Sunday, June 11, 2006

CARS and other Pixar goodness...

We went to see Cars this weekend and we were treated to a plethora of Pixar stuff. It started with a trailer for their next feature entitled Ratatouille, pronounced rat-a-too-ee. I'm not completely sold on the name. I get what they are trying to do with it but it seems somewhat marquee unfriendly. What I mean by that is that I can imagine hearing kids constantly butchering the name just trying to pronounce it, I do myself. I suspect it will become "the rat movie" to many. But time will tell. From what I could gather from the trailer it looks like it has potential. The teaser didn't build the amount of excitement in me that The Incredibles and Monsters, Inc. ones did but it seems interesting nonetheless. The design of the rat looks like a Muppet to me. I don't know weather that's good or bad, it's just what comes to mind when I saw it. Visually though it looks very nice and almost painterly. The teaser doesn't give credits either but I noticed that Brad Bird was doing the voice of the waiter in the beginning and my friend noticed that it sounds like the comedian Patton Oswalt (links to a stand-up video on iTunes so you can judge for yourself weather or not it's him) is doing the voice for the rat that seems to be the main character. Its interesting and I'm sure we will be seeing and hearing more about it as the year rolls on. You can see the trailer for yourself here:

Next up was the short One Man Band. The Oscar nominated short (2005) is a nice addition to the collection of great Pixar shorts. It's pretty, it's funny, and it has a nice compact story. My favorite Pixar short is still Boundin' but that does not take away from this short at all, One Man Band is a great. It should be showing in front of Cars but if your interested in seeing it at home and can't wait for the Cars DVD it's available on iTunes here:
One Man Band

And then came the main feature Cars. I'll cut to the chase... I LOVED IT! I'm am a huge fan of John Lasseter and he knocked this one out of the park in my opinion. It is, like many of Pixar's films, a great story told very well. I don't really know what else to say about it. It's beautiful, with lush environments and great attention to detail. My friend has the Art of Cars book and I love the concept artwork created for the film. There are tons of beautiful renderings with traditional and digital media in the book. I love Lasseter's emphasis on the fact the the computer is just a tool. Another medium to be employed by artists. This leads to a wealth of great great artwork. But its not about the images and how pretty they are in the end. Pixar's films, and Cars in specific, succeed because of the emphasis of story and the storytelling leading the art. Cars is a great film and another great addition to Pixar's growing library of films. I hope that even if every film of theirs is not an astronomical success financially that they will at least be good films story wise. They have done it up until this point and with Lasseter at the helm I imagine that they will continue to for some time. I wouldn't doubt it if Lasseter just earned himself another Oscar with this one.

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