Dec 16, 2022·edited Dec 16, 2022

I'm less enthusiastic than you about the movie and I think it's because the music accentuates the problems you had with the script. It happens often with melodramas, it feels to me like music is overselling the emotions so it does not connect as much as maybe it could. It also flattens the characters a little bit. Compared with Batman, Danny Elfman, to me, added complexity to the emotions instead of flattening them because there are unusual juxtapositions with the images. In Klaus, the music is much less adventurous and always reinforces thematics in a direct way (too direct for me).

With that said, on the visual side, I really liked the composition of many shots. The viewpoints were not straightforward, they used interesting camera placement throughout. Also, they used interesting editing ideas, like the intro that looks like the one from Lord of War. It's a cinematic way to begin a movie, I liked that a lot. There are also jump cuts when Jasper chases the reindeers, which is not something I have seen often in Disney movies. For the "Romeo and Juliet" sequence where you see both families' histories, they used alternating editing, which is also very cinematic. And there's the UPA-style cartoon that Jasper showed to Klaus for his presentation that was a really nice visual touch.

For the discussion about Disney, I watched Alice in Wonderland by Tim Burton this week and it was the safest and most unimaginative way to shoot a film I've seen in a long time. The whole exposition is made of shot/reverse shot, it really shows that they went out of their way to be uncreative. Frozen 2 felt the same. At that point, it feels like it's their business plan to create low-quality animation. Do you know the movie Paperman (2012)? They started with 3d and retouched afterward with hand drawing to get the desired feel. I thought it was pretty well made and it shows that they could go in that direction at Disney if they wanted to.

For the hand-drawn "3d" camera movement, do you know Masaaki Yuasa? I don't know if he draws over a 3D render or if he draws it all directly by hand, but he does that too. He has a different style than James Baxter so it's not as smooth, but I think he's very good too and he also has a great feel for colours. He does the 3d movement in Mind Game: https://youtu.be/qqwsdcYReMU?t=94

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I agree about the music, in particular the "pop" music or whatever you want to call the parts of Klaus that had full songs with singing play over the top. I felt it was too heavy-handed and distracted from the visuals. I much preferred it when the music was more tightly integrated, and wish they had gone that route entirely.

Also agree about Tim Burton's Alice. It's hard to see how you start with Alice and Wonderland and get something unimaginative, but Tim Burton found a way. This is especially weird given that Tim Burton previously made such visually interesting films.

Finally, I quite liked Paperman - but I don't think it really addresses the problems with 3D animation that hold it back. Because Paperman requires an underlying 3D animation to begin with, it still prejudices the 2D artist sketching on top IMO. I like Klaus's process a bit better, where it's all 2D to start with, so there's no influence of a 3D shape on the artist...

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Yes like you said it's more logical to use 2D like they did in Klaus. I looked at a making-of and they used 3D for more elaborate camerawork while still drawing characters in 2D, which makes a lot of sense. But for Disney what I meant is that maybe there's also a question of art direction decisions, even if their 3D process is heavier (though I don't know how time consuming and technical it would be to work with the Paperman tech pipeline, maybe it's just not practical for a feature film...)

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