Animation Planet E-Newsletter
Nov. 28, 1999
Next Issue on Dec 5, 1999
The Fine Print
Animation Planet E-Newsletter is a free publication from Inkwell Productions, 17 Spruce St., Springfield, MA 01105. This newsletter is e-mailed upon request and all addresses are confidential. It is also posted on the rec.arts.animation news group and at http://www.comicon.com.
To subscribe, send your e-mail address to mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org. Send news and items for review to Mike Dobbs, Inkwell Productions, 17 Spruce St. Springfield, MA 01105 or to mailto:email@example.com.
©1999 by G. Michael Dobbs
Top of the Page: Review of Toy Story 2
This is the film Disney wanted to relegate to direct-to-video status?
Superbly animated, cleverly written, and funnier than the first film, TOY STORY 2 is the hat trick for Pixar...three slapshots to the goal and three goals.
This is a film which a 45 year-old film historian and a bright-eyed seven year-old girl both enjoyed. Granted I don't think my young companion understood quite as many of the jokes as I did, but she clearly enjoyed herself as did I.
While this film reversed the story of the first one (Woody saves Buzz, now Buzz saves Woody), the sub-plot showed a clever understanding of popular culture.
Let's face it, the toy industry and the animation industry have been linked at the hip for decades, and both fields have made plenty of money over the last few years concept of "collectibles." The collectible market, with its inflated prices and scare tactics, have encouraged a generation of Americans to become anal retentives who actually believe their collections are a financial investment. I've known more than several collectors who will buy multiple copies of cartoon action figures so they could have one to display but one to keep in the blister pack!
When I saw where TOY STORY 2 was going with its evil toy collector Al (wonderfully voiced by Wayne Knight), I knew I was going to have a good time. Clearly someone at Pixar had been to enough collectible conventions to come up with a character that was hilariously stereotypical...and dead-on!
TOY STORY 2's message that toys should be enjoyed may be subversive to the status quo, but it's refreshing and fun.
The vocal performances were top-notch. Tom Hanks and Tim Allen could have easily coasted, but they didn't . In fact, none of the returning vocal performers (Don Rickles, Annie Potts, John Ratzenberger, Wallace Shawn, Jim Varney) took their roles for granted. Jonathan Harris gave voice to Pixar's Geri character presented here as the artisan who gave Woody a restoration. Newcomers Joan Cusack as Jessie and Kelsey Grammar as Stinky Pete were also effective.
Pixar's animation of characters with non-plastic has definitely improved from the first TOY STORY. Both Al and Andy had more realistic designs, and Andy's dog was rendered well, too.
Do I have to say I'm going to see it again? GMD
Dobbs Rants: What No Toy?
My name is Mike Dobbs and I'm a mail addict. I love getting the mail. I love finding those little "you've-got-a-package" slips meaning that someone has sent me something cool. I got one a little over a week ago. I rushed down to the main post office and with trembling fingers I handed the clerk the notice.
She handed me back a small box with an unfamiliar return address. It was very light, and in fact seemed as if it was empty. Naturally the mystery fueled my interest.
Getting into the car, I took out my pocket knife and gently sliced opened the packing tape. I looked inside.
There was a cardboard box filled with paper. The box was shaped like a pet carrier, but had a bite-shaped hole in one corner. The card inside read "This certificate hereby proclaims you as the proud owner of Agumon, a purebred Digimon digital monster. Caution, Digimon are wily characters known to digivole into new forms. Be alert and handle with care."
There was also an invitation to a media event at FAO Schwartz in New York to yell me all about the new FOX series and the toys from Ban Dai. The event was the next day. Oh I get it ... Agumon has escaped.
Was this mail junkie let down? Ohhhh, yeah.
Would I have spent about $100 to go to New York? No. Would I have appreciated something more than a silly cardboard box?! Damn straight! Would I have written something else than a rant if I had received a send me a presskit and a toy. Yup!
Some publicity people are too busy being clever to notice the message they want to send isn't getting anywhere. GMD
New Standard Crass Commercial Message
Before there was the Internet, there were magazines! And I published, edited and wrote a whole bunch on animation. I need to clear out my closets so here's the pitch.... Take any issue of either ANIMATION PLANET or ANIMATO!, just chock full of animation goodness, for just $6.00 (which includes postage) or any five issues for just $25.00 (includes postage). The super deal? Take the entire library of 14 issues for $50.00 (includes postage) !
Issue 22: Beauty and Beast coverage
Fall 1992 Issue 23: First Dobbs-edited issue; animator Walter Clinton profiled, coverage of Disney's ALADDIN; Yogi Bear; FERNGULLY
Winter 1993 Issue 24: Ray Harryhausen special with interviews by S.R. Bissette and Scott MacQueen; Jere Gulden writes on Pre-Code animation; Bill Plympton interview.
Spring 1993: Issue 25: As featured on ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT Popeye anniversary special; conclusion of Harryhausen interview.
Issue 26: SOLD OUT
Fall/Winter 1993: Issue 27: BATMAN THE ANIMATED SERIES coverage; Beavis and Butthead; Restored LOST WORLD reviewed.
Issue 28: SOLD OUT
Summer 1994: Issue 29: Special Walter Lantz interview and profile.
Fall 1994: Issue 30: Horror in Animation; June Foray Interview
Winter 1995: Issue 31: Interview with Gerald Scarfe on PINK FLOYD THE WALL; Don Messick; Stan Lee
Issue 32: SOLD OUT
Issue 33: SOLD OUT
Spring 1996: Issue 34: Jess Harnell; Jackson Beck; Charles Solomon; John R. Dilworth.
Summer 1996: Issue 35: Phil Tippett; Maurice LaMarche; DAVEY AND GOLIATH; and THE THIEF AND THE COBBLER.
Fall 1996: Issue 36: GARGOYLES; CATS DON'T DANCE; SPACE JAM; HEY ARNOLD!
Spring 1997: Issue 37: NOT AVAILABLE Last Dobbs-edited issue...sorry, I only have two copies myself!
Issue One: HERCULES; LITTLE LULU revival; voice actors
Issue Two: Bill Plympton interview; Frank Welker; the new JONNY QUEST
Issue Three: SOUTH PARK creators talk to the press; Jerry Beck tell all;
Checks or money orders to Mike Dobbs, 17 Spruce St. Springfield, MA 01105. Quantities are limited, so it's first come, first serve!
First Time Readers: Here's Your Standard Disclaimer! What is this Newsletter?
Ever have one of those days? How about one of those years? After absorbing some rather serious professional and personal setbacks since the start of this year, I wanted to return to reporting on the animation scene. After writing for Animato! since its digest days, then co-owning it and editing that magazine for over four years, and then rolling the dice with three issues of ANIMATION PLANET, animation is in my blood! Since a website is still in the future, I thought an e-newsletter would be a solid vehicle to spread some news and opinion.
There is no charge for this newsletter. I'm not selling anything (other than back issues of both magazines), but that's not the point. Ironically, at a time when there is so much activity in the animation industry, it has become more difficult to actually get news and opinion on this fascinating artform and business. Small press magazines and trade journals are having a hard time surviving in the cut-throat world of distribution, and Internet publishing seems to be the way to get out the word without going into debt.
Like any newsletter it will feature your responses and opinions as well, so let me know what you think by e-mailing me at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who am I anyway? A former radio talk show host and film historian, Dobbs has 20 years experience writing about the entertainment industry. He's interviewed dozens of personalities as diverse as best-selling authors (Sidney Sheldon, Alan Dershowitz) to film legends ( Vincent Price, Lillian Gish) to television personalities ( Rick Moranis, Dave Thomas, Clayton Moore, Elvira). Dobbs is also the former co-owner and editor of ANIMATO! and the publisher and editor of the print version of ANIMATION PLANET. He has worked closely with veteran film producer Richard Gordon on licensing authorized merchandise and wrote the introduction to the book Dark Visions: Conversations with the Masters of the Horror Film. He is now editor of the Chicopee (MA) Herald.