On page 145 of TF issue 192, Nathan Ditum asks:
"Is it just me... or is DreamWorks now on a par with Pixar?"
Here are a few excerpts:
Yes, at first glance this appears to be lunacy. Pixar are the infallible artists behind an unprecedented run of hits which has defied Hollywood logic by combining big box-office with intelligence and emotional storytelling. They make huge profits and classic movies. DreamWorks makes Shrek. Worse than that, DreamWorks makes Antz and A Shark’s Tale, and as many Shreks as are needed in between to stop it all falling apart. Its films are smirking shadows of its rival’s, bringing a plastic proficiency to the same insect hives and underwater worlds into which Pixar has breathed bustling, beautiful life.
Or at least, it used to be that way. In 2006, Pixar released Cars, a film which never sat right with its earlier films. Maybe because the idea of a world populated by vehicles with giant-eyeball windscreens is unsettling on an eerily existential level. Or maybe because the film ditched the formula of small communities having adventures in our normal world (toys coming to life when no one’s looking, monsters coming out at night) which had brought so much success.
Since then DreamWorks has made Megamind, Kung Fu Panda 2 and Puss In Boots, while Pixar has made an (admittedly timeless) second sequel in Toy Story 3 and, crucially, Cars 2, which fails John Lasseter’s self-imposed rule that Pixar sequels would only happen if they had a good enough story. Cars 2, which celebrates stupidity and tarnishes Pixar’s record of subtlety and wit. Cars 2 which, most worryingly of all, seems more focused on repeating the first film’s trick of selling toys than telling a story. And while Pixar trades sincerity for cynicism, DreamWorks seems to have discovered the secret to making films filled with warmth and wonder. Or is it just me?
Check out the full article in Issue 192 - on sale 15 March 2012.
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