You are hereComic-Con: War of the Worlds: Goliath Panel
Comic-Con: War of the Worlds: Goliath Panel
So on day three of Comic-Con, I made my way to the War of the Worlds: Goliath panel. I had no idea what it was about, but the program described it as "an animated sequel to War of the Worlds set in 1914." Sounds awesome right? Wrong, oh so very wrong.
At the outset of the panel, producer Kevin Eastman (Heavy Metal, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), director Joe Pearson, writer David Abramowitz, and producer Leon Tran all showed up and promptly showed the trailer for the movie. This is where thing went downhill. The animation was very sub par and reminded me of a 90s Saturday morning cartoon, which works great for those programs, but not for a movie. The odd anime/western style hybrid just looks very off to me and leave little room for dynamic facial emotion for the characters.
Secondly all of the vehicles, tripods and some backdrop scenes are in 3D. Once again this sounds cool, but it's executed poorly. I don’t know if it was simply a lack of budget or what,, but the 3D objects do not blend well with the 2D characters at all. They should have done some posterization or toonshading on the 3D models or something, because they simply look bad.
Now on to the voice acting. War of the Worlds: Goliath features voices by Peter Wingfield, Adam Baldwin, Elizabeth Gracen, Jim Byrnes and Adrian Paul, among others. Many of them were previously featured in the Highlander series (not the Sean Connery movie), which I have never heard of but apparently has a large following. The voices themselves are for the most part well done, but a lot of the timing is off. Characters talk quickly without pause or emphases, which compounds on the terribleness of the animation. A lot of the writing is elementary and simple as well. It seems that the producers wanted to spend more time making the models and actions scenes look superb that they neglected just about everything else.
After showing us the trailer and some finished scenes of the movie, they had me already halfway sunk in my chair, groaning in dissapointment. The one positive thing I can say is that I like the art direction and visual design of the film; it has a steampunk feel that is rooted in the actual human military artifacts of the first World War, which really adds substance to the story. Some of the alien tripod designs are a bit wonky though, and they sort of look like they are wearing sunglasses… why do alien ships need sunglasses?
They synopsized the plot as being set in 1914, 15 years after the initial invasion. This time Americans have retro developed military apparatuses based on the alien vehicles left behind. Now the fight is a global ones and the military superpowers of the time have banded together against a common enemy. All of this sounds very awesome and could well make an interesting story, but the animations just honestly ruined the movie for me.
Maybe I am just partial to the American animated style incepted by Disney, but this crossbreed of that and Japanese anime sort of just looks really odd to me (I won’t go into my feelings about Japanese anime here, but lets just say I don’t much care for it). The idea of combining 2D animation with 3D effects is nothing new (see 1988's Technological Threat and John Lasseter’s Where the Wild Things Are test footage), but I would think after 20+ years of attempting this, even relatively independent companies would have it down better than is seen here.
I will still watch this film when it comes out, which right now looks like Spring 2011, but it has lost a lot of the intrigue that made me initially curious about the project. I only hope that I simply got a less than adequate first impression of the film and that it is actually better than what I saw.