Archive for August, 2008

Kung Fu Panda (2008)

“Kung Fu Panda” (2008 )


it’s all in the faces

The latest years have been busy and interesting in the field of animation. The full transition to digital creation (at least in a main stream context) is a reality, and in the middle of it, the competition between Dreamworks and Pixar/Disney is bringing benefits to us, viewers, all. So far, i’ve been enjoying Pixar’s projects better. They are working in their specific corner of film exploration, which has to do with the use of space. The kind of freedom a virtual camera gives to animation is something they’ve been working properly, at a world class level in Ratatouille. That’s the top of it, so far, to my taste. But here, these guys embrace a research on something that had been somehow neglected until now: the faces.

The camera is virtual, the sets are virtual, but so are the actors (except of course for the voices). So they can be worked in a sort of exaggerated more than real way. That’s done here. So far it’s the best digital faces characterization i’ve seen. Every expression is intended, has a purpose, and is fully enjoyable. Certain subtleties are really intelligent, because in the middle of a great technological capacity, they used quite simple devices (it comes to my mind that eye movement in the monkeys face when the panda is making fun of the master without knowing he is behind him).

The motion in space and throughout the space was not specially interesting, specially if you look at what Pixar has been doing. And this story had potential in that field. Kung Fu, in cinematic terms, is about a dance between the eye and the performer, and the way he fills the space he’s occupying. Here we have a temple in the top of a mountain, with a village at its feet. The only thing they use is the stairs, so the panda can get tired. Could be more. But the faces make up for all this

My opinion: 4/5

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