Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Pixar Animation Studios

Pixar is huge. With last week's release of WALL-E, this computer animation studio has proved that anything they do is essentially made of gold. I'm pretty sure they could release a movie of a dancing turd in Smell-O-Vision, and it would still break $500,000,000. These are the movies Pixar has made so far, along with what we can expect in the future.

Toy Story (1995)
Worldwide gross: $361,958,736
Ah, memories. I remember being five years old, watching this movie, and being totally into the style and storyline. Of course, like I said, I was five, so this isn't saying much. Back then, this was state-of-the-art computer animation. If you look at it now, thirteen years later, it seems dated. I mean, if you compare this to WALL-E, it's almost scary how much technology has developed since then.
And if you really think about it, this movie is easily relatable to both parents and children, with its "trying to stay on top" storyline, good voice acting by two of the biggest names in the business (at that time), and toy talk. It is no wonder that this is now a franchise.
On a side note, Pixar will be re-releasing this movie in 3-D only theaters on October 3, 2009.

A Bug's Life (1998)
Worldwide gross: $363,398,565
This is an interesting movie, because marks when Dreamworks started the trend of making movies that were strangely similar to the ones other digitally-animated companies were/are releasing. This movie had a "little ant in a big city" motif, and apparently it was successful. This is a pretty cute movie, I won't lie.

Toy Story 2 (1999)
Worldwide gross: $485,015,179
Pixar's first and only sequel to date was just as good as the original (if not, better), in most opinions. This proved that Pixar can not only write good movies, but good sequels to good movies as well. This movie was a lot more layered than the previous ones, and it definitely showed in the ticket sales.
Just like the first one, Pixar is re-releasing this in 3-D only theaters on February 12, 2010.

Monsters Inc. (2001)
Worldwide gross: $525,366,597
The thing that I think gets this company out there is their ability to relate to children. This movie is about those alleged "monsters in the closet" that every kid grows up assuming they have. That, combined with the star power of John Goodman and Billy Crystal made for a good flick.

Finding Nemo (2003)
Worldwide gross: $864,625,978
This movie was a media sensation. It has made more money than any Pixar film ever has, and is number 14 in both the U.S. and worldwide box office records. Ellen DeGeneres was brilliant in this movie, as were the "tank gang." Even though I've seen this movie close to 1,500 times (my brother used to watch it 4 times a day when he was little), I still love it.

The Incredibles (2004)
Worldwide gross: $631,442,092
The story of the Incredible family was an amazing take on what superheroes are like outside of their costumes. It features great action scenes, and is an all-around great family movie.
This was the first Pixar movie that I ever really liked. This remains one of my favorites in animation and in general cinema.

Cars (2006)
Worldwide gross: $461,981,604
This movie was a flop. Sure, it had its moments, but for the most part, it was boring and predictable. No one besides kids and NASCAR fans really wanted to see a movie about talking cars (one of which is voiced by their God). Owen Wilson did some pretty good voice acting, but not even he was great enough to save this movie.

Ratatouille (2007)
Worldwide gross: $621,416,583
My favorite, ever. This has a great script, a great storyline(s), and fantastic voice acting (including acting by my favorite comedian, Patton Oswalt). The twin stories are so original and compelling, and fit together perfectly. On one side, you have Remy, a rat that wants to cook, whose amazing nose is only used to sniff poison. And then you have Linguine, the ditzy cleaning boy at a fine restaurant. They were made for each other.

WALL-E (2008)
Worldwide gross: N/A ($82,760,973 as I write this)
This contends with Ratatouille as the greatest animated film of all time, in my personal opinion. It just had so many cute moments, a completely likely look at the future of the human race, and a few moments of actual comedy. The fact that Pixar can convey emotion on a robot with only two eyes' face speaks measures. I bet this will be extremely successful financially, and probably have a sequel sometime in 2015 or so. The reception so far has been great.

Future projects:
For these ones, I'm just going to quote Pixar's press release. This is them talking, then my opinion on it. If you haven't noticed, they've been releasing one movie every year for three years now, and show no signs of slowing.

Up (May 29, 2009)

"Carl Fredricksen (Ed Asner) spent his entire life dreaming of exploring the globe and experiencing life to its fullest. But at age 78, life seems to have passed him by, until a twist of fate (and a persistent 8-year old Wilderness Explorer named Russell)gives him a new lease on life. "Up" takes audiences on a thrilling journey where the unlikely pair encounter wild terrain, unexpected villains and jungle creatures."

Despite the fact that this comes out pretty soon (10 months), only one picture has appeared online so far. Interestingly enough, Pixar released two versions of the same picture; one in traditional animation, and one digitally animated picture. I think this sounds like an original enough concept.

Toy Story 3 (June 18, 2010)

"The creators of the beloved "Toy Story" films re-open the toy box and bring moviegoers back to the delightful world of Woody, Buzz and our favorite gang of toy characters in "Toy Story 3." Lee Unkrich (co-director of "Toy Story 2" and "Finding Nemo") directs this highly anticipated film, and Michael Arndt, the Academy Award-winning screenwriter of "Little Miss Sunshine," brings his unique talents and comedic sensibilities to the proceedings."

The plot of this movie has been pretty under-wraps, but there are rumors that it has to do with Andy (the gang's owner) going off to college. After that, things get a bit sketchy. Who knows? I'm just a bit concerned that the franchise will be dead by then (and apparently so are they, seeing as they are re-releasing the other two).

newt (Summer 2011)

"What happens when the last remaining male and female blue-footed newts on the planet are forced together by science to save the species, and they can't stand each other? That's the problem facing Newt and Brooke, heroes of "newt," the Pixar film by seven-time Academy Award winner for sound Gary Rydstrom, and director of Pixar's Oscar-nominated short, "Lifted." Newt and Brooke embark on a perilous, unpredictable adventure and discover that finding a mate never goes as planned, even when you only have one choice. Love, it turns out, is not a science."
Out of all of these future movies, this one excites me most. Though it does sort of have that Ice Age 2 feel about it, it still seems like a very entertaining movie.

The Bear and the Bow
(Christmas, 2011)
"A rugged and mythic Scotland is the setting for Pixar's action-adventure "The Bear and the Bow." The impetuous, tangle-haired Merida, though a daughter of royalty, would prefer to make her mark as a great archer. A clash of wills with her mother compels Merida to make a reckless choice, which unleashes unintended peril on her father's kingdom and her mother's life. Merida struggles with the unpredictable forces of nature, magic and a dark, ancient curse to set things right. Director Brenda Chapman ("The Prince of Egypt," "The Lion King") and the storytelling wizards of Pixar conjure humor, fantasy and excitement in this rich Highland tale."

This sounds insanely boring, almost like an unfunny Brother Bear (which was a flop, might I add). Kids just aren't into period pieces.

Cars 2 (Summer 2012)

"All the world's a racetrack as racing superstar Lightning McQueen zooms back into action, with his best friend Mater in tow, to take on the globe's fastest and finest in this thrilling high-octane new installment of the "Cars" saga. Mater and McQueen will need their passports as they find themselves in a new world of intrigue, thrills and fast-paced comedic escapades around the globe. "Cars 2" is being directed by Brad Lewis, producer of the Oscar-winning film "Ratatouille."

I really wish they wouldn't continue this series. The first movie wasn't that great, and this one already sounds boring. Ugh.

Of course, the future looks bright for Disney's partner in animation crime. WALL-E is set to break records, they have a schedule out for the next four years, and many great actors on board for all of these movies. Yes, the light of the future is blinding.

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