Posts Tagged 'pixar'

Wick-Quoting #40: Rango

“I tip my hat to you… One legend to another.”

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Well, the trailer for the film delivered a bunch of heard-em-before oneliners and an iffy concept – an chameleon named Rango fools his way into becoming a town sheriff and then is faced with numerous comedic hardships upon realizing that being the sheriff actually comes with some dangerous work.  But since Johnny Depp is voicing Rango, I naturally assumed that there must be some kind of off-kilter, whimsical factor to the movie as well.  I mean, Johnny Depp!  The man doesn’t just do normal animated movies like that!

How goofy!

And, long story short, he really doesn’t.  Rango is basically a film about what I just briefly explained.  Except that there is a handful of strangeness – a mystery afoot involving water, Rango’s silly and light headed qualities that remind one of Jack Sparrow’s own method of don’t act serious and don’t get taken seriously, then find yourself in trouble later on yeah sure but bust your way out of it in a cool manner, and well… some other strange things that you can see for yourself.  The other characters as well as the villains and the fight scenes also deliver a taste of originality that proove to be funny and fairly exciting.  Not to mention the over-arching mystery of the plot – that one got to me, and it delivers an environmental message in a pretty interesting way.  Although those who don’t really know the background of what Rango is trying to tell audiences may not get the full impact of the message, as a Society and Environment major I appreciated what the filmmakers were trying to show young audiences.  And it is certainly nothing for older audiences to scoff at either – I don’t want to preach here, so lets just say, water is important and SCARCE folks.  Yes, in our real world too, not just the world of Rango.

Especially in a desert!

Now, if there are any problems with the film that I felt myself and gathered from friends who also saw the film, it is that as an animated movie – it is a bit difficult to concisely explain, but – I suppose there isn’t a lot of magic to it per say.  Rango is actually a pretty factual film despite the whimsy of a lot of what happens and the characters, and there is no rosy and teary moment of revelation and comraderie or whatever as audiences might expect from watching pretty much the only reliable House-of-Good-Animated-Movies these days, Pixar.  And there aren’t as many friendly laughs and oneliners for kids and feel goodness as a Dreamworks movie like Shrek or Kung Fu PandaRango doesn’t really do feelgood and has a more abstract comedic feel, but I did still appreciate it.  Although its appeal seems to be somewhat hit or miss, I’d recommend giving Rango a try.  I think the filmmakers did try to make a film that stands out a bit from the bumpercrop of other animated films out there, and they have succeeded.  Now it’s up to audiences to accept the film or not.

Rattlesnake Jake is a pretty cool character

7.1

Quoted by Sawazz

MWP: 7.8

Check out my new site at: http://www.mrwickedproductions.com/wickquoting/?p=129

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Wick-Quoting #35: Tangled

I feel like I start off most of my reviews with negative feelings, but I just need to get my basic impressions out of the way.  To be honest, I was not excited about watching Tangled. Aside from Pixar’s fine works, Disney’s releases have been less than impressive, and it sometimes feels like Disney is just hanging off of Pixar’s fame.  The Tangled trailers also looked pretty cliché, with slapstick jokes and a typical suave guy cute girl type of set up, so yes – when I walked into the theater to watch Tangled, I wasn’t expecting much.

rawr

 

However.

I walked out of it having laughed a lot, feeling touched, loving the main couple and their cute animal friends, and even having teared up a bit (I can guarantee though that there were people in the audience who did cry – I could hear the sniffling).  Tangled far exceeded my expectations.  With likeable characters, a cute plot, beautiful visuals, and some great and genuinely funny and touching lines, even adults will like TangledTangled takes the old story of Rapunzel and adds a few twists to it, like animal sidekicks, a magical flower, a suave ‘Prince Charming,’ and of course, it makes Rapunzel a princess.

The main characters

But to those of you thinking “ugh… another Disney princess?” … Come on.  The Disney princesses, although way over represented now in merchandise and overall cheesiness, hail from some of Disney’s greatest films and most beloved hits.  And Tangled has some of that old school Disney magic to it that has been missing in many of their latest films.  In fact, Rapunzel could now fit in perfectly with Belle, Jasmine, Cinderella, and all those other Disney heroines from their grand history.  Although Tangled is not touted as a musical, it also features some singing moments that, while not grandiose and perhaps not quite as particularly memorable as some of the great old-school Disney songs (you all know what I’m talking about – those songs that seriously everybody in the world knows, like “The Circle of Life”, “Beauty and the Beast”, “A Whole New World”, etc.) are still charming and add a lot to the feel of the movie.  The plot of Tangled is also quite predictable, but like Disney’s old classics, comes together in a way that sweeps the viewer along with it and makes you believe in true love and magic and happily ever after endings again.  There’s a lot of classic Disney here updated with just the perfect dosage of modern comebacks and witty lines to add a nice modern update to their time and time again beloved formula. Tangled isn’t hugely innovative or a masterpiece per say, but it is a fun, touching, and overall just great movie to watch when you need to feel good about life again and to feel that old childhood spark of Disney magic.

aww

9.0

Quoted by Sawazz

MWP: 8.5

Wick-Quoting #29: Megamind

“I was destined to be a supervillain, and we were destined to be rivals!  The die was cast!  And so began an epic enduring lifelong career… and I LOVED IT!”

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Hi everyone, I am a guest poster for Wick-Quoting, reviewing movies that Mr. Wicked hasn’t yet seen (or doesn’t want to see)!

For the past few years, movie theaters have been flooded with computer graphic animated films that often come with a 3-D option.  When was the last time any of you saw a traditional 2-D animated film in theaters?  The only high profile example I can think of in the States in recent years is Disney’s The Princess and the Frog.  Anyway, while the medium of computer animation has provided us with some great films – such as, of course, any Pixar film – the rest of these movies out there, with their similar witty banter, cool graphics, and feel good morals, all feel like part of one big series.  A couple examples of the kind of films I’m talking about here include Monsters vs. Aliens, Alpha and Omega, Legend of the Guardians, and so on and so on.  Of course, some of these movies are pretty good, but it doesn’t change the fact that their basic formula includes the requisite wittiness, graphics, and morals.

I wonder what's going on here

Megamind is no different.  The film is about the titular antihero Megamind’s endless battle to defeat his archnemesis and hero of Metro City, Metro Man.  But when Megamind finally accomplishes his lifelong goal, he suddenly faces the realization that maybe he was aiming for the wrong thing all along.  Oh, and just like a certain other anti-villain film that came out this year, a minion is featured!

MINION!!

The above is spoiler free Megamind in a nutshell.  Sounds a bit like the summary of some cheesy “how to change your life” book doesn’t it?

A notable aspect of Megamind is that it features a surprisingly robust lineup of voice actors from Tina Fey to Jonah Hill and Brad Pitt.  (Ben Stiller is in the mix too!)  However, honestly the usage of Brad Pitt and Tina Fey’s voices seems like a bit of a waste.  Both of them are talented individuals, but their talents aren’t really suited to voice acting since they sound pretty generic.  Whenever you hear Jonah Hill, on the other hand, you know unmistakeably that it’s him, and I must say I think his voice matches his character pretty well.

A famous cast has definitely helped the film's rep

Overall, just like Brad Pitt’s voice acting in this film, I’d say that the best word to describe Megamind is generic.  Sure there are cool graphics, witty lines, and a feel good plot with a few twists and turns.  For a mindless dose of decent entertainment, I’d say Megamind is just fine. But overall in this big overarching series created by the many other computer graphic animated movies out there, Megamind doesn’t particularly stand out.

7.0

Quoted by Sawazz

Wick-Quoting #16: Toy Story 3

This is more of an analysis than a review.  There is no need for me to persuade you to watch Toy Story 3.  It is fawesome.  And seriously, if you haven’t watched it by now then you probably 1) will never watch it anyways and you’re 2) missing the hell out!!

It’s easy to say that Pixar has “done it again” as expected.  Toy Story 3 easily makes viewers laugh out loud (literary) and cry.  So far it has made about 570 million, which is almost 100 million more than the previous film, with a production budget of  200 million.  200 million is a lot more than I expected and it got the job done.  Toy Story 3 beats its closest animated rival, Shrek Forever After considering both money made and entertainment value.  Thank god.  It’s surprising how Shrek still does so well considering that it feels like they’re beating a dead horse (or donkey).  When the film first came out, I wasn’t even sure if it was the 4th or 3rd of the series.  They should’ve stopped at 3, but that’s what happens when you got little kids’ support.  If you think about it, Shrek to kids is sort of like Twilight to fan girls.  Because of little kids supporting Shrek, DreamWorks is wasting time reusing old stories when they could be making something completely fresh and original.  And as for Twilight, I see it fucking EVERYWHERE now.  It’s all about freaking vampires and werewolves – commercials, advertising, movies.  How can you even compare Twilight and Harry Potter?  Seriously, little kids and fan girls ruin EVERYTHING!!

Holy shit, those fan girls are crazy

Back on topic, ah yes, talking toys.  It’s really hard to choose a favorite scene in Toy Story 3, cause it’s all good really (excluding Jesse’s whining).  The opening scene is cleverly done and reminds viewers of the opening of the first Toy Story, only told in a different fashion.  But a general consensus is Buzz’s dancing scene.  It’s strange how a short time of dancing can be so freaking funny.  I laughed so hard watching it.  The only reason I was aware of my position as a spectator was cause of the laughter.  Which is a good thing, unlike being hella bored and catching yourself picking your nose or something.

Buzz Lighter al rescate!!

Pixar is known for their animated actors.  Their actors are actually much better at acting then real life actors.  They express themselves better which comes at no surprise for computer animation.  They say that acting is made up largely from the editing, which is true.  Image a man with a blank expression.  The camera then cuts to a shot of a sandwich, then back at the man.  Viewers would get the impression that the man is hungrily staring at the sandwich.  Now replace the sandwich with a fine woman.  The meaning from the man’s face changes completely from hunger to sexual desire.  It is this editing technique that helps actors in doing their jobs.  It’s what allows Kristen Stewart to act.  Now Pixar’s characters are able to completely overcome this trick, because their facial expressions are superb compared to real life actors.  This is not to say that the characters in Toy Story 3 don’t use editing to their advantage.  It happens all the time.  And some characters need the help more than others, especially the ones with limited movement (the ones made of plastic).

Their faces are not as expressive as Woody's

Yes, some of the characters I’m talking about here include Barbie and Ken.  These two characters are limited in their movement and expressions due to being made of plastic, but this doesn’t mean that they aren’t great characters.  Quite the opposite, they are filled with personality, even to the point where a joke is made about Ken’s fashion statement.  These two characters, although they play minor roles, make the film a much more enjoyable experience.  Who can say no to a barbie now?

So there you were..

I’m glad that Toy Story 3 introduced a new side to Buzz that wasn’t previously seen before.  Buzz is frankly, compared to Woody, a boring character.  If you were to describe Woody, it’d be along the lines of loyal, stuck-up, wuss, determined, and leaderish.  If you were to describe Buzz, not the crazy space ranger Buzz, just plain ol’ Buzz, it’d be along the lines of brave.. and.. uh.. kind?  Having Buzz’s Spanish side brings a whole new light on the character, although it should be considered pretty much a whole new character in itself.  I’m not hating on Buzz, I’m just saying.  I’m really happy for you and imma let you finish but Woody is the greatest toy of all time.

Here we go again..

Without a doubt in my mind, Toy Story 3 beats the previous two and is one of this year’s best films.

9.1


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