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Peter T Chattaway

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But whatever you do, don't waste any energy getting your hopes up or being excited. ;)

Edited by Overstreet

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I dunno, when I hear about poignant montages on a couple's life together, I start thinking of that 'When She Loved Me' sequence in Toy Story 2, but with the wife and me as the girl and the doll, and... and...

Damn, it better be good.

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"this picture really stands on its own and is difficult to compare to its Pixar predecessors."

This, this is what my soul loves to hear. That is part of what I love about Pixar.

Damn, it better be good.

This is what I think going into every Pixar film. Like the hero in Man on Wire, there is always the chance they will fall.

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Click on "trailers" at the official website for a few extra seconds of Carl and Russell chatting on the front porch. The dialogue here may or may not explain why the kid is nowhere to be seen when the house lifts off, but is standing on the porch when the house is in the air.

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Devin Faraci, CHUD.com:

My brain is still a little fried from having been at Butt-Numb-A-Thon, but the 45 minutes of Pixar's Up that I saw is still rattling around in my damaged brain pan.

While there may have been more clips shown at BNAT than is needed at a film festival, the first 45 minutes of Up is footage I wouldn't trade in at all. What we saw was sometimes fully rendered and finished, sometimes flat and undone and often just sketches and storyboards with a temp music track and voices dubbed over, but it was completely engaging and often beautiful, visually and emotionally. . . .

If the rest of the film continues building in quality from the excellent 45 minutes I saw,Up is guaranteed to be one of the best films of next year. My biggest hesitation is one that seems restricted to just me, namely that this film could be another Wall*E: a movie with great promise and a great build up that doesn't quite stick the landing. I know that Up will have adventure elements in the second half, and I almost wish it didn't. . . .

No Devin, it certainly isn't just you.

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No Devin, it certainly isn't just you.

Nope, I agree. Even I acknowledge that what follows Wall-E's first act isn't quite on the same level, and while I still love the end result, the same issue could be more serious with Up.

Edited by SDG

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A thought occurs to me.

This film is directed by Pete Docter, who previously directed Monsters, Inc. (with David Silverman and Lee Unkrich serving as "co-directors"). And that was the first Pixar film in which John Lasseter did not receive any sort of directorial credit at all. (FWIW, Silverman had previously co-directed The Road to El Dorado for DreamWorks, and he went on to direct The Simpsons Movie for Fox; Unkrich, meanwhile, has been involved in several of Pixar's efforts both before and after Monsters, Inc.)

So, co-directors aside, Docter was the first Pixar director to "go it alone", as it were, by which of course I mean "without Lasseter in the director's chair". (Though I'm sure Lasseter was involved well enough as a producer.)

SINCE then, Andrew Stanton has "gone it alone" not just once but twice (on Finding Nemo and WALL-E). And Brad Bird has "gone it alone" not just once but twice (on The Incredibles and Ratatouille). And even Lasseter has stepped into the director's chair at least one more time (on Cars).

But it's only NOW that Docter is making his second film. Hmmm. I wonder why the delay, compared to his colleagues. Waiting for the right story, etc...?

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Upcoming Pixar has rounded up some reactions to the first 45 minutes of the film, which were shown to select media recently.

Everyone seems to like what they've been shown, but director Pete Docter has apparently promised that there will be "more action" in the film's second half, so, um, we could have WALL-E syndrome here. (Just as long as it's not Hancock syndrome, I guess...)

Docter says he was inspired by "Hayao Miyazaki, The Muppets and classic Disney (Dumbo, Peter Pan)". SDG, I am curious to hear what you, in particular make of this, since if memory serves, you are a big Miyazaki fan but not exactly a big Dumbo fan. (And I think Peter Pan is one of Disney's lesser efforts, too. And I say this as one who has let the kids watch it fairly often over the past year.) The Muppets reference could go either way; I have always thought that one of Pixar's most Muppet-ish films is A Bug's Life, and that is also one of their weakest films.

Just doing my part to help everyone be pleasantly surprised in a few months, is all. :)

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Docter says he was inspired by "Hayao Miyazaki, The Muppets and classic Disney (Dumbo, Peter Pan)". SDG, I am curious to hear what you, in particular make of this, since if memory serves, you are a big Miyazaki fan but not exactly a big Dumbo fan. (And I think Peter Pan is one of Disney's lesser efforts, too.

Right on all counts (Miyazaki (only three films reviewed to date, alas); Dumbo, Peter Pan).

As to what I make of it, well, very little, I guess. The Miyazaki reference is potentially promising, but a list of supposed influences like this really tells you very little. At this point it's more hype than anything else.

Love love love the premise, if they can sustain it. "WALL-E syndrome" is definitely a live issue. I love both halves of WALL-E but the second half is definitely the weaker half; I can see where it doesn't work for some people at all, and another time it might be me.

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SDG wrote:

: Love love love the premise, if they can sustain it. "WALL-E syndrome" is definitely a live issue.

I think the thing that gets me is the idea that Docter "promised" that there will be more "action" in the second half of Up. I posted a thing at my blog a week ago or so about the over-use of "action" in the Star Trek movies, and I guess I'm concerned that a similar formulaicness may be creeping in here, too. And if the fanbase needs the formula to be satisfied, then more's the pity.

My daughter, BTW, loves to point to the Up poster and say "balloons!" I do hope the film is worthy of her. :)

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Daniel Fienberg:

What really got me jazzed, something that hasn't been made clear in the Super Bowl trailer, is that "Up" could (should?) actually be retitled "
Pixar's Gran Torino
."

Now are you ready to buy a ticket on May 29?

"Up" is the story of
a grouchy old widower
living in a rundown house in a neighborhood that has changed over the years. He's uncomfortable with the new world around him, particularly
the friendly, obsequious Asian kid
who insinuates himself into the old man's life. I'm not giving anything away if I strongly imply that the chubby Asian kid is going to teach the crotchety septuagenerian how to appreciate life again, or at least see his purpose anew.

Alas, Clint Eastwood isn't voicing the main character in "Up," but if you're looking for substitutes for an animated comedy, you can certainly do worse than Ed Asner. Newcomer Jordan Nagai is supplying vocals for the kid, Russell, and his comic timing and high-pitched tones seem to have the requisite cuteness and comic timing.

One should never, as I've said, doubt Pixar's ability to turn even unlikely subject matter into hits. "Ratatouille" had a title that kids couldn't pronounce and a hero most of their parents would want exterminated and it was big. "Cars" didn't offer a single relatable character or humorous situation, but I'm told children love that movie.

A month or two again, "Up" might have seemed like a tough sell. In an industry that can only sell youth (or only attempts to sell youth), would there be any way to market a movie about a grumpy old git and hit floating house? Then "Gran Torino" made more than $135 domestic.

Obvious put into production many a moon before anybody knew "Gran Torino" existed,
"Up" will be able to feed into that wave of Geriatric Chic
, but the clips presented at WonderCon give every indication that Pixar has covered its bets. What looks on the surface like a bickering two-hander takes a variety of twists along the way, including the aforementioned talking dogs, who are bound to be kiddie-favorites.

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Newcomer Jordan Nagai is supplying vocals for the kid, Russell, and his comic timing ... seem to have the requisite cuteness and comic timing.

Huh? Okay, never mind the obvious error. Am I understanding this guy correctly? He finds a vague connection between a Pixar movie and Gran Torino, and comes to the conclusion that, "Wow, thanks to Gran Torino, and something called Geriatric Chic that I just invented, it might actually not be a flop." Pixar's never had a flop. Do you think they might have somehow forgotten to give marketability any thought?

One should never, as I've said, doubt Pixar's ability to turn even unlikely subject matter into hits. "Ratatouille" had a title that kids couldn't pronounce and a hero most of their parents would want exterminated and it was big.

Nobody's ever been crazy enough to trouble children with stories about rodents before! Kids hate rats, you know! I defy you to find a children's book about rats, much less an award-winning example. Those Pixar guys are daredevils! (*coughSTUARTLITTLEcough*, *chokeMRSFRISBYANDTHERATSOFNIMHchoke*, *coughTHERESCUERS!cough*)

"Cars" didn't offer a single relatable character or humorous situation, but I'm told children love that movie.

Huh. Then why did more than one character tug at my heartstrings (especially Paul Newman's)? And why do I laugh on many occasions every time I watch it? I must be out of my mind.

I think that most people who love Pixar's work have come to trust them. And at this point, they'll follow them anywhere. I'm not saying Pixar won't ever make a misstep, nor am I saying we should surrender critical discernment. But I'm wired to show support for artists who set high standards, and to criticize them "in love" when they fall short.

But really, this guy's analysis feels unnecessarily complicated. It's one of those articles that tells you so much more about the writer than it does the movie he watched. Sometimes, I guess, reporters just feel they have to say something, even if they don't have much to say.

I mean, maybe I'm missing something but... The Bucket List? About Schmidt? Million Dollar Baby? Hasn't there been a pretty steady stream about old fogies coming out of Hollywood the last few decades?

Edited by Overstreet

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(*coughSTUARTLITTLEcough*, *chokeMRSFRISBYANDTHERATSOFNIMHchoke*, *coughTHERESCUERS!cough*)

*hockFLUSHEDAWAYhock*

*ptooeyDESPEREAUXptooey*

(Assuming, on the movie side, that Desperaux was in production before Ratatouille was released, and wasn't, despite plot-level similarities, a copy-rat effort at least at the green-light stage. On the book side, of course, Desperaux is another award-winning book.)

Edited by SDG

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Overstreet wrote:

: Pixar's never had a flop.

Oh, I dunno about that. These things are all relative, of course, but Ratatouille certainly had an uphill fight in North America, at least. It is also the only Pixar film that has ever failed to crack the yearly Top 5 -- heck, it didn't even crack the Top 10. It did gross about $200 million, but then, so did Superman Returns, and nobody considers THAT film a hit. On the other hand, Ratatouille did better business overseas. Like I say, it's all relative.

: Do you think they might have somehow forgotten to give marketability any thought?

One of the things that intrigues me right now is that John Lasseter is reportedly taking a VERY close look at how Disney markets its films, following the underperformance of Bolt, the first non-Pixar Disney movie that was produced from start to finish under Lasseter's leadership. (And many critics, including myself, noted that Bolt was rather Pixar-esque -- which makes the film's lacklustre box-office performance all the more puzzling.) This rumour leads me to wonder who, exactly, has been marketing Pixar's films all these years. Wasn't it Disney? Or was Pixar calling the shots here?

As it is, like I said in an earlier post, the fact that Pete Docter has basically promised Pixar fans that the second half of Up will adhere to some sort of formula, just as the second half of WALL-E adhered to some sort of formula, suggests that, yes, they ARE giving marketability some thought. And not necessarily for the better. But we'll see, when the film itself comes out.

: I defy you to find a children's book about rats, much less an award-winning example. Those Pixar guys are daredevils!!

Pixar makes books?

: (*coughSTUARTLITTLEcough*, *chokeMRSFRISBYANDTHERATSOFNIMHchoke*, *coughTHERESCUERS!cough*)

Stuart Little and The Rescuers are about mice, not rats. The Secret of NIMH is primarily about mice, too, though of course rats become increasingly important to the story as it progresses.

: : "Cars" didn't offer a single relatable character or humorous situation, but I'm told children love that movie.

:

: Huh. Then why did more than one character tug at my heartstrings? And why did I laugh on many occasions?

Well, like you say, it may say more about you than it does about the movie you watched. ;)

: I mean, maybe I'm missing something but... The Bucket List? About Schmidt? Million Dollar Baby? Hasn't there been a pretty steady stream about old fogies coming out of Hollywood the last few decades?

The Bucket List set an obvious precedent for Gran Torino, yes, right down to the release pattern. About Schmidt wasn't that big a hit, so I don't think I'd cite it in this context. And Million Dollar Baby is arguably as much about the Hilary Swank character as it is about anything else; it also owes much of its success to its Oscar campaign/nominations/wins, whereas Gran Torino was famously snubbed by the Academy.

SDG wrote:

: *hockFLUSHEDAWAYhock*

: *ptooeyDESPEREAUXptooey*

Yeah, and THOSE films didn't exactly burn up the box office either, did they?

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: *hockFLUSHEDAWAYhock*

: *ptooeyDESPEREAUXptooey*

Yeah, and THOSE films didn't exactly burn up the box office either, did they?

I've lost track whether we were talking about box office performance or creative precedent ... Looking back, I see that Jeff was talking about creative precedent; and that's what I was chiming in on. However, Fienberg seems to have been talking about box office performance -- and he reaches the opposite conclusion from you about Ratatouille's performance, citing it as an example of "Pixar's ability to turn even unlikely subject matter into hits" and declaring it "big."

The Secret of NIMH is primarily about mice, too, though of course rats become increasingly important to the story as it progresses.

Jeff seems to have segued into books, not just films, and in the book the rats are much more important than in the film -- in fact, they're the species mentioned in the title (Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH). The point is that rats don't exactly not sell to children.

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The point is that rats don't exactly not sell to children.

Right.

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Okay, never mind the obvious error. Am I understanding this guy correctly? He finds a vague connection between a Pixar movie and Gran Torino, and comes to the conclusion that, "Wow, thanks to Gran Torino, and something called Geriatric Chic that I just invented, it might actually not be a flop." Pixar's never had a flop. Do you think they might have somehow forgotten to give marketability any thought?

Grouchy Old Porn. ;)

Edited by Nezpop

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SDG wrote:

: However, Fienberg seems to have been talking about box office performance -- and he reaches the opposite conclusion from you about Ratatouille's performance, citing it as an example of "Pixar's ability to turn even unlikely subject matter into hits" and declaring it "big."

Exactly -- and the film turned out as big as it did due to the word-of-mouth that kept that film afloat, possibly more than any other Pixar film. (We discussed the "legs" of that film relative to other Pixar films in the Ratatouille thread.) That's a credit to the filmmaking, rather than the marketing. The fact remains, there was a marketing challenge, and the film still turned out to be Pixar's lowest-grossing movie of the decade (at least in North America).

: The point is that rats don't exactly not sell to children.

Perhaps, but Fienberg was commenting on how the PARENTS would want the hero exterminated. Especially in a kitchen!

What's more, visceral reactions to things like rats in kitchens may be a lot more pronounced with film, which is a "realistic" medium (even, if not especially, in the top-tier CGI cartoons), as opposed to books, where readers are free to focus on whatever they want to focus on, and it might be a character's personality more than anything else. (I am thinking here of Roger Ebert's Stuart Little review, where he says the book allows you to think that this precocious mouse can have an imposing stature among the human beings, whereas the film literalizes everything and compels you to face the fact that the mouse is pretty small.)

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I just have one question ... is Pixar gonna come up with a new one every seven years?

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vjmorton wrote:

: I just have one question ... is Pixar gonna come up with a new one every seven years?

:huh:

:huh:

:huh:

:D

Ditto, but with more :huh:'s (and a night's sleep) before the :D

(Actually, I have this reaction to a lot of things vjmorton says.)

(In this case, I was trying to figure out what Pixar had done in 2002 and 1995 that could be connected to Up ... and of course while 1995 was Toy Story, 2002 wasn't anything, so I was really baffled there......)

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SDG wrote:

: (In this case, I was trying to figure out what Pixar had done in 2002 and 1995 that could be connected to Up ... and of course while 1995 was Toy Story, 2002 wasn't anything, so I was really baffled there......)

And Pixar's first Oscar-winner, Tin Toy, was produced in 1988, seven years before Toy Story ...

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Totally OT self-involved B.S. ... do not read.

vjmorton wrote:

: I just have one question ... is Pixar gonna come up with a new one every seven years?

:huh:

:huh:

:huh:

:D

Ditto, but with more :huh:'s (and a night's sleep) before the :D

(Actually, I have this reaction to a lot of things vjmorton says.)

I have that effect on a lot of people.

Just a couple of weeks ago I instant-messaged a friend telling him I had gotten "the news I am going to be a first-time father in October." Meaning that an expecting friend had asked me to be godfather to their baby (never previously happened).

I put it that way just for fun, since I am not married, not dating, nor otherwise doing the activities that produce children. And I guess I just never thought my buddy could take it literally. But he responded with an e-mail that must have been really hard for him to write, saying among other things, that he couldn't get back to sleep after reading my note, wondering "Is that Victor's oblique way of saying he's entering the priesthood?" (almost as absurd), telling me of a recent tragedy another friend had had, assuring me that he'll be praying for me and that he knows this is not how you want these things to start, but saying he has faith that I'll do the honorable thing.

He was not happy. At all.

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