early dispatches from movie season

Last year I mentioned I had never seen a single Pixar movie, including any Toy Story movie. Many wmtc readers recommended I watch all three Toy Story movies, which seemed excessive to me, but I thought it was time to at least see one.

I'm watching "Toy Story" as I write this, because it doesn't hold my interest enough to watch without something else to do. The movie is cute. It is mildly entertaining. The animation is beautiful and the voices are good, but I can't watch a movie for either of those elements. It is just not especially interesting or compelling. I guess this kind of movie is just not for me.

On the other side of the spectrum, last night we watched "Made In Dagenham". This story of striking female factory workers in 1968 England might as well have been made with me in mind. Of all the people's movements, I find the struggle of working people for justice the most moving, and I identify with it above all else, except perhaps the struggle of women for social and legal equality. Put the two together in a well written movie with solid acting, and I'm gone. Worker solidarity, sisterhood stronger than class boundaries, activism that resulted in real change, and one woman discovering herself as a leader: highly recommended.

The BBC Series "Planet Earth" is magnificent. It focuses on phenomena humans have rarely seen, let alone recorded, like a snow leopard hunting in the mountains of Pakistan or a piranha feeding frenzy. Each episode ends with a mini documentary about how a segment was filmed, which is nearly as extraordinary as the film itself. In the three episodes we've seen, the producers have missed an opportunity to connect the natural phenomena to the threats of climate change, habitat destruction and other human-made pressures. They seem almost determined to scrub any political point of view from the film, which is disappointing. But the film is still revelatory - truly amazing.

"A Dog Year" isn't much of a movie, but we'll watch anything with dogs. It seems I'd rather watch a mediocre movie with a beautiful Border Collie than a famously well-made movie with talking toys.


laura k said...

Someone's list of top 10 movies where toys come alive.

M@ said...

I haven't seen any of the Toy Story movies but I saw Wall-e in the theatre after multiple friends recommended it to me very highly.

It was tedious, and only mildly funny or interesting at any point. I think I'm with you on this.

Btw, there was a little short before the movie about a magician and his uncooperative rabbit. I laughed through the whole thing. Maybe it's the long form that's the problem. Or maybe Pixar movies are just overrated.

laura k said...

Ah-ha, this coming from my friend who shares my dislike for Rick Mercer. Hmm.

The long form is often a problem - when premises become skits, skits become movies.

I don't know if that was the problem with Toy Story. Mainly, I felt like I was watching a kids' movie - not a movie that works for both kids and adults.

deang said...

I was given the Planet Earth series as a gift a few years ago and share your opinions of it. Sometimes when I'm feeling hemmed in by my own tiny life I watch bits of the series and am immediately transported to the real real world.

And "Made in Dagenham" has been beckoning to me at my local video store for weeks now. Guess I'll be watching it soon as well.