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Peter T Chattaway

Onward

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Link to our thread on 'Pixar: The studio, its history and process', as well as the upcoming Pixar films Coco (2017), The Incredibles 2 (2018) and Toy Story 4 (2019).

From a press release I received today:

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UNTITLED DAN SCANLON MOVIE

Director Dan Scanlon, who helmed Pixar’s “Monsters University,” joined Lasseter to share a few details about an all-new original feature film currently in production at Pixar Animation Studios. According to Scanlon, who lost his father at a very young age, the film is inspired by the question he’s always asked: who was my father? The story is set in a world with no humans—only elves, trolls and sprites—“anything that would be on the side of a van in the ’70s,” said the director. “In the film, we’re going to tell the story of two teenage elf brothers whose father died when they were too young to remember him. But thanks to the little magic still left in the world, the boys embark on a quest that will allow them a chance to spend one last magical day with their father.”

Kori Rae (“Monsters University”) will produce.

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

"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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From today's press release:

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CHRIS PRATT, TOM HOLLAND, JULIA LOUIS-DREYFUS AND OCTAVIA SPENCER JOIN VOICE CAST FOR PIXAR ANIMATION STUDIOS’ UPCOMING ORIGINAL FEATURE FILM “ONWARD”

 BURBANK, Calif. (Dec. 12, 2018) – Pixar Animation Studios revealed today four members of its voice cast for its original new feature film “Onward,” including Chris Pratt (“Guardians of the Galaxy”), Tom Holland (“Spiderman: Homecoming”), Julia Louis-Dreyfus (“Veep”) and Octavia Spencer (“The Shape of Water”). Directed by Dan Scanlon and produced by Kori Rae, the team behind 2013’s “Monsters University,” “Onward” is slated for theatres on March 6, 2020.

Set in a suburban fantasy world, Disney•Pixar’s “Onward” introduces two teenage elf brothers who embark on an extraordinary quest to discover if there is still a little magic left out there. “At Pixar we try to create stories that come from some kind of personal truth,” said Scanlon. “This film was inspired by my own relationship with my brother.”

According to the filmmakers, they’ve assembled a dream voice cast to help to bring key characters to life.

·         “Chris brings equal parts huge heart and fantastic humour to his character,” said Rae.

·         “Tom has an infectious charm and sincerity that makes you root for him in every character he plays,” said Scanlon.

·         “There is no one funnier than Julia,” said Scanlon, “but she also brings a warmth and loving side to her character.”

·         “Octavia can do it all,” said Rae. “We’re especially excited about the depth as well as humour that she brings to her character.”


"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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I say this in full realization that I am the most lukewarm Pixar admirer that I know...this is the first Pixar film that I can remember where I was...bored in places. I think particularly of a car chase in Act II where I just found myself thinking, "A Pixar car chase....sigh."

And yet the emotions of the last act are real and more and more these days I'm about the feelz. That's a modest endorsement, I guess. It feels like second-tier Pixar to me but that is still okay. 

For some reason, too, I kept thinking about Ready Player One and the fantasy that time spend playing games wasn't just time wasted but was somehow crucially, vitally, important. I think there is something in that fantasy that is culturally important but which too often is a pale reflection of an actual truth. 

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54 minutes ago, kenmorefield said:

this is the first Pixar film that I can remember where I was...bored in places. I think particularly of a car chase in Act II where I just found myself thinking, "A Pixar car chase....sigh."

The film feels like a formulaic Disney movie for most of its run time, until those final very confrontation/reconciliation moments where it turns on the Pixar tear-inducing feels. I was surprised by how much it moved me at the end, as everything leading up to that point felt like it'd been borrowed from other movies, mainly the Indiana Jones and Weekend at Bernie's films.

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...and this is why I avoid threads until I've posted my review, because I'm in total agreement with both of you.  I speculate briefly in my review over the quantity over quality thing we're seeing at Disney (e.g., Star Wars) and wonder how much this factors into the reality that for every Inside Out, Pixar also generates a Cars sequel.  Compare 9 films from 2015 till now, to one film every 1-3 years from 1996-2009.  Hey, Soul looks quite interesting, at least.

(With this film and Invisible Man, my family is starting to refer to me as the Movie Curmudgeon.  I was the lone naysayer for both of those films...)


To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/

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A number of "rotten" reviews on RT tease the critique that world-building essentially a self-critique of animation industry, where "magic" has died because the world found it too hard, preferring the conveniences of technology. It's really impossible for me to believe that nobody in the film was aware of this potential reading, so I can only imagine that they were inviting it and on some level thought that this was a fully developed idea rather than a thematic short-hand. The more I think about it, the more I think the problems are in the script. This is an elevator pitch for a Pixar movie -- i.e. a big idea. But repeating your idea in the film is not the same thing as actually executing that idea, developing it, showing it. 

 

Quote

For some reason, too, I kept thinking about Ready Player One and the fantasy that time spend playing games wasn't just time wasted but was somehow crucially, vitally, important. I think there is something in that fantasy that is culturally important but which too often is a pale reflection of an actual truth. 

Oddly enough, I have been re-watching In Treatment recently, and Paul (the therapist) makes the point to one of his patients, a burnt-out, suicidal CEO, that play is "important." Even more so than the world building, the idea that needs to be central in the older brother is that he is not just a "screw up" -- that his arcane knowledge of games is important. Where the script goes terribly wrong, I think, is that it spends 90% of the film showing that it is important only in the Ready Player One sense, important in that he knows trivia that unlocks a clue. But then it leaves the younger brother to realize (and the film to argue) that play is important for vastly more important reasons...and he does so through an "I was wrong" montage of memories. The emotional pay off is supposed to be in the sibling bond, but for that to work, the film needs to either belong to both of them or the older brother needs to be the main character. Even the younger brother's gesture at the end allows the film to gesture out the sharper keener emotions without actually depicting them. We get a dragon fight (and a cutesy one at that), while the film's core payoff is given through summary after the fact.

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