Yesterday I was at DWA talking to some story people about this feature...
A couple of them said to me:
"We hadn't seen the movie, since we're deep into the one that we're working on elsewhere in the building. But we were having arguments about some of our own sequences, and we were told it would be good idea to see Puss in Boots as an example of how everything can really work. Because the buzz about the feature around here is highly positive, and it's held up as a movie that's done right.
"Puss is good, but we had some problems with parts of it. We left the screening room saying, 'That's the greatest thing ever?' But the issues we had with chunks of it are being addressed. In fact, the problems we thought were there have already been changed.
"When you go in to watch something after being told that it's super great, you're almost always let down. ..."
All I know about Puss in Boots are the trailers that I've seen, the articles I have read, and the back-and-forth I've heard from staff in DWA's Lakeside Building. And, as noted above, the scuttlebutt is solidly positive.
But here's what I have figured out after working on features and listening to the gossip and gripes that get expressed about features as they move through the production process: Full-length cartoons almost always improve as they get closer to completion. Sequences are tightened up; the third act is reworked for the eighteenth time and finally clicks; the color, animation, surfacing, lighting, music and effects put a bright, fresh sheen on the Cintiq sketches that everyone thought were, well, a little flat.
And suddenly things are magical.
As I told somebody at DWA yesterday, I heard bad-mouthing about Tangled during the course of its looong development, and it ended up good. Animators pissed and moaned to me about Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron for like ever until the final three months of production when everyone allowed how it had really come together.
So what I've learned is, wait until you actually see the damn movie, then make up your own damn mind. Because listening to the impressions and opinions of others, especially when they're working furiously down in the trees and can't see the whole forest, can often be real misleading.