Ice Age: Blue Sky's Answer to Shrek?

Muppet Master

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Really sad news about Blue Sky. It never became the juggernaut that Pixar or Dreamworks became but I always rooted for them. Sadly, it seems like only the Ice Age films made them good money and even the 5th Ice Age made considerably less than the others. It will be so strange seeing the upcoming Ice Age series as a Walt Disney Animation production.
 

D'Snowth

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Pixar and DreamWorks were always the two biggest competitors back in the days when CGI movies were still new an exciting, and both were always having to bring their A-game to try to stay one step ahead of the other . . . then Blue Sky came into the picture, and suddenly there was this third competitor which seemed to always try in earnest, but couldn't even quite compete with the bigger boys. As I said in the beginning of the thread, I really feel like because Shrek really paved a way for CGI movies to have so many sequels, thus spawning an entire franchise, that that's basically what Blue Sky was trying to do with Ice Age, making it their cash cow franchise, because, again, aside from the Ice Age franchise, I really can't think of many of their movies that have had such an impact on the face of CGI cinema as either of Pixar or DreamWorks' earlier ventures. I know their adaptation of Horton really developed a cult following, but again, I say it's because of one reason, and only one reason: JoJo. Had they not had a token emo teen like JoJo, I feel like nobody would even remember that movie today, in spite of Jim Carrey's traditionally hammy performance as Horton.
 

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What's even worse was when Illumination came out of nowhere and easily outdid Blue Sky from a financial standpoint.
 

D'Snowth

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True. And therein lies part of the problem: once all of these other different little smaller studios began emerging from the shadows like Illumination, Sony Pictures Animation, not to mention all of these other little off-brand studios that were growing more prominent in the mid and late 2000s, the competition began exploding so much to the point that there was actually no competition left: suddenly, we had dozens of studios cranking out their own versions of fractured fairy tales, or other attempts at franchising a property or title, that suddenly, the least of either of the big boy's concerns were rivaling each other, because there were suddenly all these new kids on the block contributing their own ventures - neither Pixar or DreamWorks really had a reason to try to top the other, and they gradually began losing that A-game that they always brought to the plate.

Not only that, but as CGI has taken over as the prefered marketable form of animation, thus basically all but burying traditional hand-drawn and 2D animation into an early grave, the novelty, wonder, and amazement of CGI has died out to the point there is no novelty, wonder, or amazement to it anymore. In the 90s and into the 2000s, CGI was still new and evolving rapidly, so it was always such a treat to see how much more realistic certain textures would look, or how much more fluid and lifelike character movements seemed . . . once upon a time, TOY STORY was so groundbreaking . . . even the original ICE AGE was being hyped for its then-advancements in CGI animation technology, and for their days, yes, these movies looked amazing . . . now, they look so primitive that they actually look like low-budget indie movies, in spite of the fact that the technology that went into them was considered state-of-the-art at the time.

I will say that DW's earliest attempts at CGI movies like ANTZ or the original SHREK actually still hold up very well, but then again, they seemed to always be ahead of their competition on advancing technology . . . again, neither the original TOY STORY or even the original ICE AGE have aged well at all, technologically speaking.
 

CoolGuy1013

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Here’s basically how I see it:
It starts with what Snowth said about it being Pixar and Dreamworks in the late 90s-early 2000s, and then Blue Sky came in with their own movies. Then in 2005, Disney themselves started making CGI animated movies. The next year, they’d buy Pixar, giving them 2 animation studios doing essentially the same thing.
Meanwhile, also in 2006, Sony Pictures would start making their own CGI animated movies like Open Season, Surfs Up, and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Throughout the 2010s, the rest of the major studios would begin making CGI movies as well. Warner founded Warner Animation Group, Paramount started Paramount Animation, and Universal would both create Illumination and later buy Dreamworks. With all this, Blue Sky likely fell under the radar.
Then of course came 2019, when Disney officially acquired Fox, taking Blue Sky with it. Now they had 3 animation studios doing essentially the same thing, and when they came onto troubles forcing them to close one, it’s no surprise which one went first.
Of course, this story I’ve told led to other problems like them all constantly trying to one-up each other, but this thread is about Blue Sky, so I made my story about Blue Sky.
 

Muppet Master

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True. And therein lies part of the problem: once all of these other different little smaller studios began emerging from the shadows like Illumination, Sony Pictures Animation, not to mention all of these other little off-brand studios that were growing more prominent in the mid and late 2000s, the competition began exploding so much to the point that there was actually no competition left: suddenly, we had dozens of studios cranking out their own versions of fractured fairy tales, or other attempts at franchising a property or title, that suddenly, the least of either of the big boy's concerns were rivaling each other, because there were suddenly all these new kids on the block contributing their own ventures - neither Pixar or DreamWorks really had a reason to try to top the other, and they gradually began losing that A-game that they always brought to the plate.

Not only that, but as CGI has taken over as the prefered marketable form of animation, thus basically all but burying traditional hand-drawn and 2D animation into an early grave, the novelty, wonder, and amazement of CGI has died out to the point there is no novelty, wonder, or amazement to it anymore. In the 90s and into the 2000s, CGI was still new and evolving rapidly, so it was always such a treat to see how much more realistic certain textures would look, or how much more fluid and lifelike character movements seemed . . . once upon a time, TOY STORY was so groundbreaking . . . even the original ICE AGE was being hyped for its then-advancements in CGI animation technology, and for their days, yes, these movies looked amazing . . . now, they look so primitive that they actually look like low-budget indie movies, in spite of the fact that the technology that went into them was considered state-of-the-art at the time.

I will say that DW's earliest attempts at CGI movies like ANTZ or the original SHREK actually still hold up very well, but then again, they seemed to always be ahead of their competition on advancing technology . . . again, neither the original TOY STORY or even the original ICE AGE have aged well at all, technologically speaking.
Definitely agree, Toy Story and even Toy Story 2 look very cheaply-made today despite being groundbreaking in their time. Same goes with Ice Age. That's really the problem with CGI, it evolves so rapidly that the films have an expiration date of 10-15 years before they no longer look pristine. I can watch Looney Tune or Pink Panther cartoons from the 60's and the hand-drawn animation still looks charming enough. But if I revisit a CGI show from the 2000s like Father of the Pride, the animation looks horrific.
 

D'Snowth

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Unfortunately, the same can't be said for all animation studios from back then - especially the ones that relied on limited animation like Jay Ward, Hanna-Barbera, some of Ruby-Spears, and others. A lot of DiC's stuff also have those very obvious pen-drawn look that the late 80s and early 90s were so fond of, that they too show their age.
 

LittleJerry92

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90s and early 00s CGI did not age well visually, but I mean, I like to look at it this way: it really shows how we were once taken aback at how mine-blowing it looked before it eventually evolved many years later. No different than video game graphics.
 

LittleJerry92

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I remember as a kid first seeing this trailer for Toy Story on the 1996 “Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh” VHS (in its home video release trailer version) and could not believe how great the animation looked that I knew I instantly had to find it on VHS.


Again, it’s an instance none of us knew how CGI would evolve as time goes on, and we can always remember how it started from the bottom and went up.
 
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