The new year has arrived, bringing with it the usual vows of self-improvement, opportunity for fresh starts, and hope that the coming twelve months will be better than the previous. It’s a traditional time for optimism.
Unfortunately, New Year’s Day 2018 doesn’t find me full of anticipation for the new year. Aside from the bigger problems of the world that haven’t disappeared with the 2017 calendars, my husband and I are both sick. We’re also still recovering from the emotional drain of the holidays. And temperatures aren’t venturing above 30 degrees. Don’t get me wrong; my life is good and I’m still grateful for what I do have.
Still, it can be tough to find enthusiasm for the new year when I’m more inclined to curl up in a blanket with my dogs to stay warm. However, I’d like to feel that sense of a fresh start and anticipating the new. So I am focusing on something I am definitely looking forward to in 2018. I’ve asked the other Ladies what they are looking forward to as well so click through to find out what we can’t wait for. Continue reading
Here it is a month into 2015 and I still haven’t picked an Honorary Lady of Comicazi? It’s about time I did something about that.
Without further ado, here’s my addition to the growing list: Brenda Chapman.
You may not be familiar with Chapman’s name, as is the case with so many people in the world of animation. But you almost certainly know her work. After graduating from the venerable California Institute of the Arts and getting her start working on TV productions like Heathcliff and the Catillac Cats and The Real Ghostbusters, Chapman began working at Disney’s story department. She boarded several notable scenes in Beauty and the Beast and other Disney films before heading up the story department on The Lion King. Chapman left Disney to join the nascent DreamWorks Animation as one of three co-directors of the studio’s first film, The Prince of Egypt. This made her the first woman ever to direct an animated feature film from a major Hollywood studio.
After months – if not years – of rumors, the official word is out: Toy Story 4 is coming. We know virtually nothing about the movie aside from its planned June 2017 release date, a few of the people who are working on it, and some rumblings that the fourth film will be a love story. But does that stop the Internet from speculating? Of course not.
The second the film was announced, it seemed like everyone had an opinion. Years before its release, Toy Story 4 had already been called everything from a potential new Pixar masterpiece to a sign that the studio’s days as the symbol of quality in computer animation are over, plus everything in between.
Obviously it’s a bit early to know how we should feel about a new Toy Story movie, but it’s also nearly impossible to avoid having an opinion. So here’s my take on the announcement, from my concerns to my thoughts on other people’s concerns to the one big reason I’m not worried yet. Continue reading
We’ve already seen how the first batch of Pixar films fared against the Bechdel Test. Now it’s on to round two.
It’s time once again for the Bechdel Test, that ever-popular method of kind of sort of determining the feminist value of movies and other works of fiction. As I’ve said before, the Bechdel Test is actually better at identifying trends than it is at determining the quality or feminism of an individual film. So when I do the Bechdel Test, I like to apply it to groups of movies. Last time, the Disney princesses took the test. This time, it’s Pixar’s turn.
Why Pixar? Well, obviously I like animation. If I’m going to be spending some time scrutinizing a bunch of movies, it might as well be movies I’m interested in. Pixar also has a good-sized but still manageable catalog of films, enough to make for interesting analysis without taking me months to tackle. The Pixar films also make for a good comparison with the Disney Princess movies. They share many aspects beyond being animated, yet also differ in the kinds of stories they tell and the eras the movies come from. And finally, Pixar has been criticized in the past for making largely male-centric movies while relegating their female characters to secondary, though still strong, roles. While subjecting the Pixar movies to the Bechdel test may not support or refute this criticism, it could shed some light on the subject.
In case anyone has forgotten, the Bechdel Test consists of three rules. First, the movie in question must contain at least two female characters. Second, two female characters must have at least one conversation with each other. Third, at least one of these conversations must be about something other than a male character. The rules seem simple, but as I found out when applying the test to the Disney Princess movies, there’s a lot left to interpretation, such as what counts as a conversation, whether the mere mention of a male character disqualifies a conversation, whether the presence of a male character disqualifies a conversation, and so on. Since the Bechdel Test was originally written as the topic of a single page comic rather than a serious attempt to analyze film, there’s a lot of ambiguity.
So that’s the preliminaries out of the way. On to the films! Continue reading