Monday, July 05, 2010

Home safe

Despite my many worries that I'd just spent a lot of money on something that was going to get smashed to pieces, my new TV set made it to Iqaluit just fine and currently sits in its new perch in the living room while the old Sharp Aquios rests in the spare bedroom until I can find a new home for it. It's possible it sits there, quietly sobbing and feeling inadequate. Then again, I saw Toy Story 3 last night, so it's entirely possible I'm anthropomorphizing things.

But more on that in a moment.

The sea lift has successfully been concluded. I'm sure once it gets up here we'll inevitably think of something we meant to get this past weekend, but I don't think we forgot anything crucial. Hell, we even finally managed to get a copy of Rock Band Beatles, so we have that to look forward to in August. That's when we're being told we'll get it. Last year's sealift schedule was shot to hell because of weird ice conditions, but with the ice vanished from the bay hopefully it will arrive on time.

Still, it is a bit weird to have dropped so much money and have nothing to show for it for probably about two months.

The last thing I did in Ottawa was pop out to see Toy Story 3. I couldn't drag Cathy out, because as much as she loves Pixar, she's not the biggest fan of the Toy Story movies. Neither am I, to be honest. There's no rational reason for it, they're just not my favourites in the Pixar library. And the only think more disappointing than realizing Toy Story 3 was this year's sole Pixar film is the realization that Cars 2 is the only one in 2011, as Cars is easily my least favourite.

Is Toy Story 3 one of Pixar's best? No. I'll still take Monsters Inc, WALL-E, The Incredibles, Finding Nemo and Up over this one. That doesn't mean Toy Story 3 is a bad movie. It is, in fact, probably the best one I've seen this year. And just like Up, if you're not crying during the last 10 minutes or so of this movie, you have no soul.

Additionally, Toy Story 3 provides the single scariest scene I've watched at the movies in years, and quite possibly the most traumatic animated movie sequence since Bambi's mom mysteriously vanished.

That's what I love about Pixar. Aside from putting genuinely moving scenes in a film, as opposed to blatantly manipulative ones, they show more understanding of humanity with a robot or toys than any other movie studio and most directors.

Plus, they are not afraid to terrify a younger audience. I'm sorry, that scene in Toy Story 3 scared the shit out of me. It was absolutely terrifying and I could tell everyone in the audience felt the same way. And there's nothing wrong with that. Some people seem to think you shouldn't scare kids at the movies. I see nothing wrong with it as long as it's handled right. And, of course, with Pixar, it was.

There is one thing about Pixar that baffles me, though. And that's why more people don't try to copy them. Oh sure, more studios put out computer animated movies, but it kind of missed the point. Pixar has very exacting processes in place with their movies. And those processes work. Every movie they've produced has not only been a commercial smash, but critically beloved (except maybe Cars, although kids love that movie). These processes are not exactly a state secret. They talk quite openly about how they go about making their movies.

Hollywood loves money, plus a little praise to stroke the ego never goes astray either. Still, I'm baffled why more studios do not simply rob Pixar's processes and talent blind when creating their own animated movies. That might be changing...Despicable Me looks quite funny, and there are few movies coming out later the year that have some potential.

Still, they will have to go a long way to top Pixar for balls. Even in a movie that didn't floor me like their predecessors, Toy Story 3 is still miles ahead of anything else I've seen this year.

Last Five
1. Sea of love - Tom Waits*
2. Sunday bloody Sunday - U2
3. Get back (live) - Paul McCartney
4. Hold back the dawn - Robbie Robertson
5. All the trees are hers - Hawksley Workman


John Mutford said...

I've seen TS3 twice now, once in the regular theatre, then in IMAX and enjoyed it both times. I agree that they aren't the best in Pixar's franchise, but still great. My least favourite is probably the Incredibles. I would have said Cars at one point as well, but my son's a fanatic and instead of getting sick of it, it's grown on me. I still pick up on things I missed the first dozen times. I now think it's underappreciated.

Interestingly, and on another note,Debbie and I were thinking about their main characters the other night when we realized that none of the central characters have been female. Then when we thought about it, the issue doesn't seem exclusive to Pixar, most computer animated movies seem to have male leads. Any theories as to why this is, other than computer animators are sexist pigs or that girls get Disney princess stories so there's the balance?

Marc said...

Hey Townie Bastard!
It's Marc again! I am preparing to do a sealift myslef (moving to Iqaluit in next few weeks) and was wondering if I could contact you by e-mail with some specific questions?

towniebastard said...

Marc, feel free to drop me a line with any questions you might have.

John, I confess I've never noticed that before and I'm not sure what the reasons for that are. I can't believe Pixar is sexist. I could see them being a touch myopic. They do get so fixated on certain things that others might skip past the wayside.

On the upside, Pixar does have "Brave", about a Scottish princess, coming out in the summer of 2012. So I guess they got around to doing a story from a female perspective eventually.

John Mutford said...

I didn't know that about Brave, thanks for sharing! On the one hand, good to know they're doing a female lead, on the other, it's another f*#ing princess tale. Oh well, I'll have to wait and see. Pixar hasn't let me down so far.