Pixar doesn’t need me to defend them from the trolls and bullies of cyberspace, I’ll let their work speak for itself, and it is a very impressive body of work, only two real missteps in twelve films (I was willing to forgive the original Cars, which was fun, and gorgeous to look at, but Cars 2 I felt was their first real blunder), that’s a record that few studios can equal at any time in cinema’s history and especially in today’s world.
However, some of the comments about the recently released trailer for their upcoming feature Brave on a site that I frequent, and doesn’t need it’s name here (they get enough traffic 😀 ) rather incensed me.
The two that really bothered me were these:
1) Oh look Pixar is pulling a Dreamworks – it looks like How To Train Your Dragon.
and 2) Another female hero story? I’m tired of these types of films.
Now admittedly, the site runners for the website in question weren’t saying this, and for the most part, we share a lot of the same views when it comes to Pixar. What bothers me is that people who claim to be film fans can have this kind of attitude.
Let’s address the points in the order I’ve listed them, the easiest first…
“It looks like Dreamwork’s How To Train Your Dragon.”
Ummm, lets be honest here, until Dreamworks released Dragon, their works when compared to Pixar’s efforts were sadly lacking. Rough and mean to say, but true. While Dreamworks films seemed to focus more on splendor and a sense of “look at what we can do with our computer” effects, Pixar first and foremost put their characters and stories upfront, and then made their films look beautiful.
Dreamworks turned a corner with Dragon, adapting a series of novels (very well I might add) and concentrated on developing their story first!
And now, since they’ve done that once Pixar is copying them?
Another talking point that I think is being used is the fact that in Dragon, half the cast is Scottish, and Brave itself is set in Scotland. So of course, there is a wealth of Scottish accents flying around. This was one of my real problems with Dragon… since when our Vikings Scottish?? At least Pixar is keeping their accents correct for their film.
And let’s be honest, anyone who knows anything about animated films knows that it takes years for these things to be made, so Brave was well into development by the time Dragon came out. And I really don’t think, that either company is looking over one another’s shoulders to see what they are doing. I think they both, honestly, want to make money with what they believe are strong family films. Once again, Pixar is the real winner on that one.
And while, thanks to Cars 2, I won’t follow Pixar blindly, they have generated enough good will and faith in their work that I am going to give them the benefit of the doubt when it comes to their films. I can’t say the same for Dreamworks, they got me with one film, but the rest of their catalog I’m not such a huge fan of.
So if anything, I think Dreamworks is finally taking a page from Pixar, in terms of their films, and focusing on story first. So both of their most recent films have people with Scottish accents, before that they all had people with American accents, were they stealing then too? Silly trolls.
Now, for number two…
I’m not going to touch the inherent sexism that seems to reek from that statement, I can only hope that the troll who wrote it will enjoy his lonely life in his parents’ basement or garage.
It’s true that Disney has done a lot of female leads, whether they could be called heroes by today’s standards is something else, but Pixar has never had a female as their heroic lead, and to me this is a long overdue matter that is finally being addressed.
Now say they had created a passive heroine in Princess Merida, I might have a problem with that. A lead who lets everything happen to them, and then has a prince come along to rescue them (Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White) I have a problem with, they’re too passive.
Pixar characters have never had that problem, their characters are completely realized, flaws and all, and it’s usually the flaw that gets them into their trouble, and then they pro-actively go out and change it themselves.
Merida, no doubt will be her own hero, and I myself am looking forward to it.
People have already whined about whether or not she will have some cute and cuddly sidekick, now it is a family film under the Pixar and Disney banner, sure there are gonna be some cute cuddly characters in it (those three bears look hilarious), but rushing to judgment on a two minute trailer from a company that’s a proven winner, even with Cars 2, is not only wall-smackingly stupid, but just reeks of troll stench.
If you don’t want to see it, don’t, Pixar will be fine without you.
I can tell you, I’ll be there.