All posts tagged pixar

I’ll spare you what you already know about how great the Wall-E movie and how its strong theme is about the ravages of commercialism. I wanted to talk about the secondary theme in Wall-E, the thread of symbolism that enriches what seems like simple story-telling fabric. Forget the “hypocrisy” that one (of the very few) soulless critics pointed out about the commercial viability of the slickly designed cast against the wholesome message. That critic has forgotten his job is to review movies, not corporate greed, unless he’d prefer the movie to NOT have its message and JUST be a vehicle for Disney’s marketing.

Continue Reading

Been a long time since I had time to post.

There is a funny thing about fanaticism on the internet, namely that it lacks temporal coherence. I find it so beyond rational to be criticized for criticizing the early Transformers designs now that the movie is out and the Transformers look badass. One fellow said I had not done my "research." Research of what at the time? The internet preserves your words in stone, forgetting the context of the time so that I can look "dumb" months after I make fair criticism. I think they're just forgotten that polemic can be something besides Whine Vs. Fact.

So anyways, the movie wasn't bad. You could keep the same movie and just swap out the director from Michael Bay to Ridley Scott and I would have declared it a victory, since I just can't support his selfish directing style and how he wraps his two arms around the military's cock, then jumps up and down to stroke out a caricature of patriotism. What, did you think it was an accident the military helped out so much on the film?

ILM's robots were phenomenal in motion, easily the best robot animation work ever done. I didn't like how overdesigned they were, and sometimes couldn't tell which way they were standing/flipping/facing, but it is not easy to make a 20ft robot move stealthily across suburbia. Just… what the fuck was that medic bot doing the whole time? They should have held him down and shoved the magic spark into HIS cowardly go-bot chest. And I still think Megatron could have been a gun… no… a fuck-all rail/satellite gun, that's right. He wasn't all that scary, dunno why any of the rest were hailing him in their Jar Jar garble.

Oh yeah and Megan Fox was damn hot.

If that were all my summer movie quota though, I would have been left blue-balled. I definitely didn't need Optimus Prime's idiotic state-of-the-union address, no matter how bad the liberal media has gotten. But c'mon, that speech would make Bill O'Reilly roll his eyes. Guess something needs to balance Michael Moore's "intellectual" crusade against healthcare in which he shows us that Cuba treats rich Americans when even America does not. Just don't ask about the real Cubans.

Fortunately, Ratatouille marked itself as the next American classic, a perfect animation told with perfect story and Pixar's trademarked ability to engage morals, entertain, and avoid cheap laugh fads. Their work is timeless. I no longer need to go to France now; the city shots were so amazing I fought to not lose my breath to a mere projected image as I sat in a stunned theater. And while the story was simple, Pixar told it the way the peasant dish of ratatouille was cooked in the movie- simply, but with aplomb and passion.

Having visited Pixar a couple times, I can tell you that the movie was that good for a reason. Stepping onto their campus was like stepping into Disneyland for the first time. Walking past their man-made tobaggan snowbank, into their airy art-filled mega-loft, onto their Segway highways connecting cubicles, past their gigantic theater, and around a workplace stuffed with relics and artifacts of childhood endearment from the Golden Age, you just knew. This was the Willy Wonka chocolate factory of 3D animation.

Xstine and I both looked at each other after the film, eyes tearing with some jealousy. I asked myself why I left a potential route into film fx and animation for the games industry. Then the endless credits came, and I remembered why. Nevertheless, to all the hardworking, brilliant artists and TDs who worked on this magnificent piece, congratulations! You've added something tangible to American culture. And you did it without giant killer robots (no pun intended, they do great work too).

Wow. In the continuation of our theater binge (at today's prices, two theater features IS bingeing dammit), we took one incredible ride with Pixar's Cars, the first movie all year that has left me wanting to spend more. If its illusory two hours hadn't disappeared in blink later at 11:00 pm, we would have U-turned for another lap, it was that good. It seemed to hit a holy balance of fart jokes for kids and smart jokes for 9-5 kids, and layered it all in a nostalgic, cheesy, and overly sweet slice of American pie, keeping the patriot in me brinked on tearful. I'm a sap for a movie like this, which draws upon a mode of storytelling Hollywood blockbusters have forgotten, hell forSAKEN for predictable, inbred tautology sewn into pointless SFX.

Which is not to say Cars wasn't predictable or free of cliché, just that it delivered them through a veneer of empathy that really REALLY made cars into people. I left the theater expecting the parking lot automobiles to wake-up and wave at us. I found myself questioning the geneology of a Beamer. I expected Mustangs to look at me over-the-shoulder. I wondered if my Infinity had a Japanese accent. Once again, Pixar pulled the trick they know best… bringing everyday things to a life more vivid than we had ourselves.

Forget about the incredibly shading and lighting and composition. Forget about the perfect mechanical-anthromorphic animations. I can't express how touched I was at the premise that Radiator Springs was being bypassed to save ten minutes once folks took the interstate megahighway over a humbly scenic Route 66. I hear from Californians all the time how the rest of the country is a bunch of inbred hicks. Maybe this movie will take them a notch down for a sec. It was about time for us to get a story about self-centered urbanites being the fish-out-of-water in a mostly honest, hardworking American Etc. But that's the residual Bay Area in me speaking.

So, I can now only look forward to the next release from Pixar, the immaculately animated Ratatoille in the pic above. Summer has become fun again.

As a perfectionist in the art of perpetually jumping on the hip wagon late, I have some confessions to make.

The first is tejano club rap, which I recently got hooked on no thanks to Delinquent Habits' "Return of the Tres" at the opening screen of Total Overdose. So I started listening to the tejano stations and kept getting my H interrupted by delusional latino communities talking up political activism with laughable ignorance, not unlike what I saw with the Asian community. It always boils down to "White Guy X is so rich it's his responsibility to give back to the community and save us from evil Arnold Schwarzanegger."

First of all, White Guy X has no incentive what-so-ever to give back to random community "leaders" making demands from their armchairs. I almost crashed my car when someone said Steve Jobs recently acquired half of the $7.54 billion worth in Pixar, and was morally obliged to save a cluster of no-name underperforming middle schools. Second of all, for the UC system to demand money of Arnie is nearly the joke of the coast. Apparently 6 figure salaries and 5 figure "compensations" for moving, perversely overdrawn business expenses, bogglingly inefficient new facilities, and extraordinate wastes of money in things like a second renovation of the same football field, apparently these have no part in the low wages across campuses and had no effect on Arnie's decision not to give the UCs more money. Did I mention student body increases and a 40% tuition hike within 5 years?

Anyways, this is just a long way of saying that I bought Daddy Yankee, and his tejano rap mojo was good.

My other confession is Children of Bodom. They are rawk incarnate. They are metal. No, they are fucking metal. If listening to them does not make you want to air guitar the way Flogging Molly makes you want to grab a stein or Alanis Morisette makes you want to dirty sanchez little children, then you have no soul. It's not particularly cerebral, it's not even heavy, but I haven't had this much fun since Kataklysm's "Poetry of War" or early Dissection. Or the Black Album. Dismember? Anyways, forget the fact that wild child prodigy Alex Laiho is just a kid, if anything that teenage angst has long been missing from the one-ups-manship of modern metal. This is the Billy Idol of our time (which they in fact cover).

What has the world come to? Have the freemasonry realized the jeopardy their New World Order stands on with the legs given them by Dr. Uwe Boll? To borrow a thread from Tycho, has the modern corporate Columbus discovered new testicles at a time when the diminishing returns of recycled licenses has begun to kill the host?

Dan "Shoe" Hsu reamed Peter Moore in the ass in his Xbox 360 interview, with all the questions gamers really want to know (a.k.a. forum flamebait) coming out a less serviceable mouth of reputable video-game journalism, an industry of ill-repute. Bravo, but encore.

Then, out of the fog, the Silent Hill movie trailer reared up to give us a fright. A game movie that actually looks, feels, sounds, and tastes like a game turned into a movie and not just projectile bulimia from clueless Hollywood mamasans? Is this what Twin Earth feels like?

And then, to top it all off, Disney bought Pixar. Without Eisner on the chair. With Roy back in the fold. Lasseter as Chief Creative Officer. Steve Jobs on the Board of Directors where hopefully there aren't enough lestats in the room to drain the impressive showman of his stamina. Does this mean Disney will stop putting out shallow myths with marketable characters and grandly wrapping said animation around music videos to shamelessly deem par with the disney quality of days of Eeyore? Does this mean… dare I say it… a conscience for creative accountability has been established?

Keep an eye on your happy meal, the fate of mankind rests in these greasy, shifting hands.