david tennant

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!

SDCC reportage

SDCC this time round was a different experience, with booth-manning tasks (ordering books, keeping track of sales etc) adding a new wrinkle to proceedings..

First stop after a 17 hour flight was downtown LA, where I’d sent all the books to old RISD friends Danny and Sue, here’s them helping to load their car with many boxes for the drive to San Diego. We then had to figure a way to get the boxes to the exhibition hall itself , despite a trolley with a dodgy comedy wheel that wobbled like a drunken sailor :p

The booth itself, shared with Flight and Gallery Nucleus was centrally located, thought the best way to find it amidst the mayhem was to look for the Marvel banner hanging from the rafters.

The Wonderland HC trade did good business, and i drew quite a few mary anns and chesire cats :p

There were the usual assortment of costumes, though i didn’t get a chance to snap a picture of someone dressed in full Judge Hershey regalia :s

Lots of toys and figurines of course, including original Coraline Stop Motion figures and custom Storm Troopers (my fave ones were the comic con fan and popsicle versions :p)

There were old faces to meet like the folks from the Flight crew, and new ones too, with Mike Allred being the most exciting just cos I’m a big fan of Madman. He’s pictured here with his family 🙂 I missed the Doctor Who panel with Russell Davies and David Tennant, but still got to meet a Dalek, plus one of this guys from Yo Gabba Gabba! :p

Also there were the folks from Secret Identities, it was nice meeting everyone there after only ever communicating via email. There were photo ops with Larry Hama and Kelly Hu too  (its a guy thing, i think :p)

David Sung (animation director) was one of the many people I met at the con, and he was kind enough to show me and danny round the disney studio lots (though the actual animation dept was out of bounds cos of secret secrets), above is me and danny pretending to be mickey mice.

They also had original props on display, the best of the lot was a couple of Steve Zissou headgear, including the red cap worn by Williem Defoe.

Before you knew it, it was time to pack everything back into boxes and say goodbyes.

The saddest one was with Munki, Danny and Sue’s cat who i first met back in art school days at RISD. She’s now 14 years old and was rather ill, and I probably won’t be seeing her again next time SDCC rolls round. Bye bye munki!

more pics at: facebook