Posted on Tuesday, July 24th, 2012 by Angie Han
Watch enough movies, and you’ll find that you occasionally walk out of the theater sometimes with the vaguely disappointing feeling that you’ve just shelled out $14 to see a movie you’re already seen before. Sometimes, it’s no surprise that a film looks derivative — did anyone really expect Underworld: Awakening to wow us with its originality, for example? — but even great movies fall prey to old habits sometimes. The Avengers was exhilarating, but Lord knows we’ve seen the dear old Big Apple demolished more than a few times before, and often in very similar ways at that.
The Funny or Die folks point out the most familiar repeating shots and motifs in a video titled “Every 3D Movie is the Same.” Unfortunately, it seems their theoretical fact-checkers were dozing on the job, since a handful of the movies they cite were not, in fact, released in 3D. But even so, their point stands. Perhaps they should’ve just retitled it “Every Studio Action Movie is the Same”? Watch it after the jump.
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We love discovering the hidden easter eggs that Pixar hides within their movies. We’ve been collecting the easter eggs for some time now, having extensive write-ups of all the hidden secrets in Ratatouille, WALL-E, Up, Toy Story 3, Cars 2, and even the short film Day & Night. When it was announced that Pixar would be released a film set in the highlands of 10th century Scotland, many fans wondered how they’d be able to sneak in some of the contemporary staples like the Pizza Planet truck or a character from their next film (in this case, Monsters University). But early on, director Mark Andrews assured us that all the fun easter eggs would be included one way or another. Where is the Pizza Planet Truck? Find out for yourself, after the jump.
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Sound is an essential element for almost any film, but animated films in particular benefit from stellar audio design. Most of the featurettes we’ve seen from the Soundworks Collection have been focused on live-action films (or mostly live-action films, such as the Transformers movies) but now we’ve got one that looks at the production of Pixar’s Brave.
One interesting aspect of the audio work for Brave is that, as has been the case for some animated films in the past, some of the work was done prior to the animation — I won’t specify which bits, in order to avoid spoilers, but the fact that I don’t want to spoil anything should indicate just what parts of the film were done in that manner, for those who’ve seen the film. It’s also fun to learn that some sounds done for War Horse ended up in Brave.
Check out the look into Brave‘s sound design below. Read More »
The release of Inside Out is an invitation to revisit all the films from Pixar, going back to the studio’s 1995 debut Toy Story. That movie changed the landscape of feature animation with stunning immediacy; after Pixar hit the scene nothing was the same. The twenty years since have given us a total of fifteen animated films from the studio, and we can’t resist the urge to do a little comparison between them. Read our own Pixar ranking, below.
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This week, Dave, Devindra, and Adam discuss the crappiness of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, explore the pleasures of male stripping, and ponder the mediocrity of Brave. Special guest Jen Yamato joins us from Movieline.
You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. We’ll be reviewing Magic Mike next week.
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This weekend saw the release of Pixar’s latest film, Brave, a movie that easily won the weekend, garnering an overall “A” CinemaScore from appreciative audiences. Still, at only 74 percent on RottenTomatoes (Pixar’s second worst), and a 7 out of 10 from Germain Lussier, it is clear there is a bit of room for dissent.
Out there in audience-land, did you notice something a little “off” about Brave? Perhaps there are lessons that can be learned, or conversations to engage in?
To provide some context, and on the off chance we have completely different taste, here are my top five Pixar efforts:
3. Toy Story
4. Finding Nemo
5. Monsters, Inc.
Until now, the only Pixar film I flat out didn’t enjoy was Ratatouille, though I admit to only having seen it once, and folks say I’d like it much more if I were to re-visit. Even Cars 2 had redeeming qualities. I can truly say I’ve never found a Pixar film entirely lacking, and that statement includes Brave. There’s no question the film had amazing visuals, setting a new standard for excellence within the animation genre. Unfortunately, the story lacked a bit of … what’s the word I’m looking for? Ooomph. As such, I’m compelled to break down where I feel the problems were, if only to restore everyone’s favorite animation house to the glory they so richly deserve.
One final note, just to head off the obligatory “comparing Brave to the rest of Pixar’s work isn’t entirely fair” argument, we’re in complete agreement there. It’s not fair, and in many ways Pixar’s own ambition and commitment to excellence have raised the bar for all movies. So no, Brave isn’t a bad movie on merit, it’s merely an average one, which animation houses make all the time without compelling anyone to write a 3,000 word article on the subject. But within the greater context of Pixar’s previous work, Brave does come up short, and I think we’ve got a bead on the reasons why.
Note: Massive SPOILERS follow, naturally.
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Brave is Pixar’s first overt fairy tale, and the studio’s first film with a female protagonist. Those points, combined with the fairly public development process that saw the title change from The Bear and the Bow, and original director Brenda Chapman replaced with Mark Andrews, has positioned Pixar’s thirteenth film as a film of interest for many.
Brave is in theaters now, so how did it turn out? Talk about your experience watching Brave after the break, and keep in mind that spoilers are welcome in the comments below. Read More »
Pixar’s latest film, Brave, is a beautifully-constructed, entertaining journey with well-developed characters set in an interesting world. That much we’ve come to expect from the company behind Toy Story, Finding Nemo and Up. What we’ve also come to expect are complicated adult themes and situations portrayed in a kid-friendly computer-generated environment. There Brave doesn’t feel like a Pixar movie. The film is filled with ideas and stories that are decidedly more childish than we’ve come to expect. In the end Brave does exactly what it set out to do, but the journey to get there isn’t particularly innovative or compelling. Brave has its moments, but it’s not the movie you think it’s going to be. Read More »
Pixar and Disney started to screen Brave last week, and the first reviews are hitting online outlets now. There’s been a lot of interest in the film, in part simply because it is Pixar’s latest effort, but also because it features the studio’s first female lead protagonist, and because of the complex and relatively public development process that saw a project called The Bear and the Bow turn into Brave.
Reactions so far range from nearly ecstatic to a more measured, mixed take. We’ll have a proper review soon; in the meantime check out a sample below. Read More »