Saturday, 5 February 2011

Fantasia Mosaic (X)

Hey folks, I hope that we are just in time for a mosaic of Fantasia as we are currently onto The Rite of Spring - and this time Bill Roberts takes over for directing the sequences. Today, I'm postings two sequences, as I want things to go ahead, but I'm going to do the commentaries separately, so it's two short sequences into one posting that I think will do for now. Oh, by the way - I think the Rite of Spring mosaics look great because of the wonderful restoration - I love it!

The Undersea Life and Growths sequence is really a whole sequence animated by an unknown animator called John McManus. John McManus is an animator who has been in the background of Disney during the Golden Age of Disney Animation - he occasionally did effects animation. But, he did a lot of animation in the background, like the seagulls during the Monstro the Whale chase sequence in Pinocchio. Before the draft came up, I expected McManus doing work on this evolutionary sequence.

Here is a very interesting sequence here the story research artists are visualizing from Science's accounts on what believes to be the first living cells in the life on Earth which would be about 3.5 billion years ago, as scientists believe that the universe was created about 14 billion years ago. It is believed that the first living creatures started underwater will single cells that suddenly multiplied into various creatures. Evolution is taking its course.

What I find interesting that that there are mud explosives that cover the entire scene, and there doesn't seem to be an effects animator credited on all three scenes except for one by Josh Meador, I wonder if Meador does all the three mud explosives in the sequence. What's interesting is that some of the effects animators with the bubbles are only credited to John McManus (who also does the life scenes), and only a few scenes are credited to effects animator - although, the draft says "FINAL", and I now suspect that McManus also does the bubbles as well.

John McManus' fish and evolutionary scenes are serviceable and it obviously looks like he worked long hours on this sequence, and a lot of work to achieve this. What I am very pleased to see is the ink cels that went over the fish creatures (jellyfishes), it's very creative and especially in Frank Grundeen's scene of the fish creatures.

I noticed that Frank Grundeen's one shot of the sea creatures undersea was more different and less structure than John McManus' - for example one of the green fish being caught by a jellyfish sort of have cartoonie eyes while compare it to McManus' - and yet Grundeen works in the same level with background animation as John - but I just think John McManus' evolutionary sequences are just more realistic than Grundeen's. Don't forget, that this was probably the only time in Fantasia where Frank Grundeen was involved in animating and maybe his animation isn't so probing because he was more of a comic artist later on at Disney on Donald Duck. Too bad that he was never really recognized by his work.

What I do see in the last scene of the sequence is that - the fish that swims along beginning in shot 20 that the fish gets swimmer and yet that's from science's accounts - that the amphibians grow and grow, and until on land they become the first dinosaurs.

A small but (in my opinion) a rather slow sequence to me - of  course, I know the score The Rite of Spring but I can't remember the score of the pterodactyls being in the original Stravinsky piece. I will have to listen to it again to get a better idea. Basically, this is a continuation from the other sequence, that's why I'm posting two sequences today.

It's a rather small but small sequence, and it really doesn't have a plot at all - except this sequence shows pterodactyls and they are at the very top of a mountain and they fly down trying to grab some fish to eat. What we learn here is that the pterodactyls here are not herbivores (vegetarians); and they fly down to grab some stuff to eat - while one pterodactyl fails to catch some fish while an unknown specie (looks like a pre-historic crocodile) captures one of the pterodactyls and eats them.

What's interesting is that the dinosaurs appear to be mainly animated by effects animators (Art Palmer, Jack Harbaugh, George De Beeson), while there is one shot of the dinosaurs by non-effects animators which are Paul Busch and Frank Grundeen (again). The pterodactyls are animated by two uncredited animators Don Patterson, George De Beeson and credited effects animator Art Palmer.

In the draft it is just labelled as "PATTERSON", and since there were two Pattersons at the Studios "Ray and Don", it is safe to say that the pterodactyl animator is Don Patterson - the structure is there - and you just can't think of a Tom and Jerry animator like Ray who would handle such a scene like that. I believe that we see another Don Patterson scene again in the Rite of Spring segment again - although, it will be interesting for you because Don Patterson didn't really do much scenes on Night on Bald Mountain (see the draft), and yet Don gets pterodactyls to work on - I wonder why he wasn't credited for Rite - it's the screen footage that counts.

I found a website about George De Beeson before in the past and I found a drawing that he did of one of the pterodactyls in the scene trying to catch one of the fish, and the draft is correct - that is George De Beeson handling the scene. Take a look at his site here.

Say guys, would you think of the new restored Fantasia I just think it's awesome don't you think - it makes it look a better, appealing film.


Eric Noble said...

Fascinating sequence. This must have been something wholly new for the Disney animators to tackle. There had to be a whole new level of naturalism in the animation. I would have loved to have talked to the artists who worked on this, to get their feelings about it. Even better would have been to interview them WHIle they were working on this film.

Steven Hartley said...

Yeah I wish some of the interviews on this sequence could be posted too.

Oh BTW, have you heard of Animator Bill Justice passed away on Thursday, I'm so sad to hear that.

What I'm said to hear about it is because I written a letter to him a few weeks ago, and I was hoping for reply and I felt that it was too soon or too late for me to write.

I will deeply miss him :-(.