George and Harold are two fourth graders with a penchant for potty humor, hanging out in their treehouse, and creating their own comic books. The cream of their crop is Captain Underpants, a broad knock-off of Superman, right down to his exoplanetary origin story, bizarre mishmash of superpowers, and proclivity for dressing in – you guessed it – underpants. George and Harold are just a little more to-the-point with their superhero.
Pixar is renowned for original storytelling in the realm of animation. Often, the stories spun by these visionaries wonderfully meld style and substance together in a way that please both children and adults. And while the Cars franchise started off in this same vein, the sequel was a clear sub-par cash-grab. It’s easy to see why: merchandise from Cars was one of Disney’s biggest cash cows. You got keep that cow fat, so Cars 3 is the product. The plot, characters, and themes are familiar: anthropomorphic cars trying to win races to prove that they can still win races, with themes of obsolescence, expectation, following dreams, and believing in people (or, in this case, cars). Cars 3 is all of this and exactly nothing else, another lap around the track.
When remaking a classic, withstanding the inevitable comparisons requires either flawless execution or inspired novelty. Disney’s latest live-action adaptation has an even greater challenge, as it must compete with two masterpieces: the studio’s own animated feature from 1991, and Jean Cocteau’s magnificent romantic fantasy La Belle et la Bête (1946). And though this iteration of the story pays ample homage to both of these predecessors, minor blemishes and stylistic issues prevent the remake from reaching the same heights. Still, a film should not be judged worthless if it fails to equal titans. Beauty and the Beast does a great deal right; it simply doesn’t replicate the Earth-shattering experience of its ancestors.
Disney recently released the first teaser trailer for Pixar’s next original feature film, Coco. The teaser introduces us to a world full of music, magic, and spirits centered around Dia de los Muertos. In accordance with standard Pixar protocol, this teaser offers us only a slight glimpse at the characters and story, and instead envelopes the audience in the world of the film. After presenting the teaser, this piece will focus on what we can learn about the aesthetic of the film from the trailer, discuss the creative team behind the film, and flesh out the narrative and potential themes based on other interviews. Here we go: