Hey Pixar, I Don’t Think You’re Amazing All of the Time, You Know!
Okay, Pixar. I’ve had enough. I can’t take it anymore. I just finished writing a review for your newest movie, Brave, and it was fairly positive. I appreciated the story and the relationship, but it failed to match your other efforts.
And then I started thinking about your other efforts.
You now have a total of thirteen films – Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, Toy Story 2, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Cars, Ratatouille, Wall-E, Up, Toy Story 3, Cars 2, and Brave. Plus, you have nearly double that number of awards for those films. Everybody loves you — you are the critics’ golden child and considered far superior to Dreamworks. Congratulations. You are awesome.
I liked some of your movies. In fact, I really liked some of your movies. Finding Nemo is in my top five favorite movies of all time. Toy Story was amazing. Same with Toy Story 2 (as long as I never have to hear “Woody’s Roundup” again), Monsters Inc., The Incredibles, and Toy Story 3. I liked about half of your movies.
There are ones that I absolutely hated. As everyone knows, I hated Cars and I didn’t even bother seeing Cars 2. Maybe on my deathbed or after I’ve watched every movie ever. So we’re ruling those out. So that leaves Wall-E, Up, Ratatouille, Brave and A Bug’s Life.
I don’t know what to do with these movies. I’m supposed to like them. Wall-E, Up and Ratatouille all earned awards and I’m sure Brave will join them, mostly because the only other animated film this summer has been Madagascar 3. And a part of me really likes these movies. Bu then there’s a part of me that really detests them because that part of me thinks they’re stupid.
That’s right. I said it. I feel that those five movies are stupid. Half the time. The best example of this is with Wall-E and Up.
For instance, everyone loved Wall-E. And I kind of agreed with them. I loved the first half of Wall-E and I mean loved. It was pitch perfect. Everything about the deserted world filled only with trash and a little robot was amazing. Enter Eva, his love interest and you have just a perfect set-up.
And then you had to leave that perfect little scenario for a space station made up of floating fat people and 2001: Space Odyssey rip-offs. That’s when the movie stopped being about Wall-E, this little robot we’d grown to love, and more about a retarded ship captain trying to find out what dirt is, or two floating fat people falling in love. Its focus became too disjointed, too all over the place and each subplot paled in comparison to the story in the first act. The only good part in the latter half of the movie was the space dance between Wall-E and Eva, and you know why? Because it was about Wall-E and Eva! And the movie only really regained its emotional impact again at the end when they’re back on Earth and Wall-E has had his memory erased. And you know why? BECAUSE IT WAS ABOUT WALL-E AND EVA!
Okay, now let’s look at Up, another movie that people absolutely went crazy over. It was sweet, sentimental, funny, and different than other kids’ movies. It had everything . . . for the first half. We’re introduced to Carl and his backstory in the most moving montage ever put to film. Carl ties thousands of balloons to his house and it floats away with him and boy scout Russell in it. And I’m all fine and dandy with it. Whimsy is my cup of tea.
But then it takes that whimsy van and just drives it right off a cliff. I’m good with Kevin, the bird. And I’m fine with Dug, the talking dog. I buy that. What I don’t buy is a pack of talking dogs with comically high voices. And you know what I really don’t buy? Talking dogs with comically high voices flying airplanes! When I saw that, I was like, “Done. This movie is over. This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen.” So you see: First half – brilliant. Second half: the opposite of briliance – stupidity.
A Bug’s Life is one of those Pixar movies that gets a bit swept under the rug. It’s not as popular for some reason, and I think a lot of that is the circus bug arc that comes into play. There are just so many characters running around – each getting equal screen time that it’s hard to keep up with them. The viewer feels overloaded.
Ratatouille is another middling Pixar effort. I like a lot of the Remy plotline, even being okay with the idea of a rat teaching (and even controlling) a chef how to cook. What I didn’t like as much was the paternity storyline. Ratatouille‘s good, but I wasn’t nearly as up and down with it as I was with Wall-E and Up. I didn’t have a moment in any of those movies that I thought didn’t jive with the rest of it.
But then I watched Brave and I was right back to my bipolar watching of a Pixar movie. As I’ve stated in my review, I was really into the first half. But the second Mom emerged from the blanket as a bear, I literally stopped holding my boyfriend’s hand, sighed and hung my head. It was that disappointing. I really thought they were going somewhere with the story and instead, they went Brother Bear. And I did not like Brother Bear.
So Pixar, I think you’re awesome. Some of the time. Mostly, it’s hit-and-miss for me and it’s when you start off with a hit and it dive-bombs into a miss that I get really confused, frustrated and ultimately, disappointed. You have movies that I really like and movies that I really don’t like. It’s the movies that are somewhere in between that I don’t know what to do with. Maybe I’m just an idiot and I wouldn’t know genius if it was a talking dog shooting at me in a WWII era plane.
Here’s hoping that Monsters University, The Good Dinosaur and The Untitled Pixar Movie That Takes You Inside the Mind are more hits than misses.