Thursday, 5 July 2007

Pixar Drama?

Pixar's latest movie, Ratatouille was released last week. I haven't seen the movie yet but I am planning to go and see it as soon as possible. Based on the previous Pixar movies I have seen I know what to expect on the scenario. I'm guessing it will be a mixture of a kids' fairy tale interwoven with a more serious theme. It's been like that since their first feature movie, Toy Story. Their movies have been the kind that both kids and their parents can enjoy equally.

Up to now Pixar's stories have been strictly in the fairy tale realm. This provides a big advantage for the stylistic and the technological requirements of a movie. What do toys, bugs, fish and cars have in common? They are not humans and this gives you the freedom to depict them as you want. The notable exception are of course The Incredibles. This is a movie focused around (super) humans. Yet the style of the movie is focused in a more caricature depiction of the human form. It does not try very much to depict humans as realistic as possible.

I think there is a pattern in the character figures in Pixar's movies. Starting with Toy Story the characters do not have to look very much human like. They are toys after all. With each movie iteration though the focus shifts to the human figure although not always directly. Toy Story led to A Bug's Life which featured more human like figures. Then came Monster's Inc. which focused even more on the human form. It might not seem like it but "Sulley" Sullivan had a clearly human form and especially a human face.

Finding Nemo featured fish of course. What can be less human-like than a fish? And yet, those fish were even more human like. Because fish do not have any useful body parts to convey feelings the animators had to focus mainly of the face of each figure to paint the expressions of each character. This is even more clear in Cars. Here the characters are practically just a face on wheels. Everything had to be shown through the facial expression of the character.

That leads us to the latest movie, Ratatouille. This is the second movie after The Incredibles that features humans as main characters. From the trailers I've seen though it seems like the human figures in Ratatouille are much more "human" than those found in The Incredibles.

This (personally perceived) shift of focus towards the human form led me to the following thought: How long till Pixar produces an animated film that is not a fairy tale? If not by Pixar by someone else but the question is the same, how long until an "adult" movie comes out that is completely animated? We've seen that it's possible to convey serious thoughts through an animated film. Is it possible to have an animated "Philadelphia"? Or an animated "The Lifes of Others"? How about an animated "American History X" or any other "serious" and "adult" movie?

1 comment:

  1. it's an ok movie... i just wish though those animators would stop making politically correct ones... i mean pixar is becoming the new "disney"... pleaaaase!