Friday, March 07, 2008

Pixar Shorts Vs. We Are The Strange


Pixar Animated Shorts
A series of shorts that were made over the course of Pixar's life and eventually helped the company switch from hardware/software to animation. A company that was originally part of Lucasfilm, was bought by Steve Jobs, and recently acquired by Disney. John Lasseter was the head of animation for many years surrounded by a bunch of computer/math whizzes producing exceptional code to bring John's imaginings to life. The first studio to win an oscar for computer animation and famous for making untold stacks of money and having an unbroken string of hits.

Classification: Old Skool.

I Live.

We Are The Strange
A feature length film created by M dot Strange in Str8nime. Wonderfully imaginative story, fantastic visuals. Bizarre all around. Made almost entirely by one person. Managed to get into Sundance but turned down distribution offers in order to release on the net.

Classification: n8W Sk88l.

I hunger.

You choose: n8W Sk88l.

You win!

Game over.

Insert coin.

Damn, out of quarters. Anyone got one?


Overman said...


Ricky Grove said...

Nope. No more quarters. We are the Strange. Period.

Buddy_DoQ said...

I'm not sure I follow. Are we implying that a team of like-minded professionals with years of quality story-telling and animation experience is somehow less "win" than a one-man animator who refuses distribution offers in lieu of keeping it all in-house?

Are they not both entertaining? Can they not both be made of win? I rather enjoyed both the Pixar Shorts DVD, and We are the Strange.

Ask my mother and she'll say, "You're not strange son, and I love Pixar!" So there you have it.

Ricky Grove said...

No, they are not both entertaining. One is filled with cliche and stereotype and one is filled with imagination and intelligence. MDot's refusal to distribute came about not because of "artistic" considerations, but because the "like minded professionals" you refer to blew him off at Sundance and walked out. Watch Mdot's youtube Sundance journal and you'll see what I mean.

I believe in Mdot's work because of his willingness to create something that can't be pre-packed, pre-sold and pre-digested like the kind of films Pixar makes.

You're entitled to like what you want, but you can keep your Pixar. I'm an mdot person, a Quay Brothers person, a Guy Maddin person and a David Lynch person (just to name a few) to my dying day. These are the artists that inspire and interest me.

bllius said... point of new school vs. old school was in the pioneering efforts of the visuals and production techniques.

Pixar pioneered and mastered the art of computer generated graphics and animation to tell a story. At this point, however, they are no longer pioneers in that field. They are the 800 pound gorilla. No matter what you think of their 'product' with respect to entertainment value, it is not that innovative with respect to visual story telling. That doesn't mean it isn't good.

Mdot is now the emergent child of the process that led to Pixar's domination of the field (among other processes). Now a single person can create a movie by themselves (note the commonalities to Pixar's early days as well as to Disney himself at the birth of his career).

I fully expect that this will inspire a number of artists to explore similar techniques and visuals, some of which may be turned into commercial interests in the future.

Personally I think "We Are The Strange" is a more interesting story by itself, as well as the story surrounding how it got made.

Ricky Grove said...

Well put, Bllius. Sorry for the rant,but I get excited when I think of how remarkable an accomplishment Mdot's work is. Pixar's work was an innovator in technical areas, but have always been in the Disney school of coy sentiment and
"mom and pop" charm when it comes to story element of their films. While this has proven to be "entertaining" to many, it is not to me.

Your comment about inspiring artist to explore similar techniques as Mdot is really the point I want to make. One can debate the value of Pixar vs Mdot, but in the end it's essentially subjective. However, the impact of Mdot's works and his
continuing interaction with people via his youtube episodes and his world tour promoting "We are the Strange" is really the shit. And I'm glad you make that point in your comments here and in your blog.