The Ten Commandments (2007)
Posted 24 August 2007 - 04:51 AM
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Promenade to roll out biblical toon
Promenade Pictures -- the family-oriented banner headed by former studio topper Frank Yablans -- has set the release of its first project, a CG-animated version of "The Ten Commandments." Promenade announced Thursday it will open "Commandments," the first of a 12-pic "Epic Stories of the Bible" series, on Oct. 26 at 500-800 playdates.
Variety, August 23
Posted 16 October 2007 - 09:41 PM
The series has the backing of at least one serious Hollywood veteran. Frank Yablans, the chairman and CEO of Promenade Pictures, was president of Paramount when it produced The Godfather, and after that, he was CEO of MGM/UA. Yablans and Cindy Bond, the president and COO of Promenade, spoke with CT Movies by phone.
CT Movies, October 16
Posted 17 October 2007 - 11:57 AM
Just based on those things alone - and admittedly not having seen the final product - I'm stuck with the question: "Why would anyone think this is a good idea?"
The Moses story has been done frequently for theater and television. Several of those versions are top-notch, and tough to compete with. Dreamworks' Prince of Egypt especially had beautiful animation and music, and is in the direct category of competition for this latest effort. This CGI version even seems to ape PoE visually and thematically, right down to the scene of the fish swimming in the walls of water when the red sea parts.
The CG in the trailer looks lifeless and stiff - comparable to some of the early stuff that was released direct-to-video to compete with Veggietales and Pixar. In the interview at CT, the makers try to defuse this criticism by refering to Hoodwinked, which also had comparatively stiff CG animation. The problem is, Hoodwinked was a cartoon about fairy tales, and the Rankin-Bass (i.e Rudolf) style of its animation fit the feel of the story. The Moses story calls out for a level of realism that this style will not work for, I think.
So, why was this a good idea? Especially if the desire was to start a "franchise" of Bible stories. Why not tell one that's had not been told yet, or at least not recently?
It will be interesting to see if anything comes of this effort. I don't wish failure upon them... I just wonder if they really chose wisely on this venture.
Posted 17 October 2007 - 07:42 PM
: I'm stuck with the question: "Why would anyone think this is a good idea?"
: The Moses story has been done frequently for theater and television.
That could be the answer to your question right there. The very familiarity of the story makes it easier to drum up interest. Who wants to invest in a movie about Jephthah or Ehud?
: This CGI version even seems to ape PoE visually and thematically, right down to the scene of the fish swimming in the walls of water when the red sea parts.
Oh, but the CGI version goes one step further.
: The CG in the trailer looks lifeless and stiff . . . The Moses story calls out for a level of realism that this style will not work for, I think.
Perhaps. I have to admit, when I watched the film, I was in a somewhat forgiving mood, because I've seen far too much Rolie Olie Polie and the like since my kids figured out how to turn the TV on. In fact, as I was watching the film on my laptop, with my daughter on my knee, she got up after a few minutes and walked over to the TV and turned it on again. Hmmm, well, she's only 20.5 months, so the story of Moses might be a bit over her head at this point.
Posted 18 October 2007 - 01:16 PM
Ha... you have a point. Any of the Judges stories would be problematic for a kids film - except maybe Gideon.
What could be done with the Elijah/Elisha stories, though?
I did wonder if the animation would end up "working" more like that of Miracle Maker. That masterpiece used models rather than CG, but the stiffness of the animation added to storytelling, I thought. Or, at least, it didn't detract.
Unfortunately what I could see from the 10 Commandments trailer, I was more inclined to think of bad CG game cutscenes, rather than Miracle Maker...
Posted 18 October 2007 - 05:35 PM
: Unfortunately what I could see from the 10 Commandments trailer, I was more inclined to think of bad CG game cutscenes, rather than Miracle Maker...
Ha, it looks like Variety agrees with you!:
Thou shalt not see any B.O. records broken during the theatrical rollout of "The Ten Commandments," a well-intentioned misfire featuring 3-D CGI animation that recalls lesser vidgames of the mid-1990s. . . .If only I spent more time playing videogames, I might clue into these things.
Far too much of what appears onscreen evokes memories of vidgame imagery. It doesn't help that, when Moses is pursued by soldiers in an early scene, the action resembles that of a first-person shooter game. Or that the malcontent Dathan (played by Edward G. Robinson in DeMille's version, but voiced by Lee Tockar here) looks like a bearded brethren of Mario, hero of "Donkey Kong" and "Mario Bros." . . .
Edited by Peter T Chattaway, 18 October 2007 - 05:38 PM.
Posted 22 October 2007 - 08:15 AM
Having read (and discussed) a number of fairly bad reviews for this, and not being a big fan of CGI humans anyway I was actually pleasantly surprised. The CGI is far better than I was expecting and there are anuough nice / interesting flourishes to keep this one interesting.
Posted 24 October 2007 - 07:37 PM
I would say that no, CG animation can be flimsy without it being a problem. Look at Jimmy Neutron. But tackling an epic like the Exodus is exactly the wrong kind of project for a low-budget first project.
My thoughts: I haven't seen the movie yet - don't know if I will - but I can say this from the trailer alone: the character design is completely off for a serious Biblical adaptation. For instance, check out this shot with Ramses and his son:
Ramses's chin and his cheeksbones are both so huge that he comes across as some kind of odd caricature to me. I dunno - maybe that's a conscious character choice on their part because they want him to be a buffoon, but it doesn't work for Pharoah as far as I'm concerned. Furthermore, look at his son: it is absolutely impossible that you could fit a brain behind that forehead! That's OK for a caricature (in this case, it says "I'm an idiot") but is that really what they're trying to say here?
Anyone interested can visit this link. It's called sonata; it's a student film, which by definition means that he had to make tough choices in terms of what to do and what to leave out, much as the people making Ten Commandments had to. sonata's an example of how you can take limited resources and turn it into a picture with characters who look "serious". In that short, as well as in The Prince of Egypt, the character's head design is basically teardrop-shaped.
That gives the characters an aura of depth.
Edited by David Smedberg, 24 October 2007 - 08:25 PM.
Posted 10 November 2008 - 12:56 AM
Execs Cindy Bond and Chevonne O'Shaughnessy announced they will serve as co-prexies of the newly formed Mission Pictures, a company dedicated solely to the production, marketing and worldwide distribution of faith-based features.I'm posting this here, rather than in the Noah's Ark cartoon thread, because Noah's Ark: The New Beginning was originally supposed to be produced by Promenade Pictures, as the second installment in the 12-part animated series which began with The Ten Commandments. Cindy Bond was COO of Promenade Pictures, and now she is "co-prexie" of Mission Pictures. So what becomes of the series? Has she brought The Ten Commandments with her, over to Mission Pictures? Or is it off on its own, now? The Epic Stories of the Bible website now seems to have nothing BUT information on The Ten Commandments; there is no reference there, that I can tell, to any future installments down the road. The Promenade Pictures website, meanwhile, still lists the Noah film with the typo that it had over a year ago, as Noah's Ark: The New Beninning.
The distrib says its first title will be the CG toon "Noah's Ark: The New Beginning," featuring the voices of Michael Keaton, Marcia Gay Harden, Rob Schneider and Nicollette Sheridan.
Posted 10 November 2008 - 02:18 AM
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Now they have a Mission
Bond and O'Shaughnessy will serve as co-presidents of Mission Pictures, which initially plans to release six to eight films per year. Mission will produce projects in house as well as acquire feature films of varying budgets, all of which must meet the company's discerning criteria, the company said. . . .
Bond and O'Shaughnessy also will continue their current executive positions at their respective companies. Bond will remain president and COO of Promenade Pictures, the family driven production and distribution company she co-founded with studio head Frank Yablans, while O'Shaughnessy will continue as president of American Cinema International, the company she co-founded with industry veteran George Shamieh who serves as CEO.
Hollywood Reporter, November 9
Posted 12 November 2011 - 10:13 PM
I received a spirited pitch this morning from a Rogers & Cowan junior publicist about interviewing "two amazing Christian women," Chevonne O'Shaughnessy and Cindy Bond, about their company, Mission Pictures Int'l. The publicist described MPI as "a multi-faceted, value-based film distribution, sales and production company for both the mainstream and faith markets." The plan, she said, is to deliver "trusted faith and family value-based content to the masses." . . .Needless to say, Wells didn`t care for this pitch. But me, I`m intrigued to hear that this company is still out there, and I`m STILL wondering what happened to their animated-Bible-story series.