Dragons vs. Toys

If you know me, you know that I love animated movies and I pride myself in being able to be sure, well in advance, about which animated movie will win the Oscar for Best Animated Movie. This year, however, I have a slight dilemma. If you pay attention to animated movies like I do, you’ll know that 2 great movies have released this year, namely – How To Train Your Dragon (I’ll call it Dragon) and Toy Story 3 (call it Toy Story).

Now, when I watched Dragon I was dead sure that it should win Best Animated next year, and honestly, I still believe that. However, Toy Story has got RAVE reviews! People are practically swooning over the movie. I don’t understand it, I watched the movie yesterday and yes, like ALL Pixar films it has those heart-wrenchingly good moments but unlike most Pixar movies I found it really childish. Yet, I see Toy Story winning the Oscar because it’s Pixar’s very first franchise and everyone seems to think it’s downright awesome. But let me give you my point of view and I hope you can see both movies and compare.

3D – 2010 is the year of getting a headache from wearing 3D glasses and (basically) of 3D movies. I’ve seen three movies in 3D this year and out of them only one was very impressive and that was Dragon. If you didn’t catch this movie in 3D it’s really sad because it is totally worth it, Dreamworks did a PHENOMENAL job with the 3D here. Toy Story wasn’t great in 3D, throughout the movie I kept taking of my glasses and many times the animation wasn’t blurred. In my opinion, Pixar should have stuck with old school 2D because their stories, besides Up and maybe Wall.E, don’t lend themselves to such digital enhancement. Particularly in the case of Toy Story since the audience has seen 2/3rd of the franchise in regular 2D. WINNER: How To Train Your Dragon.

STORYLINE – Here, I’m not sure if I can pick a winner because both movies have a good storyline but they are so different from each other, you really can’t compare. Toy Story had scenes that really lagged for me, some of it was overly dramatic, which I found unusual for a Pixar movie. The comedy was funny, but in a childish manner and though people say animated movies are meant for kids, there are more adults who watch these things and one should cater to them as well and catering to a vast audience shows a maturity in film making which Pixar has nailed several times, but not in this one. However, those of us who’ve grown up with Toy Story will have a soft spot for the movie. Dragon was interesting because it brought a fresh concept which hadn’t been tackled in previous films. I loved the comedy in Dragon and though the story about the protagonist is “Film Storylines 101” for some reason it was endearing and funny. WINNER: Dragon (you can say I’m prejudiced)

WHY IT WORKS – It’s quite obvious why Toy Story works, it is part of a franchise which was Pixar’s first full-length animated movie. Pixar has proven itself to be a giant in animation, winning awards and bring in the money with their movies. Plus, 15 years have passed since the first movie came out, you have a VAST audience, from those who watched the first one, to a new audience who’s never seen any of the Toy Story movies, then there are those who know Pixar movies to be great by default. Dragon works because of its creativity and comedy. Like all Dreamworks Animation works it, by default, caters to an audience of varied ages.

WHY IT DOESN’T WORK – Toy Story doesn’t work because it’s trying to maintain that initial appeal that it had 15 years ago, but the problem is we’ve seen a growth in Pixar Animation since then and we all expect something really awesome and something that ups the most recent Pixar movie we’ve seen (in this case – Up). The problem with Dragon was the name. It’s crap! I didn’t want to watch the movie when I saw the name, I gave it a chance after seeing the trailer and seeing how well it was doing in the US box office, which, incidentally it started doing well in only after the second week through word of mouth.

I’d like to know what you think!

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