Just forget the words and sing along

Friday, October 17, 2003

Seeing more criticism of Michael Moore. I was reading a transcript of his appearnace on Bill Maher's new show, and Moore cited the statistic that more American soldiers have died in Iraq now that in the first two years of Vietnam. Maher's response was, "Well, yeah, because the first two years of Vietnam were fought by the French. American involvement was less than minimal in the first two years of Vietnam." Moore said, "I stand by that statistic." Maher said, "OK, but I'm not sure what it's supposed to mean."

On a completely unrelated subject, would you think any less of me if I were to go rent the latest Barbie straight-to-video animated movie? The third one, Barbie of Swan Lake just came out. I still kind of want to see the first two, Barbie in the Nutcracker and Barbie as Rapaunzel. Why do I want to see these? Because they were made by Canada's own Mainframe Entertainment, and I've always been a fan of their work.

Actually, I was reading in today's Edmonton Journal how Mainframe won this contract with Mattel, which was a major coup in the animation world. Back in 1999, Mattel had this idea for a "Barbie in the Nutcracker" and started auditioning animation studios. Mainframe said, "Well, The Nutcracker's a ballet, right?" So, what they did, was the hired a ballerina (from Edmonton!) where they hooked her up in their motion caputre rigs and had her perform a few highlights from The Nutcracker. (For those not in the know, "motion capture" is the process in computer animation where a performer wears a special sensor suit, and it records the person's every movement. Using this information, the computer animators can produce highly realistic motion.) They used this motion captured ballet dancer as the model for a computer animated ballet Barbie, sent the demo to Mattel, and won the contract. For the final production of Barbie in the Nutcracker, Mattel got Mainframe in touch with the New York Ballet which performed all of the motion captured ballet.

At first, the New York Ballet was reluctant to do this, but then, someone pointed out how the average age of a ballet fan is 60+, and that this might help draw a younger crowed. All of the Barbie straight-to-video movies have been ballet-related now, and Mattel has begun giving a portion of the profits to ballet programs.

Next Issue...The Life and Times of the Scarecrow, starring Barbie as...Her.

No comments: