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Captain Terror

Tell us about The Spine Of Night, if you please.
Ok, so clearly this film is aimed squarely at guys like us: fans of Heavy Metal (the film), Fire & Ice, etc. Its entire raison d'etre is to be like those films and on paper it does all the right stuff. There's witches and people with bird skulls on their faces and the fight scenes are gory. It does all the things it's supposed to do, so I'd suggest that you watch it because you might very well love it.



Unfortunately it didn't quite do it for me. I go into a film like this knowing that the story is going to be dumb and the dialogue will be cringe-y, but as long as I'm enjoying the eye candy I'm content. But here the overall look of the film wasn't appealing to me. The character designs were sort of bland, the backgrounds weren't really engaging, I just wasn't feeling it. I kept thinking "I should love this, why am I not loving this?" but I just never really got there. Now this is a matter of personal preference so again, your results might differ.
That said, there were some bits that I loved, like one segment where the characters were all in silhouette:



That showed some visual creativity that was lacking for the rest of the film. It's not without its moments, so you should definitely give it a go. You might think it's awesome and that I'm crazy.
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Victim of The Night
Ok, so clearly this film is aimed squarely at guys like us: fans of Heavy Metal (the film), Fire & Ice, etc. Its entire raison d'etre is to be like those films and on paper it does all the right stuff. There's witches and people with bird skulls on their faces and the fight scenes are gory. It does all the things it's supposed to do, so I'd suggest that you watch it because you might very well love it.



Unfortunately it didn't quite do it for me. I go into a film like this knowing that the story is going to be dumb and the dialogue will be cringe-y, but as long as I'm enjoying the eye candy I'm content. But here the overall look of the film wasn't appealing to me. The character designs were sort of bland, the backgrounds weren't really engaging, I just wasn't feeling it. I kept thinking "I should love this, why am I not loving this?" but I just never really got there. Now this is a matter of personal preference so again, your results might differ.
That said, there were some bits that I loved, like one segment where the characters were all in silhouette:



That showed some visual creativity that was lacking for the rest of the film. It's not without its moments, so you should definitely give it a go. You might think it's awesome and that I'm crazy.
I'll check it out and let you know.
I love rotoscope, honestly can't get enough of it, have always thought it was the coolest thing, and I love some Heavy Metal/Fire and Ice. But, like you, I am a stickler for design in these films, like the backgrounds and the general visual allure. So we'll see.



I'll check it out and let you know.
I love rotoscope, honestly can't get enough of it, have always thought it was the coolest thing, and I love some Heavy Metal/Fire and Ice. But, like you, I am a stickler for design in these films, like the backgrounds and the general visual allure. So we'll see.
I've scoured Letterboxd and Youtube trying to find opinions similar to mine but with no luck, so maybe it's just me. That writeup I posted was originally much longer but at some point I realized even I didn't know what I was talking about so I pruned it. It's just one of those intangible things where something either grabs you or it doesn't. Like the nice-looking person with no significant flaws that you just can't make yourself fall in love with. I like The Spine of Night, but only as a friend, is what I'm saying.

I have more specific things to say but I'll save them until after you've seen it.



I tried to watch Fire and Ice a few months ago, but it was late and didn't get very far. But that style of animation leaves me pretty cold a lot of the time.


For me Coonskin is the only example of a Bakshi film that works from start to finish. The rest I've seen will only have moments that wake me up, while the rest of the surrounding film looks so underdone it really puts me off.


I haven't seen Heavy Metal since I was a kid, but my opinion wasn't very favorable then. But, this is the same kid who worshipped Wizards, which these days I think is almost unwatchable



I tried to watch Fire and Ice a few months ago, but it was late and didn't get very far. But that style of animation leaves me pretty cold a lot of the time.


For me Coonskin is the only example of a Bakshi film that works from start to finish. The rest I've seen will only have moments that wake me up, while the rest of the surrounding film looks so underdone it really puts me off.


I haven't seen Heavy Metal since I was a kid, but my opinion wasn't very favorable then. But, this is the same kid who worshipped Wizards, which these days I think is almost unwatchable


So many wrong opinions in one post!





So many wrong opinions in one post!

Is George Clooney watching a Bakshi film in that gif?



Someone should tell him he hardly needed to get dressed up for the occasion.


FTR, I haven't seen the entirity of Heavy Traffic. I only caught the end on television about twenty years ago. I did like what I saw of that though.



I really dug The Spine of Night. Granted, dark fantasy is my bread and butter, and my expectations for genre homages are pretty low given that the average one lately amounts to "hey, 'memba this? Wasn't this cool?" I think it has more going for it than that, especially with its tyranny and rebellion story and not just because that's been on all of our minds lately.



Victim of The Night
I haven't seen Heavy Metal since I was a kid, but my opinion wasn't very favorable then. But, this is the same kid who worshipped Wizards, which these days I think is almost unwatchable
I will respond to this with a copy-and-paste of my "write-up" from September (it's mostly pictures).


Well. I grew up in the era of Sex and Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll and I saw this movie when I was just starting to hit puberty and I can tell you that it was about the greatest thing in the World. I'm sure it's not nearly so popular now and I have no idea how a contemporary audience would see it but I can't not appreciate it for the go-for-broke, end-of-the-70s, adolescent male fantasy that it is.

When a glowing green orb called the Loc-Nar is brought back to Earth from a trip to space, it quickly reveals itself to be "The Sum Of All Evil".


Cornering a young teenage girl it informs her that it must destroy her as she may be the last thing that can destroy it. First, it wants to show her what it is and thus begins the omnibus of Sci-Fi/Horror/Fantasy tales that makes up the bulk of the film. The Loc-Nar takes us from future dystopian New York to another planet in a more medieval and fantastic time, then a trial gone-awry on a space-station, to a World War II bomber, an accidental alien-kidnapping at The Pentagon, and finally to our climactic story of Good versus Evil on a fantasy world of magic, mutants, lasers, and legend.
Along the way we'll be treated to robots, disintegrations, double-crosses, beheadings, lasers, swords, guns, fantastic worlds, space, drugs, space-flights on drugs, mutants, giant bats, even zombies, lots of death, and of course, plenty of nudity and sex.


















Yeah, it's just 90 minutes of all that, laced with a kick-ass soundtrack of Blue Oyster Cult, Dio-era Black Sabbath, pre-Halen Sammy Hagar, even Devo to give the right atmosphere to the bloody, spacey, sexy, funny, and stoned proceedings. And honestly, 35 years after I first saw it, it turns out I'm still here for it. Every minute of it. I loved it again and I suspect I always will, because sometimes I still, in the privacy of my own home where I can be no harm to anyone, want and need to be a teenage boy.



Unfortunately it didn't quite do it for me. I go into a film like this knowing that the story is going to be dumb and the dialogue will be cringe-y, but as long as I'm enjoying the eye candy I'm content. But here the overall look of the film wasn't appealing to me. The character designs were sort of bland, the backgrounds weren't really engaging, I just wasn't feeling it. I kept thinking "I should love this, why am I not loving this?" but I just never really got there.
When I saw this the thing that got stuck in my head that I couldn't unsee was how slow the action felt, I get it's probably a function of the roto scope actors not swinging hard to not accidentally hurt anyone but it made the combat in the film feel sluggish. At that point the gore felt like a way to add oomph to the combat scenes but it also created a rift for me of thinking that that slow of a sword swing probably wouldn't cut someone up like that. I was glad I watched it but yeah it just felt a little off in the moments and kept throwing me out of the film.



When I saw this the thing that got stuck in my head that I couldn't unsee was how slow the action felt, I get it's probably a function of the roto scope actors not swinging hard to not accidentally hurt anyone but it made the combat in the film feel sluggish. At that point the gore felt like a way to add oomph to the combat scenes but it also created a rift for me of thinking that that slow of a sword swing probably wouldn't cut someone up like that. I was glad I watched it but yeah it just felt a little off in the moments and kept throwing me out of the film.
Yeah, the rotoscoping looked ok to me for the most part, outside of the fight scenes, but there were a few times when someone would get split in half from skull to navel with just one stroke, and that didn't seem to fit with the naturalistic movement of the characters. So the gore was there to appease a certain element of the audience I guess, but it wasn't really effective for me. I was seeing it happen but I wasn't feeling it, if you know what I mean.

But here's what I couldn't unsee:
(putting this in spoiler text so that Wooley can ignore it until he watches the film)
 



You know, I was afraid I was being too harsh on TSoN, but this post confirms my problem with it. There is very little stuff as visually pleasing as this to be found, in my opinion.

Stuff like this is cool, but there's not enough of it.



I will respond to this with a copy-and-paste of my "write-up" from September (it's mostly pictures).


Well. I grew up in the era of Sex and Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll and I saw this movie when I was just starting to hit puberty and I can tell you that it was about the greatest thing in the World. I'm sure it's not nearly so popular now and I have no idea how a contemporary audience would see it but I can't not appreciate it for the go-for-broke, end-of-the-70s, adolescent male fantasy that it is.

When a glowing green orb called the Loc-Nar is brought back to Earth from a trip to space, it quickly reveals itself to be "The Sum Of All Evil".


Cornering a young teenage girl it informs her that it must destroy her as she may be the last thing that can destroy it. First, it wants to show her what it is and thus begins the omnibus of Sci-Fi/Horror/Fantasy tales that makes up the bulk of the film. The Loc-Nar takes us from future dystopian New York to another planet in a more medieval and fantastic time, then a trial gone-awry on a space-station, to a World War II bomber, an accidental alien-kidnapping at The Pentagon, and finally to our climactic story of Good versus Evil on a fantasy world of magic, mutants, lasers, and legend.
Along the way we'll be treated to robots, disintegrations, double-crosses, beheadings, lasers, swords, guns, fantastic worlds, space, drugs, space-flights on drugs, mutants, giant bats, even zombies, lots of death, and of course, plenty of nudity and sex.


















Yeah, it's just 90 minutes of all that, laced with a kick-ass soundtrack of Blue Oyster Cult, Dio-era Black Sabbath, pre-Halen Sammy Hagar, even Devo to give the right atmosphere to the bloody, spacey, sexy, funny, and stoned proceedings. And honestly, 35 years after I first saw it, it turns out I'm still here for it. Every minute of it. I loved it again and I suspect I always will, because sometimes I still, in the privacy of my own home where I can be no harm to anyone, want and need to be a teenage boy.

Back to my point I made about a lot of Bakshi's films not looking all that great to me, these stills are all really strong (even though I don't remember much about the movie) compared to him. Now I'm sure people could find moments in Fritz the Cat and Fire and Ice as well that would impress me (Bakshi is undoubtedly a revolutionary animator, and he had the ability to do some incredible things) but just so much of his work feel deeply effected by his budget restrictions. But, then again, it also may be those very same budget restrictions which gave him his revolutionary style so, I'm probably arguing in a hopeless circle.



I will also concede that I am probably not the greatest critic of animation as an awful lot of animated classics do very little for me. While I feel I have a pretty good sense of what makes a great painter great, or can acknowledge when someone is very good at drawing as opposed to just good,I don't think I know enough about the process of animation to really get a handle on what sets the greats apart there. With the exclusion of maybe five Disney movies, I don't like them. While I love about half of Miyazaki's work, the other half I can only respect from a distance. Pixar is great storytelling, but I don't care much about computer generated animation. And so maybe my dismissals of Bakshi are equally uninformed (or maybe, just maybe, I just happen to be completely on the ball, and the universe has yet to catch up ).



Bakshi's Coonskin though, as much as that would undoubtedly be completely castigated by modern audiences (and probably even audiences at the time, and maybe even fairly so), is an incredible bit of mixed animation styles. I can't praise it highly enough, and it is currently on Criterion Channel. Because apparently they want a lot of extremely angry letters sent to them.



(I would offer stills, but the movie flirts so close to the line of sending up racist tropes, and simply perpetuating racist tropes, that they would likely be rightfully taken down, as they are hard to explain out of context. Maybe even in context)



Back to my point I made about a lot of Bakshi's films not looking all that great to me, these stills are all really strong (even though I don't remember much about the movie) compared to him. Now I'm sure people could find moments in Fritz the Cat and Fire and Ice as well that would impress me (Bakshi is undoubtedly a revolutionary animator, and he had the ability to do some incredible things) but just so much of his work feel deeply effected by his budget restrictions. But, then again, it also may be those very same budget restrictions which gave him his revolutionary style so, I'm probably arguing in a hopeless circle.



I will also concede that I am probably not the greatest critic of animation as an awful lot of animated classics do very little for me. While I feel I have a pretty good sense of what makes a great painter great, or can acknowledge when someone is very good at drawing as opposed to just good,I don't think I know enough about the process of animation to really get a handle on what sets the greats apart there. With the exclusion of maybe five Disney movies, I don't like them. While I love about half of Miyazaki's work, the other half I can only respect from a distance. Pixar is great storytelling, but I don't care much about computer generated animation. And so maybe my dismissals of Bakshi are equally uninformed (or maybe, just maybe, I just happen to be completely on the ball, and the universe has yet to catch up ).



Bakshi's Coonskin though, as much as that would undoubtedly be completely castigated by modern audiences (and probably even audiences at the time, and maybe even fairly so), is an incredible bit of mixed animation styles. I can't praise it highly enough, and it is currently on Criterion Channel. Because apparently they want a lot of extremely angry letters sent to them.



(I would offer stills, but the movie flirts so close to the line of sending up racist tropes, and simply perpetuating racist tropes, that they would likely be rightfully taken down, as they are hard to explain out of context. Maybe even in context)
Disapproving Clooney gif aside, you're not wrong about Bakshi. I think the ramshackle low budget look best suits his "urban" films. I wish he'd been given a full disney-sized budget for his fantasy films. I mean, Lord of the Rings pretty much ends with a "we didn't finish the story" apology.

And it's hard to believe that the Ring Wraiths and the Orcs are from the same film.





So being a Bakshi fan means ignoring a lot of frustrating shortcomings in order to enjoy the cool stuff.

But I do disagree that Wizards is unwatchable. I think that's a cool combo of fantasy nerdism mixed with '70s stoner humor.

And have you seen American Pop? I think the animation is pretty solid there, but I find the story a bit tedious.



But I do disagree that Wizards is unwatchable. I think that's a cool combo of fantasy nerdism mixed with '70s stoner humor.

And have you seen American Pop? I think the animation is pretty solid there, but I find the story a bit tedious.

When I found Wizards online a number of years ago, and being excited to revisit it after so many years, I couldn't get past the first twenty minutes because it was ruining my memories of it. I didn't remember how wildly clashing his style could be from scene to scene, sometimes frame to frame. It drove me bonkers. But I'm always willing to give it another chance now that I know to reduce my expectations from the Gargantuan Thing of Excitement, Weirdness and Beauty I had pegged it as, as a seven year old


I think American Pop is the one I always forget about even existing. No I haven't seen it, but it's on my radar. When I think to remember it.



Pixar is great storytelling, but I don't care much about computer generated animation.
My problem with Pixar is that they developed an aesthetic appropriate for a movie about children's toys and failed to expand on it meaningfully when they moved to other subject matter. I suppose their movies are "well animated", but I can think of only a handful of beautiful, expressive images in their entire body of work (and find some of it downright ugly), which is kind of embarrassing for a studio considered at the forefront of animation. But I don't think their flaws are inherent to CGI. Compare them to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which actually seems concerned with the aesthetic and expressive possibilities of computer animation.



The trick is not minding
I have no issues with Pixar’s CGI, but I agree their storytelling has always been the strong point. Existentialism is a common thread, which seems too deep for most children to enjoy, let alone understand, but always seems to satisfy regardless. With a few notable exceptions, of course.



But I don't think their flaws are inherent to CGI. Compare them to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which actually seems concerned with the aesthetic and expressive possibilities of computer animation.

Fair point. Even though if you asked if I'd prefer a more hand drawn aesthetic (even if it was still ultimately manipulated through computers), I'd still probably go with that.


WALL-E might be on the only Pixar film whose aesthetic mostly works for it. In the first half when he's alone on Earth. There are moments in Finding Nemo which are also impressive but....impressive isn't really the thing I'm usually looking for.



I have no issues with Pixar’s CGI, but I agree their storytelling has always been the strong point. Existentialism is a common thread, which seems too deep for most children to enjoy, let alone understand, but always seems to satisfy regardless. With a few notable exceptions, of course.

It's not so much I have issues with their animation. It's obviously well done. But it's rarely terribly evocative. Frequently brilliantly put together, and an incredible attention to detail but....something is just lacking for me. It doesn't contain that mystery ingredient that something like Pinocchio or My Neighbour Totoro or Triplets of Belleville or It's Such a Beautiful Day has in spades.



I didn't remember how wildly clashing his style could be from scene to scene, sometimes frame to frame. It drove me bonkers.
This is accurate, but it doesn't seem like the kind of thing that would usually concern you.
(I don't mean that in a snarky way, even though I'm basically saying "I thought you liked s--tty movies" )



This is accurate, but it doesn't seem like the kind of thing that would usually concern you.
(I don't mean that in a snarky way, even though I'm basically saying "I thought you liked s--tty movies" )


This is worse than the time that swine MKS recommended me a movie because it was aggressively unlikable and obnoxious (paraphrasing here).