The Top 10 Animated Movies on DVD of 2011

It’s that time of year again, when everyone hauls out their “best of” lists that are always subjective and no-one ever really agrees on anyway. Well, being the objective, engineering type, I’ve decided instead to use Amazon.com’s sales as a guide to how animated films have fared this year.

To clarify, this list is just DVD sales and is sorted after doing a search for “animation” in the Movies & TV department and is also for films that are dated as being released in 2011, hence there are some films that while released theatrically in 2010, did not come out on DVD until 2011.

So without further adieu, here’s the top 10 animated films of 2011 according to Amazon.com (backwards of course):

10. LEGO: The Adventures of Clutch Powers

9. Gnomeo & Juliet

8. Barbie in a Mermaid Tale

7. Megamind (single disc edition)

6. Rango

5. Winnie the Pooh

4. Tangled

3. Rio

2. The Smurfs

And number 1, which you could probably have guessed anyway is…

Cars 2! (which must be selling like hotcakes; $19.73 for a single disc, yikes!)

Has Pixar Aligned With Intelligent Design In the ‘Cars’ Universe?

Josh Berta (of P*rtty Sh*tty fame) seems to think so in his piece from yesterday over on Observatory.

The article itself is firmly tounge-in-cheek as evidenced by the following quote:

But there are a couple of crucial elements in the design of this world that point not to a human overlord, but an all-powerful Designer with a bad case of motorhead……if one looks closely enough, cloud formations resembling tire tracks can be seen drifting through the sky. Certainly, it’s no mistake that this most befuddling design element is also the most heavenward. There’s something up there, and It won’t be explained. But It does have a name, and we can thank the tractor trailer character Mack for this revelation. Upon finding his lost friend McQueen late in the second act, he exclaims, “Thank the Manufacturer!” Must we?

The entire thing is well worth a read, especially the comments at the end from those who failed to completely grasp the joke.

 

Cars 2 Currently ‘Rotten’


As of this morning (June 22nd), with release just two days away and with 20 of the top critics reporting, Cars 2 is currently sitting at 55% (EDIT: has dropped to 52% as of the afternoon), which is considered ‘rotten’ over a the movie review site, Rotten Tomatoes.

While it is still far too early to judge the films actual performance (there’ll be plenty of time for that in the coming days), it is nonetheless a worrying sign that almost half of the critics who have seen it have given it the thumbs down. Of course, RT ratings have to be taken with a grain of salt; plenty of films I love have gotten a ‘rotten’ rating from the critics but are loved by the fans.

Compare that with Toy Story 3 last year, which was sitting at 100% from the beginning until one critic decided otherwise. If that doesn’t say something about the difference in quality, I don’t know what does.

So we will have to wait and see, but in what I’m sure is a coincidence, Floyd Norman posted yesterday about when a film isn’t going so well, and he gives us this great sentance:

Most can see the wheels coming off the wagon early on, but we dare not say anything because we risk the wrath of those employing us. So we keep smiling as the train goes over the cliff.

The sad part is that Pixar has had us believe that as much creative energy went into Cars 2 as did Toy Story 3.

Cars 2 in New York

image

Apparently Mater is the only one. Is this a coincidence or does Disney/Pixar think they’ve got a winner on their hands?

It’s interesting to compare it to Tangled. Last November you literally could nor turn a corner I’m the city without seeing the poster with the smouldering eyes (you know the one) .

Comapritively I only saw one poster for Kung Fu Panda 2 too. Is animation in a bit of a lull? I hope not.

The Maryland Film Fest, Cars 2 Posters & Michael Sporn on the ASIFA-East Festival

MD Film Fest

Last night was a lot of fun down at the Charles Theater in Baltimore. The screening was packed and there was lots of top quality animation to be seen along with plenty of laughs and applause.

The shorts will be screened again on Sunday evening at 5pm in case you missed them.

Cars 2 Posters

Via: Hollywood.com

As much as I have already discussed the ones created by Eric Tan, the latest batch (such as above) truly boggle the mind. For one of the top creative companies on the planet to turn out/approve such banal works is most disappointing. Especially when the concern things like cars, objects elevated to the status of art a long time ago.

Besides that, the ‘puns’ for titles make for almost gut-wrenching reading. They are neither funny nor appropriate.

Based on what I’ve seen, I’d say we’re headed for Pixar’s first major misstep. You heard it here first.

Michael Sporn on the ASIFA-East Festival

Last week the ASIFA-East Festival took place in New York. I wasn’t there for personal reasons but I read about the winners the following day. Seeing as I had a final exam on Tuesday, I congratulated a few winners and carried on with my life.

However, it seems that a heated discussion blew up on Cartoon Brew after the list of winners were posted. Sometimes negativity can cloud the debate and spoil it for everyone. Which is exactly what happened here.

Michael Sporn has posted a sage response on his blog that is the best I’ve read. If you are in doubt about the society or its voting procedures, you should read it. I’m glad I read it first before the Brew comments.

 

Has Pixar Jumped The Shark With The Posters For Cars 2?

Via: The Animation Blog

Some say the bigger question is whether Pixar will jump the shark with Cars 2 itself, but it is still too early to tell. However, when it comes to the promotional posters, I think they’ve already done it.

The reason is simple, the posters are rather lackluster in overall design. Don’t get me wrong, they look nice, but if you’re going to ape classic Grand Prix posters, you might as well do it right.

As far as I know, Cars 2 involves a world-wide race of some sort, so it would seem like a great idea to release a few posters featuring the characters in famous cities around the world, right? Yes, of course. Pixar has been here before with the Wall-E and UP teaser posters (created by Eric Tan) that it released before those films hit the cinemas. Personally, I think they’re a great idea to drum up support from the fans and to promote the film in a slightly different and off-beat manner.

So far they has succeeded. The posters for Wall-E had a kind of quirky, Googie-like charm to them and the UP posters relied heavily on the old travel ads of the past to make light of the film’s plot.

However, when it comes to Cars 2, I think they’ve missed the mark only slightly. The main elements are certainly there. The car at the forefront, the background definitely waaay in the back. There’s no chance of mistaking where the action is or what is going on.

The main problem that I can see, though, is the character themselves. It’s just them! Sure there are a few cars in the background racing along, but for the most part, it is just a single character with a few speed lines drawn in to show that they are supposed to be moving.

How does that compare with a real Grand Prix poster? Check out the samples below.

Via: Wikipedia

Via: AllPosters.com

A race to the finish line? A duel to the death? I certainly think so. There is so much more action portrayed, so much more excitement! I want to see that Grand Prix! Just be thankful I can’t find the poster where the car literally has flames coming out the back of it!

So you see why I think the Cars 2 posters are a bit tame. They allude to the great posters of the past, but they are, at best, a timid recreation with none of the excitement and drama of the real thing. Cars 2, by the sounds of things, could certainly have benefited from a harder edge but perhaps that was vetoed by someone along the line.

So how far off are they? Check out this poster for the antique Monaco Grand Prix held last year. A thoroughly modern poster but with all the classic elements of the genuine article. It can be done.

Better Late Than Never: Steve Jobs and Cars 2

Yes, I am pretty late with today’s post and I offer my humblest apologies.

I read on Lineboil today that Steve Jobs, erstwhile boss at Apple Computer, has instructed John Lasseter to get his hands dirty and stick his nose into the engine bay of Cars 2.

While none of this is confirmed as of yet, if it is true, it could delay the sequel to a film that has absolutely raked in the merchandising dough for Disney/Pixar over the years and clearly has done quite well thus far with various TV specials and psuedo spin-offs.

The important lesson to learn is that either the story guys aren’t firing on all cylinders, or the race marshall thinks they’re running on illegal tyres and won’t let them leave the pit lane. Either way the instruction from Jobs represents a significant event in the Pixar assembly line production of movies. Is it a bad thing? Maybe, maybe not. However, it is the type of top-down management style typical of Jobs but somewhat foreign in a creator-orientated company like Pixar.

Since we’re unlikely to find out the truth for a while yet, I’m not going to take it at full face value. However, I hope that it does not signal the start of a worrying trend at the most successful CGI studio to date.