Wednesday, December 30, 2009
The Princess and the Frog was a winner, and for me, was ultimately more satisfying than the Pixar films I've seen recently. It does two things that I think the Pixar movies just can't seem to get right of late:
1. It's fast paced, and It's relatively short at 97 minutes. For a children's movie, this is key for me. I wasn't looking at the time to see when the movie would finally conclude. Cars and Ratatouille were nearly 2 hours long. While Wall-E and Up were close to this length (98 minutes), the dialogue free mini-movies within them made them seem that much longer. Plus, those rascally Pixar films always include a short. These were 97 fun, fast-paced minutes with a toe-tapping soundtrack.
2. It has a clear message that children can relate to and learn from. TP&TF's message: If you work hard, you can achieve your dreams - but don't forget to love along the way. Hey, both kids and adults can actually get into that! This message is repeated throughout the film, is a major part of the songs, and is revealed nicely in the satisfying conclusion. Finally, a theme that's fully realized!
Up's message: At some point, it's time to let go of your past, or it will start to consume you. How many children or even young adults can apply that to their daily lives?
Wall-E's message: We have to start conserving and stop wasting, and stop having our lives so automated. It's a good message, for sure, but it's not something that kids can immediately grasp. It's more of a message to adults to interpret for their children.
Ratatouille's message: Uhhh...don't take credit for work a rat actually does? Don't turn your back on your rat brethren? Seriously, what is the message of this movie?
Cars' message: Stop being self-centered and make yourself a little vulnerable by relying on others. Yes! Finally, a Pixar message I can understand. But this one is woven through a movie that's 2 hours long and has no less than 5 major storylines! (1. Winning the big race! 2. Lightning's new friends in Radiator Springs 3. Lightning's love story 4. Hudson hating his past 5. Radiator Springs is a ghost town). It's easy to lose the main message amongst all the stuff that's going on. Plus, I didn't find the characters all that unique or engaging.
Obviously, I loved the movie. The songs were great, the characters were like-able and diverse, and it was funny. The biggest plus for me was the clear message for kids and adults. It's something that's been missing from family movies for a while, and it was nice to see it hop back into our lives.
Monday, December 14, 2009
On a recent WDW Today episode, the boys (and gal) discussed park icons that weren't official park icons. The most popular one was Tower of Terror, but I think that they missed an important new symbol: the entranceway to Pixar Place.
Toy Story Mania feels like the next generation Disney attraction. It's bright and colorful, interactive, and combines multiple technologies to creative an amazing experience. Most of all - it's the most fun I've had on a Disney attraction in a long time. There's a reason why the lines are ridiculously long at 11:00 AM and stay that way throughout the rest of the day - people love this ride.
I'm hoping this leads to a Hollywood Studios renaissance. The days of it being a working studio are over. Expand Pixar Place to the Backlot Tour and Lights, Motor, Action areas. Develop CarsLand and a Monsters Inc ride. Can the Honey I Shrunk the Kids play area and transform it into a Bug's Life place (Hey how about a Wall-E ride in Tomorrowland while we're at it? I mean cause it actually takes place in the future and all). Let Pixar run rampant.
I know that some Disney fans will get upset because classic, pure Disney characters aren't getting the nod in this transformed Studios, but as long as they make the rides as fun as Toy Story Mania, I don't care. The Studios we knew is dead. Long live the Studios!
(photo from theunofficial-disneyworld.com)