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Pixar and Dreamworks


ChrisAfonso
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Wallace & Gromit and especially Chicken Run feel much much more like an Aardman film than a Dreamworks animation film.

Don't care much for Dreamworks. Shrek didn't do much for me on a rewatch and most of their digitally animated films I find shallow and suffering from ADD. Shark Tale was by far the worst offender of the bunch.

I've yet to see Kung Fu Panda though. I've been hearing nothing but good things about it, so I'm very willing to give it a chance.

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No, Star Wars is a Lucasfilm production, Fox distributes them for Lucas.

Pixar = Better plot & story telling, better animation, better scores and overall use of music, better casting.

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but Charlie is using all these stupid points.

You are missing the point completely. Yes, movies use actors to advertise them, I already explained that. It's the way they are used in Dreamworks movies and marketing.

Pixar using their previous movies in advertising is again different. There's a whole gulf between that and what Dreamworks do. Pixar use their previous films to say 'if you liked these, you might like this' (which Dreamworks also do) but again, don't do the whole 'BEN STILLER!' think because they don't need to.

I now realize how utterly futile this argument is, though. Especially since you seem to think Wallace and Gromit is a Dreamworks property.

Stupid points over!

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Dreamworks does use the actors as more of an advertising point than Pixar.

Yes, but how does that diminish DWA's films? Blame the people who market the movie. Charlie says Pixar use it in a way that "If you like these movies you might like this one." Well I can say DWA does it "If you like Ben Stiller, you might like this." There is no difference, it's all marketing strategy. They use something popular/famous to get attention to their film.

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I take these movies one a time, and don't dwell on which studio generally is better than the other.

I agree we shouldn't dwell on which studio is better but it's kind of hard to ignore since (at least for me) each Pixar film is so far superior to a Dreamworks film that it's always obvious which studio has more imagination and better execution.

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Oh I always like to dwell on what is superior. :lol:

But seriously, Pixar puts out a much better product.

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Anyone else tired of all the animated movies nowadays having to have a whole bunch of A-list celebrities? I miss the days of professional voice actors getting center stage, they're pretty much all relegated to TV and video games these days.

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If you've ever seen the documentary "The Pixar Story" you'd see how much more imaginative these guys are and how important a good story is to them. I was amazed that when they were making Toy Story 2 John Lassiter came in and literally re-wrote and re-storyboarded the whole movie in a marathon weekend when, after months of production, they just didn't feel the story was right.

That's why the cartoon in the OP is so accurate. Pixar values originality, heart and story above all else where as gimmickry (pop-culture references, spoofs and wise-guy and fart humor) seems to drive Dreamworks. ANTZ is probably the highest concept thing Dreamworks has done yet.

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Dreamworks does use the actors as more of an advertising point than Pixar.

Yes, but how does that diminish DWA's films? Blame the people who market the movie. Charlie says Pixar use it in a way that "If you like these movies you might like this one." Well I can say DWA does it "If you like Ben Stiller, you might like this." There is no difference, it's all marketing strategy. They use something popular/famous to get attention to their film.

They went as far as to actually model their characters after the actors playing them for Shark Tale.

Sure, that movie's nearly five years old, but it's still a stinker that has "STUDIO PRODUCT" written all over it in big fat bright red magic marker.

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Oh I always like to dwell on what is superior. :lol:

KhanJoachim.jpg

Yours.... is superior.

Pixar uses big names but I think they do a better job at casting.

Ratzenberger being important on both counts. :lol:

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I take these movies one a time, and don't dwell on which studio generally is better than the other.

I agree we shouldn't dwell on which studio is better but it's kind of hard to ignore since (at least for me) each Pixar film is so far superior to a Dreamworks film that it's always obvious which studio has more imagination and better execution.

I just want to say that I'm sure there are tons of people working at Dreamworks Animation that could do great things, but that they work in an environment that isn't conducive to imagination and, say, marketability is valued higher.

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I'll concede Pixar has celebrity voices, although rarely if ever uses them as a marketing ploy (like people would go see a film because it had a character voiced by Billy Crystal or Albert Brooks anyway), and occasionally uses pop culture references (THE SHINING and Hitchcock in FINDING NEMO; POLTERGEIST in A BUG'S LIFE), but these are usually usually the exception as opposed to the rule.

Well, the TOY story movies are full of references to other movies, Specially the Star Wars saga but i think its part of their charm.

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I may be alone here, but I am a bit... bored with modern animated movies. Dreamworks is clearly worse. But I wish we'd have some animation styles that were a little bit out of the box. Everything is pretty cookie cutter safe and formulaic. I miss cel animation, and I wish there were room in the market for stuff like Heavy Metal or experimental styles like the rotoscoping of Ralph Bakshi. Not that they were perfect, but I enjoy animation that combines different techniques and media.

I still enjoy a well-told story regardless, but I'd love to see some stuff that looks distinctly different.

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The Toy Story films are built around toys, so they really only have three options. You can use specific real world toys - Mr Potato Head comes to mind. You can use generic toys, like army men, Woody, Piggybank, and Bo-Peep. Or you invent a toy line, like Buzz Lightyear.

They also have other references to pop culture. The Binford tool box is a nice touch for the Tim Allen fans.

And yes, Toy Story 2 uses the family revelation of The Empire Strikes Back for its finale.

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The Toy Story films are built around toys, so they really only have three options. You can use specific real world toys - Mr Potato Head comes to mind. You can use generic toys, like army men, Woody, Piggybank, and Bo-Peep. Or you invent a toy line, like Buzz Lightyear.

They also have other references to pop culture. The Binford tool box is a nice touch for the Tim Allen fans.

And yes, Toy Story 2 uses the family revelation of The Empire Strikes Back for its finale.

Again, that's what I'm getting at. The Binford thing is kind of a throwaway, but Star Wars is for kids, so it's at least referencing something that the majority of the audience will get. You don't have the main character winking at the screen throwing out lines from movies that most kids won't see until they're way past puberty.

QuestionMarkMan hit the nail on the head. I also agree with Hedji that it'd be nice to see some different styles.

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You don't have the main character winking at the screen throwing out lines from movies that most kids won't see until they're way past puberty.

Exactly. I do not like it when animated movies reference modern movies. Leave that to Saturday Night Live of the Scary Movie series. It puts a date stamp on the film, instead of allowing it to be timeless.

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Marketability? I'll say. I want to rip my ears off every time I hear that stupid "I want to move it move it" song that Madagascar's penguins popularized.

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I may be alone here, but I am a bit... bored with modern animated movies. Dreamworks is clearly worse. But I wish we'd have some animation styles that were a little bit out of the box. Everything is pretty cookie cutter safe and formulaic. I miss cel animation, and I wish there were room in the market for stuff like Heavy Metal or experimental styles like the rotoscoping of Ralph Bakshi. Not that they were perfect, but I enjoy animation that combines different techniques and media.

I still enjoy a well-told story regardless, but I'd love to see some stuff that looks distinctly different.

There aren't a lot of unique animated theatrical length movies (because it's ridiculously expensive), but if you spend any amount of time looking up last year's batch of animated shorts, the styles are all radically different.

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I may be alone here, but I am a bit... bored with modern animated movies. Dreamworks is clearly worse. But I wish we'd have some animation styles that were a little bit out of the box. Everything is pretty cookie cutter safe and formulaic. I miss cel animation, and I wish there were room in the market for stuff like Heavy Metal or experimental styles like the rotoscoping of Ralph Bakshi. Not that they were perfect, but I enjoy animation that combines different techniques and media.

I still enjoy a well-told story regardless, but I'd love to see some stuff that looks distinctly different.

You basically just described modern Anime (which is alive and well). Cell animation mixed with CGI and rotoscope techniques pervade hardcore Anime (I'm not talking Dragonball but the more adult stuff like The Wolf Brigate or Ghost in the Shell).

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Disney's next animation film is done in the traditional style.

In fact early reviews say the animation looks like Disney of the 60's, in a positive way.

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Disney's next animation film is done in the traditional style.

In fact early reviews say the animation looks like Disney of the 60's, in a positive way.

And it will have the first human main character of African descent ever in a Disney animated movie. About time.

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Everything is hand drawn? No CGI?

I believe so.

That was one of John Lasseter's priorities upon taking over Disney's animation department, bringing back traditional animation but with quality storytelling.

Most of the DVD direct sequels were killed once he took over.

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Ugh... Randy Newman.

Koray, just...what now?

Randy Newman has provided some excellent scores. Toy Story and A Bug's Life I particularly enjoy from his Pixar work.

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Just to follow up on my post about not always putting the blame on the artists or one production company as a whole, I wanted to post this (lengthy) excerpt from Terry Rossio and Ted Elliot's wordplay website for aspiring screenwriters (which is a fantastic website).

--------------

We've got another case-study example, another movie that bombed: SINBAD, LEGEND OF THE SEVEN SEAS.

When Ted and I first had the idea for the SINBAD movie, it wasn't even a Sinbad movie yet. We had designed a romantic adventure based on the Damion & Pythias story, a Greek tale of ultimate friendship. We saw that it worked incredibly well to take the basic Damion & Pythias relationship and re-cast it into a love triangle. We described the story structure to Katzenberg, and he got the idea it would be perfect as the basis for the Sinbad film he'd long wanted to make.

Sounds like it could be a mish-mash, but the story that emerged actually turned out tight and compelling. Here's a synopsis:

The gods Eris and Janus argue over whether man is inherently good or evil. Eris proposes a test, and chooses a ne'er do well guard named SINBAD as her subject...

In the city of Syracuse, Sinbad and PROTEUS, childhood friends, have grown up to take different paths. Sinbad is trouble-prone and lazy, always getting busted back down to private, while Proteus has become Captain of the Guard. There is tragedy in the city; the King of Syracuse has taken ill and is near death. A beautiful ambassador ROXANNE arrives, bearing the magical BOOK OF FATES. The Book of Fates will reveal the name of the next King of the Seven Cities, the person best suited to rule the land, and thus strife and war will be avoided. Everyone assumes the Book of Fates will name Proteus the new King, as he is regarded by all as the finest man in Syracuse...

Despite his good standing, Proteus is shy, unable to declare his love for Roxanne. Sinbad helps his friend woo her, and Roxanne declares her love for Proteus. But that same night the Book of Fates is stolen -- and all the evidence points to the scoundrel Sinbad. (We know it was actually the goddess Eris who stole the book and framed Sinbad, as part of her test to prove he is not a good man.)

Sinbad maintains his innocence. Only one person in the city believes him -- his boyhood friend, Proteus. Sinbad is convicted and sentenced to death. But Proteus steps forward and claims the right of substitution. Proteus will take Sinbad's place in jail so Sinbad can sail to Tatarus, confront Eris, retrieve the stolen book, and thus prove his innocence. If Sinbad doesn't return in time, Proteus will be put to death in Sinbad's place. It is an astonishing act of friendship and trust, further proof that Proteus is indeed worthy of being the next King.

Roxanne is appalled with the turn of events. While she admires Proteus' show of faith, she does not trust the unsavory Sinbad character at all. She fears Sinbad will simply sail off and never come back, Proteus will be executed, leaving the city without a King. Her dream is to be at his side while he rules the city... So Sinbad sets off on the quest to clear his name -- and a day out to sea, discovers Roxanne has stowed away on his ship. Roxanne vows to keep Sinbad to his bargain. Either he recovers the Book of Fates, or he returns to Syracuse to be executed. She will not let Proteus die in his place. Adventures ensue; Sinbad and Roxanne face Sirens, a Kraken, a Roc, and the edge of the World, as the Goddess Eris tries to divert Sinbad from his path.

In the course of the journey, Sinbad and Roxanne work together, depend on each other, admire each other -- and fall in love, though they refuse to admit it. After all, Roxanne has already declared her love for Proteus. And Proteus is Sinbad's best friend, willing to die in his place. There's no way they can be in love, but as they survive each adventure, there's no way they can't... Sinbad and Roxanne reach Tatarus, where Eris offers a deal: she will give Sinbad the Book of Fates if he will truthfully answer a series of questions. Sinbad agrees. He answers several correctly, makes it to the final question. Eris asks, "Sinbad, are you in love with Roxanne?"

Sinbad can't admit the truth, and confirm their love for each other, and thus betray his friend, but he can't lie either. He struggles, finally answers what he wishes was true, 'no.'

All hell breaks loose, and Sinbad and Roxanne are tossed out of Tatarus, without the Book of Fates. The quest has failed.

What will Sinbad do? Especially now that Roxanne knows he loves her, and she loves him?

The day of the execution arrives. Proteus is about to be killed. Just before the axe comes down, Sinbad appears. Proteus is relieved, overjoyed to see his friend, his faith confirmed. But Sinbad does not have the Book of Fates. He must face his punishment. He takes his place before the Executioner. Suddenly, in a deux ex machina ending worthy of Greek myth, the God Janus appears; Eris has lost her bet, as Sinbad has proven that he is indeed a good man.

As payment, Janus demands that the Book of Fates be opened before Sinbad is to be killed. Eris produces the Book, the key page is read... everyone expects Proteus to be named King...

...but the name inscribed is...

Roxanne. So Roxanne is made Queen of Syracuse. Her first act as ruler is to pardon the innocent Sinbad. But what to do about their love? Sinbad sets up a secret meeting with Roxanne... but he doesn't show, instead, Proteus is there. Roxanne and Proteus fall into each others arms, and will rule Syracuse together, as Roxanne has always dreamed... while Sinbad sails off into the sunset to have at least six other adventures.

Okay, I don't know about you, but I'm thinking that's one pretty kick-ass story.

What's cool is that you know that Sinbad and Roxanne are going to fall in love on their journey, because that's what always happens in these kinds of stories. But here they can't fall in love, because of the very heroic act that brought them together. And yet they do fall in love --

So the story sets up an untenable situation, Roxanne in love with both Sinbad and Proteus, and both men are worthy... and then the story resolves the dilemma in an unexpected, yet satisfying, way. The only alternative the audience would accept for Roxanne is for her to be named Queen, and live her dream of bringing peace to the land... creating the dramatic irony that the very item that Sinbad worked so hard to acquire, that makes him a hero, and insures the safety of the city... also causes him to lose the woman he loves.

Okay, great.

More good news: my favorite writer in Hollywood, John Logan, agrees to join the project. In a four-week creative burst, John produces a screenplay that is incredible, damn him. Fanciful, magical, exciting, funny, and romantic, great characterizations, amazing visuals, everything. John's work was so good I was moved to write a letter to Jeffrey Katezenberg and the production team, saying: "This screenplay is brilliant. The biggest danger we now face on this story is that we will figure out a way to screw it up. We should all vow to get this vision of the movie intact to the screen."

Ah, but they couldn't leave well enough alone.

All seemed well --

Until one day, that fateful day, the dictate comes down from the Studio Gods, a seemingly innocuous note: Sinbad and Roxanne should sail off together at the end of the story (and be shown to have kids, though that part was quickly dropped).

The logic, as it was related to me: after the audience has seen our two heroes together the whole movie, there's no way they would be satisfied if the two heroes didn't end up together. (Ignoring of course that all the best love stories, LOVE STORY, TITANIC, ROMEO & JULIET, GONE WITH THE WIND, the lovers don't end up together...)

So the Roxanne character was to be renamed Marina, and she was going to always want to explore the sea (Marine, Marina, get it?) thus tipping the story from the start that she would fall in love with Sinbad and be with him in the end. And that's what she did.

But -- but --

But -- the problem with that, of course, is only that it ruins the entire story.

When I first heard the note, it took me about five minutes to figure out the insurmountable problem:

Once Proteus puts his life on the line for Sinbad, there was no way possible for us to ever feel good if Proteus didn't get the girl.

If Sinbad used the opportunity given to him by his friend to steal the woman away, it would always feel like a betrayal of the friendship. There was no nobility for Sinbad to return in the name of friendship yet turn hound-dog when it came to the romance.

Almost as bad, it made Proteus look like a fool, a naive idiot for trusting Sinbad. And it made Marina look like an uncaring, selfish... well, you just couldn't feel good about any of them.

This fact was pointed out to the studio and production team.

Lo and behold, they came up with a solution:

Simply make Proteus and Marina not in love at the start!

Let them be engaged, but it's only an arranged marriage, no real love between them. So Marina is then free to fall in love with Sinbad. And Sinbad doesn't have to worry about falling in love with the woman his best friend loves!

But... but... but...

But what about the great 'truth' scene and the Book of Fates, where Sinbad can't admit that he's fallen in love? Simple: change the name of the Book of Fates to the Book of Peace. It's just a MacGuffin anyway, it doesn't have to have any impact on the characters, it would be just something that the city of Syracuse needs because the story says they need it.

But... but...

Okay, I've gone into this scenario in such excruciating detail because of this next part, which I think you will love.

In the midst of this, I got this crazy idea.

I would fight these story decisions.

I would argue...

...draw diagrams...

...I would...

...write a memo.

----------------------------------

You can go to the link I posted to read the rest, but most of us know that the story didn't end up this way. I should stress that this isn't about condemning the studios, just that movies being successful (for any reason) is the exception rather than the rule, and it's a far more complex thing than most people realize.

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Ugh... Randy Newman.

Koray, just...what now?

:lol:

Randy Newman and Philip Glass. The two composers I can't stand.

?

The two have nothing in common. Have you ever seen or listened to Awakenings or Avalon? And if you have, what's wrong with them?

BTW, I hate Philip Glass too but I truly love several of Randy Newman's scores.

Alex - who's not particularly wild about the Toy Story scores

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?

The two have nothing in common. Have you ever seen or listened to Awakenings or Avalon? And if you have, what's wrong with them?

BTW, I hate Philip Glass too but I truly love several of Randy Newman's scores.

Alex - who's not particularly wild about the Toy Story scores

They definitely have nothing common, except maybe they tend to do the same thing over and over. I have seen Awakenings, the Williams/De Niro film, right? I don't remember the score. I did like his recent score for Leatherheads though.

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I think that Pleasantville is a marvelous score.

I'm not familiar with it. Is it one of his more quiet scores? I tend to like those very much.

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Quiet is not a word I would use to describe it, no. However, it is not one of his rambunctious, busy scores. It's got great melodies, and uses them extremely well. It's also got what is probably my favorite musical accompaniment to an orgasm, with 'In The Bath'. Steady, kinda solem, kinda wild, beautiful. And I don't mean that in any kind of jokey sense. I think it's got a wonderful touch to it.

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