|Posted by Ratin8tor on July 12, 2012 at 5:10 PM|
Hello and welcome to In Too Deep, where I over-analyse a certain section of pop culture.
Now by the time of this writing it's been a few good weeks since I saw Brave. My initial reaction was that it was mediocre, but upon seeing everyone else's reactions I naturally have to take up the contrary position. But not over the quality of the film. No over the idea that Brave is the end of the era (to quote JesuOtaku). The moment where Pixar starts making standard films. I'm here to prove why that's one of the most stupidest things I've heard all week.
First off, a brief history of Pixar. In 1995 they made the first ever CGI full length animated feature, Toy Story. It's not a bad film. A good buddy/road trip film. They follow this up with A Bugs Life, a likewise decent film. It ain't remembered as a classic, but there are far worst kids films out there. Next came Toy Story 2, which I think improved on the first movie and was the more interesting film. Then came Monsters Inc. Again, a brilliant buddy film that was a hoot to watch. Then something interesting happened.
Finding Nemo was made and quickly became one of the highest-grossing animated films of all time. It was this point where Pixar was put on the map and became a powerhouse. Where it really became the company it is now. I don't think the film is all amazing, but there's no denying its success.
Then came The Incredibles. Now I don't have a good memory (I was 14 at the time and didn't have an interest in movies), but I wouldn't be surprised if people were making the same comments now that they were making about Brave. How after such a masterpiece that was Finding Nemo Pixar has clearly just cashed in and lost interest in making mature pictures. Just doing lame kids film.
Of course Cars and Ratatouille only enforced this idea that Pixar wasn't as great as it once was, Cars being one of the least-liked Pixar films. It seems like Pixar has made one brilliant movie and is now content with just doing substandard movies about things that interest them. Then something even more interesting happened.
The greatest movie of 2008, the greatest romantic movie ever made, was released. Wall-E is clearly a brilliant film. I thought it would be bad, but it turned out to be amazing. The fact it wasn't nominated for Best Picture was the catalyst that caused the Best Picture category from 5 to 10 (that and The Dark Knight). Regardless it's a brilliant movie. Up is also quite good as well, but helped because it had the best montage ever and was riding on the success of Wall-E. Then something even more more interesting happened.
The greatest animated film (in both commercial gross and personal opinion) was released. Toy Story 3 is, in my mind, the perfect movie. A brilliant fantastic movie that made me cry at the end. The only film I've seen where a Dues ex Machina is a good thing. A film that really benefited from waiting 10 years to make the audience more connected to the characters. So how the hell do you top one of the greatest films ever made?
You make a perfectly good sequel to a pet project. Think about it. Pixar couldn't top Toy Story 3. Anything they made would be compared to Toy Story 3. The only sensible thing to do would be to make a movie that was designed to be just in it for the cash, since anything artistic would look bad. Cars 2 is not a bad film, especially if you're a young boy. It's made specifically for them. Hence why they loved it.
So now we come to Brave. Again, a lot of people are whining that it's a terrible film, that Pixar is a cop-out for copying Dreamworks. That it doesn't have that Pixar magic that makes the movies so amazing. And my counterargument is this:
Remove Toy Story 3, Up, Wall-E and Finding Nemo from the equation. Imagine those films have never been made. What would you compare Brave to then? Well I compared it as 'Cars aimed at girls', or 'a female-orienated version of The Incredibles'. Films that came out in that 'lull' of Pixar. But that's exactly the point.
The reason why people are disliking Brave isn't so much because of the film, but because of the reputation preceding it. It's being measured against masterpieces and, well, it's not trying to be a masterpiece. It's trying to be a slice of life about some pretty interesting characters. It doesn't want to do more than that. So when looked through that lens the film does get better.
But Pixar is in the awkward position where they've peaked and now are dipping back down. It's why they're making Monsters University. You can't have something amazing and follow it up with something more amazing. You can't have masterpieces all the times. You have to have decent, okay films to make the masterpieces look better. People have gotten it into their head that Pixar only makes masterpieces when it's clearly not the case when you look at their history. They've made average films, which more often than not come after these masterpieces.
Up is the best example of this in motion. The film is average. Strong opening, lots of heart-warming moments, but I still don't think it's that good of a film. However people claim it is? Why? Because it's sandwiched between the two greats. It got nominated for Best Picture to say sorry for excluding Wall-E. Had this film come after Toy Story 3, would it still be seen as the great film it is? Or would it have been compared to Toy Story 3 and found to be lacking?
So what's the point of this rambling blog? Well it's to shut up the naysayers that say that Pixar is creatively bankrupted and its good years are over. It's these people who lack basic pattern recognition. Take away the background to a film before you judge it. Imagine someone other than Pixar had made Cars 2. Would people be whining about how Pixar has given up? Or would they be praising it? Pixar has been put into the awkward position where they are now expected to make nothing but masterpieces; and any film that isn't is immediately the sign that Pixar is doomed.
But if this is the End Of The Era, couldn't the same thing be said when Cars was released? That Pixar was no longer making good films and how terrible that was? If so, then I guess Toy Story 3 is a bad film. Because every studio has ups and downs. People are just too short-sighted to spot the pattern that's all.
So there you have it. My attack on people who lack basic pattern recognition. If you disagree with anything, or have anything to add, feel free to leave a comment. Till next time.
Categories: In Too Deep