Sunday, 3 April 2011

Fantasia Mosaic (XIX)

Hey folks, I know that I may have been busy with other stuff - but I spent about two days making this mosaics - but I wasn't making any rushes. But - here is the Third Movement of the Pastoral Symphony segment of the Fantasia programme.

To me, this is a rather jolly sequence. Although the previous sequence, may have been soppy - but I thought it was the best sequence of the Beethoven segment. However, this here calls for some fun. The centaurs and centaurettes have all found their love ones and now it is the evening and they are planning a celebration party. With lots of wine and drinking, and dancing. All the fawns are invited and even the God of Wine, Bacchus is invited and his donkey (who is apparently named "Jacchus" - as in a pun of what a Greek name for a "jackass god" could be). Although the unicorns and the cupids don't seem to be invited.

True, the music here is very spiritual and exciting - they are all having fun and it makes you feel that they are having a great time. Also true, some of the animation here of the centaurs and centaurettes are pretty shoddy here. Some of the centaurs look very badly drawn by the second-stringed animators. Even some of the centaurettes are pretty badly drawn. Shot 17 of the centaurs and centaurettes skipping down - and Lynn Karp gives the Centaurette very thin arms. I have to admit that shots 32 and 33 are scenes that I'm not the most keen on in terms of animation. The timing of those shots is fine, but the faces just seem a bit unrealistic. Shot 33 animated by Don Lusk but doesn't seem too fitting. In fact, Shot 17 with the centaur holding a barrel of grapes and pouring it just has the most shoddiest animation out of all the segments in Fantasia. Ignore the Walt Kelly faun, that's fine animation. But the Eric Larson centaur (to me) is the first piece of animation in this film so far. The way it is staged and drawn just feels incredibly clumsy. It embarrasses me. There doesn't seem to be details on that character and feels weightless and not believable to an audience.

Now all the animation of the Centaurs and Centaurettes are bad - I must say that some of Jack Bradbury's centaurettes dancing is pretty good and he seems to put a lot of weight onto it. The hair moves and Jack makes it really believable. Although, despite Larson's poor drawing of the centaur - he does some very good shots of the centaurette with the veil. Larson does a very cute scene of the centaurette in shot 39. I wonder if John Reed does the veil animation there.

So far, we see that Jim Handley takes over the directing while Ham Luske is still supervising. I still don't understand about how Ham Luske was casting during this production. He always seems to be co-directing the sequences and not doing it by himself. Was he possibly the supervisor of the whole production and allowed his assistants Ford Beebe and Jim Handley to direct the sequences - so did he just team up with them. Ham Luske does usually seem to team up with other directors, in Willie the Operatic Whale (a segment from Make Mine Music) Ham Luske co-directed the segment along with Clyde Geronomi.

What's very interesting here is the fact that some of the scenes have a lot of artists attributed. Shot 24 with Bacchus, the zebra-centaurettes and fauns approaching have 7 artists attributed to the scene. It has Bob Youngquist, Lynn Karp, Walt Kelly, Ward Kimball, Ed Aardal, Paul Kossoff and George De Beeson. Alright, I will do my estimates on who did what here: Of course, Ward Kimball animates Bacchus here as that's what he's famous for. Walt Kelly does the faun animation, Lynn Karp does the slave centaurettes, Bob Youngquist animates the cherubs hanging from the sky. I assume that George De Beeson animates the petals falling from the previous scene. Either Aardal or Kossoff doing the shadows, and one of those effects artists doing the wine pouring. How about that?

I must say that the animator who probably contributes to the best animation here is Ward Kimball. Yes, Kimball has been long-credited for his Bacchus animation and his donkey - and Kimball does some excellent animation. Kimball gets the idea of how to handle a guy who is drunk and he would stage it. Ward gives the character a lot of boose and character into it. While the dancing centaurs and centaurettes don't have much character. Jack  Bradbury gives the centaurettes some character at the ending scenes along with Eric Larson, Berny Wolf and Bill Justice.

But, Kimball's animation here is the highlight of this sequence. He seems to give more realism in his drawings than all the other animators do. His Bacchus animation has a lot of weight here and it's even well-timed. Of course, he was the Supervising Animator on that segment, but he also does some scenes of the fauns too, like the final scene with the fauns running away and Bacchus kisses Jacchus by mistake thinking it was a centaurette.

Ward seems to have got a very difficult assignment on that sequence. He had to get the actions right to the Beethoven music. He had to make it entertaining at the same time. Sure, Bacchus might have been a fun character to work on but I think that Kimball also must've found it challenging. He just the best acting scenes here. It seems that Kimball's work is one of the fewest animators on that sequence who makes the animation expressive (along with some scenes by Eric Larson and Walt Kelly).

I must say that I'm also very proud to see that Walt Kelly also does some very solid work of the fauns here. He does the main scenes of the fauns pushing Bacchus from slipping of the donkey and to keep his balance in control. That shows some good weight here. Kelly found animating at the time quite hard since he found it hard to copy the characters off a model sheet. Kelly's work is better than the other animators who handle the centaurs and centaurettes here. Shot 23 of the fauns blowing their horns is pretty expressive and forceful here, it seems that Walt Kelly was putting in a lot of effort there. His fauns don't look ugly than they looked before, they look better. Of course, the fauns are very "Kimball-looking", I assume that Ward probably supervised the animation of the characters or designed them.

Like I've said two Fantasia mosaic postings ago, I said that Bacchus was only animated by Ward Kimball and Fred/Jim Moore - while I noticed that while making this mosaic yesterday. Shot 30 is attributed to Walt Kelly, Milt Neil and Miles Pike. Milt Neil's credit would've been the censored Sunflower scenes, and Miles Pike was the effects animator. So, Walt Kelly would've handled Bacchus, the donkey and the fauns. That's pretty impressive for Kelly to handle all three characters. So I was wrong, Kelly did animate a scene of Bacchus.

Of course, Milt Neil's names appear again, but they are not in the restored film - his animation is the "Negro centaurette", and the character was wiped out afterwards. So, Milt's animation is no longer in this sequence - instead he handles the Cherubs. Milt Neil's only surviving animation in the film is a scene later on with the Cupid washing up the coloured water - and the previous sequence. So much that he contributed to the second movement.

More to come, over the Easter holidays. Stay tuned!


Eric Noble said...

It's such a shame that the centaurs/centaurettes were drawn so poorly. The concept art by James Bordrero were brilliant and so well drawn. Then again, there's a difference between a single drawing and having to move it at 24 fps.

Steven Hartley said...

Well, none of those animators could do a better centaurette than either Fred Moore or Ollie Johnston. Here, the second string animators do this sequence - that's why it's poor. No Moore or Johnston.