Posts Tagged ‘Finding Nemo’

March Madness 2: Pixar

May 5, 2018


It’s time for the second part of this March Madness Bracket post now that we have arrived in May! I’m not going to waste any more words, here we go Pixar!

Up vs. Brave

We are starting off with a difficult choice. Brave is an underrated (and underperforming) title in the Pixar franchise. For one, I love Scotland and the accent of Merida, the first Pixar Princess, is really beautiful yet strong. I think it was the story that threw people. I do not think anybody was expecting all of the bear stuff. I happened to love it but it definitely did not follow a traditional plot. Still, the movie was fun and also had great emotional beats and a clear message about the balance of self and family. However, Up was a revelation when it came out. People are still talking about using the opening sequence as a tool to discover robots in the future. If you do not cry, you will be sent to the junkyard. The rest of the movie is nonstop laughs, tears, and adventure. The movie also follows a clearer plot structure and the pacing ends up being better because of that. Winner: Up

Toy Story vs. Toy Story 2

Kind of a weird matchup here. Toy Story was a movie that absolutely destroyed me when it first came out. To this day, it is the only movie that I have seen a full five times in theaters. It briefly made me want to be an animator though I later put that energy into other artistic pursuits. The movie really hit home for me then and now as I often identify with Woody, the character suddenly relegated to the background. As a shy kid, I often felt left out. Also, I feel like the movie is great for an older sibling to watch soon after the birth of their younger sibling. Toy Story 2 was a great continuation of the first movie. Just as Woody gets over not being in the spotlight, he is tempted with a return to his former place but must lose his friends. I just feel like the pacing, characters, and story of the original still outmatches the sequel even though both are great. I think number 2 just feels like it was a rushed rehash of the original movie’s message with a mortality message in there too. Winner: Toy Story

Coco vs. Cars 2

Oh wow. This is not even fair. Coco was such a brilliant and fun movie. Its story is based on the Day of the Dead festival and its connected lore. However, the story has a lot of heart and so many twists and turns that I did not expect. For me, the movie also talks about memory which is kind of a big deal in my family since my grandmother suffered from dementia at the end. It also has such great music, most of which is done on guitar and wonderful natural voices. The imagery and mythology were captivating to watch. On the other hand, Cars 2 was really annoying. The movie took a somewhat interesting character played by Owen Wilson and put him in the background of a movie starring Larry the Cable Guy. They tried to mix a racing movie with a rehash/satire of various spy movies. The jokes felt flat to me and it was the first Pixar movie I watched that felt like it was absolutely not for me and was just for little kids which is not the Disney/Pixar way. Unlike Coco, it also held no surprises and all of the characters seemed either willfully ignorant or awful. Winner: Coco

Toy Story 3 vs. The Good Dinosaur

This is the tiniest bit harder. Toy Story 3 is a movie that I was wary of when it was announced because I knew that John Lasseter (the head of Pixar) had turned the movie down originally. Eventually, Pixar committed to the movie and when they did they really committed. They made a movie that was very thoughtful and exciting. It felt like they updated the humor a bit but it did not feel dated and each and every character felt more nuanced and complete. It also has one of the deepest moments in a Pixar movie. It also felt like the first Toy Story movie with a real antagonist that the characters could deal with directly. I really liked the Good Dinosaur when I reviewed it soon after it came out on DVD. The story of a young dinosaur who must try and survive and reunite with her family is very charming. The role reversal that makes the human the ‘pet’ is pretty fun and well done. I just feel like there was not as much meat in this movie. The Good Dinosaur just did not zing as much as a lot of the best Disney or Pixar movies. Still, it is better than Cars 2. Winner: Toy Story 3

Ratatouille vs. A Bug’s Life

Ratatouille was another Pixar movie that I did not see until it was on DVD. I really empathized with Remy the Rat. He was passionate about something that he loved and it was hard to fully explain that so that his family would let him pursue it. I have also felt shy and out of place like Lou Romano’s character. While the movie does get bogged down a bit, it is the voice acting of Patton Oswalt as Remy that really gives the movie its heart. His performance is so great that it is really easy to see the movie through his character’s eyes. The French-inspired musical score is also really pleasant to listen to and it is one of the more chill and mesmerizing Pixar movies. A Bug’s Life was an exciting movie when it came out and proved that Toy Story was not a fluke. It was a very funny movie. It was also very charming as we followed a mistaken identity version of the Magnificent Seven. I also really liked the idea of the togetherness message near the end of the movie. However, I just found it a little less charming and polished. Winner: Ratatouille

Finding Nemo vs. Inside Out

This one was very hard for me. Finding Nemo was a great movie. It is a really cool story not only about a father trying to find his missing son but also about a father learning when to let go a little bit. The movie is fast-paced and emotional from start to finish and the laughs are heavily blended with the stuff that almost makes you cry. It is also the movie that helped put Ellen Degeneres back on the map and her performance is a show-stealer. It was a home run for Pixar as it was a very exciting and funny/emotional movie for the young company. Inside Out is the story of how your emotions and thoughts work inside of you which is a bit more relatable to me. Also, it deals with elements of depression which is definitely something I can relate to now and then. It also has some of the best depictions of imagination. All of that in the midst of a great story with really interesting characters running on two different story tracks that often collide. Also, the general theme of finding the joy in the heart of sadness was really beautiful. Winner: Inside Out

Monsters Inc. vs. Cars

This is interesting because both of these movies are stories about the main characters figuring out they are going about life the wrong way. However, Monsters. Inc is about how you can bring about a happier life by living positively instead of negatively. It also has the voice talents of John Goodman and Billy Crystal who make a great comic team similar to Abbott and Costello. I also love the world-building of the movie as they take a concept from childhood (not mine but others) and builds it into this whole interesting world. Cars is basically a rehash of the plot from Doc Hollywood where city car Owen Wilson learns to slow down and treat people nicer and be less selfish. The movie is fun and the plot is simpler and has more heart than its sequels. Larry the Cable Guy is also way less featured and less annoying. The whole concept behind Cars is also just really troubling the more you think about it. Winner: Monsters Inc.

The Incredibles vs. Wall-E

The Incredibles was the first and only time that the same guy was allowed to both direct and write one of their movies. When that guy was Brad Bird (already famous for Iron Giant) then it was clear that this one was going to be a winner. Also, I will always be a sucker for comic book and superhero movies and this movie has plenty of great superhero action. However, it also has an emotional core as we really get behind each character and get a sense of what they want and need. There is plenty of gentle parodying of superhero faire but also plenty of loving homages and both make me smile. I have a confession to make now. I have not seen Wall-E all the way through. I love Pixar but having a movie with very little dialogue was really weird for me. I am definitely a lover of fine dialogue as I feel that words really help convey intention and character. However, what Wall-E attempted to do was admirable and its central message is one we still need to listen to. One day, I will attempt to watch this movie again. Winner: The Incredibles

Media Update 8/18/2016

August 18, 2016


I did not really know what to expect from this movie but I have a deep and abiding trust in Disney by this point. In fact, I really should trust Disney a little more than I do because even when I doubt them, they deliver. I doubted the teaser trailer for this movie but I should have learned from Frozen. I think Disney just makes horrible teaser trailers (except for Moana, I guess). When I found out that this movie has a 98% on Rotten Tomatoes I knew I just had to see the movie. I mean, I see all Disney movies anyway but I really wanted to see this one. The day I went to see it in theaters it was sold out and so I saw 10 Cloverfield Lane instead. I am so glad I finally got to see this. For one, it stars Ginnifer Goodwin who was one of the coolest things about Once Upon a Time. It also has Jason Bateman doing a really great job too. God, the animation just gets better and smoother with each movie. The story of the movie actually speaks to a lot of interesting themes like prejudice and affirmative action. This had every possibility of just being a lazy story about a city full of animals. They could have told a story that any human movie could have told but they told a story that really uses the fact that the characters are animals but also resonates with our lives. I do not want to spoil any of the movie. You should just go out and see it.


Finding Dory

So, for a while, I was watching every single Pixar release and I would not miss one for the world. Of course, after Cars 2, I decided to skip Planes and Planes 2 but they are the only ones I have not seen now. Finding Nemo was a very touching story about the love of family and the lengths we will go for love. The breakout star was Ellen Degeneres who stole the scene over and over again. The movie ended up being kind of America’s apology for kicking her to the curb for being gay earlier. She is a great comedian and, it turns out, a great voice actor. So we get this sequel starring Degeneres’ character who was actually the saddest and darkest part of Finding Nemo. So I go into this a little tentatively, knowing Disney and Pixar can make me cry. Degeneres was on fire again, possibly even better than Finding Nemo. Ed O’Neill played a really great grumpy octopus. Everybody returned from Finding Nemo and turned in great performances. Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy, Ty Burrell, Kaitlin Olson joined the awesome cast along with a lot of great bit parts. It really looks like Pixar might have really gotten over the stumbling blocks in the past. The story was touching and inspiring. It was a story about how we never know what we can do until we try. It also explored the memories we make and how they shape us whether we realize it or not and accepting our flaws as part of us. It was a beautiful movie and I definitely recommend it.



There is one reason I had been avoiding this movie and his name is Phil Collins. Phil Collins makes some of the whitest and blandest music in the world and yes I meant that as an insult. I used to have a friend (RIP Billy) who loved Phil Collins and he used to tease me about me not liking Collins or Genesis. I decided it was finally time as I recently made it my mission to watch every Disney animated film (or at least the theatrical releases). Tarzan was a major one that I had missed and I figured it was way past time to tackle it. When I played Kingdom Hearts, I got pretty familiar with the story and settings so, unfortunately, some of that was spoiled for me. The first thing I will say is the animation is really cool. There is one sequence where you watch Tarzan grow up and it was so smooth that I could not tell if Tarzan was steadily growing or if there were cuts edited in. The musculature of Tarzan and the movement of the animals was really awesome looking as well. The acting was pretty good but the real standouts were actually Rosie O’Donnell and Brian Blessed. Brian Blessed was a perfect deep-voiced villain, right up there with Scar and Jafar. Rosie O’Donnell was a little annoying at first but when I found out that her part had originally been male but was gender bent based on her audition, I had a lot of respect. The movie was really good in spite of my low expectations and I was impressed with the amount of detail they put in. The only downside was the music. It was not as bad as I expected but it was all sung by Phil Collins instead of the characters in the movie. It was a little off-putting but I do recommend the movie despite that.


Music of the Week:

Iskra – Wolf of Winter

Bat For Lashes – All Your Gold

Bulletbelt – Black Banshee

The Specials – Rat Race

Logic – Like Woah


Weekly Updates:
– This week’s theme is “Animals of Disney Animation”
– I’ve got a new favorite show to talk to you about soon
– I watched more Dark Matter and I love it
– I actually watched more Shannara Chronicles and it gets better
– Watched more Olympics though I’m kind of done with it
– If you pay attention, I started to rank what I saw each week. First is best, last was worst or not as best
– If all goes well, I am taking my final exams for the semester today
– I’m almost done with Season 3 of Person Interest.

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