Saturday, May 30, 2009

Adventure people

If it's summer, it must be time for another home run from the folks at Pixar. And this year is no exception, with the release of "Up." Initially, I was skeptical that a film about an elderly man flying his house to South America would pack the same narrative punch as the studio's previous releases. I need not have worried. And I don't need to say much more about the plot other than the movie's first ten minutes are the most emotionally deep and resonant moments Pixar has created yet. Even more than WALL-E's wordless first act. Other studios rarely achieve (or aspire to) such heights with live actors.

It seems clear that, starting with "Ratatouille," Pixar has moved from creating great kids movies that parents can also enjoy to just the opposite. Although there are still plenty of funny characters to keep the youngsters engaged, the themes and plots are now meant to connect on a deeper level with the adults in the audience. Frankly, I hope they take that trend one step further. I'd like Pixar to apply their considerable talents to material that is less comedic and more epic or classic in scope. Ten films on, they've mastered the tale of the misfit or dreamer who must overcome incredible challenges to achieve their ambition. But there are many other stories that they could be telling. I'd love to see them master those as well.

On the TV side, three important fellowship deadlines are coming up soon:

NBC's Writers on the Verge, June 30th
Disney-ABC Television Writing Fellowship, July 1st
Warner Brothers Writers' Workshop, July 25th

Happy speccing.