Tag Archives: Animation

Sometimes a retelling just “works”. A review of the 2014 animated Tarzan movie

For family movie night recently, my husband pulled up “Tarzan – The Legend lives” (The 2014 version)

To be honest, all three of our boys 9, 12, and 14 rolled their eyes. I think I did, too.

ANOTHER Tarzan adaptation?   Pleeeeease say it isn’t so.

Within about three seconds, though, the movie caught my twelve year old’s attention as dinosaurs ran across the screen, and we were taken into outer space to see a meteor throttling toward Earth. For a while, I’d forgotten what the movie was about. This didn’t seem like Tarzan at all!

Really impressive animation

My fourteen year old and I jumped on board when we skipped to the future to see that they’d updated the story to a more present-day-like setting. Then a little accident happened, and the little boy gets stranded in the jungle.

This is where my youngest set aside his computer and started watching with the rest of us.

I have to say, this adaptation seemed the most “real” from the perspective of how Tarzan was raised by apes and how he moved and learned to live like an ape. My husband didn’t think that Tarzan would have forgotten people and words (he was about six when lost, and people show up when he’s about seventeen, I’d guess) I’m not so sure this is true.

While all the basic elements of the Tarzan story are there, I love how they wove in a sci-fi angle. And where stuff like this (crossing genres) usually bothers me, somehow it really worked in this story.

By the end, we were all huddled on the couch watching and enjoying this together – something that rarely happens in our house these days.

This movie had plenty of good old Tarzan for Dad, lots of explosions for Mom, and enough action and adventure to keep the kids happy.

For us, this adaptation totally worked. I’m surprised that I hadn’t even heard of it. I’m not sure if it did well in theaters, but I think this one is worth a watch from home.

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Living up to your potential

Do you have a special gift and not use it? Why?

I think a lot of us do. I don’t draw. Well, I do, but I could have refined my talent and maybe found a way to do something with it. For a long time, I gave up writing. I just didn’t have time.

You know what?

It always felt like something was missing.

Now Available from Jennifer M. EatonOne of the things I’m discussing with Vanessa Chapman today is living up to your potential. It’s part of my blog tour for THE FIRST DAY OF THE NEW TOMORROW.

Vanessa’s interviews are always great fun. I hope you’ll stop over and say hello!

http://vanessa-chapman.com/2013/09/28/the-first-day-of-the-new-tomorrow/

But for now, what about you? What talent do you have that you leave dormant, hiding behind the scenes… and why don’t you set it free?

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Learning to draw Manga # 8: Chibi full body pose

[[[Cringe]]] I’ve been afraid to try a full body anything.  Even when I was drawing regularly, bodies scared me.  I was never able to get the proportions right.

I was happy that the learning to draw book started out with a nice, friendly Chibi.

Chibi is a form of Manga art that is meant to be whimsical.  Large heads, and a body three heads high.

Here she is.

Manga Chibi tall

I’m not crazy about the legs, but this is nearly exactly what the example in the book looks like for the legs.  Things always look better when someone ELSE had drawn them.

I like to look at it like this.

Manga Chibi crop

She looks better without her legs.

Next time [[shivers]] more realistic full body poses—with MOVEMENT.  Yikes!

swish swivel squiggle

Interested in a slow stroll along the road of Manga?

I’m learning to draw Manga with my son.

Here are my posts on our progress so far.

swish swivel squiggle

Learning to Draw Manga #1 Rekindling hobbies you love (with your kids)

Learning to Draw Manga #2 3/4 view girl

Learning to Draw Manga #3 Front View Boy

Learning to Draw Manga #4 My own character (fail?)

Learning to Draw Manga #5 Profile View

Learning to Draw Manga #6 First Ink – Adult woman

Learning to Draw Manga #7 Adult 3/4 view

Learning to Draw Manga #8 Chibi Full body pose

Learning to draw Manga #3 Front View Boy

This week my son and I tackled the front view boy.  I figured I’d show you the step by step process to show you how easy it is.

First, start with a circle. Cut it into four equal parts and then cut the lower half into four equally spaced sections.  I go freehand.  Dude likes to use a ruler.

P1030642a

Next, add a frame for the chin.  Manga likes a pointy chin.  I’ll probably start putting my own spin on this soon.

P1030643b

Next, add the eyes in the third lower section.  Eyebrows on the line above, each slightly towards the outer circle.  The nose line just to the left of the center line, right on the outer circle mark, and do your best on the ears.  Dude and I agree ears are EVIL.

P1030644

Next, the dreaded Manga Hair.  I drew this directly from the diagram.  I don’t get the flow of the hair yet.  Dude does better than me on this aspect.

P1030645 Next, darken and add a little clothing if desired.  I decided to round the chin at this point as well.  Also add a shade under the chin. Once your lines are nice and dark, erase the light lines of the “cheat” circle originally drawn.

P1030647 That’s it.  Break it down a step at a time, and it’s really not that hard.

Yes, Dude is still growling at me, but I’m glad I’m doing this with him.  It’s giving him the competitive charge to try to get better than me.  Nope, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. (He writes, too.)  🙂

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Review of Skyline, from a Writer’s Perspective.

Skyline is the perfect example of how you can ruin a spectacular movie in the last three seconds.

This movie had everything.

Explosions? Check

Action/Adventure? Check

Well written characters? Check

Original? (Well, pretty much.  It felt a little like ID4 Independence Day shown from another perspective)

Great plot? Check (until the end)

Closure on all the characters?  Check (until the end)

From a writer’s perspective, let’s look at the characters.  There aren’t too many.  (Nine total, I think) and they are all easily recognizable.  This is a run-for your life move, so yes, not all of them will make it until the end, that’s a given, so not all nine are in the entire movie.

Each of the nine…even the two that only had a few lines, were wonderfully depicted, which is a show of not only strong writing, but also fairly decent acting.

Even though we only saw that character for a second, or a few lines, the lines or “happenings” were strong enough that we could relate to them, and we cared, even though they were not one of the main characters.  Also, to do that, we didn’t need their back story or to get too much into their lives.  We could just relate.

For instance:  There is a big loud party.  A security guard or building manager knocks on the door and very politely (and realistically) asks them to be quiet.  He walks away, knowing fully-well that they will not quiet down, with this precious look on his face.  I identified.  Haven’t we all been there?  The point is, a 30 second fully-rounded character that you can identify with.  Well done.

What was also great is that every minor character that we meet gets sewn up with an ending of some sort.  Some heroic, some unfortunate, but their stories are all completed by the end of the movie.

This was a five-out-of five star movie until the last five minutes.  As the movie was starting to end, I started to get that “awe shoot” feeling.  Realistic ending?  Probably— but I prefer something a little happier.  That’s just me though.

However, then it took a tumble.  A huge tumble.

I would love to know if this visually spectacular and probably hugely-expensive movie ran out of budget, and stopped production…because that is what looked like happened.

I will try to explain this without a spoiler…a major scene is happening.  One character turns and looks at a bad guy, takes a step… and the credits start.

The movie just stops.  Boom.  No ending.  No ending at all.  I have to say it again…

This is what really grates on my nerves.  This movie was SPECTACULAR until the last five minutes, but those last five minutes, though disappointing, were at least acceptable.  But those last three seconds?

If they had just gone on for five to ten more minutes, they could have finished.  But nothing is more disappointing that having a great time watching a movie and not having it end.

I mean, this isn’t even like Luke and Lea looking out the window while the Millenium Falcon leaves to go save Han Solo.  That at least faded into space and you knew they were doing something (and that there would be a next movie)

This movie just STOPPED right in the middle of a scene.

So disappointing.

Two Stars.  One for Awesome Special Effects, and one for great characters.

Five more minutes and this film could have been one of the best I’d ever seen.  Such a shame.

For authors:  FINISH YOUR STINKING STORIES.  Don’t leave your reader’s hanging.  I was loving SKYLINE, but instead of turning it off and saying “wow” I went to bed angry.

It’s never good to go to bed angry.