BURN-E
November 13, 2008 8:33 PM   Subscribe

BURN-E is a short film by Pixar Animation Studios based on a character who was briefly seen in the movie WALL-E. It takes place concurrently with the movie during the sequence when WALL-E and EVE fly around the Axiom starliner, and enter through a door, locking a welder robot outside of the ship.
posted by Effigy2000 (97 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
FUN-E.
posted by crossoverman at 8:36 PM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Little guy is definitely task oriented.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:43 PM on November 13, 2008


GOOD-E. SILL-E.
posted by pmbuko at 8:47 PM on November 13, 2008


Awesome 2001 reference.
posted by phyrewerx at 8:49 PM on November 13, 2008


Lil fucker can't catch a break!
posted by LordSludge at 8:50 PM on November 13, 2008


That was adorable and made my evening. The subtle touches like the supplies machine refusing to give him the replacement at first were great.
posted by lilac girl at 8:54 PM on November 13, 2008


Machine language
prints of kinetic
comedy
posted by Mblue at 8:56 PM on November 13, 2008


In other WALL-E online video news, the fantastic credits sequence is finally on YouTube.
posted by Rhaomi at 9:01 PM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Okay, I guess I need to see WALL-E.
posted by yhbc at 9:03 PM on November 13, 2008


[glee]
posted by device55 at 9:07 PM on November 13, 2008


?SYNTAX ERROR
posted by not_on_display at 9:14 PM on November 13, 2008


tee hee!
posted by potch at 9:14 PM on November 13, 2008


Very cute. But no match for what I've always thought was the gold standard of Pixar shorts: Boundin'.
posted by bicyclefish at 9:15 PM on November 13, 2008 [5 favorites]


▄ ▄
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 9:28 PM on November 13, 2008 [9 favorites]


SO awesome. Stuff like this, with so much heart, that hundreds of people worked on I (almost) feel bad for watching a bootleg of it, is it posted somewhere legitimately?

I wish I could see this done with more movies, like follow the librarian lady from the beginning of Ghostbusters home, or maybe find out what Kenny saw when he opened the stairs into the sea surface in Cabin Boy...

Come ON, holodeck!
posted by chronkite at 9:44 PM on November 13, 2008


I don't think it's posted anywhere legitimately. It's the short on the WALL-E DVD.
posted by jedicus at 9:52 PM on November 13, 2008


TAKE-E
posted by Curry at 10:01 PM on November 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


WALL-E without the people!

squee!!!!!
posted by Space Kitty at 10:07 PM on November 13, 2008


quick, somebody post a video of theirself crying while watching this.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 10:15 PM on November 13, 2008 [5 favorites]


Boundin' is awesome, but For the Birds gets me every time.
posted by Space Kitty at 10:22 PM on November 13, 2008


Let me tell you something about Pixar ...

Whoah. Deja vu.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:27 PM on November 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


Fun... but I kinda hoped for another MO appearance.
posted by uncle harold at 10:59 PM on November 13, 2008 [2 favorites]


I liked the extra 2001 reference at the end. It will be cool when today's little kids grow up and watch this again and get all the references.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 11:00 PM on November 13, 2008


OOhh Burn-e.
posted by Balisong at 11:04 PM on November 13, 2008


AWESO-M.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 1:50 AM on November 14, 2008


Excellent stuff.
posted by i_cola at 1:55 AM on November 14, 2008


It's neat, but I've discovered one goof - they play Europe's anthem at the end while showing what appears to be present-day US...
posted by Laotic at 2:04 AM on November 14, 2008


(enthusiastically agreeing with bicyclefish. Boundin' is great)
posted by JHarris at 2:11 AM on November 14, 2008


I somehow love Pixar, I guess doing animated shorts is really great. You haven't got any boundaries, that you might have in normal movie making. Just great.
posted by iSimone at 2:21 AM on November 14, 2008


That was swell, as expected, but it didn't really make much sense except for the moment-to-moment if you hadn't seen WALL-E already.

But it probably wasn't intended to be standalone, so all good, I guess.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 3:43 AM on November 14, 2008


I finally saw WALL-E a couple weeks ago. Once again I was fooled by the online hype into thinking this wouldn't be Yet Another Completely Formulaic Family Movie. Cute and even funny from moment to moment, it utterly fails to please in the larger arc.
posted by DU at 5:19 AM on November 14, 2008


Reminds me of my days doing field service. A lot.
posted by Standeck at 5:59 AM on November 14, 2008


Once again I was fooled by the online hype into thinking this wouldn't be Yet Another Completely Formulaic Family Movie.

...

You have GOT to be kidding. It was formulaic how?

NOTHING about WALL-E was the SLIGHTEST BIT formulaic, a term I reserve for movies like, say, Dunston Checks In, or maybe, I dunno, The Mighty Ducks or some shit.

The movie was about a thousand-years lonely janitor bot, that bonds with an eco-survey bot, and follows her into space to convince the bloated descendants of humanity to return to their barely salvageable home world.

Aside from the fact that this story has NEVER been told in a film, the whole thing, (aside from the hilarious Fred Willard) was rendered in photo-perfect CG, by a staggeringly talented team of animators, directors, actors, musicians, and more.

Tell you what, I'll leave you with my "critic's challenge", which is, let's see YOUR art.

Jeesh.
posted by chronkite at 6:26 AM on November 14, 2008 [6 favorites]


Trailer for next year's Pixar movie, UP.
posted by octothorpe at 6:39 AM on November 14, 2008


chronkite: "NOTHING about WALL-E was the SLIGHTEST BIT formulaic"

The Pixar Formula:
1) Isolate the protagonist, either socially or physically.
2) Give the protagonist a challenging but irresistable task far outside their comfort zone.
3) Give the protagonist a sidekick, preferably one they hate immensely.
4) Have the protagonist stumble towards the goal, often through complete coincidence.
5) As the task appears all but solved, something happens to make it seemingly insurmountable. The protagonist may even appear to be killed.
6) The final victory comes through teamwork. If the sidekick was initially hated, he/she is now loved.
posted by Plutor at 6:43 AM on November 14, 2008 [15 favorites]


I've loved pretty much every Pixar movie I've seen, but I'm not blind to the fact that there's a formula to them. Consider it synonymous to the virtually universal verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus pattern of rock/pop music. Not a critique, just an observation.
posted by Plutor at 6:45 AM on November 14, 2008


Well, it's a better formula than the one for Don Bluth films which are all pretty much PARENTAL DEATHCLOCKS.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:51 AM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


> The Pixar Formula:

Don't forget, the protagonist is _always_ male.
posted by djwudi at 6:54 AM on November 14, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's neat, but I've discovered one goof - they play Europe's anthem at the end while showing what appears to be present-day US...

...I think that that was just Beethoven's 9th/"Ode To Joy". Granted, that song may have been adopted by the EU as an anthem, but even if that's the case, it had a lengthy history as a standalone in its own right (and, the Pixar folk may be like me and not have been aware that that the anthem-ing had happened).

So I wouldn't call it a goof as such. Besides, it's still cute.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:09 AM on November 14, 2008


I liked the extra 2001 reference at the end.

I liked the Battlestar Galactica launch tube effect too! I imagine I'd fit in well at a Pixar party.
posted by Popular Ethics at 7:10 AM on November 14, 2008


Plutor, you're right - from the small bits of info available about their next movie Up, it seems to fit the formula 100%. Having said that, I'm still a Pixar fan. I love watching the evolution of the technology from film to film, and I appreciate the work that goes into each one. I think some of their best storytelling can be found in their short films. The Pixar short film DVD is one of their best productions to watch with the commentary, as they talk a lot about the company's upbringings, trials and accomplishments.

To me, WALL-E was not their best film, but I loved the whimsical nature of the first half, and the story beyond the formula was interesting and somewhat novel. Overall though, I felt the same way as when I watched Ratatouille in theatres - it was a great story, but not as much of a connection to the characters compared to Toy Story or Monsters, Inc. However I watched Ratatouille again recently and enjoyed it a bit more, so maybe it will grow on me when I watch it again.

I have to admit though, I'm a bit worried with the Disney purchasing in regards to how it will affect either the quantity or quality of Pixar's productions. I'd hate to see Pixar run into the ground, but it seems so far Pixar's been strong and in charge of itself. One good thing from the merge, I'm glad they were able to rescue the Toy Story franchise from a Disney production sequel... ugh.
posted by Meagan at 7:20 AM on November 14, 2008


Ok, Plutor, I can see that, kinda.

But that general "formula" describes LOTS of movies...Star Wars, Tron, The Big Lebowski, Clash of the Titans, Oh Brother Where Art Thou, Pootie Tang..

I agree with the pop/rock chord progression comparison, it's more form than formulaic.

And while it would be nice to see a non-male protagonist in a Pixar film, they sure do a great job creating competent, complex, and non-stereotypical female characters in their films.

The Incredibles was about the whole family, not just Mr. Incredible.
posted by chronkite at 7:28 AM on November 14, 2008


It might have been formulaic, but it did not in any sense of the term fail to please.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 7:44 AM on November 14, 2008


Thanks for the spoiler warning.
posted by owtytrof at 7:46 AM on November 14, 2008


...I think that that was just Beethoven's 9th/"Ode To Joy". Granted, that song may have been adopted by the EU as an anthem, but even if that's the case, it had a lengthy history as a standalone in its own right (and, the Pixar folk may be like me and not have been aware that that the anthem-ing had happened).

There is actually another funny reference here. When Burn-E starts welding for the first time and the sparks fly, he hums the first line of the Ode To Joy (pretty quietly). The original lyrics first line is:

Freude, schöner Götterfunken (...)
=
Joy, beautiful spark of the gods (...)
posted by uncle harold at 7:57 AM on November 14, 2008 [6 favorites]


I also just saw WALL E recently and totally loved it, formulae be damned. So thanks for this. PEACH-E.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:12 AM on November 14, 2008


Pffft. This was like every other movie I've ever seen. A protagonist faces difficulties and overcomes them. Or doesn't. HAVEN'T WE SEEN THIS MOVIE BEFORE????!!!
posted by ColdChef at 8:14 AM on November 14, 2008 [4 favorites]


Actually, Megan, they're making Toy Story 3 and Cars 2. I seem to think there's a third sequel in the works as well, which worries me that they'll become more box-office oriented.
posted by papercake at 8:34 AM on November 14, 2008


Solon and Thanks writes "It might have been formulaic, but it did not in any sense of the term fail to please."

Why's that sound like it might be a Oscar Wilde witticism written for a female character and alluding to the sexual proclivities of late Victorian Britain?
posted by orthogonality at 8:47 AM on November 14, 2008 [3 favorites]


Thanks for the spoiler warning.

OMG HEADS UP! Latest Pixar movie ends in happy ending!
posted by graventy at 8:50 AM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Could there be an Incredibles 2?
posted by boo_radley at 8:51 AM on November 14, 2008


Video no WORK-E for me.
posted by elwoodwiles at 9:18 AM on November 14, 2008


OMG HEADS UP! Latest Pixar movie ends in happy ending!

You just like ruining things for me, don't you?
posted by owtytrof at 9:23 AM on November 14, 2008


GONE-E.
posted by chococat at 9:25 AM on November 14, 2008


Try youtube
posted by CunningLinguist at 9:28 AM on November 14, 2008


That's a g-rated film formula, not just Pixar.

All kids movies are like that.


they're making Toy Story 3 and Cars 2. I seem to think there's a third sequel in the works as well, which worries me that they'll become more box-office oriented.

What have they been from the get-go? Is that a joke?
posted by Zambrano at 9:46 AM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


That's a g-rated film formula, not just Pixar.
All kids movies are like that.


I guess this is true of all American kids movies - and this is why I'm so grateful, as a parent, for Miyazaki's films, which have a depth and moral complexity to them that would never appear in an
American film targeted to any mass audience let alone kids. He's sort of the Anti-Disney. The protagonists are almost always female, and in most cases they solve their difficulties not through good-natured bungling but by their own wit, sincerity, and determination, and by resolving seemingly irreconcilable conflicts into some sort of higher unity. Pixar does some of this at its best. (eg. the strong female characters in the Incredibles, the "laugh energy" in Monster's Inc, etc.)
posted by dinsdale at 10:19 AM on November 14, 2008 [4 favorites]


Um, it was a joke, dude.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:20 AM on November 14, 2008


Plutor,

I think the only valid idea in your alleged Pixar formula is that they tend to feature teamwork in the climax, although I think there's a difference between the kind of generic "Everybody pitch in!" in the climax of Wall-E that did seem a little bit of a retread from A Bug's Life and Finding Nemo, and the climaxes of, say, the Incredibles or the first Toy Story which seem more of a natural result of having a large cast. Toy Story 2 and Cars feature climactic moments that focused more on individuals than teamwork. Ratatouille doesn't fit because the climax is definitely not the teamwork in the kitchen, but the critic's conversion.

But the rest? The protagonist is vaguely "isolated" socially or physically? Lame. I defy you to name any story that can't be described that way. Similarly, you can't make all the Pixar movies fit your "a challenging but irresistable task far outside their comfort zone" and "stumbling towards the goal" descriptions without making them so generic they include the plot of pretty much every movie. Mr. Incredible has no sidekick that fits your formula's description. Nor does Remy. Who is the "sidekick" in Toy Story 2? Buzz or Woody? You really think the "Yay, we won! Oops, one last unexpected challenge!" is a Pixar formula?

So yeah, Pixar movies fail to reject every convention of storytelling known to fiction. That's about the only metric I can think of by which they could be called failures.
posted by straight at 10:39 AM on November 14, 2008


Don't forget, the protagonist is _always_ male

I would argue that Elastigirl is just as much of a protagonist as Mr. Incredible in The Incredibles. The story focuses on him in the first half, but, as soon as he is kidnapped, she really takes over as the lead, and her rescue of him from Frozone's island is the longest sustained set piece in the film.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:47 AM on November 14, 2008


Don't forget, the protagonist is _always_ male.

Now there's a legitimate gripe. Would it have killed them to give Wall-E a female-sounding name and EVE a male sounding name? Or would we have complained because Wen-D was a stereotypical girl sobbing over old movies and ADAM was all strong and macho, always having to rescue the weak girl?
posted by straight at 10:51 AM on November 14, 2008


Shoot, should have previewed. How could I forget to give Pixar credit for Helen Paar? Has there ever been (will there ever be) a more intelligent, competent, human, non-bimbo, kick-ass female action hero in the history of film?
posted by straight at 10:55 AM on November 14, 2008


straight: "Pixar movies fail to reject every convention of storytelling known to fiction. That's about the only metric I can think of by which they could be called failures."

You seem to be making a few invalid assumptions here:
* Every one of the things in that list must be used exactly as described in every Pixar movie for it to be correct. "Toy Story 2 doesn't have a single protagonist and a single sidekick! Gotcha!" It's less of a fully descriptive list and more of a general template.
* My points can be 'disproved' individually. "This one is wrong in this case, this one is wrong in this other case. Every one of them is wrong once, so they're all wrong." My point is that Pixar almost always does almost all of those.
* If it's a common storytelling technique, it shouldn't count.
* Pixar needs to be defended from my outrageous insults. I never said that my observation was of a failure on Pixar's part. In fact I specifically said I've loved all of their movies. I think my rock/pop analogy is pretty apt. Is everyone who uses that pattern a musical failure? Absolutely not.

Personally, I think it's pretty obvious that all of the Pixar movies have a similar curve to them. Is it necessarily exactly as I described? No. Is it necessarily unique to Pixar movies? Also no. But it seems pretty self-evident to me.
posted by Plutor at 11:01 AM on November 14, 2008


CUT-E.

(What language is that YouTube clip in? It's only the little machine that talks, maybe like twice, but I'm still curious.)
posted by grapefruitmoon at 11:02 AM on November 14, 2008


It's WALL-E and EVE not WALL-E and STEVE!
posted by ODiV at 11:04 AM on November 14, 2008 [3 favorites]


I guess this is true of all American kids movies - and this is why I'm so grateful, as a parent, for Miyazaki's films, which have a depth and moral complexity to them that would never appear in an American film targeted to any mass audience let alone kids.

Disclaimer: I love Miyazaki -- I've seen _every_ single one of his films.

I'm not going to deny that Miyazaki's films are much more complex morally and thematically. But his films do have certain tropes and formulas that I find hard to ignore:

Often times, the protagonist is of royal blood/special birth, or holds some sort of hidden power (either as certain abilities or simple strength of will and determination). He/she battles with issues or characters that, while are never absolutely 'evil', are special in their own way. There are hidden but altogether sensible and even sympathizable reasons behind these enemies which motivate to act the way they do.

There's a sort of classism -- there's a 'general public' which is almost always supportive of the main protagonist, charming, innocent, and characterless. Sometimes this general public continues the plot by doing stupid things, like in Mononoke Hime or Howl. The real, main battle between the protagonist and other characters takes place in a level above and beyond the general public abilities or perception. Despite this, the protagonist cares about other people, even endangering themselves in order to save someone.

Miyazaki's female protagonists, while having ability and confidence and power all of their own, usually always have a corresponding male romantic interest who, in the end, helps them out and shields/protects them in a gesture typical of a 'male-protecting-the-female' gender dynamic. See: Nausicaa, San, Sophie, etc.

It turns out the method of resolving these conflicts lie in the unwavering heart, sincerity, and determination of the protagonist. Ultimately, his/her good deeds come back as solutions to a crisis; often in a crucial moment when it seems everything is lost, her friends, or even the 'enemies' see the light, turn around, and offer help.

At the end, the world has been through a lot; things have changed, damage has been dealt to the world, either emotionally or physically. But things are okay -- there's a resolution, maybe even a post-apocalyptic (or post-almost-apocalyptic) hope of renewal and survival and life. This happens at any scale, even in such domestic one as Ponyo, or a grander one as Nausicaa, etc.
posted by suedehead at 11:04 AM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


I've never seen a trailer for a Pixar movie I'd actually want to see. The premise of each upcoming seem so contrived and lame I'd roll my eyes.

But I've never seen a Pixar movie that I didn't love, and that didn't touch my heart in a significant way ... and didn't get me a little misty-eyed at some point.

A reminder of why you may not have seen WALL-E in theaters.

And a reminder why you should have.
posted by jabberjaw at 11:30 AM on November 14, 2008


I think the reason the vast majority of Pixar's heroes are male is because the VAST majority of Disney's feature films are female. Disney loves its princess line. Prior to Toy Story, you could count the number of popular male Disney characters on one hand.

If you've been to Disney World in the last ten years, outside of the classic Disney characters (Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, and maybe Pluto) there are almost no male heroes outside of the Pixar films. Peter Pan, Aladdin, Tarzan, and Hercules are the only ones I can think of, and I wouldn't consider Hercules and Tarzan hits exactly: they keep re-releasing the princess movies on dvd, but I wouldn't expect to see a blu-ray of Hercules anytime soon.

Contrast this with Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Belle, Pocahontas, Mulan, Ariel, Jasmine, Alice (in Wonderland), and the upcoming Tiana and Rapunzel.

(Further, it should be noted that of the males listed above are pretty much the only human ones. The rest are animals: the fox and hound from The Fox and the Hound, Robin Hood, Pinocchio, Dumbo, Tramp from Lady and the Tramp, the Dalmatians, etc.)

It's not to say that Disney doesn't have male heroes, but if you ask most people to name five classic Disney animated films, I'd be willing to bet that at least three are about a princess.

So Pixar decides to make some films that will sell toys to boys. Why not?
posted by nushustu at 12:00 PM on November 14, 2008


Besides these four, and these other four, and these other six, there are zero male Disney protagonists!
posted by Plutor at 12:26 PM on November 14, 2008


Oh, someone forgot the Miyazaki trope of Flying Devices with your female protagonists. ; )
posted by DoctorFedora at 12:28 PM on November 14, 2008


Sigh. My point is, if you look to really popular male protagonists in Disney, you don't find many. But there are lots of female protagonists in what are considered Disney's "masterpieces." Look at it this way: go to a toy store and see what kind of Disney character products you can buy. Outside of Pixar films, you will find almost NOTHING for the boys, but lots of princess toys.

And Plutor, I can apply your Pixar formula to the following films:

1) Isolate the protagonist, either socially or physically.
2) Give the protagonist a challenging but irresistable task far outside their comfort zone.
3) Give the protagonist a sidekick, preferably one they hate immensely.
4) Have the protagonist stumble towards the goal, often through complete coincidence.
5) As the task appears all but solved, something happens to make it seemingly insurmountable. The protagonist may even appear to be killed.
6) The final victory comes through teamwork. If the sidekick was initially hated, he/she is now loved.

Star Wars
Lord of the Rings
Pirates of the Caribbean
Most of Disney's animated films
The Matrix
Alien
Aliens
Jaws
ET
Die Hard
The Princess Bride
Back to the Future
Pee-Wee's Big Adventure
Saving Private Ryan
The Dirty Dozen
The Great Escape
Apocalypse Now
Iron Man
Adventures in Babysitting
Any Robin Williams comedy
Any Adam Sandler comedy
Any Will Ferrell comedy
Damn near any war movie


etc.

Of course, not all of these movies follow your formula exactly, but they basically do. Because your formula basically defines the standard three-act movie structure. Complaining that Pixar uses this formula is like complaining that broccoli ice cream is cold. All ice cream is cold, broccoli ice cream is gross for other reasons altogether.
posted by nushustu at 1:08 PM on November 14, 2008 [3 favorites]


Personally, I think it's pretty obvious that all of the Pixar movies have a similar curve to them.

Personally, I think it's pretty obvious that this is true only in a completely trivial and meaningless sense. All Pixar movies have characters! And plots! And dialogue! (Except for that one that didn't.)
posted by straight at 1:45 PM on November 14, 2008


The real Pixar formula: This applies to every Pixar movie. Prove me wrong.
posted by shadytrees at 1:45 PM on November 14, 2008 [3 favorites]


Duuuudes, I don't know why everybody's ragging on Plutor's formula.

I agree; there's a formula. Yes, other movies follow this formula. Yes, some specific Pixar movies may not follow specific parts of the formula. No, being formulaic does not necessarily equal being bad or unmoving or not poignant. In fact, Pixar movies are in fact great. It just happens that they can happen to be formulaic in terms of a plot structure.

Simplified: "A has the tendency to be like B". If you disagree with Plutor, then you should be saying "no, that's not true." Otherwise, arguments like "Well C is like B too" or "well A is like other things D too" or "hey hey in this one specific case A isn't like B so GOTCHA your argument is totally bogus" are really, quite frankly, bad logic.
posted by suedehead at 2:00 PM on November 14, 2008


I once heard someone describe the difference between Western and Chinese literature, in that much of Western literature is about characters coming to terms, or not, with their lives, while much Chinese literature is about people setting out to change the world, and succeeding. I haven't read enough Chinese literature to know if this is true, but it's interesting that Pixar's stories are also about the influence of one or a few outsiders in transforming the world. It's like they became obsessed with Colin Wilson at some time and decided to use The Outsider as a template for telling stories.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:04 PM on November 14, 2008


suedehead, it's not that he's wrong. It's just that saying all Pixar movies are formulaic doesn't mean much when the formula in question is generic enough to apply to hundreds if not thousands of films.

But I'll grant you that he does have a point. There is definitely a formula to Pixar's films. And he got it pretty much right. That IS the formula. But it's also the formula of almost all Hollywood animated films right now. However, Pixar's films are by and large better than most of the stuff coming out of Dreamworks. So Pixar does something else that makes them special. What is that something else? I have vague ideas, but nothing concrete. But if you want to talk about Pixar, that something else seems a much more interesting thing to discuss.
posted by nushustu at 2:26 PM on November 14, 2008


I agree; there's a formula. Yes, other movies follow this formula. Yes, some specific Pixar movies may not follow specific parts of the formula. No, being formulaic does not necessarily equal being bad or unmoving or not poignant. In fact, Pixar movies are in fact great. It just happens that they can happen to be formulaic in terms of a plot structure.

I don't think that it's Plutor's formula that people are ragging on, I think people are instead objecting to Plutor using that formula to justify a dismissal of Pixar.

The simplified argument I'm seeing:

Plutor: I don't like Pixar's movies.
Others: why?
Plutor: they all follow the same "a+b=c" formula, and therefore I don't like them.
Others: But CASABLANCA follows the same formula, so does that mean you also don't like CASABLANCA?
Plutor: No, I like CASABLANCA. But Pixar's films, I don't like.
Others: why?
Plutor: Because they are formulaic.
Others: But you just said you DO like a movie with that formula, so it must be something other than the formula.
Plutor: No, it's the formula.

Etc.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:32 PM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's a little more complicated than that, because Plutor has stated that he DOES like Pixar movies. As do I.

I could be wrong here, but sometimes it seems like people like to knock whoever is on top. Pixar is considered to be the premier animation studio in the country. So sometimes people will complain about Pixar. But the complaint in this case - that Pixar's stories are formulaic - isn't really valid, not because it's wrong, but because the formula in question is generic enough to include the vast majority of comedies, dramas, and action pics from Hollywood over the past several decades.

There might be reasons to dislike Pixar films. The complaint that Pixar always uses male heroes is valid. That's why I countered with the idea that they're making up for (almost) all of Disney's popular heroes being females. But the formula complaint? Try again.
posted by nushustu at 2:38 PM on November 14, 2008


nushustu, I take it you didn't include Mogli because he's a bear.
posted by ersatz at 7:02 PM on November 14, 2008


Pssst, ersatz: Mowgli's the human. The bear's name is Baloo.

Is this the time that I mention that Schmoopette has a "Jungle Book" book that she "reads" on the potty? I thought so.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 9:03 PM on November 14, 2008


Doesn't making the formula generic enough to include x, y & z, make it more valid? Maybe the film industry is a one trick pony. All games use timing, memory & reflexes. All music is a bunch of repetitive riffs.

Maybe people are angry at the idea of a generic formula because it suggests that there is less/no more progress to be made. Which to a cynic, there might not be, but for the rest of us who want to love and enjoy movies, we always look for something new and reject the idea that movie X, Y or Z is formulaic.
posted by Submiqent at 9:47 PM on November 14, 2008


English teacher weighing in here:

All of the discussion about formula and form, while interesting enough to keep me reading, hasn't yet mentioned really old literary forms such as the Hero's Journey. The films given in the (fine, gratifying) lists up above in this thread are similar, to each other and to Pixar's films, in that they fit, to a T, a framework that's been around pretty much since stories have.

Hell, I teach the HJ during my unit on The Odyssey in tandem with The Dark Knight and Borat.
posted by foodbedgospel at 10:55 PM on November 14, 2008 [1 favorite]


Of course Pixar movies are formulaic. Expect it, accept it, appreciate it.

Almost every story's formulaic, and almost every story follows the same storyline, or at least incorporates select components. This is the source of Joseph Campbell's theory of the Monomyth.

It's just what heroes do: they have to start out as dumb as you or me, get issued a challenge, have it seem insurmountable or unapproachable, get drawn in for personal reasons, seem to lose, get epiphany and/or superpower, try again, win, somewhere along the journey appreciate the help they get, and finally return home to make everything more hunky-dorey than it was to begin with, along with renewed appreciation for how hunky-dorey things were before the whole mess began.

Except with zombie movies, which have all of the above with the added "seed of doom to come" pointed out in the last few frames.

On preview, what foodbedgospel said.
posted by Graygorey at 12:05 AM on November 15, 2008


This link is down and the youtube link is also down. Is there any place I can watch this without Pixar taking it down? How am I supposed to see it, do they sell it?
posted by tehloki at 1:02 AM on November 15, 2008


Yeah, same as tehloki. Unfortunately it's not on the official pixar site yet, a lot of the other ones are.

Also, WALL-E might be male (to the extent that asexual robots can be) and the protagonist, but he's saved, several times over by the stronger, smarter and more advanced female EVE.

We can hope that the next movie PIXAR is more like an animated INLAND EMPIRE with a female protagonist. It might not go down well with the kids, adults or families but it won't be perceived as formulaic or sexist.
(I was going for sarcasm, but would actually love to see that movie.)
posted by slimepuppy at 5:23 AM on November 15, 2008


EmpressCallipygos: "I don't think that it's Plutor's formula that people are ragging on, I think people are instead objecting to Plutor using that formula to justify a dismissal of Pixar."

And that's exactly what is so stupid about this argument. I am not dismissing Pixar, nor have I said anything even close to what you've paraphrased as "I don't like Pixar's movies." or "But Pixar's films, I don't like." In fact, I've said "I've loved pretty much every Pixar movie I've seen" and "I never said that my observation was of a failure on Pixar's part."

But as long as you continue to read what you think I'm saying instead of what I'm actually saying, we're going to disagree.
posted by Plutor at 7:28 AM on November 15, 2008


Let me try to explain one last time why my opinion is not a dismissal. Nushustu's list of other movies that follow the pattern is a list of other really great movies. Some that I love, some that I like, others I dislike. But my opinion is in no way based on them following a rough pattern.

Say I argued that M. Night Shamalayan's movies almost always boil down to two main conflicts: Man vs. Supernatural, and Man vs. Self. Is this a critique? No. Is it a dismissal? No. It is an observation of a habit. Some of his movies I've liked more than others, but none of them because they have the same type of central conflict.

Feel free to discuss how much I hate all M. Night Shamalayan movies now.
posted by Plutor at 7:33 AM on November 15, 2008


Says content deleted. :(
posted by riccar at 12:15 PM on November 15, 2008


And that's exactly what is so stupid about this argument. I am not dismissing Pixar, nor have I said anything even close to what you've paraphrased as "I don't like Pixar's movies." or "But Pixar's films, I don't like." In fact, I've said "I've loved pretty much every Pixar movie I've seen" and "I never said that my observation was of a failure on Pixar's part."

But as long as you continue to read what you think I'm saying instead of what I'm actually saying, we're going to disagree.


...I apologize if I mis-read you, but the fact that so many people are misreading you in the same consistent way would seem to suggest that maybe there was another way you could try to state things. Perhaps it's time to clarify your point a little and prevent that confusion, rather than throwing up your hands like this?

And to bring this within screaming distance of the topic: There's always the old saw about how "there really are only seven plots in the world." And as for the original clip -- I love how the supply robot pats Burn-e at the end and says "there there."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:41 PM on November 15, 2008


Traileraddict link to BURN•E
posted by HFSH at 2:51 PM on November 15, 2008 [1 favorite]


Pssst, ersatz: Mowgli's the human. The bear's name is Baloo.

Baloo: Mowgli, don't you realize that you're a human?
Mowgli: I'm not any more, Baloo. I'm a bear like you. :)

No one reads the small print.
posted by ersatz at 4:26 PM on November 15, 2008


Dudes, Plutor's PIXAR formula is the formula for American Movies. Which are hella formulaic. It doesn't mean there's no such thing as a good movie or a good PIXAR movie, but the formula is simple and moralistic (and sexist).
posted by serazin at 8:24 PM on November 15, 2008


Looks like a lot of people don't want to be perceived as liking tired kiddie-formula movies with tidy endings.
posted by Zambrano at 9:08 AM on November 16, 2008


Looks like a lot of people don't want to be perceived as liking tired kiddie-formula movies with tidy endings.

So, do you get punched a lot?
posted by Burhanistan at 3:27 PM on November 16, 2008 [1 favorite]


hey hey in this one specific case A isn't like B so GOTCHA your argument is totally bogus

Except that at least one of his criteria (his description of the sidekick) fits less than half of Pixar's movies.

I'm not criticizing Plutor's alleged "formula" to defend Pixar (they need no defense, and he likes their movies). I'm criticizing it because it's dumb and this is the second Pixar thread he posted it, as if it were some great insight. The items in his list are a mix of wrong and trivial.
posted by straight at 10:54 AM on November 18, 2008


straight: "this is the second Pixar thread he posted it"

It is?
posted by Plutor at 11:02 AM on November 18, 2008 [1 favorite]


Plutor, I apologize. I could have sworn this was the second time I'd seen that list and assumed it was you who'd posted it twice. Google says I'm wrong. I don't know what I was thinking of.

Sorry to needlessly pick at you and clog up this thread.
posted by straight at 2:20 PM on November 19, 2008 [2 favorites]


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