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SDG wrote:

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.

...

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.

Okay, I guess I'll go for a third pint.

::cheers::

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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The very fact that you call Cars "solid and engaging" tells me all I need to know. It's certainly a much, um, bolder statement than "the glass is half full". I guess I'd better rest my case before Jeff gets too sloshed. ;)

"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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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.

Good point. I agree. My only concern along this point, is when suddenly "change" and "newness" become virtues in their own right. (i.e. "We've never seen this before; therefore it's good."

As opposed to, as you're saying, newness being a tool (and one that I think should happen on a very intuitive level) to disclosing the truth (or Truth).

==

And, for what it's worth, I did find the violence in the Incredibles more startling than in UP. Maybe this is just because the one came before the other. (But I do think Syndrome's death ranks as the grizzliest Pixar dispatch.)

Was anyone else surprised by the blood on the construction worker's head after the mishap? (I thought it was the first use of blood by Pixar, but then I remembered Dory's "bloody nose" in Nemo. Ah, and now I remember that Mr. Incredible gets a cut when he's fighting the robot the first time.)

"Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen."
Robert Bresson

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Was anyone else surprised by the blood on the construction worker's head after the mishap? (I thought it was the first use of blood by Pixar, but then I remembered Dory's "bloody nose" in Nemo. Ah, and now I remember that Mr. Incredible gets a cut when he's fighting the robot the first time.)

I can't say I was surprised given the other examples you mentioned. On the other hand, my four year old son has told me that that was his least favorite part of the film because Karl was not being nice to the other man. Considering my son is obsessed with anything related to "action" - thank you Kung Fu Panda :) - I was very pleased that he realized that Karl had crossed the line with his actions.

"The greatest meat of all. The meat of friendship and fatherhood."

The Blue Raft - Are you ready to ride?

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That's cool, Phil.

I'm glad the animators gave Carl's violent reaction some consequences, to show that they weren't going to take violence lightly.

That's yet another thing that is setting Pixar storytelling apart. Violent actions have consequences, whether their Carl's actions or Muntz's. If an old man lashes out, even in righteous anger, some bright red evidence of the damage he's done is instructive. And if a villain becomes so obsessed with achievement and fame that he starts murdering people, I'm not going to complain about seeing him slip and fall... especially if he's in the midst of another attempted murder. That's a fair depiction of what happens in "the real world" -- reckless, violent men often come to ugly, violent ends.

I've pondered whether they might have tried to redeem Muntz, but no... as a character he's gone too far over the edge. This movie could not have carried the weight of some elaborate story about Muntz's confession and redemption without tearing the attention off of Carl and Russell. And this is their story, not Muntz's. I think it was the right storytelling choice to go with "just desserts" this time around. (Fortunately, the storytellers don't incline us to celebrate or laugh at Muntz's calamitous end.)

I remember a kid in my school who seemed to frequently be the recipient of "play violence" carried out by kids who would strike just for laughs. He ended up in the hospital because, while he stood in line for the pencil sharpener, the kid in front of him playfully jabbed at him with a newly sharpened pencil. And the lead point broke off in the back of his throat. Stuff like this happened all the time, and as the "strikes" turned into a one-upsmanship game for his classmates, none of the bullies seemed to understand the damage they were doing. It was just a game. It stands to reason that the more we can teach kids (or adults, for that matter... or presidents!) to consider the consequences of striking, the more they're likely to hesitate before acting violently on impulse.

Somehow, a copy of Monty Python and the Holy Grail ended up in the hands of my very young nieces and nephews (ages 4 and up) during a holiday gathering. I remember thinking, "Yikes! They watched the Castle Anthrax scene!" What I *should* have been worried about was the monks' chant. For the rest of the weekend, the kids were running around with books and other hard objects in their hands, chanting and whacking themselves in the forehead until they were grinning and dizzy. Perhaps a warning label is in order. :)

Edited by Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Overstreet wrote:

: If a villain becomes so obsessed with achievement and fame that he starts murdering people, I'm not going to complain about seeing him slip and fall... especially if he's in the midst of another attempted murder.

Well, yes, of course, that is how the movie conditions you to have that response.

: Likewise, if an old man lashes out, even in righteous anger, some bright red evidence of the damage he's done is instructive.

I dunno, I saw it as a sign that forces both internal and external (his faltering control over his own body, on the one hand, and the oppressive impersonal "system", on the other hand) were about to turn against him. I didn't see it as a sign that his righteous anger was wrong.

But then, that may be because I was still responding to the film as a story for grown-ups rather than children at that point.

"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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Somehow, a copy of Monty Python and the Holy Grail ended up in the hands of my very young nieces and nephews (ages 4 and up) during a holiday gathering. I remember thinking, "Yikes! They watched the Castle Anthrax scene!" What I *should* have been worried about was the monks' chant. For the rest of the weekend, the kids were running around with books and other hard objects in their hands, chanting and whacking themselves in the forehead until they were grinning and dizzy.

:lol:

You know, it's not just kids you have to worry about when it comes to participating in "painful" play. I remember attending an closing night party for one of the plays I was involved with about 20 years ago. It took place at a house that had a very low ceiling. A couple of hours into the revelry, one guy discovered that he could jump and hit the ceiling with his head. Next thing you know, for about the next half hour, every guy in the room was jumping and hitting the ceiling with their heads. Now you may be thinking that a lot of adult beverages had been made available, and might have contributed to this odd behavior... and you'd be right... Fortunately for myself, being 6' 4", I only had to get up on my tip toes to reach the ceiling with my head.

You'll note that only the guys participated in this.... event.

Edited by Baal_T'shuvah

Formerly Baal_T'shuvah

"Everyone has the right to make an ass out of themselves. You just can't let the world judge you too much." - Maude 
Harold and Maude
 

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You'll note that only the guys participated in this.... event.

Uh oh... do we need a thread called "Drinking Games for Men"? Would that start a discussion about whether such a gender-specific distinction should really be made? Oh, forget I said anything. ;)

Edited by Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Baal_T'shuvah wrote:

: You know, it's not just kids you have to worry about when it comes to participating in "painful" play. I remember attending an closing night party for one of the plays I was involved with about 20 years ago. It took place at a house that had a very low ceiling. A couple of hours into the revelry, one guy discovered that he could jump and hit the ceiling with his head. Next thing you know, for about the next half hour, every guy in the room was jumping and hitting the ceiling with their heads.

Doesn't sound too different from what my kids do when they're jumping on the top bunk. But for them, it tends to be accidental. Fortunately, they haven't started enjoying it yet. :) (Though I did recently catch my daughter trying to scrape bits of paint or plaster off the ceiling with her hand...)

"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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Wow... I think I started getting choked up after the third paragraph. What a sweet, beautiful thing to do.

The detail that hit me the most was that the girl couldn't actually watch the movie because she was in too much pain; instead, her mother gave her a play-by-play and she still enjoyed it.

"I feel a nostalgia for an age yet to come..."
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Wow... I think I started getting choked up after the third paragraph. What a sweet, beautiful thing to do.

The detail that hit me the most was that the girl couldn't actually watch the movie because she was in too much pain; instead, her mother gave her a play-by-play and she still enjoyed it.

Then there's this heart-rending coda:

Among the Up memorabilia the employee gave Colby was an “adventure book” – a scrap book the main character’s wife used to chronicle her journeys.

“I’ll have to fill those adventures in for her,” [mother] Lisa Curtin said.

Something like this, life imitating art in the truest spirit of the film, makes up for a hell of a lot of plastic Wall-Es, and then some.

Oh, and in another convergence, Colby's parents are divorced. Dad wasn't there for the private screening, but he was with her when she died.

Edited by SDG

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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If all goes according to plan, I'll be spending part of this sunny, beautiful day 5 of my vacation inside a darkened theater, watching Up with three girls ages 6, 6 and 4. Wish me well!

"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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I went again to see it on Father's Day. My brother and I took our dad and our grandfather. I was excited to do it because I thought they would both like it, and I feel it has good 'fatherhood' themes.

"Make visible what, without you, might perhaps never have been seen."
Robert Bresson

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As the Academy just decided to nominate 10 films for Best Picture... looks like Pixar will have its first Best Picture nomination this year!

Of course, it will mean even less than it would have if it had been one of the final five. But maybe this increases its chances of winning somehow. Hmmm.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

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A delightful film. The kids all sat quietly through it, jumping at a few scares and laughing at the character of Kevin. My 4-year-old, Leah, burst into tears during one of the chase scenes, and quickly retreated to the comfort of her mom's lap until she regained her composure. She also looked at me about 40 minutes into the movie and asked, out loud, "Daddy, when does the movie start?"

"This is the movie," I responded, and that was that. I'm still trying to figure that one out. I think it may have had something to do with me standing up in front of the three kids after the commericials and previews but before the film itself began, and telling them that they needed to be quiet from that point on. Not that they'd been loud, but some other kids in the theater had been, and I wanted to convey to my own brood that the time for any similar outbursts had ended.

The film touched me deeply at times. It also dragged in a couple of spots, which is no big deal, although I couldn't help but think of that Podhoretz review during those moments. I don't count a few slow moments as seriously problematic, but I suspect that they mean that once my feelings settle, "Up" will end up somewhere in the lower-middle range of Pixar films I've seen. It's highs are higher than some of the other films in that batch, but it doesn't have the sustained joy and revelry that Pixar's best films have had.

I'm very glad I saw it and would go again in a heartbeat. I saw it in 2-D, BTW.

"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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Christian wrote:

: My 4-year-old, Leah . . . looked at me about 40 minutes into the movie and asked, out loud, "Daddy, when does the movie start?"

Ha! Funny.

: I think it may have had something to do with me standing up in front of the three kids after the commericials and previews but before the film itself began, and telling them that they needed to be quiet from that point on.

Pardon my asking, but did you stand up and tell them this before or after the short film (Partly Cloudy)? Was that part of "the film itself" or did it fall on the "commercials and previews" side of the ledger? :)

: It's highs are higher than some of the other films in that batch, but it doesn't have the sustained joy and revelry that Pixar's best films have had.

Yeah.

"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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Slightly off-topic, but sort-of not (did Pixar "borrow" their title or concept from this play?):

- - -

Up (Steppenwolf Downstairs Theater, Chicago; 510 seats; $70 top)

Bridget Carpenter's "Up" -- inspired by the 1982 balloon flight of truck driver "Lawn Chair Larry" Walters, and the turbulence of his later life -- shares a title, buoyant balloons and an admirable degree of emotional nuance with Pixar's current hit animated film. But the two diverge in their immediate conception, approaching the pursuit of dreams from a fundamentally different angle. In the film, the old-man protagonist lifts off to escape a stultifying retirement home and fulfill a lifelong promise made to his late wife. In Carpenter's crafty, mostly realistic play, the balloon flight itself is viewed almost entirely from the rearview mirror. . . .

Carpenter's "Up" was first produced by Alaska's Perseverance Theater in 2003 and has made some regional rounds since. This production, directed by Anna D. Shapiro ("August: Osage County") at Chicago's Steppenwolf, mines the work's understated sophistication effectively, carefully playing out the small moments of emotional deflation. . . .

Steven Oxman, Variety, June 29

"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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Pardon my asking, but did you stand up and tell them this before or after the short film (Partly Cloudy)? Was that part of "the film itself" or did it fall on the "commercials and previews" side of the ledger? :)

Before Partly Cloudy.

"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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Slightly off-topic, but sort-of not (did Pixar "borrow" their title or concept from this play?):

- - -

Up (Steppenwolf Downstairs Theater, Chicago; 510 seats; $70 top)

Bridget Carpenter's "Up" -- inspired by the 1982 balloon flight of truck driver "Lawn Chair Larry" Walters, and the turbulence of his later life -- shares a title, buoyant balloons and an admirable degree of emotional nuance with Pixar's current hit animated film. But the two diverge in their immediate conception, approaching the pursuit of dreams from a fundamentally different angle. In the film, the old-man protagonist lifts off to escape a stultifying retirement home and fulfill a lifelong promise made to his late wife. In Carpenter's crafty, mostly realistic play, the balloon flight itself is viewed almost entirely from the rearview mirror. . . .

Carpenter's "Up" was first produced by Alaska's Perseverance Theater in 2003 and has made some regional rounds since. This production, directed by Anna D. Shapiro ("August: Osage County") at Chicago's Steppenwolf, mines the work's understated sophistication effectively, carefully playing out the small moments of emotional deflation. . . .

Steven Oxman, Variety, June 29

I saw a film version of this several years ago ("Danny Deckchair" w/ Rhys Ifans and Miranda Otto) but didn't think of it even once while watching Pixar's Up. The idea of humans being carried aloft by a huge bunch of balloons has been around a lot longer than either of these stories.

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morgan1098 wrote:

: The idea of humans being carried aloft by a huge bunch of balloons has been around a lot longer than either of these stories.

Agreed. Though the identical titles is interesting. Not as interesting, I suppose, as it would be if the play and film were both called "Kablamo", but still. :)

"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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The idea of humans being carried aloft by a huge bunch of balloons has been around a lot longer than either of these stories.

One delightful converging take on this idea is William Pene du Bois's The Twenty-One Balloons.

To stretch a point, like Up, du Bois's story involves

  • a house hoisted aloft by balloon power;
  • an exotic, dangerous jungle-mountain setting;
  • an older, would-be balloonist recluse with lifelong dreams of travel and exploring, who wants to get away from it all, but
  • finds himself detained in connection with the unexpected secret of the desolate locale where he has landed, and other, longer-term recluses who have left the world behind and want to keep the secret to themselves;
  • the fabulous inventions created by the long-term recluses, including including exotic lighter-than-air vessels as well as
  • whimsical mechanical contrivances; and last but not least
  • fine cuisine.
(Wow, I wouldn't have thought I could string out the connections that extensively.)

Even so, the stories are drastically different, and I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the writers of Up had or hadn't encountered The Twenty-One Balloons. (I suspect, though, that my own prior exposure to du Bois may have made it easier for me than for some to swallow the talking dog collars, even though they go far beyond the comparatively mundane (though still plenty whimsical) contraptions in du Bois's story.)

Edited by SDG

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

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