Sunday, 15 November 2009

No-holds-barred stream-of-consciousness movie review time!

So I went to see Up a couple of weeks ago.

What struck me most is that it doesn't know whether it's trying to be a kid's film or a "mature" film.
Seriously what the fuck is a backstory involving a wife who can't give birth doing in a movie where a funny-looking grumpy man uses a load of brightly coloured balloons to make his house fly to a pretty waterfall in South America?

The main character's design is too evenly spaced everywhere and doesn't fit with any of the other characters (especially the kid). And his squared off ears feel particularly incongruous. The big black glasses just reek of trying to force some readability into his features for me.
The bird was actually very funny for about 5 minutes, but then they didn't let it be funny anymore and it turned into a plot device I didn't believe in. I also didn't believe that the old man would actually have any motivation to go help its little babies like that: I was honestly sitting there in the theatre thinking "Fuck the bird, you've got a house to move!" (thanks to my sister, Kirsty, for having the same complaint and reminding me of it).

Also I admit to finding the stupid dog funny.
Putting the backstory all there at the beginning is really, really lazy storytelling. But then again having us find out about it gradually throughout the film feels like more of a serious live-action movie technique.

Something my good mate Andy Church pointed out regarding this is that it possibly came about as a result of trying to shoehorn in more likeability where it wasn't needed. Like, that it would've been better if, instead of trying to make us care about the character with a cheap, heart-wrenching backstory, just let him be a grumpy old man. I think that certainly would've been funnier.

The whole thing was just one big mood-whiplash. Serious to whimsical to action movie to whatever.

The colour design was really nice, though.
Overall, despite my misgivings, it was their best film since the Incredibles, but still wasn't even as good as that.

Oh, and does anybody know why we Brits get stupid taglines with all our Pixar movie posters? "Russel won't shut UP!" Does anybody think that's funny? Does it sell more tickets? Is this the sort of thing we Brits are supposed to like?

I'm sorry, I've complained too much and made myself grumpy. I'd rewatch Ponyo to fix that but it's just past midnight and I'm working tomorrow. Oh well.

In other news, I literally just watched Tekkonkinkreet.
I thought it was too cluttered alot of the time, I'm not really sure what I think about the flatly-drawn, unconstructed-looking character designs (I think they were better drawn in the manga, from what little I've seen), and the ending felt like a bit of a deux ex machina but it was still very enjoyable.
Is it just me or are the Japanese much better than most Western studious at actually telling a serious story in animation and not having it clash with its whimsical elements? Or doing a comedy with serious elements and not having that clash either?
Or is this just me being a huge weeaboo?

I wish I could buy the soundtrack. Plaid are the shit.

3 comments:

Ruozhu Sun's Illustration said...

Jonathan you must be really angry about Up you wrote a lot, in fact i think it is the first ever time i seen someone i know write that much on their blog. heheheehhehe x

Jonathan Harris said...

Ann, how did you find this?? Who told you?

Also, I've written much more than that on other things!

Ruozhu Sun's Illustration said...

yeah i am stalking you alright!! what you don't want me to find this? you must like type really fast or spend hours and hours on the computer composing these things, maybe you should write my last essay for me!!!
xx :P