June 18, 2013

I saw an advanced screening of Monsters University!

Monster's University is a good movie! It was mild in terms of new content or bold character or story choices but it was extremely well done and quite entertaining. It was extremely family friendly. Everything in the film was well developed and beautifully executed. Very worth a watch.

Here's the sign from my press section seat :D
I ended up getting free tickets to see this movie. I noticed an ad in a newspaper that asked me to text my postal code so that I could get 2 advance tickets. The line up at the theater was long. When I was only 5 people away from getting in there was a bit of a wait and I thought we would be told that all the seats were filled. But instead we were told that the rest of us in line would be getting the better seats in the press section! We had to make sure our phones were shut off while everyone else in the theater had to surrender their phones for the duration of the film. This time being fashionably late paid of.
A view of the MU campus
Interestingly, I felt as if the film was a metaphor for working in the animation industry. Though I suppose it could just represent any industry. Here's a list of ways in which I felt that the film could be a metaphor for educating oneself and entering an industry (such as animation):

1) picking a great school and being excited about learning and meeting like minded peers
2) hard work is very valuable
3) riding on your "talent" or your name is not a way to succeed
4) people are valued for their own particular unique strengths
5) being creative
6) being responsible and professional
7) it's important to recognise the value in older employees at a company that perhaps don't have the same speed as in their younger days but still have great technique/value/experience
8) one may enter an industry via an unconventional way
9) one does not HAVE to graduate from university or college; educating oneself and having dedication and being hard working are more important than a piece of paper that says you graduated. (However completing higher education is valuable and often necessary depending on your industry and the path you take)
10) starting small in an industry and working your way up is a great way to learn

Before the film started the audience was treated to a new Pixar short; The Blue Umbrella.
When this short started my eyes were glued to the screen. The realistic but charming world was "filmed" in a way quite unique to animated shorts. The short felt very artistic and looked as if it was expertly shot with a camera. There were several shots of elements in the environment and of "smiling" objects on a city street on a dark rainy night. It was stunning actually. The story ends up being about a blue umbrella that notices a red umbrella and a love story follows. The music was really sweet too. Unfortunately the plot of this short was exactly the same as the last Pixar short; Paperman. That is; boy meets girl, boy likes girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl again. Why must the boy always be the pursuer, the action taker, the plan maker? It's true that society expects women to be the pursued, but it is a tired and outdated stereotype that men and women all want this to be the norm. The red "girl" umbrella (you can tell she's a girl since she's got eyelashes, which is another animation trope) is passive. Of couse it's ok to have a story like this, it's perfectly lovely and wonderful, it's not an unrealistic story possibility either and it is charming, but I'm a little disappointed that the same boy meets girl formula (which was just used in Paperman) is used again here and there are no real surprises.

Saschka Unseld was the director of this short and truly, it was beautiful and extraordinarily charming. When I saw the environmental elements smiling on a rainy day I thought of those old 1952 Disney shorts storyboarded by Bill Peet; The Little House and Susie the Little Blue Coupe. Unseld says that he got the idea for this short one rainy day when he was walking in San Francisco and saw an abandoned umbrella lying in the gutter. “It was the saddest thing,” he said. “I stood there and wondered what had happened to him. I think that was when I got the idea of giving him a story.”

And the animation itself is striking. The two umbrella characters have very simple facial features but they are expertly animated to convey expressions and micro expressions. You can tell just what the characters are thinking and feeling. I got goosebumps when the blue umbrella notices the red umbrella for the first time. He lets himself watch her a bit, while she enjoys the sensation of the rain falling. At least at first he somewhat tries to conceal his interest. Then he's a little embarassed when she notices him looking.

I did in fact really enjoy this short.


2 comments:

  1. I thought the street crowd scenes were incredibly cool. I would love to see how they set it up.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, there were sooo many characters! It was a challenge I'm sure!

    ReplyDelete

Have some pickles!

A wee bit of rough animation I managed to get done while my kiddo is asleep! Have some pickles! from Andrea K Haid on Vimeo .