Tuesday, March 18, 2008

"For the last time, it's not spelt 'Dalmations'!"

I picked up a copy of the new One Hundred & One Dalmatians DVD the other day. For some reason, the quality of the Platinum Edition series has been gradually decreasing over the past few years. I was somewhat disappointed with the release of Jungle Book last October, & this one was a bit lacking as well. But the virtual puppy games, music videos & sneak peek spots aren't what I'm about, it's the movie that get's me excited.

One Hundred & One Dalmatians is one of my favorite Disney films. I guess it's because it's the most different Disney movie they ever did up to that point (besides Fantasia). There's no big elaborate song sequences where everybody stops & sings (besides the "Cruella DeVil" number) & no princesses to fuss over. Its in it's own little catergory.

I know Walt Disney hated the Xerox look of the film, but I think that's one of the main reasons why its so charming. For an animator, it's got that sketchy quality that we all admire, like a colored pencil-test. The backgrounds are really unique for a Disney picture, where everything looks flat & has that graphic style. It may have been an eyesore to Walt, but to us animators & cartoonists, it's eye candy.

Although the film probably has the greatest amount of recycled animation of any other Disney movie, every single bit of animation excites me. I might go into detail in a later post about Disney's constant reuse of animation, but for now let's focus on the positve stuff. The characters, the special effects & even the rotoscoping they did on the cars blows me away every time. & out of all the human characters that Disney has done, the stylized designy ones in this film seem the most appealing to me, even if they are greatly exaggerated caricatures of real humans. & don't even get me started on 6,000,000+ spots they had to draw!

The middle of the film is my favorite, from the Twilight Bark sequence up the the last scenes at Hell Hall . & my favorite characters in the film are not the dalmatians, but the trio made up of the Captain, the Colonel & Sgt. Tibs (with Jasper & Horace right behind). It's interactions & conversations between personalities like these that always intrigue me. The way Sgt. Tibs is repeatedly flustered by the Colonel's serious yet awkward demeanor alway's makes me laugh. It's Leslie Nielsen if he were a sheepdog. To me, that stuff is pure gold.

& speaking of gold... isn't J. Pat O'Malley's English accent for Jasper just beautiful? Out of all the lines in the movie, Jasper has the best ones: phrases like "...We're gettin' plenty of boodle.", his long stretch about the new law passed in Parliament, & one of my all-time favorite line from any Disney film: "Here, grab a torch! We'll hunt 'em down before ou can say 'Bob's yer uncle'!"

I could probably go on & on about how great this movie is, but it'll just turn into a big gushfest, so I'll leave off here. I highly recommend buying (or at least renting) One Hundred & One Dalmatians on DVD. The bonus features may be lacking, but the film is worth the cost.


vigoureux artiste said...

I didn't know that they rotoscoped the cars... I like this movie as well. It reminds me of my dogs and yes, its a segway of the usual princessy thing... The characters are very lovable..

Michael J. Ruocco said...

Vigoureux artiste - Yes, the cars were indeed rotoscoped. They made miniature models of Cruella's sports car & the Badun's van & painted it white with thick black outlines. They shot the cars (probably using stop-motion), xeroxed the black lines of the cars onto cels & painted them to make them look handdrawn. The scene where it really stands out the most is where Cruella drives her car into a snow bank near the end of the film. The snow looks like it's made of mulch or something.

I'm glad you like the movie as much as I do & thanks for commenting!