Friday, January 3, 2014

Frozen Drawings

Hey, this is another post! Look at that. Imagine it. I have no idea why I'm posting here, but I guess I should combine this one with my wordpress one as well; but since I get a little too lazy for that, here's a post a little about what I thought of the latest Disney musical animated feature, "Frozen".

Why? Primarily because I watched it two weeks ago, however, the film itself struck me as dragging behind the heels of "Rapunzel" (alias 'Tangled') and the Pixar film, "Brave". Brave, more in terms of the storyline, since that film intrigued my interest before I saw it; I thought it was going to be a sprawling film about a journey through old gaelic and celtic myths and ultimately to self-understanding - that's what I thought "Frozen" might have the potential to do - at least in terms of scope. So, I was a little disappointed in that regard.

The similarities with "Rapunzel" start with how very misleading the trailers and promotional artwork were. Which eventually made me skip the movie in theaters, because "Rapunzel"s trailers looked incredibly shallow and obnoxious. "Frozen" wasn't that far behind, but the promotions for that film were a lot more true to the movie, especially now that Disney's marketing isn't afraid of pitching it as a musical. However, it struck me that it was too eager to show off it's musical-ness thanks to "Rapunzel"'s success. Oh well. Point is, I saw it; and another really big thing I have to say about its similarity is the visual design.
The characters, the environments, and the cinematography all feel like they could take place in the exact same visual universe as "Rapunzel", and what do you know, I spotted the two main characters in the crowd in a shot within the movie itself. While it's definitely okay to retain a visual style from a previous film, I felt that there was a lot that could have been modified and differentiated, especially with the look of the two main characters. They do indeed look like their long-lost Germanic sister in "Tangled". Not only that, but also some personalities and archetypes now transferred from "Rapunzel" as well: Kristoff is definitely that "Han Solo"like character, all too familiar with his precursor, Flynn Rider.

Granted, I still thought the film was fine and I liked a lot of design aspects (especially the giant snowman! It reminded me so much of the old Rankin/Bass stop motion Christmas films, and that's great!), and I felt the core story and theme was something very relatable; which brings me to why I even posted this: I decided to look for the soundtrack in Norwegian because I'm probably a nerd - and I really thought most of the songs have their very unique charm being sung in Norsk; and as anyone knows, the whole movie's conceptual design has its roots in Norwegian folk art, and you could easily say that it takes place in a Fantasy-Norway.

Agaaaaaiin, that being said, I listened to it one too many times, and as is usual with me, I get inspired by music and general themes (storytelling themes), and for some reason I decided to sketch a little picture that would be inspired by Norwegian woodcarving, the idea of an old folktale lost to time, and keeping characters "on-model" in that Disney style. The sketch became a painting, and that painting is right here. I think it would make for a pretty cool alternate Soundtrack Cover.

The interesting thing about it is that I usually gravitated to the opening cue from the film (Vuelie) by Chris Beck while drawing inspiration, and then of course the four primary songs (but mostly in Norwegian).

Which is weird, because even though I wasn't crazy about the film, I couldn't help but get fascinated by artists such as Jin Kim who draws such fantastically proportionate (in their own way) and three-dimensional faces with various expressions - which of course he did for the movie. Now, I'm not a professional artist - really - but I hope to use what I know about art to help with other things, and right now it's that I really think "Frozen" would have had a more 'regal' atmosphere around it had it stuck with the title, "The Snow Queen".  That, aaaand... I wish I could draw like Jin Kim. Oh well, without making this any longer (because I could talk about the look of "Rapunzel" and "The Snow Queen" for a long time, since I wished they pushed it farther into a less soft-looking area), I'll just leave you with some silly sketches and a poster concept I did for no reason whatsoever, only to fill up this post, so it doesn't look like I'm wasting anyone's time. Oh, look it's 2014 already. How weird!
song here.