The San Francisco Chronicle's movie critic Mick Lasalle has really raised the ire of the animation community with his review of Monster House, in which he lauds the film's use of motion-capture animation (first used by Monster House producer Robert Zemeckis in Polar Express) as a technological advancement the likes of which the animation world has never seen. The review spawned outrage amid professional animators, who took particular offense to the line " ... There was never any point to a close-up in an animated film -- there was never really anything to see."

Industry professionals have apparently not been shy about letting Lasalle know they think he's an idiot, and that he should have better researched his topic before writing about it. Among the throng responding to the review was Pixar story artist Jeff Pidgeon, who sent a politely-worded response to the SF Chron on the subject. Lasalle, who apparently isn't in any hurry to mend fences with the animators of the world, reportedly responded thusly: "Thank you for a thoughtful message. I appreciate it. (Don't agree with it, any of it, but I appreciate being accurately quoted and not being cursed at.)"

I can see both sides of this issue; as a film critic, you are reviewing the overall film and the impression it makes on you. I wouldn't necessarily research, say, the entire history of exorcism in the Catholic Church just to review a film about an exorcism. On the other hand, Lasalle's review of Monster House is less a critique of the film per se than an exploration of the wonders of the capture-motion animation technique used. In fact, Lasalle more or less dismisses the relevance of the movie's storyline, devoting only a paragraph or so of the entire piece to the merits of the film overall, so I can see how the animators are viewing it less as a review of a film than a critique of the history of their profession.

What say you, Cinematical readers? Is the capture-motion animation in Monster House the bee's knees, the next new wave of animation advancement, that will leave the animation of movies past in the dust?

[via Boing Boing]