Jury Coordination and Notes

Don Bluth, The Animator Awakens by Keefer B.

DonBluth.jpgA new year and a fresh beginning. With 2016 here, it’s hard not reminiscence about 2015 and a lot has happened. Jon Stewart and David Letterman left their shows. We said farewell to Spock. And the USA finally passed marriage equality. Then there are all the extraordinary films that came out. One being a certain anticipated Sci-fi film called Star Wars: The Force Awakens (all the Star Wars fans scream femininely). Yes, this film created a lot of excitement for movie goers. However, that’s not my subject for today’s blog. A lot of the praise for this film came from the fact that it brought the original vibe that many of the fans loved from episodes 4 through 6 and also added fresh material for a new generation of audience members. Not only has the Force Awakened but so has legendary animation director Don Bluth. For those of you unfamiliar with his work, here is some background information.

Bluth touched audiences in the 80s and 90s. He was originally an animator for Disney and worked on RobinDonBluth2.jpg Hood, The Rescuers and was director of animation for Pete’s Dragon.

When he as 42, Don Bluth, Gary Goldman and nine other Disney animators started their own animation studio called Don Bluth Productions. The studio’s first film was The Secret of NIHM in 1982. The film was an adaptation of the book “Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM”. This is my favorite film by Don Bluth. It captures the wonder and mystery of both science and nature. From there, Bluth has made films with producer Steven Spielberg who needs no introduction. The two made the films An American Tail and The Land Before Time. Bluth made several films after that. His last one being Titan A.E. in 2000. Bluth went on to do other animation jobs but has sadly has not made a film since.

Much like Star Wars, greatness can never stay down. On December 1, 2015, Don Bluth and Gary Goldman started an Indiegogo campaign to create Dragon’s Lair the Movie based on the groundbreaking 80s laser disk arcade game that Don Bluth designed.

The game allows you to control a cartoon-animated character and your actions determine the outcomDonBluth4.jpge of the game. It already looked like an animated film so it makes sense to finally make it into one. I don’t mean to make this blog a shameful plug but, if you want to donate and support this extraordinary dreamer, please do.

I’m excited for three reasons. First, I heard that Bluth and Goldman plan to use hand drawn animation in this film. I have nothing against CGI but, it is Bluth’s traditional style and there is a certain beauty when it comes to hand drawn animation. Second, Bluth is back! It’s like having Harrison Ford and Chewbacca flying the Millennium Falcon again after all these years. You get this tingling sensation. I want to see Bluth return with his beautiful animation and amazing characters. TKeefer.2014.5.jpghird and most important, a new generation of audiences will be exposed to Don Bluth.

Bluth’s films are unique because they treat kids with intelligence, giving them stories with deeper meanings and themes. The Land Before Time tackles the issues of prejudice between different species and The Secret of NIHM gives kids the theme of science vs. nature. These types of messages are not easy to portray to kids. Bluth mixes these thought provoking messages with memorable characters and magnificent animation. He has created a legacy that will live on forever and now, that legacy is expanding. His return gives me high hopes for the new year.

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