Monday, December 17, 2007
Storyboard To Screen is a series of posts which will compare actual storyboard sequences created for various toons to their screen counterparts. These posts are meant as pure galleries, as there is really nothing I can comment on that you can't already see for yourself.
As you scan these images, you'll notice that in most cases, besides the crude character sketches vs. the refined film versions, the screen mirrors its storyboard; however other cases are a bit different. Some storyboards show slightly different staging compared to their final screen appearances while others are drastically different.
Today's post compares the storyboards for Steamboat Willie to that film's finalized screen version. All pictures are shown in sequential order, and you can always click on them to view a larger size.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
While nothing really special, Just Mickey is a decent toon with very convincing animation.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
The toon also showcases a brand new title card design. Comparing the new title card with the old one used for the toon Jungle Rhythm, it's easy to tell the major difference: Mickey and Minnie's design. The original title card used the designs for the mice seen in Plane Crazy and The Gallopin' Gaucho, which is strange since by Steamboat Willie both characters were redrawn with pupil-less eyes.
The Barnyard Concert opens with Mickey passionately conducting his orchestra made up of various farm animals.
Because this toon has a very limited story (the animals just play music and nothing more), it is very gag-driven. One of the funnier gags is this one of a pig trumpeter who keeps losing his wig.
Another clever gag centers around another pig trumpeter who keeps playing the wrong, sour note. A frustrated Mickey tries to figure out the problem, and upon closer inspection it is discovered that a fly pretending to be a note is the cause of the confusion.
It must have been hard on the storymen to constantly think up fresh gags, which is why recurring gags are sometimes seen. This one of Mickey pulling the tails of piglets harkens back to Steamboat Willie.
Wild Waves is a decent cartoon with good animation but just an ok story, especially when compared to its predecessor The Haunted House.
The story of The Haunted House is very simple: Mickey weathers a storm and seeks shelter inside a nearby house. Taking a look at just this frame of Mickey, you can clearly see how well defined and animated the character is. I think this is telling of the major growth taking place in the Disney Studio.
Once inside the house, Mickey soon discovers that he is not alone. He stumbles upon skeletons and a cloaked figure which try to scare him.
In a strange twist, the cloaked figure orders Mickey to play the nearby organ so that the entire household can dance to the happy melody. From this point, the toon turns into a song-and-dance routine.
An interesting note is that one piece of animation featuring the skeletons dancing is lifted straight from 1929's The Skeleton Dance, the very first Silly Symphony.
The Haunted House is currently on the banned Mickey shorts list, or Vault Disney. Towards the beginning of the film, Mickey is seen mimicking actor Al Jolson's now infamous black face routine in 1927's The Jazz Singer. Mickey's playful cries of "Mammy" are certainly not out of the ordinary for cartoons and movies from the late 1920s, but the depiction of black face is still considered rascist and morally wrong.
Another reason why this toon is banned is for another rascist depiction featuring two skeletons caricatured as Hasidic Jews. Again, this is not a gag uncommon in films from the this time period; in fact, many more depictions like this occur in other Disney shorts.
The Haunted House is full of great animation and special effects. The use of sillhouette, shadows, flickering candlelight, lightning, wind, rain, and bats flying straight towards the camera are prime examples of the growing sophistication Disney started to give its cartoons. This toon is certainly one of Mickey's best and a stepping stone for further more complex films.
Before Pluto, Mickey was paired up with a large elephant serving as his exotic hunting "dog". The cartoon begins with the two out in the jungle searching for game while playing a few merry tunes on an accordion.Luckily for Mickey a parrot and a monkey find his accordion and play a happy little jig. The music distracts the bear and lion, and soon the entire jungle is dancing to the beat. I like Jungle Rhythm for its visual gags, especially the funny ostrich dance seen above.
It's a habit of Mickey's to use nearby animals as musical instruments, and he does not fail to amuse here. Whether it's using tiger whiskers as a harp, tiger screams for melody, or a lion's tongue for an instrumental plucking, Mickey certainly is creative.
All in all Jungle Rhythm does not present anything notable storywise, but its gags make it one of the better films in Mickey's early career.
Mickey steps out from behind the curtain and sets his piano up to play for the audience. The rest of the cartoon just features Mickey playing piano tunes, which is why I tend to find the short a bit boring and unoriginal.
As I watched The Jazz Fool, it for some reason seemed very familiar to me, as if I had seen Mickey do all this before. I went back to Mickey's previous shorts and discovered that The Jazz Fool borrows heavily from Mickey's piano performance in The Opry House. Both include Mickey banging on the piano keys...