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Maybe someone somewhere already said this...I don't have time to read through the whole thread! But did anyone else seen any thematic similarities with Capra's It's a Wonderful Life? Karl (is his name spelled with a "K"?) seemed sort of George Bailyish to me -- frustrated with unfufilled dreams but faithful to his loves and life. But what really got me going this way was Russell's dialogue about how "Wild" the jungle was.

The film seemed to have an undercurrent of looming destruction and disaster. From Muntz's homicidal dementia, to the blood on the construction worker's head after Karl attacks him, to even the way the dog waiter ate Russell's hot dog, it seemed like death and wild chaos were never too far away, and that only love kept them at bay.

In It's a Wonderful Life there is the scene in the bank with crow, and the run on the bank, George wanting to kill himself and much more, that I believe conveys the same kind of fear.

The only thing in the film that really bothered me was the quick leap to Paradise Falls. As one who lives in between, in Mexico, that's one seriously long trip. I know we are dealing with a kind of fantasy here, but still, it seemed to me to violate the other rules the film set up for itself...that this was happening in a world very, very close to ours. The sound you are about to hear is the crash of my formerly suspended disbelief falling through the floor.

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I wanted an interesting and/or funny story and a clear message. I couldn't really figure out what this movie was trying to tell me.

"Life's an adventure?"

"Life's an adventure even when you're old?"

Neither of these are particularly novel.

A point of confusion here:

I don't really understand this fascination for new ("novel") messages. I know it's kind of a given these days (or maybe it's always been this way; I'm not sure) to want something "new." But I've never really quite got ahold of what people mean when they say this. (Any input here would be most welcome!)

Specifically when it comes to "messages" (a word that kind of gets my quills up anyway), aren't we looking more for the Truth than any kind of "new" message?

Speaking only for myself, I become concerned when a film is expected to have a clear message. That's not good art, even if its a commercial films intended for kids. Kids aren't stupid. They live in the same difficult world we do and maybe, because they have less power, their world is even more difficult than ours. In that sense, films need to reflect some of this complexity back, even when they are fairy tales, or they run the risk of being irrelevant and untrue. If a film is going to move us, we need to recognize something TRUE, something which resonates with our own life and experience in it.

Some kind of novelty on the other hand is one aspect of good art. When something is different, it helps us pay attention, it delights and surprises us. When we've seen it before -- the same tired revenge film for example -- the characters and everything else in the film is diminished. In a way, life itself is full of novelty. If we don't reflect that in our stories, we aren't paying very good attention.

What made UP a very satisfying film experience to me is the way Karl discovers what his own life had really been about all along, what had always made it meaningful. He grew up. I think that's something a lot of people can relate to. HINT: It's not adventure. :)

Just my 2 cents...

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Generally: I loved it, thought it was very much in keeping with the way Pixar vigorously infuses narrative formulas with visual and thematic creativity and quietly pushes the boundaries of what's possible for an American animated film. I am more sympathetic here than with Wall-E to criticisms that its second half is a bit deflated -- there were points, if I'm honest with myself, where I felt the conventions creaking into place, and I did roll my eyes at the dogs flying biplanes, though I loved the dogs overall -- but it's not something that diminishes my love. That said, I don't have much to add to the debate of whether Pixar is fully awesome or merely awesome, so on to a couple things I noticed that haven't been discussed:

1. Do we ever hear Carl say anything to Ellie before she dies? The silent montage precludes much of that, but his utter silence in their meet cute -- and it is that -- means he really never does get a word in edgewise. Which is interesting and surely intentional, given just how much he talks to her after she's dead. When you get down to it, as adorable and touching as their relationship is, Ellie is clearly the driving force. She's the one that does the kissing, she's the one with the dreams that Carl has to fulfill, it's her adventure house they end up buying. In fact, everything that I remember Carl initiating, the discussion about children, the plane tickets, and maybe -- I don't remember who initiates it -- the change jar, leads only to disappointment and heartbreak. Which is an incredible burden for him to bear as a character, and it's no wonder he's so utterly devoted to finally getting that house to Paradise Falls. It's such a potent mixture of motivating factors: loyalty, servitude, stubbornness, and this deep need to finally succeed at something.

Which makes the final words Ellie leaves him so important; he must have thought all this time he was failing at every major step to be as good to her as she was to him, and she's saying that seeming failure was actually success.

2. It strikes me that, given how much the house represents Ellie and taking into account the image of the house above the falls -- whether it's literal or not -- this is actually a burial quest. That's not what Carl means for it to be, but that's what it becomes. Or maybe that is what Carl intends it to be, and he originally intends to be buried metaphorically right alongside Ellie. It's not as if he can have meant to live much of a life in Paradise Falls. That's not a genre I'm terribly familiar with; I didn't see The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, which is the most recent manifestation I can think of. But it seems like that sort of story would be a relevant touchstone.

I look forward to seeing it again, probably in 2-D this time. The 3-D was interesting, I'd much rather have the full color palette, especially for this film, where every detail looks to have been exquisitely color-scripted. I did get to see both trailers, though -- Toy Story 3 and The Princess and the Frog -- since I was at El Capitan, Disney's own L.A. theater, and it was nice to hear the audience oooh and aaah over The Princess and the Frog.

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"Every age has its own outlook. It is specially good at seeing certain truths and specially liable to make certain mistakes. We all, therefore, need the books that will correct the characteristic mistakes of our own period. And that means the old books." - C.S. Lewis

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I look forward to seeing it again, probably in 2-D this time. The 3-D was interesting, I'd much rather have the full color palette, especially for this film, where every detail looks to have been exquisitely color-scripted.

Yeah, I feel like I really missed out with the 3-D in terms of detail, movement, and hue. Then there were a few times that I dropped the glasses and enjoyed the wash of different tones for a while. Otherwise, am I the only one that felt I was being prepped in the first scene? I sit in the theater with these glasses on thinking in terms of spectacle, and lo and behold, here is a flat black and white newsreel from an age when the movie theater was still largely a spectacle. It pans back into 3-D as if a torch is being passed. Then the boy snaps the goggles into place over his glasses just as I had done a few minutes previously. A charming nod to history if intentional (at least to us bespectacled spectators).

But I had a hard time connecting with this one other than in the two photo album scenes. Then the flying dogs did me in. I need to go back through the rest of their films, but they seem to have a habit of phenomenal introductions that lead to interesting, but more conventional storylines with gratifying twists of plot or reference.

I know the villian was mean and all.

Couldn't they have scripted him as falling back into the house and then gently to the earth in a wasteland somewhere? Living out a nightmare version of the previous owners' dream? His death came out of nowhere.

2. It strikes me that, given how much the house represents Ellie and taking into account the image of the house above the falls -- whether it's literal or not -- this is actually a burial quest. That's not what Carl means for it to be, but that's what it becomes. Or maybe that is what Carl intends it to be, and he originally intends to be buried metaphorically right alongside Ellie. It's not as if he can have meant to live much of a life in Paradise Falls. That's not a genre I'm terribly familiar with; I didn't see The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, which is the most recent manifestation I can think of. But it seems like that sort of story would be a relevant touchstone.

Yeah, there is a great sadness to this film that the script seems careful to avoid. But I wish it would have gone there, dug into those emotions, and worked its way out on Carl's terms.

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What made UP a very satisfying film experience to me is the way Karl discovers what his own life had really been about all along, what had always made it meaningful. He grew up. I think that's something a lot of people can relate to. HINT: It's not adventure. :)

"Adventure" is part of it, but the movie is fundamentally about grief, letting go and life going on. There's adventure in that, but you're right, that's not exactly the point.

Generally: I loved it, thought it was very much in keeping with the way Pixar vigorously infuses narrative formulas with visual and thematic creativity and quietly pushes the boundaries of what's possible for an American animated film. I am more sympathetic here than with Wall-E to criticisms that its second half is a bit deflated -- there were points, if I'm honest with myself, where I felt the conventions creaking into place, and I did roll my eyes at the dogs flying biplanes, though I loved the dogs overall -- but it's not something that diminishes my love.
Then the flying dogs did me in.

The dogs, like Kevin, are a Rubicon. You either accept them or you don't, and I have no problem with anyone not accepting them.

Do we ever hear Carl say anything to Ellie before she dies? The silent montage precludes much of that, but his utter silence in their meet cute -- and it is that -- means he really never does get a word in edgewise. Which is interesting and surely intentional, given just how much he talks to her after she's dead. When you get down to it, as adorable and touching as their relationship is, Ellie is clearly the driving force. She's the one that does the kissing, she's the one with the dreams that Carl has to fulfill, it's her adventure house they end up buying. In fact, everything that I remember Carl initiating, the discussion about children, the plane tickets, and maybe -- I don't remember who initiates it -- the change jar, leads only to disappointment and heartbreak. Which is an incredible burden for him to bear as a character, and it's no wonder he's so utterly devoted to finally getting that house to Paradise Falls. It's such a potent mixture of motivating factors: loyalty, servitude, stubbornness, and this deep need to finally succeed at something.

Which makes the final words Ellie leaves him so important; he must have thought all this time he was failing at every major step to be as good to her as she was to him, and she's saying that seeming failure was actually success.

Very, very good analysis (and yeah, the change jar is Carl's idea).

Otherwise, am I the only one that felt I was being prepped in the first scene? I sit in the theater with these glasses on thinking in terms of spectacle, and lo and behold, here is a flat black and white newsreel from an age when the movie theater was still largely a spectacle. It pans back into 3-D as if a torch is being passed. Then the boy snaps the goggles into place over his glasses just as I had done a few minutes previously. A charming nod to history if intentional (at least to us bespectacled spectators).

Yeah, I had a similar response here.

I need to go back through the rest of their films, but they seem to have a habit of phenomenal introductions that lead to interesting, but more conventional storylines with gratifying twists of plot or reference.

Whatever it is that separates the latter acts of Wall-E and Up from their magnificent openings, I can't see labeling it conventionality. If anything, I think the latter acts of Wall-E and Up could be considered less conventional and more audacious than the opening acts.

I know the villian was mean and all.

Couldn't they have scripted him as falling back into the house and then gently to the earth in a wasteland somewhere? Living out a nightmare version of the previous owners' dream? His death came out of nowhere.

Yeah, I wondered this too. But there's a problem with that proposal:

2. It strikes me that, given how much the house represents Ellie and taking into account the image of the house above the falls -- whether it's literal or not -- this is actually a burial quest. That's not what Carl means for it to be, but that's what it becomes. Or maybe that is what Carl intends it to be, and he originally intends to be buried metaphorically right alongside Ellie. It's not as if he can have meant to live much of a life in Paradise Falls. That's not a genre I'm terribly familiar with; I didn't see The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, which is the most recent manifestation I can think of. But it seems like that sort of story would be a relevant touchstone.
Yeah, there is a great sadness to this film that the script seems careful to avoid. But I wish it would have gone there, dug into those emotions, and worked its way out on Carl's terms.

But here's the thing, I think Up does very profoundly engage Carl's grief, but in a metaphorical and poetic way rather than with literal emotional fireworks. Did you read the coda to my review (which very much converges with what NKC writes)?

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I know the villian was mean and all.

Couldn't they have scripted him as falling back into the house and then gently to the earth in a wasteland somewhere? Living out a nightmare version of the previous owners' dream? His death came out of nowhere.

Yeah, I wondered this too. But there's a problem with that proposal:

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We don't learn the fate of the house until the final grace note of the very last shot. To complicate that revelation with some sort of Muntz coda would seriously detract from the moment (which, I just realized, is sort of cognate to the grace note of the last shot in Docter's Monsters, Inc.).

Anyway, Muntz's death isn't as out of nowhere as all that. Death was in the offing from the moment he started knocking over the helmets of other explorers whose deaths the movie strongly hints Muntz had a hand in. And as out for blood as Muntz is in the last act, especially in the climax, there's definitely poetic justice in what happens to him. (And falling into the abyss maybe even ties in with the Star Wars reference!)

I think Muntz's

fate was sealed the minute he fired the gun and the bullets ricocheted just over Kevin's head

. There was no way the film was going to let him off easy after that.

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But here's the thing, I think Up does very profoundly engage Carl's grief, but in a metaphorical and poetic way rather than with literal emotional fireworks. Did you read the coda to my review (which very much converges with what NKC writes)?

I hadn't had a chance to read your review until this morning, and find it all very well put. I can't expect a Pixar film to become a Bergman film, as much as I would love such a mash-up. They do well at expressing his grief throughout the film, balloons popping and fading as the house drags across the sand. And then to undo the moroseness of the burial quest, he tosses everything out of the house as if it means nothing to him anymore. Nice moment.

And I do like the grace-note at the end, though I am still a bit startled that it comes at the cost of the most realistically violent storyline in any Pixar film (correct me if I am wrong). I wonder if the helmet and goggle scene was placed there to juice up this half of Up's plot, with all of its Apocalypse Now and Dr. Moreau overtones. At the same time, victory over the alpha dog is

great comedy

. Up has it both ways.

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

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Good thoughts, Mike.

I absolutely think the helmet and goggle scene is there to point toward the final act and the climax. It establishes both Muntz's motivation and outlook as well as what he is capable of.

Regarding the violent moment that bothers you, not sure whether the term "realistic" is the key here, but certainly Syndrome meets a far grislier fate. (And while rocket boots aren't "realistic," there's nothing unrealistic about dying if you happen to get sucked into a jet turbine.)

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Ah yes, a terrible fate. I am not one to get all hot under the collar when someone dies in animation. I just introduced my daughter to Howl's the other day, which has many troubling and violent scenes, and was happy to have her see that everything isn't Yo Gabba Gabba land. This one just threw me for a loop.

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

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Ah yes, a terrible fate. I am not one to get all hot under the collar when someone dies in animation. I just introduced my daughter to Howl's the other day, which has many troubling and violent scenes, and was happy to have her see that everything isn't Yo Gabba Gabba land. This one just threw me for a loop.

Ah. I know it's a tangent, but how old is she again? And how many Miyazakis has she seen?

My kids all know Totoro and Kiki (surely the gentlest Miyazakis, and among the gentlest family films ever) as well as the violent Nausicaa and Castle in the Sky (in which a villain menaces children with firearm and falls to his death when the children utter the spell of destruction); and the three older ones have all seen Spirited Away and The Castle of Cagliostro (in which the villain dies a squishy death).

Perhaps I need to give Howl's another shake; after the brilliant opening it didn't do much for me when I caught it in the theater ... a point I've already noted in this thread, reflecting how some people respond to Up and Wall-E the same way.

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She is just shy of three. I started with Howl's because it was the first one to come in at the library. Not my first choice, but one I wanted to watch with her eventually. She had a hard time understanding the mechanics of the plot most of the time (Me: "Why is that man sad and green?" Her: "I think he is sad because his hair is messy."), but there was something about it she really seemed to get. If anything, I think she enjoys watching the way that all the darker scenes are always overtaken by something bright, airy, and gentle. Something about the rapid and organic development of the plotline is also appealing to her.

I am going to hold off on Spirited Away, because at this point I think she would get pretty frightened. Kiki and Totoro as soon as they come in.

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

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NRO contributors are discussing the movie today.

Jonah Goldberg loves it and mentions his disagreement with John Podhoretz. Shannen Coffin then responded that she had some reservations about the film, and about what Pixar is becoming, but I can't link to her response because the site suddenly won't come up for me.

Update: Here's Coffin's response.

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She is just shy of three. I started with Howl's because it was the first one to come in at the library. Not my first choice, but one I wanted to watch with her eventually. She had a hard time understanding the mechanics of the plot most of the time (Me: "Why is that man sad and green?" Her: "I think he is sad because his hair is messy."), but there was something about it she really seemed to get. If anything, I think she enjoys watching the way that all the darker scenes are always overtaken by something bright, airy, and gentle. Something about the rapid and organic development of the plotline is also appealing to her.

Heh, funnily, I see I mentioned Howl's in my Up review, as one of the few possible precedents of an animated feature with a senior citizen for a protagonist (except she isn't really).

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Thanks for posting the NRO stuff, Christian.

Coffin writes:

But here's what bothers me about the movie, and perhaps Pixar in general. Pixar has grown up. It used to be an outfit that made movies for kids that parents could enjoy too. Now it doesn't make movies anymore, only films. And it now instead of kids movies that parents will like too, it makes movies that parents will tell themselves their kids will like but in reality were really only made for the parents in the first place, but had to be marketed to kids in order to justify being animated and in 3-D. On balance, that still compares favorably to most of the garbage marketed to kids these days (see, e.g., Monsters v. Aliens). But, as you well know having been with them on more than a few occasions, my kids will vote for Lightning McQueen over an Ed Asner-voiced lonely old man protaganist on most, if not all, occasions.

While I take Coffin's point -- that kids might not be as excited about Carl Fredericksen as they are about Lightning McQueen -- is she implying that what excites today's kids is, thus, automatically what's best for them? My young nieces and nephews will vote for ice cream sundaes over a balanced meal on most, if not all, occasions. Doesn't mean that their preference should become the guiding principle.

One of the things that concerns me about most animated features for children is the way that they often indulge kids' appetite for excitement and sensation to the neglect of creativity, beauty, and ideas that will "tease their minds into active thought." Remember when we were getting reports of kids being enthralled with The Story of the Weeping Camel? I want to encourage that kind of curiosity and attentiveness.

If Pixar will surprise parents with the kind of thoughtful storytelling that the parents don't get elsewhere, more power to them. I vote for the movies that will give parents good questions to discuss with their kids... especially those movies that might also inspire kids to ask their parents some sobering questions. Like this movie.

(But then, I thought Cars had plenty of food for thought for grownups too, so I don't think the distinction between Up and Cars is quite as severe as she's implying. Toy Story 2 has been around for quite a while now, and it raised questions that were "grownup material." So did The Incredibles.)

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Well, I suppose it all depends on the kid. I know my favourite book as a child was Ferdinand the Bull - who would have thought that a book about a lonely bull that liked to smell flowers would be such a children's classic. I also loved Danny the Champion of the World and James and the Giant Peach - both of which include an element that is present in 'Up' - the child going through an adventure. This film is undoubtedly about an old man going through a crisis, however that isn't to say that kids will perceive it as such, at least not instantly. I expect younger kids would pick up more on Russel and the dogs, and slightly older kids would absorb both parts. It's funny that we seem to be more focussed on the more serious aspects. I personally found it to be a wonderful balance between the two. The comedy not only offered much needed light relief but also provided an opportunity to absorb the heavier scenes. They also illustrated the difference in this man's life - one of the scenes where I laughed the most, whilst still wiping away tears from the previous scene was following the much discussed montage of Ellie & Carl's life together. Remember the stairlift? It's hilarious, and yet so mundane, it subtly evokes his loneliness but is played out with great comic timing. This moment was when I realised there is no one out there able to emotionally engage an audience as directly and effectively as pixar.

I would also add that some of the aspects that would have resonated strongly with kids that were very dark were cleverly dealt with in comic form. Dug's bullying by all the other dogs, and their pack mentality, was actually quite intense but you wouldn't necesarrily think as much on first viewing.

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(On a side note, my absolute favourite moment of the film was when Carl discovered Dug in the floating house and Dug says in what I thought was the perfect characterisation of dog behaviour: "I hid under your porch because I love you". Oh how I laughed with glee!)

Finally, I was utterly fascinated by the mountains of references to film history in 'Up'. There were moments that were beautiful homages to past film technologies and they seemed to pull all the stops out in depicting other visual technologies with as much accuracy as possible. This struck me as immensely respectful, Pixar seem in awe, still, of these aged visual art forms and this awe translated into their own new technology. For an example - the pictures in the photo album are astoundingly historically accurate. There is also a beautiful scene where they are walking the house on the clifftop and are almost in silhouette, which reminded me very strongly of shadow puppetry. I thought that the plot reflected this not-quite-nostalgia, an enamouredness with story telling at it's simplest paradoxically told through the latest complex technological wizadry.

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While I take Coffin's point -- that kids might not be as excited about Carl Fredericksen as they are about Lightning McQueen

And is that even really true? Seems like Coffin is out of touch with what kids want to see. I watched Up with two young boys that were in our care for the weekend - they had already seen the film once and were ecstatic to have the chance to watch it again. Kids are going to pretty much leap at any chance to go to a theater and watch dogs fly airplanes. Maybe Pixar knows this, and would rather give them heartier fare to watch since they are going to fill the seats regardless. Why not go ahead and make films that will also work for the adults that have to drive them there?

I am happy to see that Pixar has made a film with virtually no merchandising leverage. What kid is going to rush out and buy a Carl doll? Just demonstrates the confidence they have in their approach.

Show hidden text
(On a side note, my absolute favourite moment of the film was when Carl discovered Dug in the floating house and Dug says in what I thought was the perfect characterisation of dog behaviour: "I hid under your porch because I love you". Oh how I laughed with glee!)

Still laughing about this. I think I embarrased the two kids with me for laughing too long at this line. Now I love seeing dogs.

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Christian wrote:

: Update: Here's Coffin's response.

Interesting. She seems to corroborate what Peter Suderman said, about Pixar once making kids-films-that-grown-ups-can-enjoy and now making grown-up-films-with-kids-elements-grafted-on -- the difference being that Suderman wants Pixar to go all-grown-up whereas Coffin would apparently prefer that Pixar go all-kids again. (Well, with sequels to Toy Story, Cars and Monsters Inc. in the offing, I don't think Coffin has to worry too much about THAT.)

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I just want to say: My brother took his three girls to see the DreamWorks grrl-empowerment action comedy Monsters vs. Aliens, and they all had a good time. And then this weekend they went to see Up, and spontaneously all three girls proclaimed it better than Monsters vs. Aliens. Thank you.

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The "kids-films-that-grown-ups-can-enjoy and now making grown-up-films-with-kids-elements-grafted-on" doesn't make any sense to me. As far as screenwriting/storyboarding is concerned, "grafting" is what happens after lapses in creativity and skill. I don't think Pixar can be criticized for that.

Maybe we can abandon that distinction and say that Pixar has branded themselves as a new way of thinking about animation in an American context. Asian animation has been producing movies that are way over kids heads for decades, and western fans of international cinema have known since movies like Grave of Fireflies that our Disney-dominated market infantilized our expectations for animation. Many of Miyazaki's movies, for example, are seamless experiences that speak to a number of developmental levels at the same time. I watch Howl's Moving Castle and it stirs up connections to Come and See, The Sun , and a number of other war films that have informed my understanding of politics and violence. My daughter sees something similar, but at a far more fundamental formal level. So far, Pixar hasn't made a film with the same network of spiritual and political references, but I could easily imagine them producing something with a similar effect. Wall-E comes awful close. The first twenty minutes or so of Up come awful close.

We could say something like: Pixar is intentionally reworking our perception of what animation can do. It realizes that its market transcends pretty much every demographic age-wise, and therefore doesn't have to write for anyone in particular.

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SDG wrote:

I just want to say: My brother took his three girls to see the DreamWorks grrl-empowerment action comedy Monsters vs. Aliens, and they all had a good time. And then this weekend they went to see Up, and spontaneously all three girls proclaimed it better than Monsters vs. Aliens. Thank you.

::cheers::

MLeary wrote:

We could say something like: Pixar is intentionally reworking our perception of what animation can do. It realizes that its market transcends pretty much every demographic age-wise, and therefore doesn't have to write for anyone in particular.

::cheers::

And, as two pints is my limit, I'll stop there.

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Asian animation has been producing movies that are way over kids heads for decades, and western fans of international cinema have known since movies like Grave of Fireflies that our Disney-dominated market infantilized our expectations for animation. Many of Miyazaki's movies, for example, are seamless experiences that speak to a number of developmental levels at the same time. I watch Howl's Moving Castle and it stirs up connections to Come and See, The Sun , and a number of other war films that have informed my understanding of politics and violence. My daughter sees something similar, but at a far more fundamental formal level.

M. -- I guess I've never understood the market for Asian animation. Is it marketed primarily to children, or are those films you mentioned more for teens and adults? I figured the latter, because teens and adults on these shores seem more interested in stuff like Grave of the Fireflies, but I honestly have no idea.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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M. -- I guess I've never understood the market for Asian animation. Is it marketed primarily to children, or are those films you mentioned more for teens and adults? I figured the latter, because teens and adults on these shores seem more interested in stuff like Grave of the Fireflies, but I honestly have no idea.

I bet someone like Opus could answer this with more skill. Classics like Grave..., Tokyo Godfathers, and Akira or the more recent Paprika are made for a market of adults that like animation. But there is a lot of technical boundary pushing in moves made for this market that seems to trickle out into movies and television series made for younger kids.

I like the Miyazaki/Pixar comparison because of the way each has a knack for appealing to a range of ages without having to "graft" elements of one demographic onto another. Pixar is fostering a nice shift in our viewer expectations. With the distribution of things like Sita Sings the Blues, Persepolis, and even Waking Life, I think it is almost safe to say: the revolution is being animated.

Edited by MLeary

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

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MLeary wrote:

: We could say something like: Pixar is intentionally reworking our perception of what animation can do. It realizes that its market transcends pretty much every demographic age-wise, and therefore doesn't have to write for anyone in particular.

Well, maybe. But when Pete Docter promotes his film at Comic-Con-type venues by reassuring the fans that there will be lots of action in the latter part of the movie (i.e. the part that he didn't bring with him on the demo reel), the intentional reworking only seems to go so far. And certainly the fact that they've got nothing but sequels and a fairy tale lined up for the future suggests that the intentional reworking will only go so far on other levels, too, at least for now.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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And certainly the fact that they've got nothing but sequels and a fairy tale lined up for the future suggests that the intentional reworking will only go so far on other levels, too, at least for now.

Good point. Either way, I would be more than happy if Pixar continued to simply produce quality entertainment for children that periodically appeals to critics and adults.

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

(Hans Werner Dannowski)

Filmwell | Twitter

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Well, maybe. But when Pete Docter promotes his film at Comic-Con-type venues by reassuring the fans that there will be lots of action in the latter part of the movie (i.e. the part that he didn't bring with him on the demo reel), the intentional reworking only seems to go so far.

They're only light-years beyond what everyone else in Hollywood animation is doing. You can call that "only going so far" if you like. To me, it's like putting a "glass half empty" spin on Lake Superior. The larger point is, it's a damn big glass.

And certainly the fact that they've got nothing but sequels and a fairy tale lined up for the future suggests that the intentional reworking will only go so far on other levels, too, at least for now.

Yes, the unprecedented audacity of Pixar's last three films seems to be nowhere on tap at the moment. Whether they will continue to be "only" brilliant after the fashion of Toy Story 2 and (perhaps) Monsters, Inc., or perhaps only solid and engaging after the manner of Cars, or what, remains to be seen. Unless they slip below that, I'll continue to be grateful.

Edited by SDG

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