Monday, April 19, 2010

Rock & Rule

There's an old animated film from the 80's that I saw as a kid called Rock & Rule. The movie is rated PG and thus aimed at a slighty older audience rather than the usual 'kids' demographic that animation gets pigeon holed in. It's really good but very little people have seen it let alone heard of it. I used to dig out all sorts of old animated films from the local video store as a kid and found some real gemstones. A lot of reviewers have shit-canned this movie and even its original theatrical release did not do so well but there is some sort of charm about it that always stuck with me.

Rock & Rule, despite being made in the early 80's had a very small amount of computer animation in it and was used to generate the images such as the "Armageddon Key". Computer animation was in its extremely early stages in the 80's, so even been used for very short sequences it's pretty impressive that it was used at all. On the DVD the director explains how many of the scenes were made with various techniques. I've always been fascinated with animation and I still get surprised when I find out how things are made with a combination of techniques. There's no one definitive rule with what medium is used to create the film. Even real world objects such as scale models & lights, rather than hand drawn images are sometimes used to create a scene. For example, the cityscapes at night with cars travelling were actually models.

The music in the film is written especially for it and performed by well known 80's names such as Debbie Harry, Lou Reed, Cheap Trick and Earth Wind & Fire. To make the performances of the bands in the movie and the dancing sequences look convincing, real live actors were recorded as a reference for the animators. Often I have the illusion that professionals know everything and don't need references, so it is encouraging to hear that techniques like this are not taboo.

Voice actor comparisons for Omar. Omar's original voice actor was replaced for the U.S release of the film. The version I have seen is with the 2nd voice actor, Paul De Mat. After watching this short comparison clip on youtube, I still prefer the version I have seen.

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