20 June 2006

Burn Rubber Not Your Soul

By Morgan Habedank, Guest Contributor

Before broaching the main topic of discussion for today, I feel the need to express my support for the US Soccer Team. The draw with Italy was gritty and showed that they had heart. Something I had seriously questioned after the Czech Republic debacle. I just have one question. How does FIFA allow an official who has been previously suspended for officiating inconsistencies to officiate in the World Cup? Especially when that official was ineligible for the previous World Cup due to the aforementioned suspension. One would assume that FIFA would ensure that officiating would not tarnish their flagship event. If I were running the World Cup it would be a top priority. It appears that I am not alone in this due to the strong statements regarding the poor officiating made by the great Beckenbauer in the German media. Congratulations on the draw and for the record, I am now a fan of Italy. Let’s hope they can destroy the Czech Republic and that the US can take care of business against a very strong Ghana side.

Historically, the CG Animation arena has been dominated by Pixar and DreamWorks Animation. DreamWorks produced the most successful animated title of all time in Shrek (Shrek 2 is number 7 on the list of All-time World Box Office Leaders and Shrek is 48). However, DreamWorks has had a few missteps, the most notable of which is Shark Tale. Pixar on the other hand has yet to have a box office blunder. Many attribute the success of Pixar to their cutting edge technology and visually stunning product. However, I believe that it goes much deeper than that. What made Toy Story memorable? The ground breaking CG? The high profile voices? I would argue that the success of Toy Story was due to the way Woody and Buzz Lightyear came to life. This was due to the quality of the story being told and the excellent character development. Without those elements, Toy Story would just be another Anastasia - visually stunning for its time but ultimately heartless and therefore not memorable.

It was with these high expectations that I went to see the final Pixar offering on opening night. I went in expecting to be stunned visually and sucked in to the story emotionally. However, John Lasseter finally let me down. It appears that Pixar finally fell victim to the X3 trap where studios think that a flawed or weak story can be overcome by star power or special effects. Cars, while visually stunning, completely dropped the ball in the areas of character development and story. Throughout the show I was consistently amazed by what I was seeing yet not once did I feel true emotion. I was never able to identify with any of the shallow and cliché characters. I kept waiting to get “sucked in” and it never happened. I just kept waiting for Michael J. Fox to pop up on screen and demand residuals from Pixar for his Doc Hollywood character. I thought that John Lasseter was bullet proof but it appears that I was mistaken.

So it is with a little trepidation that I await the release of Miami Vice. Michael Mann has yet to disappoint but you never know when you have Colin Farrell in the mix. Hopefully Mann will stay true to his roots and not sacrifice story and character development for explosions and car chases. Hopefully he will follow the JJ Abrams format and produce the next MI3. Hopefully he will suck me in.


Anonymous said...

More from Morgan please...

Fernando said...

I would have to disagree with you, Morgan. I found Cars to be an entertaining and fun movie. I did experience some of the "sucked in" feeling. After all, it was nice to escape the Big Apple for a few moments. While I did not necessarily connect with Owen Wilson, I found Mater to be quite the character. Yes, as I reflect on the story line, it wasn't as strong as it could've been, but nevertheless, it provided some good entertainment. Well, glad to see you're posting on the blog.