main reservations were to do with Monster House were to do with the story-telling and how things were resolved towards the end. Overall the film was a welcome change of pace.

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-FP-
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Oh yeah, the film itself - - -

It was all right. If I'd seen it when I was ten years old, it would have blown the top of my head off. The twilight-hour/early-evening setting, the big scary danger, the kid interplay...it woulda been great to see MONSTER HOUSE a bunch of years ago.

But... I saw it recently. The revelation of the house's origin struck me as "yucky" and sort of negated most appeal the film had up to then. It would have been cooler if no reason was given, if the house just went crazy and did stuff. The lack of motion blur was drivin' me nuts with the parking brake on. Buscemi's voice wasn't working for me. Mocap neither helped nor hindered, which is proper, I suppose.

Two thumbs sideways.

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Eric Hedman
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I liked the part where they started saying "brains!"

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VAN_Paulus
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Just announced this morning :

HOLLYWOOD FOREIGN PRESS ASSOCIATION ANNOUNCED THE NOMINATIONS FOR THE 64TH GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS


BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

CARS
Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar Animation Studio; Buena Vista Pictures Distribution

HAPPY FEET
Kingdom Pictures, LLC; Warner Bros. Pictures/Village Roadshow Pictures

MONSTER HOUSE
Columbia Pictures; Sony Pictures Releasing


Cool
[thumbsup]

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Fooksie
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I saw it, and thought it was pretty cool.
what grabbed me was the way the house became "haunted".
Just the sort of creepiness you need in a Halloween movie.
The animation wasn't overwhelming, yet it all worked.
Kudos to anyone here who worked on it.

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" Every move a picture! "
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