17 January 2012 | the-happy-critic
An animators perspective
After reading an extensive amount of reviews which largely reflects "Jock of the bushveld" in a negative light, I decided to finally make some time to watch it for myself to formulate my own opinion. To my surprise I had to dig deep within to try to endure watching more than 10 minutes of this "movie" at a time. I write this review with the intention of briefly discussing the failures of this movie, hence if all you seek is an answer to the question "Should I even bother watching this movie" then there is no need to read further, the simple answer is "NO".
With that being said, I cannot for the life of me begin to understand how such a movie was released "on the big screen". Everybody that paid to watch this movie should rightfully be given their money back. This movie was an absolute disgrace to our South African Animation Industry. In all honesty, I have seen far better animation in low budget daytime kiddies shows. It seems as if the creators of this movie were so hell bent on making money from people actually paying to watch it that they didn't even care about the quality of this film.
I find it extremely hard to believe that it took them 5 years to come up with THIS. The character designs were extremely and painfully weak and I found it impossible to create a connection with any of the characters, the emotions that the characters displayed lacked any sort of actual human qualities. I can only laugh at the poor character models in this movie. The facial expressions could be described as mediocre at best as they were highly unconvincing, poorly timed and extremely amateur.
To my absolute astonishment, there were scenes in the movie where the characters clashed with the props. For example there was a scene where Fitz's hand went right through the bar stool. This is probably the most unacceptable error which an animator can make. Why didn't anybody on the team spot these errors and take a few minutes to fix it. There was also a scene where the chicken's feet were floating. Once again, a few minutes are all it would have taken to fix these small but detrimental errors.
The animation was disappointing in every sense of the word. However the award for worst animated character ever goes to the movie's main human character, Fitz. His motions and reactions were so unnatural throughout the entire movie. Let's take one scene out of the movie. Let's use the scene where they are crossing the river and Fitz shoots the crocodile. It is almost as if his body parts are fighting with each other. His reaction and movement is completely unnatural, unrealistic and so poorly timed. I have never in my entire life seen a human move or react like this guy. There is absolutely no fluidity in the animation. I would love to know how much reference was actually used in this film. The way in which he handles his pistol and his recovery after he shoots the crocodile is completely unbelievable and appears to have been animated by a person or multiple people that have minimal(if any) knowledge on animation. There were a few scenes were the camera angles were chosen correctly to give the audience that dramatic effect. However majority of the film the camera seems to be telling a completely different story as it should have. Everything needs to blend together in a scene to give the audience the desired effect and to get that part of the story across. Unfortunately a good camera angle mixed with bad animation (for example) completely ruins everything.
5 years? Really? The supposedly "dramatic" fight scene between Jock, his mother and the leopard could have been so much better and so much more effective. Here's what you (the creators) should have done. You'll (the creators) should have taken 10 minutes out of your "busy" day and watched the scene from The Lion King where Simba fights Scar and reclaims what is rightfully his. And I can guarantee you that watching those 10 minutes would have highly increased the value of this scene. While I am on the topic of reference, you'll should have also taken some time to watch the part where Mufasa dies and Simba is all alone with nobody to hear his desperate cries for help. Had you'll examined this scene and question as to why this scene evoked so much empathy in the audience and used that knowledge to better the Jocks Mother Dies scene, perhaps it wouldn't have been so easy for the audience to brush off such a vital moment in Jock's life. These are just 2 examples from a single movie that could have highly increased the overall quality of Jock. Can you'll (the creators) imagine the possibility had you'll taken a little more time in those 5 years to focus on the audience and how reaction to the film. We have all come to know who Bryan Adams is, especially due to his brilliant music in animated films. However just because his music or voice is featured in a movie isn't enough to make the movie good. Sadly not even the voice of Bryan Adams could save this train from derailing. There is something that could have been changed in every scene of this movie, be it minor or major, that would have made this movie a part of South African history and not a part that we'd rather forget. This movie could be compared to Apartheid, it happened, it was extremely horrible, now let's all try to put it behind us and move on with our lives.