Animators by day Animation teachers by night.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

I Suck

We all say this at some point or another. Every animator I know gets to a point where he or she thinks they lost it. "I'm no good" I aint got anymore frames in me" "I am a fraud"... and so on. To tell you the truth, I think this is healthy behavior for an artist. To think that you are great and don't need improvement is obviously the death of an animator, or artist for that matter. Maybe this is why animators beat themselves up so much. People ask, "how do you get out of that period where you just cant do anything right???" Here are some things that sometimes work for me...

1) Exercise - think of your shot while you are on the treadmill
2) Get someone good to look at the shot. A lot of people around here have 5 goto guys and gals they ask to look at their shots. Its always great to get a fresh perspective on it. Resist your urge to not show your crappy blocking to a fellow animator. Sometimes they can be the spark that lights you ablaze!
3) Start over. Sometime you just need to wipe the slate clean and begin again.
4) Try Angus's 30 minute technique.
5) Watch some inspirational material
6) Go back and plan out your shot. Video ref, thumbnails etc...
7) Get someone to smack you in the face. or, cold water will work to break you out of the hell you have been in....

Anyway, animators go through the animation doldrums now and again. Don't let it drag you down...
Now back to my shot which really stinks.... :)

By the way, I read a cool book about an artist trying to stay inspired. It was called
Ranier Maria Rilke: Letters To A Young Poet - great read, and short...

-Dr. Gordon


Blogger Drew said...

hey dr. gordon, great tips. stepping back really does give you a new perspective, particularly on longer shots. it takes a perpetually fresh eye to keep the scene working when it takes a long time to finish. one more thing, what about shooting another set of reference? just letting the camera go and see what comes out of it. it accomplishes two things. it gets you out of your chair, and it also gives you some other nuances to look at. just an idea...


ps. whatever that was about earlier, there are too many people who read this blog who are actually interested in animation to let that kind of thing happen.

9:28 PM

Blogger Stephen said...

That is some great advice.

10:42 PM

Blogger Morgana said...

Good advice. I've been there many times myself when doing animation and then get the feeling that what I'm doing sucks. I usually get up and take a walk and come back to it later. If I still don't like it, I try working on a new idea that grabs my interest.

11:03 PM

Blogger Young said...

I enjoyed reading the link you posted. Thank you.

11:49 PM

Blogger Oliver said...

The rainer maria rilke is indeed a good read, can recommend it to anyone. besides that, it is that short read that it easily fits in your breaks.

Great Blog guys.

3:31 AM

Blogger Evangelist said...

That is some great advice not only for your line of work but it can be easily adapted to any work that involves creative thinking and problem solving.


12:10 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Finally, someone is willing to admit that not all pain is gain.

2:54 PM

Blogger Tony Papesh said...

Excellent advice. I know a ton of people who need a wake up call. Animators can be tough on themselves and I always hate it when they try to drag you down with them.

Oh-well, for most people, it passes.

8:24 PM

Blogger Charles Looker said...



11:30 PM

Blogger wade said...

I think this at least a hundred times every day.

9:43 AM

Blogger Reynel Martinez said...

Interesting article.

9:44 AM

Blogger Reynel Martinez said...


Yes I saw Cars. The question your wondering is...did it suck? Suck isn't the word for this film. The word I keep coming back to use is WASN'T. That's all I can say. It WASN'T great,good,bad,or sh it It's none of these. It inspires nothing because that what this films aspires to be. Nothing. It's meh and bland. My prognosis. It's the yellow caution light. Cars WAS a big fat pile of yellow caution light. In the film George Carlin plays a car named Filmore who's routine involves staring at the yellow traffic light blinking. That's the biggest metaphor for what this film is. A yellow light. What the hell am I talking about? Cars is a yellow light. It's not green which would signify greatness like say Finding Nemo or Toy Story 1 & 2 (Monsters Inc. and Incredibles are great too!) and it aint red which would signify awfulness.(A Bug's Life) So it teeters off into yellow, and remains there. Depending on the driver (or moviegoer for this metaphor) to come to there own conclusions on what this means to them.

Yellow means many things to many people. To some a yellow light means go faster, be dangerous, take a chance, and speed up you can make it. That's what Why Cars Will Suck was. I was the kid in the car telling John Lasseter. "Punch it. We can make it." But I was sitting way too far back in the car to be heard (Florida). So Lasseter chose to do what others do when a yellow light comes on they slow down. It's not worth the risk. Why go faster? What's the purpose? You could be stopped by a police officer, recieve a ticket, lose your license,or even worse crash, be injured, and die. It's not essential. It's not worth the risk. Slowing down doesnt mean you missed something. There's no need to rush. Unless of course your in a hurry. Being in a hurry to where? Work, school, an appointment,a wedding,a meeting,an event, or for a life and death situation a hospital. Cars the movie was in no need to hurry. Because there was no where to hurry too. The release was pushed back to June 2006 from the previous November 2005 because it was expected to have better box office in summer than in fall. But we can now see it's opening weekend of 62 million was lower than Finding Nemo's and The Incredibles. Disney and Pixar were "divorcing" but coming to agreements for over 2 years and there was never any pressure or bitterness from Disney put on Pixar that would instill fear that their film would be scrapped if their contracts would not be renewed or released without their approval whether they liked it or not. Not like what happened with Toy Story 2. Even the death of a friend Joe Ranft was probably the only thing that happened during this production that might slow the film down and ruin morale. A set back since he is seen at many of the story meetings. (Losing Joe Ranft would be akin to losing Phillipa Boyens or Fran Walsh during the making of LOTR.) But the show did go on with four other writers. A dedication is made to him in this film about ironically the very device that took his life away. A car. And the last character he plays...well more on him later. So your saying by now what does all of this sh it have to do with the FILM. We asked for a movie review not an autobiography.

Well that's the problem nothing in this film I responded too. There's a moment. Only one where I gave a sh it Lightning's cocky ass decides to run on gas alone. But everyone tells him to change his tires. He doesn't and they burst. Seeing this as an oppurtunity. Chick Hicks, and The King speed up as Lightning is inches away from crossing the finish line. This actually got me involved. I wanted Lightning to win. It added some suspense and tension. Does he win by a tongue...nay. It's a tie. His tongue doesn't get him first place. We dont care about first place because Nascar is all about going in circles very fast many times. Laps as they call it. Unlike the Pod Racing scene in Phantom Menace which from start to finish shows you how pod racing works, introduces the racers and gets you involved in the story about Anakin. Nothing like that is in this race. We know this is a warm up for THE big race at the end. There's no sense of danger. No sense of speed like in the pod race and that was a film released in 1999. Only in that final moment at the end with the tires bursting everything is pretty much all hype and dissolves to move us through to that moment. Being at this Race I wasn't drawn in. Look at Goblet of Fire when you visit the Quidditch World Cup (even though we never see the match) we are still taken away by it's scope. Here the animators try and get the point across Lightning is a prick who thinks only of himself and wants to be sponsored by Dinoco. But they hit us over the head with it to many times. His truck Mack ends up driving him to California and is falling asleep. Lightning promises to stay awake. He falls asleep. I have experienced this before. Returning home from a trip to Orlando we were maybe 26 minutes away from arriving and the driver was nodding off. Keep in mind we are going 90 MPH. Since I was sitting in the front I kept on doing distracting things to wake him up. I'd subtley keep him awake by annoying him with questions such as "Hey what band is this on the radio."..."How long do you think it'll take you to unpack your stuff?".."Are you going to do it tomorrow?" Questions I didn't give a sh it about. But they kept him up. I had a cup with ice in it. So I'd shake the cup loudly. I too was tired but knew I'm in the front for a reason. Everyone is asleep and if I dont keep the driver up we might crash. The point of this story. I stayed up for the sake of not getting killed in a car crash but I did it in ways that weren't "HEY WAKE UP BITCH!" every 4 seconds. Nothing like this is ever shown. Lightning forces his decision onto Mack. Mack tells him he needs rest Lightning assures he will keep him up. But we dont get a scene with these characters showing that process. Lightning doesn't come up with a song like Dory with a "Just keep driving." Or even a game. Something inventive to keep Mack up. Something funny and true to the character of Lightning's ego like talking about his past racing stats or wins. Something that would not be working and putting Mack to sleep. SOMETHING! ANYTHING INVENTIVE! No we cut immediately to Lightning fast asleep and then I get my wish for something inventive were these Fast and Furious gang of Cars see Mack nodding off and decide to have some fun with him and change their hip hop esque music to a quiet slow jam to put him to bed. Mack does sleep and this sets off the chain of events leading to Lightning exiting the truck then being lost. The moment where Lightning is lost reminded me alot like when Marlin desperately trying to chase the boat to get Nemo. But in this film that is never explored. You have to keep in mind these are all Cars. What would a family of Cars traveling home look like? And what if a baby car got lost on this scary highway away from it's family? I know it's going into Finding Nemo territory. But I was thinking about this and not about him finding Mack which the audience already knows he wont. But we see Lightning and he chases what he thinks to be Mack and a scene and he tries to out run the train and the train gives him a "O Hell No Mother F kface face. And Lightning ends up in Radiator Springs and I'll stop because we pretty much know from the trailers where this is all headed. Let me get into the characters of this town.

Doc Hudson - A car that could have had his own movie. I remember when he first appeared on the screen a man sitting next to me said "Paul Newman." It could have been because this movie was so mass marketed he knew Paul Newman was playing the Doc. (This being his latest role his last role was in Road To Perdition.) Me...I think it's because he respected the man as an actor. Hudson Hornet. I want to hear more about him as Frodo would say. The retelling of this should have been seen from another perspective. Hudson's old timer not the young hot shot who doesn't want to stay in town. Look at the relationship between Luke and Obi Wan, Doc and Marty, Max and Bloom (Rushmore), Bob and Charlotte (Lost In Translation), Enid and Seymour(Ghost World). People look at old people and see them as old. But we see with Morgan Freeman,Clint Eastwood,Ian Mckellen and Christopher Lee. These old actors aren't just old frail little men. They have lived. They have knowledege and presense and when they speak you listen. I mean my god look at Ed Wood. Bella Legosi and Ed Wood's dynamic t's beautiful. It's earned. You feel one day when Johnny Depp one of the finest actors of our generation reaches old age and he's not a box office draw people will still want to see him in movies because he is a GREAT actor. Same as Al Pacino. Same as Bill Murray. It's sad most older actors are only ever a punchline "Oh my teeth fell out." Or some bull sh it. The story of the old sage and the young kid is good one. It worked between Miyagi and Danielson (yes I know that's not the characters name), it worked between Yoda and Luke. Here it does not work. Because from the moment Hudson sees Lightning he wants him gone. It is Sally that forces them into being. The story between Lightning and Hudson was the wrong way to go pairing them up at the end like a coach in the corner of the fighter. It isn't earned it just arrives. There is no fight left in Hudson. In fact his character only left racing not by choice but because of an accident. A crash took him out. And he found Radiator Springs. He realized people love you when your up but hate you when your down. It's like Michael Jordan taking the bulls to 3 Championships then breaking his legs and sitting out the season. Only to make a comeback and have no one really give a sh it. In the end of this film everyone is amazed to see Hudson return. Why? Suddenly they respect this old timer? Something doesn't add up. If someone didn't care about him it sure as hell wasn't the racecar fans it was either the press, lousy manager,the racing association,or some jealous race cars. Yet Hudson has us believe he was treated with such hostility. No. I think we didn't get the real story. And never will. Jessie got a musical montage in Toy Story 2. We even see information on Syndrome's character in Incredibles.But not Doc. Here we are just told. The reality is Hudson stopped caring about winning. Those empty cups didn't mean the same thing they did. Suddenly this racer just didn't have a reason to race. I suppose it happens to anyone. They stop the ability to be great and just settle with being. Now I'm not saying this would have worked but bare with me. Imagine if this film had followed Doc Hudson. And we got Million Dollar Baby with Cars. Even that would have been more interesting since it'd have focused less on catch phrases and been soley about story. Pixar would never attempt a Million Dollar Baby where Hudson plays Eastwood and Lightning or hell even Sally is the Hilary Swank part. They'd never go to the places that film went with Car animations. Instead they decided to focus on Lightning.

Lightning- There's only one thing the animators want Lightning to win. Acceptance for that stupid catch phrase. They tried to force CA POW, CA CHOW whatever the f ck that dumb sh it was on the world. If it's a good catch phrase let the people decide it is. "To infinity and beyond." It works. It's not forced at you. Works for the character. You buy it. Your sold. I never believe this character is anything but a stereotype. Even Flik from Bugs Life (Pixars worst) had a personality. Lightning is all plot. When the town wakes up and sees the road half paved looking beautiful is probably the only real place to dig for some sense of character. It was a big f ck you to all the Cars saying. "Yeah you thought I would never do it. But I did it and without any of your help or advice." Lightning has alot in common with Mr.Incredible.
Both like to work alone, both strive for greatness, they're both red, they like southern women, they keep memorabilia of themselves and thats pretty much where it ends. Maybe it's that the voice actor Owen Wilson just isn't very good on his own as a leading man. He works best when he is working with someone. Vince Vaughn,Wes Anderson (writing wise),Luke Wilson,Bill Murray. Which leads me to...

Mater- Is playing Dory. But without the Ta as he'd say. The Ta for Dory was Short Term Memory. Mater is just stupid because the screenplay must have it be so. He has to have some screws lose and be a dumb downed hillbilly who says GIT R DONE(ok it was only once). He doesn't struggle with it like Dory. He doesn't try and get smarter and where not sure if he's born retarded or just ended up that way. The dumber a character the more likeable and child like. So most of the laughs go to Mater of course. He drives backwards. A character trait that is unnecesary unless Mater did it to get back at those who teased him for being "special". He can do something other Cars cant. This I can buy. Apparently he does it because Lightning will use it later in a race. Now had this backward driving thing been earned. Like Mater kept trying to do it for years and all the Cars in Radiator Springs would tease him saying he's to stupid to do it. But Lightning helped him finally do it successful. It would strengthen the bond. Show another side of Lightning. Maybe even Sally or Doc could have seen him secretly at night teaching Mater to backwards drive. The way Gil taught Nemo to get himself out when he got sucked in the tube. Nope none of that here.

Sally - Is The Princess character from Bugs Life. Trying to keep things together when she doesn't have a clue. I had no problems with the voice actress but I never felt her and Lightning should be together. Even in the end there's no "kiss" or anything. She is more concerned with tourism but one wonders why? Is there a Tax Car collector? We know Sally knows without money (which we never see) business will close down. But it already looks like business is dead.
Theres a scene where two Minivans pull into town and Sally greets them. They obviously are lost and want to find the interstate but are bombarded by the towns Cars. Now imagine if this was you at Disneyworld and you got lost and wanted to go see the "real" characters. Your trying to find Magic Kingdom (they're trying to find the Interstate). But these sub rate Car characters keep annoying you with their "tasks." Ooo you do a paint job...I'd rather go play with Dash...Oh but you change tires...I wonder what Sulley and Mike are up to. The characters are desperate to keep them there and when Lightning is saying to help him. He is being held against his will. You feel he's saying "I'm stuck here when I could be up there with Nemo, Mr.Incredible, Woody, Buzz, Mike, Sulley,Boo, and all the other great Pixar characters one would travel across country to see.

The ENDING- You could see this one miles away. I speak of course for the happy wrap it all up ending where Radiator Springs is put back on the map and the town florishes. Not Lightnings pause from the finish line. Where we get Cool Runnings. Lightning wins the respect of the world. Where as #86 Chick Hicks (ironically the year I was born) gets sh it on for finishing first.

THE WORLD - Excellent. Pixar knows details and I'm sure it'd take a making of book to uncover many hidden gems. So many clever things work for these cars. But it still leaves many unanswered questions how they do things not having hands or opposable thumbs. Like print text, edit live feeds, make Lightning Bobble Heads,wire complicated cables,make flags,t-shirts, and any other such advertisments? Lasseter said he was fascinated with showing how Cars do things without humans yet were not ever told and rarely shown. Since humans invented everything in this world things should have been reinvented. The brake pedals that activate many things are one such device. Thats probably the only thing I picked up on. Everything else is done in some form of robotic device. (Crane,lift,arm) We must just assume THEY know how such and such works and that's good enough.

GUIDO - Tony Shaloub is doing the same voice he did for Primo in Big Night. It's essentially the same character except now he's a car and loves Ferrari's instead of Food.

LUIGI -The little guy has a "Bubbles" moment. I liked the fact the wind would hit the sign and knock over the tires and the little guy kept straightening it out. A small character trait that shows volumes and much funnier and not forced like the Water Truck named Red who we never find out why he is so silent. But will later investigate to see he's silent because the voice playing him is now forever silent. Joe Ranft didn't get to finish giving this character life and personality. When the water truck knocks down the stacked tires (twice) it's forced laughter. "Ha ha he keeps doing this."

(Filmore, Ramone, Sarge, Sheriff, Lizzie, Red and Flo [who never surpasses the Flo in Finding Nemo])
THE REST OF THE CARS - in Radiator Springs keep trying to win us over by what they do not who they are. I dont care that Ramone can give me a paint job that's not why I should like him. Woody doesn't have all the bells and whistles a Buzz Lightyear toy has but he has personality and is fun to play with. Woody kicks ass and is memorable he's special and a fun toy. No Car in Cars ever achieves a level that makes me want to drive them. In fact The Toys kick the Cars assess in so many ways. They achieve what these Cars couldn't in spades. Here were told how to feel. Were spoon fed information. We must like these Cars because the world has passed them by. The Cars are to desperate to be liked. Except Doc who just wants to be forgotten because apparently that's what he feels the outside world has done. Doc says he cares about Radiator Springs. But did he even attempt to use his celebrity to bring in some business. No? You feel the Doc just found a bunch of unloved Cars and decided to stay with these losers. They may be good Cars but they sure as hell aint memorable ones. Theres never a scene of realization that Doc has lied to these Cars for all these years. "You were a race car!" But why would we care. We dont. I had to go to imdb to get the names of most of these cars. Which show's how great characters jump out at you and stick with you.

You know there's no way to go about this. This is a Pixar film that WASN'T great. It was MEDIOCRE. And apparently that's ok with the fans. But for me. A true fan. This is a huge blow. I should be angry but I'm done with anger. I'm all out of emotions going with this thing for over a year. If there is one thing to be angry at. It's the anger in knowing mediocrity is what reigns even at Pixar. Or as Increbile says "They keep finding new ways to celebrate mediocrity." So I suppose if Cars is what you wanted celebrate. Celebrate the film for just being. But not me. Count me out. This film could have been somebody it could have been a contendor. Lasseter said he had two roads to travel with this premise "The Secret Life of Cars." Which would include humans ala Toy Story. Or this. I prefer the secret life of cars. But I could see how an entire world of Cars is an Aqaba to still conquer and Pixar has not conquered it. But someone one day will. Aqaba? Theres a moment in Lawrence of Arabia. A true masterpiece where Lawrence goes to think and be alone. You know what he's thinking? "How can I take Aqaba?" Everyone's already told him it's impossible. That it can not be taken without an excessive amount of force. There is no way Lawrence is going to take it. Not now, not ever. So why waste time thinking about what can never be done? Because Lawrence knows.. "It can be done. It will be done. And I will be the one to do it. I just need to figure out how." It doesn't matter that he is English,white skin, and knows nothing of the dessert. He realizes his limitations, what is avialable to him, and how many men he has to do it with in a little amount of time. He realizes he must take the insanse and attack them from behind. To do this he must cross the Neffud dessert. This is who John Lasseter was before Toy Story. His Aqaba was a 3D Animated Picture. No one had ever made a 3D Animated picture. It was said to be to expensive and no one would watch it. But Lasseter thought different. This is why LOTR was what it was. Peter Jackson was in Aqaba mentality knowing he could make LOTR. They said it's impossible and it could not be done and even if it could it sure as hell wont be done by some guy in New Zealand with no Blockbusters to his name. Who the hell is Peter Jackson? He is no Steven Spielberg and has no ILM. This is what Peter faced but he knew LOTR could be done. And he would be the one to make it. What was Walt Disney's Aqaba? When he set out to make Snow White the first 2D animated film. There is no Aqaba mentality here for Cars. Because there is no doubt a film with only talking Cars would succeed made by Pixar creatively and financially. Everyone has given Pixar a free ride in reviews, in the press, and in interviews. Everyone has defended Pixar and put me down. Even though the general consesus was this is a weak story and not Pixar's best they let it slide because the visuals looked good and it entertains for two hours. They let them stay in yellow and make something mediocre. Well mission accomplished. This film Cars. It's an allegory for the future of Pixar. Right now Pixar can render essentially a 90 minute film in little over 40 days.(I said Render not make a film, this doesn't account for the man hours only the final render put to film print) In 4 years you know they'll cut the the time down to 20 days. Four years after that 6 days. Just look at what they've accomplished in 11 Years. Imagine the next decade. That's how things go. Slow to blazing fast. It'so funny this film talks about the Interstate when they dont realize Pixars Interstate is Renderman. And that saving those 10 minute drives is essentially symbolism for Pixar saving 10 Days to Render. Good you say or bad? When you can blaze through rendering it means you have time to do MORE. You have extra time so do you take a vacation? Sure when the movies done until then your paid to work. So you use the extra hours to come up with MORE scenes. You can SHOW MORE MORE MORE. But what would animators do in those 10 days while waiting. Look at Stanton he said he would just get in a car and drive and come up for scenes in Nemo. The fewer waiting time is going to speed through the process. (There are PRO's and CON's to this issue.) Not giving animators time to think,be bored,be angry, whatever. That time is going to have to happen in the Pre Production. Robert Rodriguez said. In Hollywood you solve problems by using the money hose. Essentially throwing money at the problem. Where as those without the money hose solve problems with ideas. Not having Rendering be a problem at Pixar will dictate decisions. Eleven years ago with no money for these films and not enough time to render someone would have said

"Hey lets make a montage of Chick Hicks winning the Dinoco Sponsorship to frighten Lightning."

And the reply would have been.

"No it'd take months to render and take up all our computers processing power."


"We could ask Disney to BUY more computers to handle the extra work."

Voice of reason

"Yeah but is the scene really essential? Does anyone have a BETTER idea how to convey that information?"

That was Pixar circa 1995. Pixar circa 2006 has 700 animators and 3,000 plus computers. And the number is growing per film. It's expected of them to do MORE so today the decision to make the Chick Hicks montage even though it is unimportant would be a yes. Pixar has control and can push the releases back because as people say "They are Pixar they've earned it. If they need MORE they should get more." Thats what this film is MORE. Millions of Cars can be put on screen but do we need to see millions of Cars? When there are only three in this entire film worth the render. Doc Hudson,Lightning and Mater. We see now these technologies can create a sea of armies pretty soon it'll be oceans. Is more better? Pixar has always done the best with limitations. Toy Story 1 today could be rendered so much faster than the first. Imagine if you gave Lasseter the tools he had for Cars to work on Toy Story back in 1995. He'd do exactly what Lucas did to Star Wars in 1997. He'd show us things that really were never needed to be shown. The Special Editions and The Prequels are proof that just because we can show Yoda fighting Sidious in the Senate or Obi Wan vs Anakin on a Lava Planet for 10 minutes simple works better. The Originals are still the best. The Pixar team is like the little car Luigi that everyone made fun of at the end of this film and suddenly changed Lightnings tires like a bolt of lightning. This is who Pixar is. There this quick and this skilled. Soon Rendermans will be in the hands of many other CG Studios and 3D will go along the way of 2D. Everyone will be making one. Hell thats pretty much all the trailers shown in Cars were. 3D Films. Pixar is a different company 11 years later and one thing is they work much faster but whats moving slower is the stories. In fact thats pretty much the one thing that refused to work fast with this production and always will. The story. Eight years it took for this story. It's been in John's head since 1998. Then in 2000 on a trip with his family (this years most told Director story since Jackson and his "I saw Kong when I was 9 years old" story)and 6 years,19 plus drafts,and almost 5 writers later it's in theaters. If anything is going to be slower and slower is thought provoking original screen plays. It's story that's kept Indy 4 and Die Hard 4 from arriving in theaters. It's story that is the weakest part of this movie.Everything shines. But the story. It's cliche. You knew from the trailers, from the premise where this was all headed. This was a remake of Doc Hollywood.

In fact it's no coincidence the two weakest Pixar movies are those in which there story's are just essentially retellings of other stories.(A Bug's Life and now Cars.) A Bugs Life is a retelling of (Seven Samurai really and Magnifcent Seven which was a retelling of 7 Sam)Three Amigos. Cars retells Doc Hollywood. Bugs Life just made Three Amigos 3D animated with insects. Cars just makes Doc Hollywood into an animated film with Cars. Where Magnificent Seven and Fistful of Dollars succeded as remakes of Seven Samurai and Yojimbo is they didnt just subsitiute cowboys for samurai, swords for pistols and everything was the same. They took a tired genre and said hey you could do this with cowboys in a western landscape! Because it's the same philosophies coming into play. Sergio Leone and John Sturges made excellent retellings. I can't say the same for John Lasseter's Cars. But I have a feeling there are great ideas that great minds and great eyes will later be able to extract and steal from Cars to form something better in some other form. The same way Lucas looked at old pulp comics and sci fi to get his Star Wars together. I can tell you now. If I could have taken a next generation console controller and then hit start and what I got in REAL TIME was Cars I'd be content. The Cow tipping scene. It's great if this were a video game. Great level in a Cars game. "Ok now Lightning Hold Y To Rev Your Engine Then Release! You must tip all the Tractors!" Then the level starts and after about 8 tractor tips they decide to run and you must chase them on your next generation console wondering how graphics got to look this good. This movie is perfect for game adaptation when PS4 or PS5 come around and can handle this world. Because in a game your less concerned for story (not that story isnt important in games Metal Gear Franchise,Zelda series,Halo) but more important in having fun and roaming immense levels.(Halo) I can only say I'd ever revisit Cars as a 50-60 dollar game when REAL next generation arrives (sorry Wii,PS3,360) but not on DVD. But not all is lost. This film is to be exhibited. The amazing visuals are great to show off your sets and show off your HDTV's. Visually this is ahead of any CG done since well...the Incredibles. But if a pretty face is all this has to offer theres no need to revisit this film the same way no one revisits Final Fantasy Spirits Within. All style no substance. It's a shame really. The film had such potential.

So looking through all the sh it I wrote and past my Why Cars Will Suck style review. How did the audience react? How would people who just occasionally watch movies feel? I never felt the audience cared for the movie. One family got up and started to leave after Lightning dragged in Chick Hicks. I've seen every Pixar film in theaters except Bug's Life (thank god) and in those the audiences generally loved the films. The reacted and responded to the right moments. The best reactions being of course Finding Nemo (Pixars best film im my opinion). Most of the reactions if any go to Mater. Since as I said he's this films Dory. But doesn't get Dory's memorable scenes. I mean who can top such laughs from lines like "Just keep swimming, No eating here tonight you on a diet,some monkey has my money,Nemo...thats a nice name,~Dory speaking whale~,and Are you my conscience?" Just typing them brings smiles to my face. Delivered by someone I generally dont like as an actress. Dory at least can forget if someone is hurting here. When Mater takes off Lightning's boot and he escapes there not a sense of hurtfulness? It was just "yeah I'm dumb." Well that's pretty much what you get dumbed down comedy. Tractors farting. In fact there's probably 3 Mater Moments worth nothing "He pissed in a cup!... Mater spelling Kissing (the 1st time good 2nd time sh it)... and Mater talking to Lightning explaining why Sheriff is crying." The vibe from this film is it's gorgeous to look at and Maters funny but not Pixar's best. Family's will be entertained and kids which is difficult to do in these films. So in closing. I feel exactly how Harry Knowles must have after his Scooby Doo Rant. Most of my energy and emotions went into a year of this whole Why Cars Will Suck thing. I'm pretty much energy drained and want to put it all behind me. But the past has a way of being dug up.I said what needed to be said and could have said a whole lot more (novel length) but I'll end with saying to Pixar.

Right now Pixar is in a state of yellow. After Cars we can see Ratatouille is a taste of yellow to come until they go back and make sequels to the greens (Toy Story,Monsters Inc. Finding Nemo, Incredibles) or create some new greens. Disney made some green lights then started to go into yellows until it went into red, then green again, then yellow until Pixar turned them green. Is Pixar turning yellow. No. They already are. The direction of the company has no clear vision anymore. Where is it there company is headed for the next decade? Is it 2D? Is it Live Action? Will they stay in 3D but shift to telling stories within a genre? Incredibles showed seeds of more adult fare (referencing sex, affairs, and even teen isolation.) Does Pixar have a The Graduate in their future? Could you ever see these guys following some Benjamin Braddock being seduced by a Mrs. Robinson (of course only alluding to sexuality never showing). Or even a situational comedy like Office Space. You can't tell me characters like Milton couldn't be the basis of a story for a Pixar film. Minus bad words and sex and all the things that can earn it an R Rating. I could see Office Space as a Pixar film. Is there a Bad News Bears in their future? A Hoosiers? A Stand By Me? A Goonies? What about a romantic comedy along the lines of The Break Up? An Eternal Sunshine? A Jerry Maguire? What about music? This movie actually had some songs like Route 66, Life Is A Highway, Cruisin. I mean could Pixar ever make a Blackboard Jungle? A School of Rock? And even further would they ever attempt something darker. An Ordinary People. An American Beauty. A Donnie Darko. An Almost Famous. Is this where Pixar is headed in the next decade? It's hinted at in Incredibles with great music but will it ever be shown? I mean couldn't you see a Dazed and Confused made by Pixar? Stories about people about what is. About life about struggle. Just plain stories with no limits. Now I dont mean to do R rated. But I mean look at the movie Ghost World. Enid is a character that could be 3D animated. Hell Clerks is already animated. American Pop and Heavy Metal where examples of anti Disney. Now for many of you your minds just went. Dude it's Pixar. They have a cute little lamp as there logo. If you want those movies you mentioned go rent them on DVD. There's enough of these stories told on film with live actors. Why waste the time rendering them? It's faster to make Garden State with Zach Braff and Natalie Portman in New Jersey than it is in Emeryville California on Marionette (Pixar's 3D Software) But that's the Aqaba in me thinking. No one has done this or at least done this right. Not in any form outside of live action and 2D. Different Genres. Following talking humans and not talking objects,bugs,insects,animals but humans. Are they headed for more adult stuff?The answer is no. There going to proceed with caution. Ratatouille is the basis for where the films are going. Incredibles was a step forward Cars is a screeching hault. Those Cars stuck watching Yellow. It's blinking because there's no traffic. No Cars. No nothing. Just giant yellow. So now we come to the red light. Time to stop. It's been a hell of year with this Why Cars Will Suck Odyssey one with it's ups and downs. I want to thank Travis Fantina for it was his website that got me to write the first draft. I want to thank Youtube, Myspace, CHUD, IMDB, AICN, Wikipedia,Olivier Archer, and of course John Lasseter,Everyone at Pixar. It has been quite a journey and now it's come to the end. It's time to go back to my life. If you can even believe that I have one.

5:57 PM

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10:56 PM


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