Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Pixar Uber Alles

I am an enormous fan of Pixar. An unhealthy fan of Pixar. I would totally make love to Pixar if it was, well, not a series of buildings and people. I guess I could make love to every person involved and then hump the buildings, but that would take too much time.

I've always felt that, as the Pixar documentary discussed, that fears of CGI "killing" traditional animation were untrue. Old-school animators were apparently very antagonistic to Pixar's work because they saw it as competition, as opposed to a new tool with which they could simply do what they had always done. And as the interviews have expressed, most of the people involved with Pixar were old-school animators, and they never, EVER wanted to do damage to the animation world.

It's unfortunate that that's exactly what happened. Not because of Pixar, of course, but because of the Hollywood system and morons like Michael Eisner (I don't actually hate Eisner, but my opinions of him are too complex for this post). Pixar's films were very good and also novel. People had never seen CGI before, at least not to the degree and quality of Toy Story. Add to this that the quality of Disney's traditional cartoons started going downhill. It began with Mulan and Tarzan being only mildly memorable. Continued with the near total fuck-up of Emperor's New Groove. And finished with a spectacular dive off a cliff with tripe like Home on the Range and Treasure Planet. Michael Eisner responded by saying that CGI had killed cell-based animation and that Disney would no longer produce it.

CGI has, even in the face of near constant assault by crap movies, remained persistent and successful. You've got to give the Hollywood types credit. Ever since Pixar showed them the golden goose, they've been doing their best to kill it. For every Wall-E, we have a dozen Delgos, Final Fantasies, and Shark Tales.

It's disgusting, really. Jeffrey Katzenburg effectively admitted that they can't compete with Pixar on quality, so they'll do so with quantity. Great! Grind out shit until audiences lose all expectations of quality, then blame the market when your movies start under-performing. You idiot.

So I'm glad that Eisner is out and Pixar is in. Because they are animation guys. They love it. And the release of The Princess and the Frog confirms it.

What a joyous day. The first hand-drawn feature film from Disney since Home on the Range. Granted, the trailer isn't very good, but the movie looks it!

But now, continuing the subject of Pixar, I found this behind-the-scenes of Pixars studios. It's so worth a watch.

This is a discussion hosted by the Computer History Museum (The California one, not the Boston One). It's very dry but more information dense than all of the other videos put together.

And finally, one of my favorite documentaries ever, The Pixar Story. I think I've watched this thing a dozen times. It's dense, well-edited, entertaining, informative, and provides a fantastic glimpse into the emergence of an entertainment revolution. And if we consider that CGI did, at least for an as-yet-determined time, kill hand animation, revolution is the only word for it.

That's all there is for now. The last part was uploaded only a month or so ago, so the person may be in the process of uploading further parts.

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