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» AnimationNation   » General Discussion   » Extremism in Toon Town...

   
Author Topic: Extremism in Toon Town...
Semaj
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The recent news about the upcoming Looney Tunes show has inspired a lot of controversy, and to me exhibits exactly what's wrong with the cartoon community.

This time around, I would say that short of bringing the classic cartoon library back to television, Warner Bros. is beginning to realize that reusing classic characters doesn't work without some common sense. The upcoming series will be much more faithful to the characters everybody is familiar with.

One article even covered how they found out what was wrong with Baby Looney Tunes and Loonatics Unleashed. The latter inspired an online campaign (by an 11 year old!) that resulted in the softening of the characters' rough edges.

So why are fans still so allergic to any new Looney Tunes project? They insist that the characters should have been retired after a certain point, and that WB should focus on creating new and original characters.
The problem with both is that there is no written rule stating when a cartoon characters' time has passed. Other classic characters, like Mickey Mouse and Felix the Cat have benefitted greatly from revivals throughout their extensive careers. Also, the same group tends to ignore and/or criticize any new creation that is made, often comparing them to the classic characters they're so bent on protecting.

While many think of these endless critiques as hatred, the fans themselves defend it as love. But from what I'm seeing, it's extremism. Because they either offer no practical suggestions, contradict many of their own points, or make no effort to solve the problems themselves, they can't seem to tell the difference between fact and opinion. Pretending to know what's best for the cartoon community while living under a rock. No connection with the real world.

Correct me if I'm wrong. Prove that there are some sensible cartoon fans out there.

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SNAKEBITE
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Can you expand on the issue? I don't know whats going on.

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Law
IE # 112
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Is it appropriate to compare the efforts to 'refresh' looney tunes characters (successful or otherwise) to the numerous re-tellings of comic book superheroes. Spiderman, Batman etc. come to mind....

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Semaj
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These are just a few recent topics where the debate has taken place:

http://www.cartoonbrew.com/tv/embarrassing-promo-art-for-cns-looney-tunes-show.html

http://www.cartoonbrew.com/ideas-commentary/marvin-the-martians-opinion-of-cartoon-brew.ht ml

http://www.cartoonbrew.com/classic/the-new-york-times-on-the-new-looney-tunes.html

http://jessicaborutski.blogspot.com/2010/04/yes-i-can-finally-blog-about-my.html

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Paburrows
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Well we don't need to retire them, what people want is for those that do use them is for them to have respect for the characters. Loonatics didn't really show respect for those characters. New cartoons can be made, but Bugs Bunny needs to act like Bugs Bunny, etc, etc.

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hamsterbite
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It pains me to say this -- it pained me to realize it a while back -- but Bugs and the gang haven't been back (for me) since Mel Blanc died. I reeealllly wanted to love the revivals after that, but Blanc's voice - the particular texture of the sounds his actual vocal chords could make - seems to be almost impossible to recreate perfectly. If there's someone else with that timbre to his voice, then he'd also need the comic timing, the energy, AND the ability to impersonate Blanc's creations. That may happen one of these days. I would love it if it did. I know there are artists who could come in and slamdunk their side of the performance. They've already proven that.

Beyond that, I've thought the best we might be able to do is have the classic characters in quick cameos, where old audio clips are used of phrases Blanc has already recorded.

This is just how I feel. And I know it's not a "scientifically provable" opinion. For one thing, I can't analyze what it is that makes the latest Bugs's voice not quite Bugs. If I were sitting in a room with the current voice artist, I'd probably swear it was perfect, but when I see it come out of Bugs's mouth, it just isn't quite. I don't envy anyone the job of trying to imitate a voice we're all so familiar with. (For some reason, by the way, the Disney voices seem a lot easier to nail. Analyzing why would be a different post, I guess.)

After all that, I still hope talented people keep trying. They just might surprise all of us.

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Greg B
IE # 118
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Look at what it took to produce those classic shorts and look at the resources of today.

Primarily, the classic shorts didn't have too many cooks spoiling the broth. Find some animation directors who know their game, give them the tools and talent and tell the special interest groups to stay out of it.

Or should I say "Too many suits spoil the broth."

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E. Allen
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From hamsterbite to Paburrows, I see a lot of points being nailed right and left . . .

I will never believe, fully, in the Studio's ability to giev us a faithful and entertaining recreation of the essence of what made Looney Tunes work for many of us. They've failed at this too many times, at this point.

If these guys can't do it right, they really shouldn't even bother with another attempt.

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tstevens
IE # 234
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You have to consider that some things are better left untouched. With few exceptions the Warner Brothers characters have had a rocky road since the late 50s. And, as was previously noted, a great deal of the soul that was in those characters was gone the day Mel Blanc died. Noel Blanc, Mel's son, was good but just different enough to make your ears cringe.

Another problem is that those characters had personalities that thrived in 7 miute chunks that were based on running gags. The newer stuff exists in long segments often based on lousy story ideas.

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hamsterbite
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Another thought:
I sometimes tend to compare any recent revival effort with the *best* of the old shorts. But there are plenty of those old ones that were pretty weak, or really weak... even some of the voice performances. They're just not the ones I've seen over and over my whole life (for good reason).

It's one reason that reviving the old *system* of creating cartoons would be such a great idea. Good directors would have room to make a clunker every now and then. I wish they'd just bring back theatrical shorts before every movie. Take away a little of the performance anxiety.

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Charles
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Semaj, you're correct in your assessment. Last night after hours this topic was brought up among a group of us. Around 7 or 8 people. At first, I didn't bother to look into it for a couple of reasons. First, it involved cartoonbrew. Second and more importantly, my experience over the years on AN with extremism in animation has lead to my losing interest in subjects like these and what they have to say.

So once we started talking about the topic, a couple of guys went online and I saw the reworked characters. The consensus among everyone there, including myself, was that the character designs were actually pretty good all things considered. And also, they were to the man unimpressed with the ceaselessly negative nonsense at the site.

My comment would be as it always has been to the critics who take wild punches at this sort of thing. Let's see you do better. Show us how you draw. Where's your sketchbook and let's take a look at it.

To the character design artist who reworked the characters, it's not everyday that someone is asked to redesign Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck. I think you did fine and you should be proud. I hope you get this message.

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Charles
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If these guys were around in days gone by, you could expect the same reaction from them when Chuck Jones redesigned the look of the Looney Tunes characters, or when Mickey Mouse got whites in his eyes in place of black dots. The evolution of long lasting characters is part of animation. Sometimes it's for the better, sometimes not, all depends on what you personally prefer, but whatever the case may be, nowadays you can bet who the loudest extremists will be.

Extremism in animation isnn't as prevalent as one might think. Most people don't care one way or the other, but the fanboy thought police make a big stink with just about everything they don't like, even if it has little or nothing to do with animation. As Semaj pointed out in his opening remarks on this thread, and as I've said many times over the years here on the forums, opinions are not facts and unfortunately many of today's critics can't make that distinction.

If you really want to challenge the critics, ask to see their sketchbooks or any kind of example of how they draw.

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PHIL
IE # 137
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I agree with tsstevens, in that what made the old ones work were that they were simple shorts with running gags. The plot there only as an establisher to set the scene. In much the same vein as Tom and Jerry. Now they are long, over-written, heavily dialogued stories. I was a teenager when WB released Taz and Animaniacs, they weren't big favourites of mine but they had their moments, more often than not when they stopped focusing on the dialogue and got on with the action.

An opposite approach is the issue that I take with Hanna Barbera who like WB have a vault of characters to play with but unlike them insist on tirelessly plugging series after series of Scooby-Doo. I'm sorry but what made these characters appeal to me has long been exhausted. There are plenty of other characters/series from HB I'd love to see given a new lease of life, what makes Scooby so special?

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