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Tag Archives: Pixar

Review: Brave (2012)

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Cars 2 was a dud. But it is Pixar, so you have to give it a chance. So, the question is can Pixar return to their former glory of Toy Story, Up, and Wall-E? Or is the first female lead in the animation studio, only going to be selling toys to red-headed girls?

Merida (Kelly Macdonald) is the Princess, forced to choose her eventual husband from the first born of the other kingdoms as dictated by tradition. Being the strong willed, heroine type, she refuses to do so, disobeying her family and entire reign in the process. A witch, er woodcarver, offers Merida theĀ  chance to change her mothers thinking, and Merida jumps at the chance to do so. However, in order to not ruin the movie, I won’t indulge any more details about the plot. Needless to say, things don’t go smoothly.

First things first: It was better than Cars. Whew. Now that that is out of the way, here is my ultimate review. It was good, but isn’t Pixar good. I had read that it was filled with more slapstick humor than any other Pixar film, and they were correct in saying so. The problem is, after Up, Wall-E, and the like, I hold Pixar to much higher standards. The sentimentality is still there, but isn’t as powerful. I will say it is one of the funniest animated movies in recent years, and is definitely one the whole family can enjoy.

My Rating: B

Review: Cars 2 (2011)

Cars, while not Pixar’s best, was still a decent movie. It showed off America’s reminiscing of yesteryear road trips on roads like Route 66 among others, and had some clever car jokes, but it wasn’t exactly Toy Story or Monsters Inc. Pixar, in a move, I’m not quite sure of, decided they could drag another storyline out of this land where there are houses, but no humans.

Forget Radiator Springs. In fact, you can forget about America for the most part. Cars 2 takes a cue from Rowan Atkinson and tries its hand at the bumbling spy routine. While it keeps most of the original cast, most are regulated to very minor roles (except for superstar car Lightning McQueen and rusty tow truck Tow Mater). On a globetrotting adventure, Mater finds himself mistaken for a spy, attempting to get to the bottom of a green fuel conspiracy. Meanwhile, McQueen hands his own “hands” full with his race to be declared the greatest race car in the world in the newly announced World Grand Prix. As McQueen tries to handle the embarrassment of his sheltered friend, cars are dying out one by one. Will they be able to get to the bottom of things before Lightning meets his demise?

Like I said before, Cars 2 is the first Pixar movie to not be met with rave reviews. And, surprise surprise, I can see why. For Dream Works, Cars 2 would be a standout, but with our high standards for Pixar films, Cars 2 just flops. I think a large part of this is what they changed. The first movie’s success, for me at least, was owed to its Americana factor. Now, with the adventures expanded to make a globetrotting spy movie, they lost the thing that made people like the original. Yes, it’s a perfectly fine kids movie (although a lot of explosions), but it doesn’t have the mass appeal of the previous films.

My Rating: C

Trailer: Pixar’s Brave

The trailer for Pixar’s first feature since Cars 2 has come out, and my feelings are kinda stuck between “This sucks” and “Brilliant”. While the animation looks typically amazing, and there are moments of pure epic-ness, for the most part, it seems like another Dreamworks DVD, and not a Pixar classic. With Cars 2 and Brave, is Pixar’s magic running out? Then again, it’s just a trailer.

Top Three: 2003

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Say you’re putting 3 movies from each year in a time capsule. What ones would you want people to see? Forget critical acclaim. Forget the critics in general, what are the three best movies from that year?

Today, our first foray into the list is 2003.

3. Finding Nemo

The love between a father and son is one of a kind, even if both the father and the son are fish. Pixar’s 2003 classic tells the journey of a clown fish, who, with the help of an entire ocean of creatures treks on to find his kidnapped son. It was funny (Forgetful Dory completely steals the show), adventurous, and heartfelt.

2. Lord of the Rings: Return of the King

The finale that LOTR fans had been waiting for. The ending to Peter Jackson’s epic trilogy was a sight to behold. It put a nice shiny bow on any unfinished plot and of course that pesky ring that we were dealing with over 8 hours (At least the extended version viewers were). But seriously, this is many LOTR fan’s favorite one, and every movie fan should see this trilogy at least once.

1. Oldboy

This Korean flick isn’t seen as much as the other two, but not for lack of quality. Oldboy is the ultimate revenge movie, as a man is kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years than freed. Of course, there are plot twists, but even without them it is still worth watching for its all too realistic depiction of violence, no matter how disturbing.

Honorable Mentions:

Big Fish

Old School

Lost in Translation


21 Grams

Kill Bill Vol. 1

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

Review: Up (2009)

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Pixar, the tenth feature length movie from Pixar is the unlikely adventures of Russell and Mr. Fredrickson. Through a series of highly improbably events, the two find themselves in South America where they meet Dug, a talking dog and Kevin, a giant, extremely rare bird. Carl Fredrickson’s original goal of settling down next to Paradise Falls is quickly forgotten as he realizes that maybe he still has some more adventures in his life.

It’s no secret that Up is one of my favorite movies and one of the best Pixar has ever produced. The key, in my mind, to its success is its ability to speak to any demographic. Kid’s can obviously relate to Russell, the adorable scout that is just looking to help the elderly, while the older generation can identify with Carl Fredrickson, the grumpy old man still trying to deal with the death of his wife. Everyone else in between can catch things that have happened to us. How many have had heroes in their lives that have let them down. Or how many have their minds set on one goal, but find life giving them something much better. For some, these might not jump out of the screen, but that’s okay. Because the movie is really entertaining.

The action is there; literal “dog fights” in the sky, old man sword fights, and zeppelin chases. Secondly, this is one of the funniest movies I’ve seen. From Alpha’s accidental voice change, to basically everything that comes out of Dug’s mouth, to Kevin and his weird movements. But for me, what makes Up so perfect is the montage spanning Carl and his wife Ellie’s life. Just music, no speaking, yet it is so moving. In just a few moments, without even speaking, Up is able to do what many movies only dream of.

My Rating: A+

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Ranks: Pixar Films

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The opening of Cars 2 has come and gone and with it has come some “meh” reviews. Not very commonplace. Is it the end of Pixar’s brilliance? I’m gonna say no, with the original “Brave” and a Monsters Inc. prequel coming soon, but just for fun’s sake let’s rank the Pixar movies from 1995-2010 (Cars 2 excluded).

11. Ratatouille (2007)

I have no clue why but Ratatouille had no effect on me. In fact it was a while since it came out on DVD that I finally saw it. When I did, I thought it was good, but there wasn’t any real magic happening. Maybe it was just the combination of rats and kitchens that got me.

10. Cars (2006)

For Cars it was Larry the Cable Guy voicing Tow Mater. I kinda liked him, but then I realized who was voicing him and I kinda hated him. Who knows? Also, didn’t some gas company put eyes on cartoon cars a while ago? (Chevron?)

9. A Bug’s Life (1998)

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen this, but from what I can remember when it originally came out was it competing with “Antz”. It had a Seven Samurai feel to it, which is awesome for a kids movie. It was also pretty funny with the Lady Bug and Caterpillar doing their thing.

8. Monsters Inc. (2001)

Pixar was really flexing their muscles by making a kids movie about the monsters that are hiding in their closets. Beyond that they made some of the most lovable monsters in the process, and perhaps the cutest animated kid ever in Boo. The animation was spot on too. Did you see how many door were in that final chase scene? Also, commonly overlooked: the slimiest villain in Pixar history with Randall.

7. Toy Story 2 (1999)

Pixar returned to their roots with the second of the Toy Story trilogy in 1999. They seemed to pull of the impossible not only by matching the sentimentality (Jesse’s owner leaving her had Kleenex moment written all over it), doubling the villains (Stinky Pete and Zurg still not as good as Sid), and even introducing Jesse and Bullseye as key characters.

6. The Incredibles (2004)

Animated movie about a superhero family in hiding during the explosion of the superhero genre and still make it interesting? Sure, why not? Everyone of these characters was so compelling, whether it was Bob’s yearning for the past, Dash’s desire to use his abilities, Violent and her debilitating shyness, or Helen keeping it all together. Everyone in this movie shines, and Pixar proves it can hang with any genre.

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Pixar Releases Brave Poster

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Pixar hopes to keep turning out hits in 2012 when not only Monsters University (The prequel to Monsters Inc) is released, but so is Brave. The teaser poster was just released, as we find more about the film. The plot, is as follows (in the words of IMDB)

Scottish princess, Merida,
defies her parents by
persuing an interest in
archery, but inadvertently
jeopardizes her father's 
kingdom in the process.

It will be the 13th feature Pixar movie, and the first with a lead female. Kelly Macdonald and Emma Thompson star.