CNN article on 'Mars Needs Moms' box office failure

Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Interesting article about how the animated movie 'Mars Needs Moms' has flopped. Some conjectures about mo-cap and bad story being some of the prime reasons.

I find myself still trying to figure out how mo-cap is going to figure into animation in the future (and what animators will be doing or how much they will be needed). I'm not overly concerned, but I am curious what people think.

Feel free to post your thoughts in the comments section.

CNN's Article:
'Mars Needs' Help


Usman Olomu said...

Like you mentioned above I too am not concerned about how motion capture may affect Animators in the future. I feel strongly that there will always be a strong demand for Animators as long as we take into consideration that Animation is a medium and by all means not a fixed genre. It will always be a forum for a number of different Storytellers and Artists in which to engage.

As for motion capture itself, naturally I'm not an advocate. From my point of view I can certainly say that it has its uses here and there. Gollum from 'the lord of the rings' or the Navi as seen in 'Avatar' these are fairly useful examples for any advocates of this technology. Though people should take into account that there is a 6 year gap of recognition between the examples mentioned above.

As for the movie industry I believe that kind of progress is relatively slow, in accordance with todays speed & standards. Take a look at the 'Red epic' cameras compared to the 3D camera used for 'Avatar. It almost seems to be a milestone in terms of progress compared to the 'Fusion cam' A relatively short period of time between the capabilities of the two cameras. Motion capture has certainly been around a lot longer than that, so one can argue that it has no excuse.

In terms of motion capture appearing aesthetically pleasing, I feel that this is only achieved when the Director has decided to deliberately make the CG character look exactly like the actor who may be playing them. The two films mentioned above as you are probably aware, are very strong examples of this point.

For the LOTR Gollum had been designed long before Andy Serkis was cast for the role. Only after he was cast for the role they redesigned the character to look like and match Andy's physical attributes. (just a nerdy fact)

Personally I find that methodology to be creatively limiting, considering the notion of limiting each and every design to an actors face. Not to mention a number of artists may become stagnent or rather complacent as they would not be able to explore all areas of creativity, due to being constrained to one look i.e. the actor. Limiting their art and perhaps even appetite, leading them to steer away from anything to do that particular form of technology. That's my take on the technology, I' sure others may feel differently.

Though this may seem very much one sided, I'm certainly open to knowing a little more about any other uses and applications for motion capture.

In relation to 'Mars Needs Moms' I can honestly say that I have not seen the film and have no intension to do so any time soon. Perhaps it's the title that puts me off as it has done with a lot of other folk. Perhaps it's fair to say that the title suggests a very bizzarely poor plot. Though I shall hold back any harsh criticism as I am yet to see the film. I might actually like it!

I have much respect for Zemickis as a great Director and I applaud his efforts to explore new technology for great storytelling. It takes great courage to do what he has done & such courage is rewarded in the form of 'The Polar Express'

By the way I too am in AM. I start in the summer term. So perhaps we'll see each other on the inside.

Usman Olomu

West said...


Very thoughtful argument. Thanks for the comment.

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