Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ghosts From the Past...

As mentioned in the last post, many things have been naturally trimmed off of the film over the course of production. Instead of showcasing something new today, we are going to focus on something that never was... the foot chase sequence.

About halfway through the film, Jaguar's cat is annoying him to the point of action. In this particular moment, the cat is sitting on Jaguar's chest. The injured stunt man decides (after much deliberation as to which of his limbs is most useful) to force the cat off of him by using his foot. What follows was to be a spectacular chase in which the cat skillfully evaded a very serpentine like foot.

Here's the sequence:

In the original concepts, the scene was much less aggressive in nature. Rather than kicking at the cat, Jaguar was merely trying to pet it, in an effort to quell it's constant meowing. In the midterm review, it was noted that the idea of a man trying to pet a cat to the point of injuring himself was a bit of a stretch. It was difficult to read, and the motivation was weak as well.

After the film was refocused to the main theme of 'frustration', the chase became more of an effort to get the cat off of him. This added humor and contributed well to said theme.

As deadlines loomed however, our animators began to shudder in the shadow of this sequence. It involved a very fast paced and complex interaction between 2D and CG elements, which is a tall order even for an animator who has all the time in the world.

As a result, this sequence was put up on the chopping block. The argument was made that while visually interesting, the action in the sequence was too different in tone in relation to the rest of the film. For the majority of the film, Jaguar is incapacitated almost completely. In this sequence, his leg suddenly gains the ability to nimbly snake and slither around his body. While humorous, it worked in contradiction to the action both before and after it.

This sequence was definitely the largest chunk of the film to be cut. It was a part of the film from the early concept phase on. In the end, the cut made the film leaner and much more focused.

As a tribute to the man who blocked out this sequence in vain, Dan Murdoch, here's one of his early concept drawings. Somehow, It's strangely fitting.

Look forward to the big quarter ending post (the film is done?!) next time! See ya!

-Clint Donaldson, Director

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