No Right Explanation

No Right Explanation
You've Got a Friend In Me

Firefilm | 19 Nov 2012 16:00
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We catch a little guff from folks for being three big Pixar fanboys. Yep. I'm cool with catching that reputation.

This debate was probably best used as a conversation starter regarding the state of Pixar. Several weeks ago, Pixar announced their lineup for the next few years of features. Needless to say, people were less than impressed with the sequels and prequels dotting the list. Is Pixar falling into a trap?

I would say no. Think of it like this: Pixar is aware of what worked in the past, and they try their best to build on it. Meanwhile, Dreamworks has improved considerably with their original features, but they still fall into the trap that Disney invented: straight to TV and straight to DVD spin offs and sequels.

The best part about Pixar is that there's no clear frontrunner for their best feature, and I think that was the thesis of Chris's arguments. In the event that you must defend a Pixar movie, it's hard to choose which one. In the event that you must attack one, you have obvious choices for that route.

My main focus of the episode was that I tend to elevate certain Pixar flicks over the rest due to different reasons. For Toy Story, it's nostalgia. For The Incredibles, it's the way they immersed the Pixar style into a very specific genre. For Ratatouille it is how much it reminded me of the animated movies of the sixties and seventies in terms of embracing the setting and mixing both the human characters and the smaller world of the animal characters. For Up, it's how well the metaphor worked; a simple adventure story as an exploration of life after loss.

This set of films hit so many different buttons.

I will profess my complete ambivalence about A Bug's Life and Cars. No love for these? No. Definitely no love. In my opinion, A Bug's Life failed to give me much to connect to. It seemed less like a Pixar movie and more like a generic Disney animated feature from 2003. Familiar territory. Cars is, as Chris put it, an amazing marketing decision. But the protagonist is unlikable, the nostalgia points that they grab for have no meaning to the majority of the audience, who is either too young to understand it or too old to accept it without any skepticism, and there doesn't seem to be enough conflict for a compelling story.

Oh, crap. You know what I should have argued for? The shorts. If there's a single Pixar project that trumps all of them, it's the flawless, Oscar-winning short animated films that have preceded each feature for almost the last two decades. We did not specify that we were arguing only features. It's that type of lateral thinking that could be winning me some debates. I wish I could employ that when I'm laughing my ass off listening to the crap spewing from Chris's deranged mind.

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