Wednesday, November 20, 2013

"Because, we weren't friends before."

Changed a headlight bulb with #1 last night in his new-car-that-is-older-than-he-is.  He was quite surprised at how easy it was.  Even in the dark.  Without the right screwdriver.  He did happen to be looking right at the bulb when I plugged it in, and we did have the lights of the car on so we could see, so it did blind him.  But he did not drop the hood on my head.  Level thinker, that one.

Of course they all (the boys) want to buy chain mail jerkins to protect them from the zombies so -- maybe not so level?

Tales From the Script this week is about Monster's University.  I liked the film though not nearly as well as the first one which sits firmly in the #2 spot of my favorite Pixar movies.  There were several things that they did very well, but to discuss them requires spoilers.


First off, making Mike the main character was a great choice.  There are others in the story with big parts but he's the driver.  The voice (sorry Billy) started to get to me by the end, but there really isn't any other way to tell the story.

Setting Sully up as the anti-friend was cliché and they did such a great job of making him the bad guy that even at the end of the movie I didn't really like him.  Which stinks, because in the first one he was terrific.  Setting up Randall as Mike's best friend was refreshing and brought a great twist to the story.  It let us in on a secret that Mike didn't know and we were, naturally, very curious to see how Randall became an adversary.

Which is another thing they did right.  Monster's University is a prequel which, while lacking the "whoa, cool" factor of the original because now we've seen the idea, still managed to provide greater depth to the universe and the recasting of the characters allowed for discovery.  This was not a Star Wars prequel debacle.

The lines were funny and the art was very imaginative.  I will probably watch it again when I get a hold of the script.

As great and wonderful as the movie was -- this one didn't coast on the name Pixar -- there were some things that didn't sit right with me.  Like the themes of dishonesty, disobedience, and "the ends justify the means" (found in pretty much all kids movies) being integral to the happy ending.  I'm not big on blind adherence to rules, but there are a hundred different ways to beat the system when you're as smart as these characters are supposed to be and yet they cheat, lie, steal, and vandalize to get what they want.  And they get it.  Without consequence.  How do you tell your child not to lie when he says back, "Sully did."  Or how do you say, "Cheaters never prosper" when clearly, if this movie is to be believed, they do?  And the children will believe this movie.

What happened to the hard work and perseverance of Flik in A Bug's Life?  Where's Bob's comeuppance from The Incredibles?  And where's the learning to get along and model of true friendship in Toy Story?

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