Morning Report Feb 23, 2012
To the modern day film blogger Pixar is a studio to be trusted. It is a studio that is as highly esteemed as the freed unit of MGM was in its heyday. The films that Pixar produces are almost always unanimously praised by the modern day film community. On the radar for Pixar is a new animated film (thankfully new after the lackluster toy story 3 and cars 2) entitled “Brave”. There have been rumblings and even trailers released about brave already, but the film blog-o-sphere is all aglow about a newly released poster and 2+ minute clip.
There is a general can’t wait feeling about this prospect from the greater part of the film community, which is understood for the most part, as Pixar has rarely let them down (except lately). I can hardly say however that this new property has me excitedly over the moon like the rest. Let’s take a step back here. Firstly Pixar is not the end all be all of animated glory in the 20-21 century. I sit back and kind of marvel when, following a Pixar release, the film community offers up shouts of best picture Oscar and greatest animated film of all time. Toy Story 3 was……serviceable, but best picture material? I just wonder why this great love for animation today is reserved for Pixar and Pixar alone. Why all of a sudden are animated films so great? Is it just because Pixar is making them now? Where was the best picture animated film talk when Don Bluth was producing his masterpieces? What about the second golden age of Disney (“Little Mermaid”, “Aladdin”, “Beauty and the Beast”, “The Lion King”). Sure those films had acclaim but not the worship and benediction reserved for mecca that is Pixar. What about recent great animated films like “Coraline” and “Monster House” and even the works of Hayao Miyazaki? Why does Pixar get all the attention you ask? The answer is sheen. That new fresh sheen. This sheen that we’re referring to is the animation style that the Pixar films use. This is the sole basis for their success. Of course this is the style we’ve come to know as 3D animation. It started with “Toy Story” and it still has a sense of newness and style that draws people. Now this isn’t a bad thing, as new frontiers in filmmaking should spark interest and exploration for their artistic merit. However, I believe that this “sheen” is the only thing worth noticing about a Pixar film, because without that sheen there isn’t much to a Pixar film. Sure the scripts can sometimes be clever, the animation pretty, and the storytelling occasionally earnest, but on the whole the catalogue is mostly very well made cotton candy. Simple stories, simply told. Unfortunately the trend seems to continue with Brave. Simple Story (girl can’t fit well with societies expectations of her, must fight to prove self worth by conquering amazing challenge to earn respect of her peers and herself), simple animation (except for her hair which a lot of time must have gone into, most of the people looks like slight caricatures of simple Irish human models, which is kind of lazy in my opinion. Where is the imagination and the folklore in the storytelling. There seems to be no daring in the animation style like there was in all of Don Bluth’s films. In fact, Bluth was so daring in his animation that the MPAA had to routinely check him on it……but that’s another story. Here, however it seems that Pixar has once again taken a simple story and refused to elevate it to something more either through daring and imaginative animation or inspired storytelling while stories of feminine identity have already been made into more transcendent fables in “Beauty and the Beast” and “Mulan”. Oh well………..maybe the bloopers will be good.
Other than the “Brave” news, the film blog-o-sphere is pretty quiet this morning. Well, quiet if you don’t count the usual mess that counts as film news and journalism.
Check out (or don’t) Aintitcool News, still pimping out stories about Peter Berg’s Battleship
I still want to believe that the trailer for battleship (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3B3moWiI_J4) is the most elaborate and expensive parody trailer that the MTV movie awards ever produced. Nevertheless, while the upcoming film clearly is a joke to anyone who enjoys good movies, the people at AICN still find enough to be interested in because they post about 10 topics about “Battleship” a week.
Some film blogger sites are also reporting the minor “news” that Sasha Baron Cohen will not be allowed in the Oscars this year.
It’s funny how the film nerds find this to be so offensive about the Oscars. Not the fact that the Oscars don’t honor film from all genres, only acknowledge sentimental weepy “important film” for awards (even if the film stinks) and will nominate pictures like “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” for best picture. All that we can live with. We however draw the line at not letting Sasha Baron Cohen come to the Oscars to play dress up and contribute to his ever growing abhorrent library of films. Just think, we might miss out on Sasha Baron Cohen putting his naked butt in Meryl Streep’s face (would be kind of cool I admit). I say boycott. If we allow this to happen what next, Billy Crystal coming back to host………..oh wait, shoot.