EVERYTHING IS CHIPMUNKS!!! (Part 2)

A while ago, I did this post, where I tweaked “Everything is Awesome!!!” from the LEGO movie to sound like the Chipmunks were singing it. Despite it being one of my least popular posts of all time, I got the idea to create a video to go with the song. For that, I went back to one of my favorite childhood movies of all time, The Chipmunk Adventure (1987). This movie has it all, awesome songs (some original, some not), a fantastic plot involving a diamond smuggling ring, a balloon ride around the world, and lots of healthy competition between the Chipmunks and the Chipettes. Honestly, it’s a solid movie. I haven’t seen any of the new live-action Chipmunks movies they’ve been putting out, but I can say with 100% certainty (and extreme bias) that they’re crap compared to The Chipmunk Adventure.

Anyway, the song I first hoped to use was “The Girls of Rock and Roll”, which has both the Chipmunks and the Chipettes and some really awesome dancing. As a proof of concept, I found a video online, muted the sound, and played my version of “Everything is Chipmunks!!!” on top of it. Not only were they at the same bpm (or so close that it didn’t even matter), there were parts of the song that synced up so perfectly (like the stomping up the stairs) that I HAD to do it.

Here’s the final product: https://youtu.be/kMjiEFSEbzI

The shots I used are in a (mostly) chronological fashion from the original scene, so the casual viewer won’t really notice that I did any edits at all. However, there was a lot of clipping of shots to make them sync up to the words or start of a verse/chorus. There are some things that got moved around because Alvin was on screen by himself and yet there were multiple voices singing, or multiple people singing on screen while there was only one voice to be heard. Wherever possible, I tried to sync up the voices so people weren’t seeming to be singing during an instrumental break, but due to the length of the song, the amount of available footage, I couldn’t always do it.

Related Posts:
Everything is CHIPMUNKS!!!
Obligatory Copyright notice: I did not create Alvin and the Chipmunks, the Chipettes, Everything is Awesome!, or The LEGO movie. The edits are done by me and are a work of fan art. No copyright infringement is intended.

Umbridge for Minister (But not really, though)

With all the 2016 campaign madness here in the States, I thought it might be fun to do some tinkering with the famous Obama “Hope” poster by Shepard Fairey. Here’s what I came up with, using an Obama poster generator:

Umbridge order 2 Umbridge Order

Originally I had planned for it to say “Obey” but that’s not really what Umbridge is all about, is it? If she had a campaign slogan, it would be “Umbridge for Minster: I will have order.” Obeying brings about order, but she’d rather the kids just do what they’re supposed to, and if not, then do what they’re told.

Here’s my other version (pinkified, naturally):

Umbridge order 5 Umbridge Order 3

Shh… Secret project in the works

Hey, all. I’ve got a really big project in the works. Long story short, I had an awesome dream last night and it (indirectly) inspired a new idea. It’s going to be long and take a lot of research, but fortunately, it’s my favorite kind:

wpid-20150609_175412.jpg

Stay tuned.

It might be useful, in the meantime, to brush up on my alternate Potter stuff:

The Many Deaths of Neville Longbottom:
Episode 1
Episode 2
Episode 3
Episode 4
Episode 5
Episode 6

Disney Color Palettes

So, when I was working on this, I spent quite a few minutes searching my screen caps for a close-up picture of Aladdin. More time, in fact, than I would care to admit, considering it should have taken just seconds to find a shot of the main character of the movie. But the issue I was having was that so many of the shots were colorized, with the color, aura, mood lighting, whatever you want to call it coloring the characters’ faces in addition to the backgrounds.  Shots like these:

aladdin-disneyscreencaps.com-2427 aladdin-disneyscreencaps.com-2999 aladdin-disneyscreencaps.com-8626 aladdin-disneyscreencaps.com-9186

In fact, the only time you get an accurate color shot of the characters are in just a few scenes (the marketplace and in the palace during the day). This got me to wondering if this was just my imagination, a coincidence, or something very much intended. So I took a sample of the screenshots that I had downloaded from disneyscreencaps.com (an awesome site, by the way), about 10% of them, and put them together to get an idea of the colorization. This is the result:

Aladdin color palette final copy

You can click to enlarge to prove to yourself that I’m not manipulating the image. These are unaltered screenshots (though a bit low-res to keep the size down).

Remind you of anything? This is the thought that popped into my head after I had assembled the finished product:

aladdin-disneyscreencaps.com-3369

Yup, it looks like Carpet. It wasn’t intentional, but the width I had used for my collage (which I kept thin so that the stripes of color would be thicker for emphasis) makes the finished product resemble Carpet, but not just in shape, but in color. The main colors are there: Dark and light purple, gold, and maroon. This was almost certainly intentional by the artists: they chose a palette of colors and stuck with it, weaving threads of it into both the characters and the backgrounds themselves. Aladdin’s got a maroon fez and a purple vest, Jafar’s main color accent to his black is maroon, and he’s got a gold staff. But the rest of the colors don’t follow this pattern: Jasmine wears a kind of light turquoise, the Sultan wears off-white, Genie is bright blue, etc. So the colors we’re seeing in the overall scheme mostly come from the backgrounds themselves, and the reflected light onto the characters’ skin and clothes that gives this illusion. It’s done for mood. Darker scenes have darker colors, big scenic shots are often pink or purple, often at sunset/sunrise to give it a emphasized beauty. The oasis and Jasmine’s gardens are mostly shot in broad daylight, so most of the green color comes from the foliage in the background. Jafar’s takeover is in a cloudy purple to show the darkness overtaking Agrabah and is later red to reflect Jafar’s signature color and his eventual red genie form. (Even Jasmine and the Sultan’s outfits are colored red to reflect Jafar’s total takeover. By the end of the movie, everything is back to normal, with totally unaltered color and bright blue skies.

So this got me to wondering again… This color scheme was so intricately woven into the movie that it could be not be anything but intentional, so what about the other movies of the time? I turned to the rest of what I (and many others) call The Fab Four: The Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty & the Beast (1991), and the Lion King (1994). (Aladdin was 1992, BTW). Here’s what their color palettes look like:

The Little Mermaid Color palette final copy Beauty and the beast color palette final copy The Lion king color palette final

The Little Mermaid (Left), Beauty & the Beast (Center), The Lion King (Left)

Disappointed? I was, at least a bit. There’s not the same coherence of color in these movies as there was in Aladdin. Let’s do a detailed analysis for each (because, if you haven’t noticed this about me yet, that’s sort of my thing).

The Little Mermaid:
Out of all of them, Little Mermaid seems to lack a coherent color palette, and seems much more subdued than the others. This is actually rather understandable, considering where Disney was coming from at the time. Many people signal TLM as the game-changer for Disney, bringing them back out of a slump into the glorious age that brought us the Fab Four, plus other awesome movies like Mulan and Hercules which are definitely on par quality-wise. Before, the movies were a lot darker, with things like The Brave Little Toaster, Oliver & Company, the Black Cauldron, and the Great Mouse Detective. Plus, you have to realize that Little Mermaid takes place under water half the time, and if you remember from that one oceanography class you might have taken in college (and that I definitely did), there’s only a thin layer of the entire ocean where light can penetrate, so I imagine it was a challenge to make it look realistic and yet look like they’re underwater. I also have to give Disney credit because, if you look closely at the underwater shots, they do a fantastic job of varying the light and making it act correctly underwater in a way unequaled until the glory that is Finding Nemo.

But there’s the difference, and this applies to the other two as well: they went for a more realistic approach. Sure, it’s an animated movie about mermaids and magic and whatnot, but there’s nothing too imaginative about their take. It’s not stylized like Hercules to make the characters (and clouds) more closely resemble Greek pottery or Mulan with the backgrounds that resemble Chinese watercolors. It’s just a Disney movie underwater.

hercules-br-disneyscreencaps.com-2328

Disney should know ears don’t look like sticky buns.

mulan-disneyscreencaps.com-1304

Check out the trees. That’s definitely an art style choice. They even allude to the art style of Chinese watercolors in the opening credits.

Back to Little Mermaid. There’s a ton of detail in the scenes, which kind of muddies the zoomed-out view of the movie. Some of the water scenes have so many details in the rock formations that the brilliant blues and turquoises are darkened, making them not pop quite as much as they could.  Even on those scenes where the background art is gorgeous (like the sunset right before Eric’s wedding to Ursula-in-disguise, the misty greys of the opening sequence of the ship at sea, and the purples of most of Ursula’s scenes, the colors are not as obvious in the grand scheme because the character coloration generally remain constant, so you’ve got a red-haired, purple-shelled, green-tailed, pale-skinned girl against a teal sky with grey clouds and a tan shore. It’s hard to see what the dominant color is supposed to be. Even when there is a dominant color, it’s not as stark a color choice. Check out the rowboat scene with Ariel & Eric. It’s got a kind of teal hue to it, but the characters themselves only look as if the darkness got cranked down a bit, but their color balance stayed the same as usual. You can tell it best by looking at Ariel and Eric’s sleeves, which we know to be white. They’re just a bit of gray, not teal like the background.

Beauty & the Beast:
This color scheme bears a resemblance to Aladdin’s (lots of reds, purples, golds and blues), but it’s far more subdued. There are pops of color here and there (mostly around “Be Our Guest”, with all the colored spotlights they use), and some tonal color changes: Murky blue for the Beast’s castle interior, ominous green for the fight scene, which fades to a more melancholy blue when the Beast’s death/transformation occur. Everything else is mostly just realistic interiors like wallpapers, blue skies, etc. Note that the screenshots were taken from the extended version of the movie, which includes the song “Human Again”. This song’s coloring does a lot more to set the tone than a lot of other scenes. It’s mostly in pinks and purples, which are very bright and hopeful about (you guessed it) being human again. Beast & Belle’s dance sequence and subsequent balcony chat I think is interesting color-wise because the ballroom is gold (matching Belle’s dress) and the nighttime sky is a royal blue (matching Beast’s coat). Similarly, the hunting lodge/tavern scene for the “Gaston” number is very similar in color to Gaston himself, a sort of reddish brown to match his bright red shirt. All of his cronies, too, (except the Bimbettes) blend into the background, giving you this hint that Gaston’s got a kind of control over the town. (Also, what is it with villains and red?)

I’m not saying the comparison between Aladdin’s clear design decision about color and that of B&tB is fair, or that one style is intrinsically better than the other. In fact, I think the absolute single greatest frame of any animated Disney picture is this one:

beauty-and-the-beast-disneyscreencaps.com-2134

The colors are amazing, the shot is wonderful, it’s just…gorgeous. I had a Beauty and the Beast trading card collection as a kid and this was my all-time favorite one. But when you zoom out of it, you can’t really get the bright blue sky, the fiery oranges, the fluffy pinks…you just get a tan mess. That’s the point I’m trying to make. The details are great, but it’s colorization is more down-to-earth and realistic.

The Lion King:
The colors definitely pop in this one. They do a great job of setting a color scheme, if not as pronounced as Aladdin’s. You definitely get a feeling in the zoomed-out version that this is an outdoor movie. There’s the greens of the grasslands and jungle, the browns of the desert, and the bright blue African sky. They even set the mood for the villain, though all of the movies do a pretty good job of that. Scar’s early scenes are darker, bland in comparison to the bright colors of the Pridelands. The elephant graveyard background is practically the same as the hyenas’ coats. Scar’s “Be Prepared” scene is ominous, to say the least, with eerie greens and dark silhouettes (and goose-stepping hyenas for that Nazi vibe). Mufasa’s death is a smoky tan from the dust of the wildebeest, with all of the colors so subdued to echo the somber tone. They could have done the standard dark, rainy scene, but they’ve got to save that for the end, of course (although it works better there, with the rain being life-giving instead of mournful as Simba becomes king). And, of course, Simba and Scar’s confrontation is a dark, subdued pink that blazes into fiery red once, obviously, the fire starts. It all works really, really well. This is done, as with the other films, mostly in backgrounds and not in an overall color mask like in Aladdin, with the few exceptions of the fire and nighttime scenes, for obvious reasons.

Anyway, so I hope you like my take on the colors of the Fab Four (most notably, Aladdin), and hopefully you’ll give more thought to this easily overlooked subject when rewatching your favorite Disney movies.

 

Related Posts:
Little Mermaid Comics
The Disney Animal Paradox
Disney Heroine Body Swap – Part One
Disney Heroine Body Swap – Part Two

Aladdin’s Family Tree

If you’ve been following my blog, you might have seen my collection of what-ifs about missing Disney parents. Out of all of the movies, I have focused a lot on Aladdin because 1) Aladdin is one of the Fab Four of Disney movies (along with The Lion King, Beauty & the Beast, and The Little Mermaid, for those who don’t know), 2) I really like it, and 3) we get the unique opportunity to meet a parent from both sides of a relationship, so filling in the missing pieces is a lot easier. Here’s a collection of the Aladdin ones in handy family tree format. Check out their stories in the links below!

Aladdin family tree copy

(Click to enlarge)

Aliyah (Disney What-ifs: Jasmine’s Mother)
Samira (Disney What-ifs: Aladdin’s Mother)
Layla (Disney What-ifs: Aladdin’s daughter)

Related Posts:
A Friend Like Him
Disney Without Magic: Aladdin
Disney What-ifs: Belle’s Mother
Disney What-ifs: Ariels’ Mother

Disney What-ifs: Belle’s Mother

Sorry, it’s been a long time since I’ve had any original content (or content at all, for that matter). My posts take a ton of work and video games require a lot less effort, so… Yeah.

Anyway, here’s another post about the most elusive of all creatures: Disney mothers. This time, Belle’s mother, absent from Beauty & the Beast.

Belle's Mom copy

Rosalie loved books, though it was hardly surprising. Born the oldest of three daughters to a renowned literary scholar at the university in Paris, she had access to one of the finest libraries in all of France from a very young age. Though, as a woman, she was unable to officially attend the university, her father strongly believed in educating all of his children with a strict curriculum of mathematics, literature, philosophy and natural science, and allowed Rosalie to sit in on all of his classes.

And so it was that Rosalie met a bright young man at the university, Maurice, who was studying the sciences and who fancied himself an amateur inventor. She could not help but be fascinated with his creations, some of them impractical but all of them imaginative. There was also such an earnest enthusiasm in him that she found infectious, and soon she found herself falling for him. She helped root his inventions in reality with pragmatic thinking and lots of library research, and he kept the sometimes too-serious Rosalie young at heart.

After knowing each other for two years, Maurice proposed to Rosalie. He had created a contraption for the task: a box designed to open with a crank that revealed an expanding sign bearing his proposal. Unfortunately, the mechanism had jammed and failed to open. After several minutes, a lot of elbow grease, quite a bit of hammering and a bit of help from Rosalie herself, she could at last give her emphatic yes.

Rosalie and Maurice were joined a few years later by their daughter, Belle, who had inherited her father’s imagination and her mother’s beauty. Soon, Belle became as voracious a reader as her mother, and the young girl spent countless hours in the university library alongside her mother. Belle also regularly assisted her father with his inventions, fetching tools and reaching into small spaces that his own hands could not fit inside. Rosalie regularly had to be the grounding force when Belle and Maurice were swept up in idealistic fancies–Belle was constantly fantasizing about all of the places she had read about and wanted to visit, and Maurice encouraged her dreams by designing a mechanized hot air balloon to take the journey. Fortunately, Rosalie managed to stop them before Maurice could construct the device that would have undoubtedly blown up half of Paris.

Rosalie loved Paris, loved the university in which she had grown up, but the city streets were dirty, the winters harsh, and Rosalie was often sick. Belle would read at her mother’s bedside whenever a particularly violent cough would keep her bedridden. Soon enough, when struck by a severe bout, her doctor recommended fresh, country air as the only likely cure for her persistent illness. Sad to leave Paris, the family moved to a small, provincial town far from Paris. They chose a lovely house on a private lane with plenty of room in the basement for Maurice’s inventions and a lovely den in which Belle could read the few books they could bring with them.

However, it was at her mother’s bedside that Belle spent most of her time, reading to her as she always did during her convalescence. They no longer had the entire library contents of the university at their disposal, but Belle was happy to travel into town to the bookkeeper’s and was his most loyal customer. Belle would return home and tell her mother of the happenings in town–which were always the same–and of the people–who always seemed to treat the book-loving inventor’s daughter as something of an anomaly. At least the townfolk were kind, and always asked after Rosalie’s health, even though few had actually met the bedridden woman.

Rosalie was most entertained by Belle’s stories of Gaston, a local hunter who had been enamored with her since their very first day in their new town and had been pursuing her with gusto. “Perhaps you should consider accepting him,” Rosalie suggested one day. “It sounds like he is a handsome young man, and as a hunter your family would never want for food…”

“Mother,” Belle replied with a smirk, “Gaston does not even like to read.”

“How positively primeval,” said her mother, and nothing further was said on the matter. In fact, Gaston was so out of the question as a suitor to Rosalie that, from then on, she always referred to him as “that hunter.”

As Rosalie’s illness grew worse, she did her best as the realist in the family to inure her daughter to the possibility of her health not improving. She instructed Belle on the keeping of their finances, which had always fallen under Roslie’s purview– considering Maurice’s often scatterbrained behavior–and gave her advice on the managing of their household, most of which duties Belle had long since assumed.

“And make sure your father eats,” Rosalie had instructed. “When he gets caught up in a project, sometimes he forgets. And you will have to make certain that there is food on the table. I know the last thing you want to do is discourage your father’s ambitions, but no matter how revolutionary an invention of his could be, it will not bring any bread if it does not work. You need to keep him grounded when I am not here anymore.”

Despite the doctor’s hope for her improved health in the fresh air, Rosalie passed away just a few months after moving to the country. Belle had wanted to return to Paris, but in the end they decided to remain in their new home, if only for the sake of their finances. The city was expensive, far more so than the expense to travel to fairs in neighboring towns where Maurice could exhibit and possibly sell his more successful inventions.

Rosalie’s family coped each in their own way. Maurice thrust himself even more deeply into his work, trying to keep himself occupied to keep the grief at bay. Belle disappeared into her books, the more fantastical the better, to take her away from the banality of life without her mother. One day, she decided, she would travel the world, to find the adventure she was always reading about in the books that she and her mother had once shared.

 

Artist’s Notes:
So, I like to reveal trade secrets about the design of these characters because I spend so much time trying to get it right that I want someone to know how hard I worked. It’s difficult with animated characters to make the parents similar enough to their children that they’re recognizable, but not look like carbon copies of each other. (Frozen, anyone? They didn’t even try.) Unlike with most of my Disney mothers, she is not a composite of other people, at least not in the face. She is all Belle. It’s interesting because I spent a lot of time staring at screen shots trying to find the right angle that I started to notice the differences in art style between animators, or for different shots. Far shots they don’t have a lot of detail, but for super close-ups, there’s just so much of it. This is the shot I used in the end (left) and compare it to a more “typical” Belle look (right):

Closeup Far shot

The second one is a lot more cartoony and she looks a lot younger, too. It’s not just the hair, either. Granted, Belle is squinting in the first picture, but her eyes aren’t typical the Disney-fied ginormous things, and her lips are way more pouty, the nose is more elegant… So, yeah, I definitely picked the first photo for the base, altered the face shape a bit, picked some different lips from another shot and shifted the eyes so they were actually looking in the correct direction.

The gray hair was a challenge. At first, I didn’t have any, but then I realized Maurice’s hair is all white. My reasoning is that they probably waited a long time before having kids, or they just couldn’t until Belle decided to make her appearance. So, since they were maybe a bit of an older couple, even if Rosalie was younger, they could both be going gray. Here’s the original without the gray, which I like better, but that’s just because I really wasn’t happy with the stripey-ness:

Belle's Mom copy

I tried to look at some other older Disney characters for reference but, like Maurice, they just go for the all-white or all-gray look, probably because it’s easier to animate. One exception is Mulan’s mom, who has two big swaths of gray on the sides, which really does work for her hair style, but Rosalie’s was so wavy that doing some stripes at the temples wasn’t going to look right. Even Ursula’s got two gray stripes on the sides, but her hair’s white to begin with, so big deal.

Her body and blanket are actually Cinderella’s. I tried to make my own bumps under the sheets, but it wasn’t going well, so I cheated.

Also, yay for me continuing my streak of not having mothers die in childbirth!

Related Posts:
Disney What-Ifs: Jasmine’s Mother
Beauty and the Beast Gender Swap
Disney Without Magic: Beauty and the Beast
Disney What-Ifs: Aladdin’s Mother
Disney What-Ifs: Ariel’s Mother

Obligatory Copyright Notice: Beauty and the Beast, all of the character names and original images  belong to Disney. Rosalie is a creation by me and is a work of fan art. No copyright infringement is intended.

Pride and Family Guy

Yesterday, I had “Slumber, Dear Maid” stuck in my head (see here for the clip–skip to 5:15 for the song, 7:30 for the relevant bits for this post), so instead of watching the entire 6 hour miniseries of Pride and Prejudice, I came up with this:

Shut up, Mary

I think it’s probably some sort of cardinal sin to combine Family Guy and Pride and Prejudice, but I just had to. The more I think about it, Mary is definitely the Meg of the Bennett family.

I’m not sure if anyone who likes Family Guy cares about Pride and Prejudice and vice versa, so maybe this crossover is a lost cause. Let me know in the comments!

Relevant Posts:
The Case for American Dad
Applied Cryogenics at the Turn of the Millenium

 

Obligatory Copyright Notice: Family Guy and Peter Griffin images copyright of Fox and Seth MacFarlane. Pride and Prejudice image copyright BBC, original book by Jane Austen. This is a work of fan art. No copyright infringement is intended.