Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Showing some love for Phil Tippet's Go-Motion Maniraptors

I unfortunately need to start with a complete downer: Now we'll never know what would have happened in "The Breakfast Club: Monday Morning". :(
Now, If I'm remembering right, I'm pretty sure I have already mentioned one of my favorites from my childhood, the 1985 TV documentary "
Dinosaur!" (not to be confused with the aforementioned Epic Fail, "Disney's Dinosaur".) This aired once on one of the (then) big three stations and was hosted by Christopher Reeve as he toured the pre-massive-update American Museum of Natural History in New York City.*
"But, Trish," you ask, "why is this charmingly outdated dinosaur documentary relevant to this art/animation/pop culture blog?"
I was just about to get to that. There are two fun parts to this particular doc. One is that it focuses more on the very unusual "dinosaurs in popular culture" angle. You don't see many people writing about this and it isn't like there's a lack of things to write about.
But more interesting by far are the animated sequences:

Phil Tippett for the waffles.
You think you're unfamiliar with Tippett, but you have, without a doubt, seen his work. And if you read over his very diverse filmography, you'll note that he loves all his "babies".
Most notably, he perfected a variation on stop-motion animation called "Go-Motion". The technique utilizes a slight blur to achieve a somewhat more naturalistic movement. Originally, he was going to use this kind of animation in "Jurassic Park" and that's where the 'raptors come back in:

Woah. (At the same time, um... tongues? Well, it was very early in production and the character designs hadn't been finalized yet.) They did a few tests like this but ultimately decided to do a still-very-awesome-looking combination of (get a cold drink and a comfy seat) stop-motion augmented CGI, elaborate puppets, full-sized animatronics, and even people in suits a la classic "Godzilla". The fact that you really can't tell which is which even now tells you how awesome Tippett and his animation team really is.
Heck, I'm still mourning the fact that we didn't get to see the rumored early proposal of "Disney's Dinosaur" that would have been animated by a team led by Tippet, would have had no dialogue at all, and would have been directed by Paul Verhoeven.
Let me repeat that: a
Paul Verhoeven Disney movie.
With animation by Phil Tippet.
And no talking.
At all.
Man, the world missed out on something Epic there. Epic Win or Epic Fail, we shall sadly never know.
It also makes me wonder about this little slice of WTF...

* - I have a great tale of childhood woe to tell now that I've brought AMNH up.
When I was a kid, my family and I visited New York City
once. Only once. The post-massive-update Dinosaur Halls at AMNH were the one thing in the entire city I had any interest in seeing.
We get to the museum on the
last day of our trip. Guess what one part of the museum is closed? Go on!

Scarred. For. Life.
All you kids who are sad because the things don't really come to life at night can bite me.
And just for fun...

1 comment:

Zach said...

That Christopher Reeve doc is my favorite TV spot on dinosaurs ever. And Tippett's animation is second to none these days. It really is a shame that Disney's Dinosaur turned into the crapfest it did, because the alternative would've been kickass.

That AICN post is five year old, but it still makes me scared. As far as I know, however, JP4 is basically dead (extinct?) in the water. Don't know if I'm happy or sad about that--after JP3, the series can only go UP, right?