Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Pixar Animation in the New Millenium

Pixar films have dominated the animation community since 1995’s ground-breaking Toy Story; the first feature length film entirely animated using computer technology. In the new millennium, Pixar has managed to maintain their world-famous quality with great success, producing one outstanding film after another, and in effect solidifying their reputation as the most innovative and reliable animation company in the world. Their recent credits include critically acclaimed and monumentally successful films Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Wall-E, and Up. These phenomenal films have succeeded in revolutionizing the field of animation; they’ve pushed the genre into entirely new, mysterious directions, and have become as important and influential to the medium as the Disney films of the early 20th century.

Hordes of copy-cat companies soon emerged to capitalize on the incredible success of Pixar, the only notable example being the animation department at Dreamworks studios, who ripped off Pixar’s ‘A Bugs Life’ in 1998 with ‘Antz’. The only legitimately enjoyable film produced by Dreamworks may be Shrek, which proved to be the juggernaut animation series of the new millennium, despite its lackluster sequels.
Overall, this decade has experienced several extremely important innovations in the animation community, and has witnessed an incredible revival in the popularity and credibility of the genre.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Comic Book Movies in the New Millenium

Comic book movies have transcended their role as pure entertainment in our society; they have become, in more ways than one, a national obsession. The new millennium brought with it a plethora of industry juggernauts, which have consistently dominated the domestic box-office year after year, breaking numerous records in both revenue and attendance along the way. The Dark Knight, Spider-Man, and Iron Man are prime examples of films that have entered the public consciousness and have virtually redefined the role of the comic-book hero in our culture.

What is it about comic book movies that have made them so insanely popular in recent years? Is our post-9/11 society in need of a hero? Have we become disillusioned with perpetual lies, false hope, and empty promises? Are we unconsciously aware of our imminent destruction, of our greed and intolerance, of the bleak future that may await us in the cold, dark unknown? Is our pessimistic world in dire need of an escape, of a new hope for peace, justice, and love? Do we eagerly anticipate the resurrection of the American dream? What is certain is that on occasion, we must take a plunge down the rabbit hole; we must enter a fantasy of optimistic faith, where a simple man, like Bruce Wayne or Peter Parker, can rise up and overcome those that oppress and betray the people of the United States.