Sunday, June 24, 2007

The Inevitable "Too Many?" Question

What with Ratatouille rolling out in a week, director Brad Bird got presented with the usual inane statement:

Some critics say there's an overload of animated movies...

I'll be frank. The supposition always makes me crazy. It's a symptom, I think, of the press wanting a quick and easy theory as to why movie X doesn't perform "up to expectations." But Mr. Bird has a good answer:

It's kind of like saying, "Is there a movie overload?" There's only a movie overload if they're bad. If they're good, it's just like, "Yeehaw!" The problem with animation is too many people are making the same movie. There's nothing wrong with the medium. The medium is as big as the sky, but you have to go to different places in the sky. You can't just go to the same cloud and expect people to get excited about it, with the jabbering sidekicks and the pop references and the hit pop songs.

It's simple, really. When you create a film the population doesn't want to see, it doesn't go see it. (And mostly, they don't want to see the same damn film over and over.)

And when you do turn out something new, fresh, and entertaining? Why, the greenbacks tumble down on you like snow in a Texas blue norther.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Forget eveything these reporters say. Go see the movie. I did last week with a group of friends. It's so good and charming I can't begin to describe it approriately. We were in such a giddy mood when it was over. The crowd applauded after it ended and most of them stayed through the credits (always a treat on a Pixar film).

Anonymous said...

Figuring out what the population wants to see... that's the tough part. The only visible indicator is what they have already gone to.

But Bird could have stumped the reporter with this question: "Which critic says that?"

It was really showbiz reporters who came up with the glut angle, since they were lacking any real story to report.

Benjamin De Schrijver said...

You should never create a film you think the population wants to go see. You should create a film YOU like, and assume there are people like you out there.

Andrea said...

There ARE great animated films these days, but unfortunately they're fairly well hidden from the public eye. Pixar, Dreamworks and the the link have no problem drawing in attention, but some of the really great award-winning short films aren't shown commercialy nationwide.

Rooftop Films and IFC.com have been posting lots of great animated films online, however, to view for free.

Check some of them out; definitely not TOO MUCH animation.

http://www.ifc.com/films?aId=20130

Middle Dog and Marvelous Keen Loony Bin are both really unique and delightful.

Anonymous said...

I got to see "Ratatouille" this past weekend. I'm a jaded animator who is hypercritical about most movies, especially animated ones.

I can unequivocally say that Ratatouille is the best film Pixar has made to date, perhaps better than any Disney has ever made (surpassing my favorites Bambi, Pinocchio, and 101 Dalmations), and just maybe among my top 3 films period.

It is, in short, absolutely phenomenol. The story, the direction, the performances--essentially flawless. But that's not what really got me. What REALLY got me was that this was a truly quirky, very original, highly unexpected, very UNSAFE film. It dares the audience to accept some rather unsettling things. And...they do.

This film would never, could never, be made by executive oversight. Never in a million years would it have been greenlit by anyone other than true visionaries.

I will be doing something I virtually never do---I will be seeing this movie over, and over, and over.

Pete Emslie said...

Benjamin De Schrijver said...
"You should never create a film you think the population wants to go see. You should create a film YOU like, and assume there are people like you out there."

Well said, Benjamin. In fact, I suspect that was the litmus test Walt Disney applied to a film idea too.

Thomas said...

I see IMDB today is reprinting an article in Jim Hill Media where it says the Disney animators are depressed about Pixar and hope Ratatouille flops. Well, all the animators there I know are really happy with the changes and only the execs are upset, because they're cleaning house of all those do-nothings and hangers on.
But then, the source of the information was a Disney executive..hmmmm.

Anonymous said...

"You should never create a film you think the population wants to go see. You should create a film YOU like, and assume there are people like you out there."

Unfortunately, I suspect that was the formula for most Jerry Lewis movies. ;-)

I'm sure even Pixar makes a calculation of what people would like to see.

Anonymous said...

"I see IMDB today is reprinting an article in Jim Hill Media where it says..."

Who cares what a lying hack like jim hill says? Give me a break--he's so low not even FANboys give credence to anything he spouts.

Anonymous said...

Hey snob, what's with the cheap shot at Jerry Lewis? As a "'tweener" I used to love his films. The French aren't completely crazy- he hit a few out of the park. What about "Nutty Professor" or his Frank Tashlin films?

oats said...

Pete Emslie said...
"Well said, Benjamin. In fact, I suspect that was the litmus test Walt Disney applied to a film idea too."

And this is DEFINITELY something Chuck Jones did. He and his cronies at Termite Terrace. I have heard them quouted on this idea a number of times.

Steve K. said...

> Figuring out what the population wants
> to see... that's the tough part.

That's a terrible advice. Don't ever do that! Make a film YOU yourself want to see! You'll do much better trusting yourself, rather than second guessing what others want to see.

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