Movie of the Week: ‘Pinocchio’ Was More Groundbreaking Than It Was Successful

pinocchio

Genevieve Koski | How Pinocchio set the standard for feature animation

Most of the elements and techniques Disney used in Pinocchio weren’t completely new—Disney regularly used its short films as proving grounds for things like the multiplane camera—but they were untested at Pinocchio’s level. And that represents perhaps the film’s greatest achievement: unprecedented artistic ambition. From the macro level—making major alterations on the story and character levels—to the micro—spending a full year animating water droplets—the production of Pinocchio represents a calculated risk that established Disney Feature Animation as an artistic force as well as a commercial one. Snow White set the records, but Pinocchio set the standard. 

That last line is referring to the fact that Pinocchio was a major financial flop for Disney, earning only about half of what it cost to make.

But as the article states, Pinocchio was incredibly important for the world of animation. It took risks no one even knew existed yet, and we’re still gaining from those benefits today (especially if you’re an animator). It makes me wonder which “flops” from our generation will go on to be revered and inspired classics.

Also, you may have noticed that this is the “Movie of the Week” on The Dissolve. Basically, they pick a movie every week for readers to watch and discuss, which is what you read above. I’m happy to share from their excellent site, and I encourage you to check it out.

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Worth Watching Podcast: Big Hero 6 Review, Star Wars 7 & Interstellar

This week on Worth Watching, we have two guests joining the show: Sara Peery and Jordan Smith! We talk about Big Hero 6, the latest plot rumors around Star Wars Episode VII, and finally figure out why Maria hates Marvel movies. Enjoy!

big hero 6 worth watching

 Click here to download the episode

Is ‘Interstellar’ Worth Watching?

interstellar worth watching

Yes, but manage your expectations.

I watched the film in its best format — 70mm IMAX on one of the biggest screens in the country. I couldn’t have been any closer to the content.

It’s a spectacle of a movie. It uses a lot of flair and constrained visual effects to justify its ridiculously long runtime. And it’s best feature is the emotional story that evolves between Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) and his daughter Murphy (played by Jessica Chastain as an adult).

But the fantastic performances and literally epic world-building is undercut by the science of it all. The ultimate story. It doesn’t wrap up as nicely as it ought to. The final act tries to be a deserved payoff, but for me it felt confusing and underwhelming.

But it’s still a blast of a movie, and among Nolan’s most ambitious. It’s just not his best.

The Best Story Rumor for ‘Star Wars 7: The Force Awakens’

force awakens star wars

Kofi Outlaw | Screenrant:

There’s been so much secrecy surrounding J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars Episode VII that we didn’t even known what the customary subtitle to the film would be. We finally know that the full title of the film will be Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens, and that knowledge allows us to begin to speculate about what that subtitle may imply.

For months on end there has been a steady stream of rumors about Episode VII’s storyline - and there a curious amount of those rumors which could be seen as fitting in perfect synch with what the title “Force Awakens” could be hinting at.

The article goes on to detail a pretty convincing plot synopsis for the upcoming movie.

Honestly, I’m not the biggest fan of the new subtitle. It lacks the epic rush you get from hearing a subtitle like Empire Strikes Back or Revenge of the Sith.

But if you read this take on what the movie could be about, you might (like I did) rethink how well the title fits into this risky, but ambitious, entry. Time will tell, of course, if J.J. will go ahead and title the next movie as Wrath of Han.

Why is Pixar Making ‘Toy Story 4?’

toy story 4

When I heard the news yesterday, I almost felt robbed. Excited, but robbed.

The Toy Story trilogy is something I treasure as being one of the few “perfect” (whatever that means) things I grew up with. It’s something that started great, got better and then ended perfectly.

So the news that there would be another entry immediately terrified me. The thought of something sullying the unsullied Toy Story movies is just unbearable.

But that’s my gut reaction, and gut reactions have a tendency to be ruled by emotion, rather than logic. And logically, there a few important things to consider about this news. The “facts.”

This isn’t B Team working on this. Toy Story 4 is reportedly being put together by John Lasseter, Lee Unkrich, Pete Docter and Andrew Stanton. If you need a refresher, that’s Pixar’s round table of masterminds. They’re the talent behind pretty much everything good that’s been going on with Pixar for 20 years now.

One thing’s for sure. This project is in good hands.

John Lasseter:

“We love these characters so much; they are like family to us. We don’t want to do anything with them unless it lives up to or surpasses what’s gone before. Toy Story 3 ended Woody and Buzz’s story with Andy so perfectly that for a long time, we never even talked about doing another Toy Story movie. But when Andrew, Pete, Lee, and I came up with this new idea, I just could not stop thinking about it. It was so exciting to me, I knew we had to make this movie — and I wanted to direct it myself.”

Good enough for me.

‘Big Hero 6′ – A Mini Review

big hero 6 mini review

I’m still processing my thoughts after viewing the late showing of Big Hero 6, which is opening worldwide this weekend. A full review is to come.

But I do have some brief thoughts for those of you who are curious. This is one of Disney’s best offerings in recent years, strictly from an objective evaluation of how their story, design and visuals came together.

It’s not perfect, but it’s ambitious. The characters are brilliant, but not all of them. In fact, the movie is sort of symbolic of Disney and Marvel’s own mashup as two major companies. They go together to create something beautiful, but sometimes you wonder if it’s better.

At any rate, this movie is worth your time if you love animation, alone. Fans of FrozenWreck-it Ralph, and even Pixar movies will find something to love here, as it manages to pull of an emotional story without feeling forced (this was one of Frozen’s blatant flaws).

Even Marvel fans will get a kick out of this movie’s energy and humor, and it’s just absurd enough of an adaptation to keep fans of the comic from feeling left out.

If you were already thinking of seeing this movie, consider this mini review the green light. Just don’t go in with gigantic expectations. Savor every bite of Baymax’s lovable, marshmallow dialogue.

Sidenote: Feast, which is the short before the movie, is worth the price of admission alone. Enjoy.

Christopher Nolan: Real Movies Don’t Have a Post-Credits Scene

Christopher Nolan credits

Tom Shone| The Guardian: 

[In regards to Man of Steel] When the studio asked if Snyder would add a comedy coda ending, in the style of Marvel, Nolan’s reply was “A real movie wouldn’t do that.”

I guess we can count this as confirmation that Interstellar doesn’t have an “after-the-credits” scene, though that was to be expected. I’ve never left a Nolan film feeling anxious for a post-credits scene, to be honest.

Nolan is getting a lot of heat for this remark, which is to be expected. Many media outlets are filled to the brim with Marvel fans who are quick to defend the MCU’s reliance on comedy coda endings, after all.

Strangely, I don’t find Nolan’s comment all that insulting to the scores of great and “real” movies that do utilize post-credit wrap-ups. Obviously, Marvel movies come to mind, but so do Disney films as well. I didn’t even catch the secret clip at the end of Brave until my second viewing.

The man’s a great director, and brilliant minds are bound to be a little elitist. In his framework for making good movies, post-credit stingers aren’t necessary, hence a real movie doesn’t need one. I don’t think that’s true all the time, but it probably is for Nolan films.