Pixar movies

Free Birds

Year: 2013
Directed By: Jimmy Hayward
Written By: Scott Mosier, Jimmy Hayward, David I. Stern and John J. Strauss


It suddenly dawned on me tonight, on the eve of Thanksgiving, that I haven’t reviewed a movie with a Thanksgiving theme. Over the past couple of years at least I have liked to drop a movie review that correlated with America’s mostly passed over holiday. So suddenly did the realization hit me that I had little to no time to consider an appropriate film. In years past we have reviewed Dutch and Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, both excellent movies for the holiday. This year on short notice I had little time to consider before the most practical film of all was suggested by Amber. So, I may have dipped into my children’s fledgling DVD collection for this title that I think works all too well.

There are several films made for my children that I find myself liking just as much as they do. Titles that immediately come to mind are The Croods, Big Hero 6, and of course this film. Pixar makes great films for all ages too but all too often now they are trying to make me cry and it pisses me off. I will never get over that bullshit at the end of Toy Story 3. I’m referencing the scene in which all the toys find themselves in the trash compactor with no hope of escape. Instead of trying to come up with some new escape plan they all hold hands and accept their imminent death in what last for many many seconds before they are saved. Come on Pixar, why don’t you just kick me in the balls and make me cry honestly??? It’s obscene to have this kind of moment in a children’s film and nothing makes me feel sillier than bawling my eyes out in a Toy Story film.

I find that I cry far more often in children films than in adult films these days. I am unashamed of it in most cases but Pixar gets under my skin because they are just laying it on too thick. In The Croods when the dad has to throw his entire family across the gap in the Earth only to be left behind himself I cry like a baby, but that’s different. There’s the father daughter aspect that hits me in the heart and I feel like they earn my tears honestly. Pixar cheats by going too hard for that punch in the gut, and really letting the moment linger.

This movie however does not make me cry at all and in fact it’s quite the opposite as the laughs keep on coming. I think the story about these turkeys time traveling to get themselves off the Thanksgiving menu is hilarious. The two main characters are voiced by Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson making the movie that much cooler. You even have a lot of other great voices filling up other roles like Amy Poehler, Keith David, Colm Meaney, and even George Takei. They all sound fantastic and deliver on a script that will keep you laughing.

It’s easy the older we get to dismiss animated films for being nothing more than babysitters for the youngins but if you sit down and watch some of them with them you might find yourself surprised. I didn’t particularly like Boss Baby, but for every five of those movies there’s a Shrek, Wall-E, an Up and I know I’m starting to contradict myself naming a few Pixar films but those are exceptional films and Pixar has, in the past made some truly exceptional movies.

So if you get bored with parades and football this Thanksgiving day check out this movie with your kids. You will probably be surprised to find out you enjoy it just as much as they do. Whatever you do try to do something to celebrate the family fun day and not move immediately to Christmas. Take some time to eat turkey, congregate with loved ones, sit through at least one ridiculous argument, and honor the memory of a make believe history. If you already have your Christmas lights up shame on you, that’s Friday work. Tomorrow, that’s all about family, fun, some drama and a lot of thankfulness. I hope you all have a happy one and find plenty to be thankful for.


Pixar’s Brave

I have had my eye on this movie for over a year now.  Last summer I was considering what movie would be my then 2 year olds first experience in the movie theater. Movies are obviously really important to us and it was important that we choose the right film when taking her to the theater for the first time.  I barely gave any other film scheduled for release any thought because if Pixar had something coming out it was the one we were going to see. I think Pixar is without doubt the best studio for producing animated films.  Films like Wall-E, The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, Toy Story, Monster’s Inc, and Up are already important to our daughter and we both loved them all as well.  I specifically think Up was a really incredible film that was so imaginative and funny, but I have liked almost all of the Pixar films. We don’t review our daughter’s movies as part of this blog so I would like to take the opportunity to recommend seeing all of them.

As it goes with Brave I didn’t feel that it met my expectations, but there are several reasons for that and that isn’t to say that it was a bad film.  The first problem is that my daughter clearly wasn’t in the age range of the target audience. That’s my fault though and not really a problem with the movie. She seemed to enjoy the film enough but for the most part I think by and large the story went over her head.  I think there were real problems with the story structure as well, for example there was no real significant antagonist in the film that was actually center to the overall story.  The story turned out to be more about the relationship between a mother and her strong willed teenager.  It was a good story that I think is really appropriate for older children, just not really up my 3 year olds alley.

Speaking of the story I found myself having an interesting revelation as we waited for it to start.  I didn’t even really know what this movie was about beyond it being about a red head Scottish girl that appeared to be a warrior.  I want my daughter to see films about strong female characters so it seemed perfect but despite all the attention I paid to it during the past year I never really found out what the actual story was.  I think that is odd and I don’t know that this movie has really been marketed well enough to maximize its potential.  It’s as if the studio doesn’t really bother anymore because they are Pixar and they know people are going to show up to see whatever they do.  That may just be the way I am though and maybe I managed to miss a larger effort to advertise the film.

If you are thinking about taking your child to see this film I by no means want to discourage you but do consider the age and maturity of your child.  I would think the appropriate age range might be something more like 5 and up but I don’t know for sure because my kids are younger.  I don’t think this was the best Pixar movie and I don’t think it was really up to the caliber of their other films.  It’s not bad and I will eventually revisit it and possibly find several things I liked about it.  I was looking for something that really blew me away like Up did the first time I saw it and Brave just didn’t do that.