December 22, 2007
I can’t think of another company that’s had a string of successes in quite the way that Pixar has.
Toy Story – a great tale, well told. Toy Story II, possibly an even better story but just as good. A Bugs Life, Monsters Inc, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, (have I left anyone out?)… the list is terrific. The secret to Pixar’s success isn’t that secret I don’t think. It’s that the story is key, not the animation. Story above and beyond all else. Yes, the hairs on the Monsters look well cool. Yes, the water bubbles stream past Marlin in incredible detail, but all that wonder is secondary to the story and each story has been a killer.
I was delighted to see Pixar and Disney fall out over Toy Story III. The plot that I saw (Buzz gets recalled and the Toys go Out to Save Him) seemed tired and trite (especially after TS II – the true nature of what it is to be a toy. Top that!) and Pixar refused to have a bar of it. Disney insisted and it wasn’t until Disney had a change of leadership and ended up buying Pixar (making sure the head honchos were all on board as part of the contract) that the thaw came. First decision out of the box – cancel TS III.
Now Pixar is, in effect, what Disney was. A studio that made great stories into watchable movies. Disney itself hasn’t done that, certainly in an animated way, for decades now. The Lion King was probably the last great cartoon out of Disney – everything else has been a remake packaged as a sequel. Useless.
Pixar’s new movie not only looks great but has all the potential to be a great film. SF buffs of the world, check it out.
Interestingly, the first trailer doesn’t follow the Pixar tradition of being a stand-alone trailer that never features in the movie itself. Instead, it features a brief message from one of the creators about a meeting in a cafe towards the end of the filming of Toy Story. Interesting stuff.
Wall E looks a lot like a certain other robot (Number Five of course) but shares even more DNA with a less-remembered beastie. Mysterious Dave, five points if you name that Bot and his cohort before the end of the Christmas break (he says, knowing full well MD has gone home for the hols and doesn’t have broadband).