I've made a few descriptions of movie scenes before, but I've never gone
into much detail of what the movie's about. To let the truth be known, even
I'm not certain - the film doesn't exist yet. All that I've really thought of
are numerous tidbits and rough ideas that I think should be included. I do
know that the film should be written and directed by the show's writers and
directors, and animated by the good people at Mook. As far as cementing a
concept and plot go, nada. I just have loose concepts and ideas. That's
because I'm no writer, I'm just acting as an idea man. Here's just about
everything I've thought of to date:
How it should be animated:
To give you an idea of how much animation costs and how long it takes,
here's some rough estimates of what a few animated films have been made for
(With date estimates where necessary) and about how long they took (If I know).
Keep in mind that most of this is from memory, and I can't be certain about
Akira $7 million over 2 years (a *very* questionable estimate)
All Dogs Go To Heaven II $20 million
Batman: Mask of the Phatasm ~$3 million (I'm kinda uncertain.)
The Black Cauldron $25 million (in early 80's dollars) over 5 years
Cool World $20 million
Gen 13 (OAV) $2 million
The Lion King $45 million
The Pagemaster $35 million
Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation (OAV) $3 million
While my knowlege pertaining to this is quite fractured, it is basically
accurate (I know for certain that the Akira budget was estimated at $7 million,
but I strongly suspect that the reveiwer who quoted it may have been mistaken.
That figure just seems too low for animation that spectacular.)
As you can see, it tends to work out that the more money that is put into
animation, the better it looks (Provided the animators are talented). Based on
all this, I would say that a SWAT Kat movie should be budgeted at over $40
million and be made over 3 to 5 years. Anything less would sacrifice quality.
SWAT Kats: The Movie should utilize computer coloring just as The Lion
King, Pocahontas, and other new animated films do. Computer coloring of
animation is not quite the improvement it is with comic books, but it *is*
still better. Traditionally painted films such as Aladdin used about 250
colors (I think) and Akira used 327, but the Lion King had over 10,000 thanks
to computer coloring.
All the animation should be at 24 frames a second and possibly utilize a
dissolve effect to enhance the image. I'm not exactly certain what the dissolve
effect is called, but it is often used in anime. It's the process simulating
the effect of motion blurr by having frames dissolve into their neighbors
rather than just jump from one image to another. You may remeber the effect
being used to an exxagerated extent during the fight scene in the finale of The
Lion King. When it's done at a normal rate, it works to keep image flicker
down to a minimum in theaters. It would be a good idea to use it during
fast paced action scenes since those have a tendency to flicker alot even at
24 fps. The big disadvantage is for those who view it on Laserdic or Home
Video and want to freeze frame and get a nice clear image. Since the flicker
effect is less prominent (Virtually noexistent) on video, it might be a good
idea to record one version utilzing the effect for the theater, and another
version on video without it (Just a strange idea I have that animators might
want to consider using someday.).
Computer Graphics would be an immense help in rendering much of MegKat City
in 3-D. Straight out CG tend to clash with animation, but computer assisted
animation (CAA) works nicely. CAA was popularized in the short film
Technological Threat, and later used in the finale of The Great Mouse
Detective. Since then it has become very popular and the technology has
improved. Good examples of CG/CAA in animated films are the flight scenes in
The Rescuers Down Under and We're Back! since they were of skyscrapers and
other tall buildings, and some other examples can be found in Rock-A Doodle,
Ferngully, And Thumbelina just to name a few. I'm not exactly certain, but I
beleive that for some of those films (Namely Thumbelina), paintings were
actually scanned into a computer and then the image was "placed" on the sides
of a polygon to achieve the desired effect. Whatever was used in Thumbelina,
the CG or CAA maintained the appearance of the backgrounds while existing in
3-D and should definitely be used in SWAT Kats: The Movie.
The backgrounds in SWAT Kats: Thge Radical Squadron are not the normal
type of paintings seen in most animation, but heavily inked comic art. While
paint probably is used, you don't really see brush strokes or any obvious
airbrushing (except for the clouds in the sky). This is what the backgrounds in
the movie should look like only with far more detail. It would really serve to
make the film look and feel like a comic book.
When a character is moving very quickly, or a missle in flight is shown,
the dynamic streaked background should appear to accentuate the action (As it
is often used on the show.)
The glows, sparkles, shimmers, and shines that enhance the show's animation
would be very prominent in SWAT Kats: The Movie, and should be used with the
animators' discression (Used for Lasers, engine exhaust, sparks, parts of
The characters should be illustrated in every frame with more detail than
they have in the show. (Incidentally, the episode to emulate and improve upon
is The Deadly Pyramid since it is basically the epitome of the series'
animation.) When T-Bone and Razor are in their mechanics' suits, they should
look more or less like they do on the show only with a little more attention to
detail. When they're in their flight suits, they should look like they do in
the Bike Safety Checklist (With more detail on the suits, and overall looking a
heck of a lot cooler). During intense action scenes, they should have the
chisled geometric/angular look. Remember how T-Bone and Razor look in the
still frame shown inbetween the the double epidodes? (After Cry Turmoil and
Volcanus Erupts and before SWAT Kats Unplugged and The Origin of Doctor Viper.)
That is what I mean by "geometric/angular look". The rest of the charcters
should pretty closely follow the show's look, only as stated before, with more
The Technology should be drawn through traditional means, only as precisely
as possible. I'm thinking that revised versions of the TurboKat, Enforcer
tanks, helicoipters, and jets should be made, as well as any other vehicles.
Even though computer coloring would allow for a gradual fading of colors, sharp
color contrasts should be made on technogy to give a reflective sheen to it
(This look would be very similiar to the technolgy in anime). A great deal of
effort should go into making everything exist in 3-D and appear to look
realistic while still having that fantastic quality.
I said before that I only have ideas, but no coherent story. Here's some
of what I do have:
SWAT Kats: The Movie would be a tour de force of images and hot action,
though it wouldn't be without characterization and plot. This of course would
be the SWAT Kats' greatest adventure, but in the end, basically not much would
have changed radically and irrevocably. No main charcters would die and the
SWAT Kats identies would still be secret to the world. The reason for this is
clear; The show would continue after the movie and sequels might be made.
What ideas I do have involve a new enemy more powerful than anything the
SWAT Kats have ever faced (Not a terribly original idea, but who says that
makes it a bad one?). I've considered having the film open with DarKat in a
giant mobile suit appearing (Warping into?) in MegaKat City and desperately
fighting an invisible enemy (Or at least one that's visible to himself). He
strikes out at it with missles and laser cannons but to no avail and in the
process he unintentionlly destroys several nearby buildings. The Enforcers
can't handle it and the SWAT Kats are alerted. The credits and opening music
play as they suit up, prep the TurboKat, take off, and fly to stop him. When
they arrive, Darkat mumbles something about having to stop whatever it is (He
says it over a loudspeaker on the mobile suit), but ignores the SWAT Kats.
This confuses the SWAT Kats, they try to stop him (Because they think he's
trying to destroy the city), but most everthing proves useless against the
mobile suit. DarKat is eventually defeated by his invisible enemy and his
mobile suit comes crashing down. He jumps out the cockpit and tries to run
away but disappears in a warp just the same way he appeared and all the while
is screaming "Noooooooo!". The SWAT Kats (Still in the TurboKat) see a pair of
red eyes appear before them and fade away. Razor fires a missles at where they
were, but it just flies on through and hits a building. Feral and the
Enforcers see this, but not what Razor fired at and so that gives Feral just
the cause he needs to arrest the SWAT Kats (As if he ever needed just cause.).
For the rest of the film, Feral tries to arrest the SWAT Kats, but they keep on
dodging him and eventually they prove that they intended no harm.
As the film progesses, more is shown of the enemy, Feral continues his
hunt, while evidence of the SWAT Kats' innocence is gathered. A few weeks after
the incident with DarKat, things appear normal. The SWAT Kats fly out to stop
monsters and supervillians as usual, but mysterious things keep occuring.
At this point I kind of run dry on plot. I have good ideas for what I'd
like to see, but I'm not certain how to connect them all together. I'd like to
see the SWAT Kats fly from base maybe up to a total of six times during the
film with lots of cool action each time, but it would be difficult to not have
that seem a bit repetitive. One of the times they depart to face the enemy
(After they know who it is and how to stop it) and get their tales kicked. The
TurboKat is destroyed and they barely manage to escape alive. Fortunately,
they were shown working on the next TurboKat earlier on in the film and
construction is nearly completed. (Here I have to ask since I don't remember;
Was the TurboKat destroyed or just captured in When Strikes Mutilor? If it was
destroyed, I guess that would make the newest TurboKat the TurboKat IV - one
during the first season destroyed in the final episode, the second destroyed in
the second season premiere, and in the third it's what they're flying now. - but
if it was only captured and not destroyed, then it would be the TurboKat III.).
They return to base, complete construction on the newest TurboKat, load it
chock full of weapons, ammunition, and fuel, and take off in a gutsy attempt to
stop the enemy.
About the new TurboKat being fully armed, normally all the weapons and
gadgets are tucked away inside, but this time the insides are full, and they
have to attach missles, bombs, and fuel tanks to the exterior. By the time
they're done, the new TurboKat is about 120% of operational flight weight.
They have to use RATO (Rocket Assisted Take Off) and partially stay in STOL
(Short Take Off and Landing) mode just to stay airborne (Can't we just forget
about picking up the giant mummy in the Deadly Pyramid?).
Some more ideas I have involves the TurboKat being just a tiny little plane
in comparison to the enemy's base. Remeber how small the Enterprise was
made to look in contrast to VGER in Star Trek: The Motion Picture? That's kind
of how I picture the TurboKat looking. Just a little speck in the middle of a
As the film progresses from this point, the TurboKat is grounded so the
SWAT Kats continue with a small vehicle (perhaps a hover craft). It gets
destroyed and they must go on with Cyclotrons or on a dual Cyclotron. They/it
is destroyed and they go further with jet packs, and then on foot.
This would be good for setting up an tense ending similiar to Aliens and
Terminator II, but it would also fall into the same trap as Star Trek:
Generations; having a fist fight as the finale instead of a space battle.
Perhaps this could be remedied by having the enemy be a very arrogant type who
is just toying with them (He/She/It lets them have the TurboKat back just to
have a fighting chance.), and that same arrogance is their enemy's downfall.
In retrospect, maybe the idea of an enemy so powerful is bad thing. It may
serve to keep things from being believable and set up an anticlimax. And I
have no idea where this massive enemy base would be in the first place -
Undeground? In space? Can't say for certain. I just have to fall back on the
statement I made originally; I have not cemented the concept and plot.
Anyway, here are some more ideas I have for the film:
I know it sounds typical, but I would like to see Callie and Jake go out on
a date (Dinner and a movie at the drive-in.).
Perhaps the truth about Mayor Manxx would finally be told and Callie might
try to for the Mayorship.
Maybe there could be something between Felina and Chance/T-Bone.
Repairs on Cybertron would be completed, and he would help, even save the
SWAT Kats in the end.
Callie discovers the SWAT Kats secret identities.
There should be a 30 seconds to 1 minute Scaredy Kat cartoon in the same
vein as the Roger Rabbit and Itchy and Scratchy shorts.
It might be running the joke too far into the ground, but MegaKat Tower
could be destroyed yet again.
In one awsome scene, Razor would fire dozens of missles in rapid succession
out of the TurboKat and obliterate the target.
The TurboKat III or IV would feature all the technological improvements I
mentioned in a prior post as well as a sleaker design, and more
Training sequences in the MegaKat Mountains and Reflex Room.
I just realized that I have nothing more to write about. I guess it's just
as well, my mind turned to clay hours ago. All the ideas I tossed out about
the film are just one way of many ways to go (And certainly not the best ones
either), and I want to stress that I'm *not* trying to lay forth some
unalterable foundation for how the movie *must* be. I'm merely sharing a few
scattered, highly disorganized ideas of how it might be. I would like to hear
everyone's input on what I've wrtitten. Do you like it, dislike, agree,
disagree, or whatever? For now, I'll just look forward to any follow ups.
Kevin L. Knoles klknole_at_rs6000.cmp.ilstu.edu
Received on Sat May 06 1995 - 05:54:59 PDT
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