Month: December 2009

Noughties are go!

Its farewell to the noughties and david tennant in doctor who!

Saw Avatar over xmas and wasn’t really be sure what the fuss is about. Somethings that might have made it a proper movie:

–  Amazing 3D. There were some effective depth of field shots… but having watched movies like Coraline, Bolt and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs in 3d, I wasn’t sure what the technological breakthrough in Avatar was. An improvement in degrees perhaps, but it didn’t feel like  a major advancement from recent 3d movies.

–  Convincing human CG characters. Some like Roger Ebert have argued that the movie overcomes the problem of the Uncanny Valley with improved motion capture techinques etc. But this seems overblown and misguided – the characters still looked CG, and the idea of the Uncanny Valley I think refers to Human duplicates that we find odd because we’re so attuned to reading human expressions and movements. The aliens in the movie however are just that – aliens, and therefore were never going to face a stringent test of the Uncanny Valley problem in the first place, any more than Jar Jar Binks. Also: was it really a huge leap from LOTR’s Gollum?

– Something to tie Jake Sully to his human side; no wife, no kids, no parents, just a bunch of greedy war-mongering capitalists – it made the choice of joining the Na’vi too much of a no brainer. That aside the story was  kinda predicatable from beginning to end, with cardboard characters and wooden dialogue. Some argue there’s some sort of message about Gaia and the environment , but I’m not sure what that is. There’ s a Luddite angle idealising primitive cultures, but the movie itself was made with cutting edge technology. For real tribes facing extinction by loggers, the movie  doesn’t seem much help either – what, pray to the trees and hope the forest animals fight off the loggers? :p

Anyway that’s my Avatar rant. High horses are go too! Except: there is no horse. :p

Happy 2010!

rabbit redux

Did a painted version of the wonderland cover, mostly for the French edition that’s due out next year. Oil on canvas, 30×40 inches.  It was also a chance to see if I could replicate in traditional media a piece that was coloured digitally before, and whether it was a process that I’d enjoy. Mixed feelings ultimately I guess; on the one hand it was an interesting challenge somewhat simplified by having an original to refer to , but that also meant a kind of constraint, so maybe there wasn’t as much a process of discovery and figuring things out as there usually is when painting.

DVDs watched whilst painting: season 1 of Battlestar Galactica (Edward James Olmos is great, mixed feelings about the religious angle) and seasons 2-3 of the Wire. Which felt a lot like the brilliant  Homicide Life on the Streets, which totally made sense when I found out that Homicide was based on a book by the creator of the Wire :p