Today's Screnshots - Animal Treasure Island

Time for a few new screenshots from everybody's - that means you - favorite pirate adventure movie, Animal Treasure Island. This time I wanted to include pictures from the opening and closing of the picture, which bookend this little album of photos.

I'm pretty sure I've written along these lines before, but I'm always amazed and enthralled at the bold use of colors from the Toei Doga era. These have some of the most vibrant use of colors in all of animation, anywhere in the world, but especially in Japan. I think, also, the iconic design of the characters and sets really allows the colors to come out and shine. The later Ghibli movies are all masterful, of course, exhibiting a level of skill unmatched anywhere else. And I'm a great fan of painters like Kazuo Oga who brought such an impressionist style to movies like My Neighbor Totoro and Princess Mononoke and Omohide Poro Poro. But I still have a sweet spot for that simpler, splashier style of late '60s, early '70s Toei.

And I think Animal Treasure Island is the most vibrant and colorful of 'em all. Puss in Boots spends much of its time at night, and Horus is always so dark and moody. This picture just screams fun. It's a party splashing right out of the screen. Note, also, the great attention in the variety of colors. There's a lot of blues in this movie, but look at the different kinds of blue, sometimes shifting from scene to scene.

Heck, I always liked that part in the pirate battle scene when the water and background is set all in green. Pretty much just there for effect, but it has a jazzy style. I'm reminded, of course, of my favorite Charlie Brown cartoons, with the color splashes in the background for closeups, even though there's no continuity. Cartoon and animation purists may cry foul; I say whatever. It's their loss. I miss cartoons that are stylish and fun just for the sake of being stylish and fun. Do we even know how anymore? Parts of Ratatouille give me some hope, but I still miss Rocky and Bullwinkle, and Bugs and Elmer, and good 'ol Charlie Brown.

Also, please note the photo of our beloved Miyazaki Heroine in her definitive pose. You have no idea how long it took me to capture that shot. Her pose is less than a second, but I had to capture it in motion.

And how about the terrific composition in that second shot? The one with Jim carrying the live bomb. This is what makes anime shine in skilled hands. The masters can convey action and tension and motion with a single pose, all on the strength of the composition and color and lighting. It's much closer to comic book and manga art than American animation, and I think it adds a real dynamism to the screen. This, I fear, is another skill that has become lost to American filmmakers, live action or animation. You see, is everyone had a copy of Animal Treasure Island, they could study it and learn all these valuable lessons, without me trying to teach 'em to ya while half-asleep.

Hah. Have a great day, kids.


Lacónica said...

hola Daniel
me gustaría saber más inglés para leer todo tu blog
parece interesante

Chris Sobieniak said...

Thanks for bringing up this classic piece Daniel! Really, what you said about that shot equals the frustrations I have with movies today.

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