Thursday, July 14, 2011

Movie time - Kung Fu Panda 2 (and Dreamworks)

I see this going two topical directions; a review of KFP2 and how Dreamworks is different from Pixar.

First the original Kung Fu Panda.  My kids beat me up for a few ours after first seeing KFP.  It was fun and a nice story despite the bruises that followed.  Excellent animation and voice acting as you would expect anymore.

KFP2 kept the same pace.  Story, animation and delivery.  I think sequels can be either a continuation in the timeline (Hobbit & LOTR) or another chapter in the lives of the characters (Rocky 1-5).  KFP2 was another story in the lives of the characters.  Po is now the dragon warrior and is still studying and growing in Kung Fu.  I think it did well for making drawing me in and caring about Po.  It touches on themes of destiny and choices, and the meaning of family.

Onto Pixar vs. Dreamworks
In doing quick research for this blog I found some interesting comparisons between Pixar & Dreamworks

Pixar - Lucasfilm, Steve Jobs, Disney (after '06)
Dreamworks (animation) - Spielberg, Paul Allen (Microsoft co-founder, investor), Paramount

I think Pixar tends to work harder for the art of the story-movie.  Well set situations, compelling characters and good stories.  I would go so far as saying they work at and enjoy the art of storytelling.  At the end you're happy but pondering, or motivated, or perplexed; generally moved.  You go play with your childhood toys again (Toy Story).  You value your friends more than glory (Cars).  You value relationships (Up!).  You dig in the garden and like it (Wall-E). You try a new recipe (Ratatouille).  You fight for your family even if your scared (and scarred) from bad outcomes (Finding Nemo)

Dreamworks is all about the movie.  They found a niche and are running with it.  They have churned out sequels (Shrek, Madagascar, KFP2, How to Train Your Dragon 2 and Madagascar 3 on the way) and will probably continue to do so.  They tend to make a fun movie to watch with your kids, some jokes aimed at the adults, good animation, and good acting.  At the end you're happy and come out to resume your life, having had a 98 minute break.  You laugh at Shrek, Po, bees, Bob and 50-ft Susan,.

Both studios are good with what they do; and I'm glad.  I seek more and find more from Pixar.  I will still go and see both, and enjoy both.  One seems to stay with me longer because I'm getting old and sappy.

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