Wow, nice work! It's great to see your flair for visual narrative come to life in a cg format, Peter. I've always been left cold by the rigidity of most cg stuff i've seen, but Firebreather drew me in from the get go.
I had felt ambivalent about your announcement of moving away from the hand drawn to cg, but now I'm excited to see you keep going with it.
― Sam G, Friday, 3 December 2010 14:02 (eleven years ago) link
I've posted a few details about my experience on Firebreather at Anipages.
― Peter Chung, Tuesday, 7 December 2010 22:31 (eleven years ago) link
Thanks for the link, Peter.
Here's a great review by another animator, Matt Youngberg, from that forum:
"As Peter indicated, it's a very different story than he's done in the past, as a narrative and obviously as a medium. First about the story, while it's standard "relatable" (great way to put it peter) teenage-superhero fare on the surface, Peter injected a healthy dose of "Peter Chung" into it that completely elevates the material. He finds a subtlety and nuance in the character interactions and acting that would have been tossed to the wayside had it been handled by a less capable director. The best thing i can say about Firebreather on the non "technical" side is that Peter finds a real human story in what is an "inhuman" setting. The interactions between Duncan, his mother and his literally beastly father felt very real. And in places where, again, in less capable hands, characters would be treated like generic high school teenagers, Peter's direction gives us something a little more human. Duncan carries this movie and he's a great character. Not too angsty, not disney-sassy, not "too cool" and not a non-entity. He feels like a teenage kid who knows he's special, knows he's different, but doesn't get so caught up with it that he devolves into angsty complaints all day long. He just wants to be a kid, and keeps trying to be one. So, anyway, when it comes to story this one is all about the characters, and Peter gets it right.
Now on to the technical. Even in 2D Peter never seems to shy away from moving the camera around, but now using CG he's able to move it to his hearts content. That's not to say that he just moves it around willy nilly, he uses it judiciously and with restraint, but without fear of doing something cool and unique. His choice of angles and "lenses" add a lot to the film, and, in my eyes, to the story itself. Wide angles when he needs it, pulled back when he doesn't, tracking shots with the characters that you just cant do easily in 2d, all add to the narrative AND they looked great.
As for the animation itself i have to say it was very impressive. Sure, it's not Pixar, but it doesn't have a Pixar budget either. What SamG delivered, considering the limitations, is frankly amazing. They have some FANTASTIC animators over there. Peter indicated that the vast majority of it was key framed (save for a few background characters) and the animators DELIVERED. Because it's 2D you can't get away with just holding characters too long, because then they truly start looking like mannequins. Acting has to be stronger, and movement more convincing, and i have to say on both counts they did it. I do have to make mention though that i kind of missed the Peter Chung drawings up on screen :) While most of his style translated well into CG there's a beauty and life that 2D gives that any animator can't help but miss. Is it make or break though? No way. Its nice to see a CG action film where the director isn't over-reliant on the CG nor is he only trying to ape live action. At the same time it's directed by an animator who isn't over reliant on typical "toony" staging. CG is a medium and like any medium it has its strengths and limitations, and the strengths on display make me excited for the medium and for whatever Peter does next."
― Sam G, Thursday, 9 December 2010 13:31 (eleven years ago) link
It was pretty awesome, the story while nothing super original was told well, I didn't realize this was going to be a "giant monster battle" show, the designs were fantastic, the story was done well despite having all the pitfalls that any show about high school kids can have, the actions scenes were handled very well, and the continuity of the action was particularly great. The only thing I would say is the facial animation seemed a little stiff and the mouthes seemed a little detached from the expressions and the voices, thats me being nit picky though. The sheer volume of keying that has to be done in the short amount of time means certain things won't get the attention they should. Overall it was a goodtime and I could easily watch more. I hope it gets picked up or there is some continuation...
― Josh A., Sunday, 16 January 2011 12:17 (eleven years ago) link
― Peter Chung, Tuesday, 1 March 2011 08:23 (eleven years ago) link
Peter, just found this post and this website. Very interesting. I'm on the phone right now with Aeonfluxfan1, if you remember her, both of us nostalgic for Aeon Flux.
― Suesuesbeo9, Sunday, 3 April 2011 22:01 (eleven years ago) link