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 Post subject: Pixar clichés
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 4:25 am 
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Not actually a complaint, just a little critic of Pixar to get it out of the system as it has been bugging me for a while. If you are a big fan of Pixar, just ignore the post.

Clichés. Or at least ideas used more than once. Because most of them can probably be traced back to Lasseter, who has been involved in both studios' animation for some time now, Disney movies are also included. There could be more examples out there, as I have skipped most of the Pixar movies since Toy Story 3:

Children as monsters: Tin Toy, Finding Nemo and Toy Story 3.

Pack of animals shouting the same: Seagulls in Finding Nemo, dogs in Up, and dogs in Bolt

A character looking at a beautiful landscape, and having a "wow" moment: Bolt, Cars and The Good Dinosaur

Voice acting. Not a cliché, but just something I wanted to mention. When Walt Disney was trying to find a voice for Snow White, he was hiding behind a wall to make sure his decision was based on the voice instead of the look. And Dopey was mute because it turned out impossible to find a fitting voice.
In Pixar's movies, the voices just seems miscast. More effort should be made to add something extra to a voice, like Piglet in Winnie-the-Pooh, and old timers like Goofy, Donald and Mickey. Close your eyes when listening to these voices, and you know they are species characters. Close your eyes and listen to the voices in The Good Dinosaur, and it sounds like a conversation between random humans and a boy pretending to be a dog.

Conversations where they tell you it is OK to be scared, be nice and eat your vegetables. Cars, The Good Dinosaur and so on. Cars 2 when Lightning McQueen is asked why he want his best friend Mater to change. The part in Wreck-it Ralph where all the villains are holding hands at the end of the meeting, and then when Ralph repeat the phrase near the end, has Lasseter's fingerprints all over it. His motto is that for every laugh, there should be a tear.

Mistaking acting and playing for reality: Buzz Lightyear and Bolt.

"Fake opening": Toy Story 3 (the massive opening was just a boy playing), Zootopia (the hunter and prey was just a play), Bolt (it was all just a movie production) and to some degree Big Hero 6 (turns out it was just toys). Moana too I think, I don't remember the opening properly.

More adult content. The ending of Toy Story 3 when they are about to die. And how many children can tell what Zootopia was all about?

In science fiction were very rarely read stories about the "Adam and Eve concept"; the story ends with a man and woman actually being the biblical or sci-fi versions of Adam and Eve. Not because so few people come up with the idea, but because so many does it, and the editors always rejects them. The concept is to fuse old things with logic . Like; "what could be the reason why monsters are hiding under children's beds, and where do the monster live when not hiding in the closet?". The answer was to come up with portals to another dimension and that screams from children was their source of power. You can make an entertaining movie out of it, but if I was an editor, I would probably have rejected a story like that. (But that's a personal decision, and the book could have ended up as a bestseller.)

The posing intro. In Finding Nemo; instead of just saying "this is Gill, he is the boss in this tank", we get a dramatic entrance that leads nowhere other than making it clear he is the boss. In Up, the leader dog with the weird voice is introduced while he sits still, turned away from the other dogs. In Toy Story 3, Chuckles the Clown is introduced in a similar way. It just feels like it isn't the best way to introduce a character.

And is Pixar's Braintrust really something positive in every possible way? There is no doubt that it helps solve a lot of potential problems with a movie, but it can also make it feel a little too polished. I just have the impression that trust is presented with a movie idea and an outline, and then try to turn it into something that last for 90 minutes or so. For instance; "Okay, this movie is supposed to be about a boy that shrinks and ends up inside the leaf of a tree. Any idea how we can make that into a 90 minutes feature? So far we have suggestions that he regrets being so harsh against his parents, and meet a hobo-bacterium that becomes his father figure who makes him realize he has actually had a very good childhood. Anything else that could be added that helps move the story forward?" In theory, all concepts can be turned into a movie. But a proper story is more than just an accumulation of problem solving about how to travel from start to finish.

Not all is bad of course. But once most new movies from a studio becomes recognizable because of certain elements they obviously feel obligated to include, then maybe its time to try to make a movie without these elements.


Last edited by Rumpelstiltskin on Thu Feb 01, 2018 5:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Pixar clichés
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 7:56 am 
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Rumpelstiltskin wrote:
Bolt
Wreck-it Ralph
Zootopia
Big Hero 6
Moana.


You start a topic about "cliches" in Pixar Movie, but half of the ones you 'complain' about are regular Disney... :)


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 Post subject: Re: Pixar clichés
PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 2:24 pm 
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As I said, I have not seen many Pixar movies after Toy Story 3. Only two; Brave (which I saw on a plane and hardly remember anything from) and The Good Dinosaur. And I was very spesific in my previous post about the Disney features produced after Pixar was bought by Disney; "Because most of them can probably be traced back to Lasseter, who has been involved in both studios' animation for some time now, Disney movies are also included."
(Compare Bolt with the original concept called American Dog. We will never know how Sanders' movie would have turned out, but considered Lasster is rumored to have disliked Lilo & Stitch (even if I have never heard him or anyone else actually confirm it), it could have been great. Instead Lasster wanted to focus on the dog's love for its owner, because of the unconditional love seen in dogs. That may be true, but I don't see why that had to be essential for the movie Sanders was making.)


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 Post subject: Re: Pixar clichés
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 3:24 am 
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One cliché is main characters which for the most movies are males.


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 Post subject: Re: Pixar clichés
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 4:14 am 
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I admit that that not everything on my list can be referred to as a cliché, only recurring elements, but better make the headlines short.
But the gender balance in movies is an entirely different topic, and not something I consider relevant in this thread.

And just to add another comment to the Pixar phenomena. Lasseter has said that what really matters is the story, that the tools are irrelevant and it means nothing if a movie is computer animated or drawn by hand. I agree that the story is important, but I am also convinced that Pixar became big because of computer animation. When Toy Story came out, computer animation in feature form was something completely new. Also the story itself was different from what you usually see in for instance Disney animation. Then several other movies came along (in addition to DreamWork's Antz and Shrek, who were also successes). All computer animated and the audience was curious what to expect next. By then a loyal fan base had been created. This gave Pixar the upper hand in the animation business.

But now computer animation is no longer something new. It has become standard. And Pixar itself has become a little predictable, while other studios are doing their own stories with their own formula. So when looking at Pixar today, ignoring the studio's past and former position, how does it compare with other studios? Maybe some new blood would be a good idea?


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