I was lucky enough to score some 3-D glasses for the Super Bowl last night, and Dreamworks new commercial for their upcoming Aliens Versus Monsters movie. I don't know what your experience was watching that, so hopefully you had more fun with the 3D gimmicks. Perhaps rear-projection tv screens won't allow for it to work. All I know is that I had my glasses on, and I didn't see a damn thing. What a letdown.
Well, that's not entirely untrue. I could see the shots that were intended to be "3-D," but it was so depressingly cliche, a shot of a space monster bouncing a ball at the screen. Oy, froinlayvin! It's the year 2009, and suddenly we're sent hurling back to the world of Count Floyd. Tonight's scary movie! Doctor Tongue's 3-D...House of Pancakes! Wooooooo! That was reaaaly scary, kids!
So there's the new Hollywood gimmick. Same as the old Hollywood gimmick.
I was disappointed that Disney didn't seize this moment to make the case for the American theatrical release of Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea. With such endless hype hype hype for 3-D movies as the end-all and be-all of our lives, here comes the latest masterpiece from one of cinema's true giants. An animated film entirely created by hand, and entirely in glorious 2-D. If there was a better chance to promote Ponyo, I honestly can't think of it.
The cynical side of me expects Disney to bury the latest Miyazaki film, just as they have all the others. It's just the nature of the movie business. Besides, you could see the real agenda on the tv ad that followed the Aliens Versus Monsters trailer - the first of an endless stream of corporate tie-ins. This, truly, is what the movie business is about. Merchandizing! Merchandizing! Where the REAL money from the movie is made!
You can't fault Disney, or any of the handful of corporate conglomerates who control our entertainment realm, to not promote a foreign movie like Ponyo. There's nothing in it for them. No Happy Meals. No stuffed dolls. No t-shirts, no pajamas, no Halloween costumes. No tie-ins at all, in fact. Studio Ghibli demands complete control over their properties. And they guard their creations like works of art, not to be pimped out mercilessly for the sake of capitalist greed. Funny, that. It's almost like they think of themselves as artists with some higher calling.
Anyway, these are the rambling thoughts that spun in my mind during the Dreamworks commercial. It's their fault for not delivering the goods on 3-D. Probably my thought for thinking too much. I do that. It's what happens when I read books or spin records on my Sony PS-X turntables instead of watching teevee. Dagnabbit.
Oh, I should also say some happy words for Pixar's Up trailer, which was also shown at the Super Bowl. Once again, they seem to exist on a different plane than the rest of Hollywood. Up promises to be a genuinely entertaining, funny, and inventive picture. Meanwhile, Dreamworks offers yet another helping of burps, farts, and lazy pop culture riffs to reward the lazy.
It's like all the "A" students at Cal Arts graduated to Pixar, and the "C" students slacked off to Dreamworks. What's the deal with that? I would kill to see some serious competition in American animation. I could only imagine how good Pixar's movies would become if they felt some real competition sniping at their heels. As such, Hollywood is still stuck in a simplistic race to the bottom, to who can throw up the most explosions, the most fart jokes, and the most tie-ins.
Skip it. If this isn't enough on an inspiration to stand in line for Ponyo, then you really have no business going out to movies anymore.