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Pixar: Are the glory days over?

Drtooth

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It's as if Scorsese was trying to make a kids' movie, but utilizing the stuff he would have liked as a kid -- in this case, the early era of cinema. Something that few of Hugo's intended audience would appreciate as much as him, but adults who would be would probably find it too whimsical. This Cracked Photoplasty says it all.

http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/rsz_hugo_8866.jpg
I honestly give him a lot of credit for that kind of movie, but there's a reason why kid's movies are the way they are. Older kids find anything made for kids, well, childish, and therefore they go to movies for slightly older audiences. Most kid's movies (the bad ones) tend to play the younger audience because those are the ones that drag the family to see movies and scream forever in the store for the merchandise. A long, involved storyline will bore the heck out of little kids unless it's animated and has wacky sidekicks, older kids who weren't turned off by it being for kids would definitely be turned off by the esoteric subject matter. Unless they're like 9-14 year old film school wannabees or knowitalls, there was nothing appealing about the film on any level of general public film going. Even the marketing department was like "huh?" and that's why they made it look like a Harry Potter Clone (right down to the similar font). And I guess making it look like just another awful HP ripoff (after the films ended, too) scared even more potential moviegoers off.

But I bring up Hugo because that seems to be the kid's movie film snobs love to bring up because all the other kid's movies are incredibly awful because they're not as artistic (read: offputtingly stuck up). Hugo is an example of how not to make a kid's movie on the upperscale end. In contrast you look at the "all kids are morons" end of the scale and you get Marmaduke. A movie that was painfully generic as far as kid's movies go, based on (with all due respect to the creator who just passed away) a comic strip that wasn't strong enough to support a story to begin with that no one under the age of 40 knew about other than reference.

And this brings my point all the way back home... Pixar and Disney's in house CGI studio manage to strike that great middle point of high quality animated movies that both kids and adults can enjoy. And with Pixar, they play the field all the way around. Up made kids care about a movie starring an old guy. They managed to have the heart of an indie movie (a movie of which would just have been the beginning 10 minutes stretched out for 120 minutes with the melodramatic angle ratched up), with all the fun of an exciting adventure. And whatever anyone has to say about Cars, they followed up some devastatingly emotional movies with one that, while still heartfelt, was just a fun movie for the younger audiences that admittedly was pretty good. Even the second one, clearly made out of desire to sell more die cast cars, was a lot less cynical than most. I mean, SharkTale was pretty freaking cynical a cash-grab there could be.
 

mr3urious

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I watched the Toy Story behind-the-scenes anniversary special last night, and it was a fun view. They showed off the infamous Black Friday reel that we all know about, but also showed off some test footage of early Woody who was more like a ventriloquist's dummy, and man did he look creepy actually seeing it in action for the first time. :eek: And to think, Pixar would have come very close to crashing down before the version of the movie they wanted was put out there.

I also liked how they showed one of the staff members delivering some test footage stored on a videotape using a scooter to do it, which was long before faster Internet speeds would make it feasible sending it through there.
 

D'Snowth

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I saw that too; and proto-Buzz was really tiny (or, tiny in comparison to what he finally looked like) and already knew he was a toy.

The Black Friday reel is on the DVD, and I don't remember exactly, but I believe it was Jeffrey Katzenberg who kept insisting the movie be more "edgy" and more "adult," and when that disaster happened and Pixar went with their gut instincts to transform the movie in a couple of weeks, that was one of the things that drove Katzenberg away from Disney and into forming DreamWorks with Spielberg and that other guy to compete with Disney/Pixar (and that could explain why many of DreamWorks' earlier movies are considerably edgier and more adult than they eventually became).
 

Drtooth

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The problem with that reel (I didn't see the special, I don't know how much more they divulged if any that wasn't already online) is that it was pretty much bound to entertain no one. Woody's a jerk, Buzz is a jerk, all the toys are jerks. Who were we supposed to root for? And the "edgy" jokes weren't funny. "Mr. Mashed Potatohead?" Just tone-deaf and nasty spirited. As I've said before, look at that reel and suddenly Sharktale makes a lot more sense.
 

Pig's Laundry

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Here's the infamous Black Friday reel,in case anyone's interested
Note how in this version Woody intentionally pushes Buzz out the window, not by accident.Also in this Kath Soucie (Phil, Lil and Betty from Rugrats) voices Bo Peep.

 
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The Count

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Watched the Toy Story special followed by the movie last night.

As for the Black Friday reel. Honestly? It made me laugh! Also reminded me of the outtakes from Big also starring Tom Hanks that they aired on an episode of SNL he hosted back in the past where Hanks' character was equally as jerkish, and it made me chuckle back then as well.

Thing is... The kids Annie Potts would go to read got excited and recognized her, saying "Bo Peep's reading to us today!" Really? You mean they didn't recognize her as Janine Melnitz from Ghostbusters? :skeptical:
 

Drtooth

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Now that you mention it, it really feels like a Family Guy cutscene upon another viewing, especially with Slinky's temp voice. In retrospect I guess you could call this pretty funny. Just still horrifying this could have happened. It's like... it's like Allen Gregory. Every character's a complete jerk, and you have either oblivious morons or jerks that want to smash them down. Seems like this was the case here. No one would have been likable, and this film's only merit would have been technical.
 

Grovette

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I'm not the biggest fan of Pixar, but there are a few good movies.

The Toy Story movies got better, I like the 3rd better than the 1st one.

And of all the movies, my fave was from this year. Inside Out.
Wow! They sure went out on a limb with that one.
Quite deep and dark in comparison to other Pixar films.
The previews looked all bright, cherry and aimed for young ones.
It was more like a CGI psychological thriller. :scary:
 

Drtooth

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While I do agree that Inside Out was a return to form, I really think that the "slump" movies get more hate than they deserve.

Cars 2:
Make no mistake. This film was for the very young and their parents who are into automotive trivia and racing. While the story was straight out of a Saturday Morning Cartoon series with the Cars characters, I'd admit to actually preferring this one over the first one, if for no other reason visually. I kinda regret not seeing it in 3-D. Still, they made it a nice character piece for Mater when they could have just straight up made a retread (no tire puns here) of the first film on a bigger scale like most sequels turn out to be. Plus, I did enjoy the conspiracy theory of junker cars trying to take down race cars all the while tarnishing the reputation of alternative fuels.

Brave:
I get the feeling if this was made by any other animation studio it would have been praised. The film does speak to people and I respect that. The behind the scenes politics is what sours me on this movie, but I give them all the credit in the world for subverting the princess trope in a movie released by Disney, the patron saint of Princess tropes. You know, how they're actually these pro-active types that somehow all wind up sitting down and having tea in frilly dresses in the merchandise? They didn't try to (ahem) make a teenage girl look like she's in her late 20's like usual. That's a plus. And I even like how they managed to subvert the mother's "I know what's best" mentality. Seems like everything in this film, even the ending where Merida doesn't end up with anyone (but totally checks one of the princes out), the film subverts every Princess based movie Disney released. Not one of my favorites, and I agree that the Oscar was a pity Oscar for the aforementioned behind the scenes politics. I think the fact it didn't go to the more deserving Paranorman (or at least Wreck-it Ralph) tainted the film.

Monsters University
Like I said before, I think they were just getting picky and easily peeved by this one for being a follow up (or rather backup) to another film. While most of the movie is pretty much just a fun film, the realistic message it gives at the end is surprisingly grown up and important considering how many college grads never get the job they studied for. In a summer where a film about a snail who wanted to be a formula one racer (which I have to admit I liked despite the stupid concept), the "anyone can be anything" message becomes a bold faced lie. Plus, it was great to see that the underdogs triumph over all trope turned on its head when Sully actually cheated to let his team win. The film had some real guts I don't think were fully appreciated.
 

D'Snowth

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While I do agree that Inside Out was a return to form, I really think that the "slump" movies get more hate than they deserve.

Brave:
I think part of BRAVE's problem was that it came out so soon after DreamWorks released HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, and while both movies are totally different in terms of story and characters, at a glance, they look similar in terms of feel and tone (that and the whole medeval Europe setting).

Come to think of it, it actually prompted this comic several years back:
http://idget.comicgenesis.com/d/20120101.html
 
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