Sunday, January 17, 2010

Plot Contrivances in UP.

I heart Pixar in a big way. They are consistent in ways that no studio has ever been. Each film is memorable. Each film is a huge financial success.

Their recent opus, UP, was really good, and has been nominated for a few awards, but isn't my favorite. I actually think I'd prefer watching the arguably inferior Cars.

How could I say such a thing? Simply, UP has more plot holes and contrivances than any previous Pixar film.

  • They travel from a city that resembles Chicago to... South America, in a single night.

  • Charles Muntz, after killing a giant thing with a shaving kit, discovering car-sized turtles and dinosaur-like things. After having done more than many countries, loses his reputation for supposedly lying about a large bird? What? If it had been a fucking T-Rex, I could understand, but a bird?! I guess a t-Rex wouldn't have made a good, cute side-kick.

  • That reality was bent for the house on balloons is fine, but the fact that Carl regularly circumvents physics when holding the house down, dragging it along easily, holding Dug, Russell, and the bird up with nary but the traction in his boots. It just got silly. Since the rules don't apply, the threat of physics winning, and of us falling, isn't a real threat and the scenes lack danger.

  • Why does Carl become nervous after Russell talks about Kevin? He hates the bird and is not yet aware that Muntz is insane. Yet, there he goes, acting all suspicious and giving Muntz reason, however little, to believe that the two actually ARE there to capture the bird.

I was also disappointed by the blatant attempts at lightening the tone of the movie through ridiculous elements. The voice of Alpha is the least intrusive, but the dog pilots firing their guns with a squeeky toy was just retarded. I think it reveals Docter to not be the director that Brad Bird is, who maintained a better and much more seamless balance of comedy and drama in The Incredibles and even in Ratatouille.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Betty Boop Film Class Part 9

Chess-Nuts is a light little ditty of a cartoon, notable for its use of live action, stop-motion, and animation. Not the first time Fleischer did it, but it is the first time with sound.

I love when the black king first throws a bomb like a bowling ball, and the camera tracks the ball as it rolls towards the white army. It's just so dynamic.

Again, Betty plays a very small role in the action. The bulk of it focuses on Bimbo because, I think, when most of these episodes were story-boarded, Bimbo was still going to be the star. Betty's rise to stardom apparently caught Fleischer off-guard and every episode in the Talkartoon series confirms this.

We're also seeing increased naughty jokes. Betty's dress goes up twice, the bed is visible in the room to which the king drags her, but the bed is disgusted with the king so it runs away. Even the mouse in the wall is apparently a polygamist.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Mickey Mouse Monopoly

I've uploaded a long commentary on the documentary Mickey Mouse Monopoly. It's basically an anti-Disney documentary that argues that Disney corp. holds too much power and perpetuates social problems.

In general, I disagree with everything it argues. The facts are facts, but its interpretation of them is highly selective and erroneous.

Mickey Mouse Monopoly
(A Candle in the Dark)