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Go to www.krishnabalashenoi.wordpress.com for art and films by Krishna Bala Shenoi.

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“Photographs” : An Experimental Film

‘”Photographs” is an extraordinary short film’

– Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

An experimental film. It means nothing and everything. It doesn’t have any conventional sense of plot. It is meant to evoke an emotion, a reaction, from the viewer. The less said, the better. The interpretation is yours to decide.
Shot in Bangalore, Kerala, UAE and China.


PIXAR, say it isn’t so!


I have a dream, and I hope it comes true: One fine morning, Pixar Animation Studios announces that their recently released trailer of ‘Cars 2’ is nothing but a huge prank. It was a hoax, a fake trailer, something to play around with audiences. The real trailer is something more grounded, more charming and more like the first film.

Sadly, my dreams rarely come true.

‘Never judge a movie by its trailer,’ I’ve heard it said. Words of wisdom. ‘Titanic’ looked awful in its trailer, but we all know how the film touched audiences. From their trailers, ‘Iron Man’ looked pathetic and ‘Spider-Man 3’ looked excellent; the final films were just the opposite. Movie trailers are just advertisements—you can’t tell the quality of the film from its trailer.

But you can tell a bit about the plot, and maybe the tone, of a film from its trailer. I do not like what I can tell from the trailer of Pixar’s next film ‘Cars 2’.

Let’s have a look at it.

Now what’s wrong with that? Well, take a look at this clip from the first ‘Cars’ film.

Feel a difference? No?

Let’s have a look at the premises of the two films.
1. ‘Cars’: Lightning McQueen, an upcoming race car, somehow ends up in the forgotten Radiator Springs, where he finds friendship and love in its simple locals and learns the true meaning respect and winning.
2. ‘Cars 2’: Lightning McQueen and his tow truck friend Mater get involved in international espionage. Their action-packed, top secret mission leads them on an explosive chase through the streets of Japan and Europe. The trailer says, “They’re not just racing around the world… they’re racing to save the world!”

Do you get my point? When the first ‘Cars’ film was so beautiful and thought provoking, why make the sequel like every other run-off-the-mill animated film? (Think ‘Monsters vs. Aliens’ et all.)

Perhaps I appear to be a bit of a fool by now, by judging a film by one simple teaser trailer. Reader, do forgive me. It’s just that I care too much for Pixar. I grew up with their films. I’ve loved each and every one of them. I’ve seen them all countless times, spread the word and told my friends to watch them, analysed them myself, read about them so very much… and just enjoyed the films themselves. They are great movies, there’s no denying that. If there is, you must be Armond White.

‘Toy Story’ was a phenomenon. Its sequels were less so, but they were still great animated films. ‘A Bug’s Life’ was breathtaking for its time… arguably, it’s breathtaking for any time. ‘Monster’s Inc.’ was superb entertainment too.

But ‘Finding Nemo’. Oh, I absolutely love that film. It’s one of the best animated films I have ever seen. Beautiful visuals, such a touching story, an incredible adventure… exceptional filmmaking. ‘The Incredibles’ is a trend-setter too. It’s an outstanding action-adventure for the whole family, with amazing set pieces and great characters to occupy them.

‘Cars’ must have been a disappointment for Pixar. It raked in a lot less money than many of their previous efforts. The film wasn’t just a letdown at the box office–while their previous films got RT ratings as high as 100%, the lowest being 91%, ‘Cars’ got 74%, still the lowest for a Pixar film. I don’t see why—I loved the film, and I think it’s a very good movie.

Moving on, then came ‘Ratatouille’, a splendid animated film, one of the best-looking ever made, and one of my personal favourites from Pixar. Everyone knows how Pixar’s next offering ‘WALL-E’ was a brilliant achievement. Then last year’s release was ‘Up’, which was a wonderful film, with great animation and visuals, great music, well flesh out characters, and beautiful, heart warming story telling. I could tell all of this from the first ten minutes, mind you.

If you take a quick look at the above four paragraphs, you might notice I have exhausted my ‘appreciative vocabulary’!—I’ve used so many adjectives in praise of Pixar’s excellent films, I think I’m all out.

Pixar Animation Studios is my favourite film production company of all time. So you see my reasons for being anxious about ‘Cars 2’. But why have a ‘Cars 2’ anyways? ‘Cars’ was a disappointment for Pixar, wasn’t it? Their lowest rated film, wasn’t it? Why make it a franchise? I’ll tell you why: 5 billion dollars.

Estimates indicated that sales of ‘Cars’ related merchandise has brought in USD 5 billion in sales. The film itself made only USD 460 million worldwide through its entire theatrical run!

So a sequel was only likely, wasn’t it? A chance to sell more of the new ‘Cars’ lunch boxes, sticker album, Mattel models, room decor, the works.

Maybe I’ve been at this all wrong. Maybe that first trailer only highlights the action scenes and the spy plot. Maybe there’s more to it than just that. Maybe this film will be heart-warming and meaningful too.

See, right there is my concern. I didn’t have so many ‘maybe’s after seeing any other Pixar trailers, and that troubles me.

– Cinematic Jackass, signing off 🙂