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If you’re a movie enthusiast like us, Last Gen PodCast is for you. Here, we talk about the newest film releases, trailers, news, and everything else happening in the movie world. Our podcast is convenient and portable, and you can listen to it on the go.
About Last Gen Podcast

Last Gen PodCast was started as a movie and TV series review site. It offers more insights on films to listeners. The podcast mainly focuses on Disney, Star Wars, and Pixar studios. Here, you can learn more about the news and views of films from these three great studios.

Our presenters are witty, funny, and well-articulated. As such, not only will you be listening to just people talking about films, but you can also get a good laugh from their presentation. We love watching movies, and we think it’s important for movie lovers to have a place they can go to for reviews, recent updates, etc. That’s why we started this podcast. Our shows talk about the latest information on the films from these three great studios. Plus, we will update you on the trailer and when the next episode of the series will be released. Also, we offer suggestions of the best movies for you to watch. We do all the hard work for you so that yours will only be to decide whether a film is worth your time.

On top of that, we conduct the best conversations on different film-related topics. Therefore, you can trust us for news, reviews, etc. To simplify things for you, we have a search functionality on our website where you can type the name of the movie to listen to the discussions about it. Also, one of the things that make our podcast stand out is our presenters. They are dedicated to making sure that you get factual and accurate information. We conduct our conversations in the most engaging way, such that you’ll always feel like you are part of our discussions.

For those who love to watch movies but don’t have the time to read their synopsis first or don’t know which top releases to watch, Last Gen PodCast has a solution to that. You can learn about films from Disney, Pixar, and Star Wars studios from our conversations. If you love to stay updated on the current releases and news from these three filmmakers, we are the best podcast to listen to.

We take the extra step of researching to ensure that our audience gets accurate information. Plus, we allow our listeners to comment on what they want us to talk about in our discussions. We appreciate customer feedback as we want to know how we can make our podcasts better and more interesting. So, don’t shy away from giving us your views on the comment section on our website.

Pixar Studios and their Productions

Pixar studios which a production company also referred to as Pixar is an American company known to produce computer-animated films. It has made tremendous strides since its inception to become one of the top producers of animated commuter films. Pixar is particularly experienced and specialized in feature films. It takes the lead with 24 of the feature films.

The first attempt was the Toy Story in 1995 with the most recent being this year, the Luca 2021. Pixar started at Lucasfilms as the Graphic Group. Later in the year 1986, it transformed into a corporation with Jobs the Apple Co-founder holding the majority shares. Disney purchased the animation company later in 2006 RenderMan was given the responsibility of dealing with technology and incorporating it with feature films.

Animated Production

The company’s first achievement was what they created in 1982 by the Lucasfilm Computer Division which they called “The Wrath of Khan”. The film shows a plain and lifeless planet being changed by lavish flora and it was the first creation and the launch of a long journey of Pixar studios while still in its making. It was the first production of the eye-capturing film. Along with that in 1983, the Computer Division also creates their initial film-resolution image which they called “The Road to Point Reyes.

In the same year that is 1983, John Lasseter began working with the Graphics Group, and later in 1984, he becomes the full-time Interface Designer in the Computer Division. The Adventures of Andre and Wally B was the first creation among the short film by what was to become the industry leader in animation film creation. It also became the first character animation among computer animation. In the year 1985 Computer Division came up with the Stained Glass Knight as their production in the film Young Sherlock Holmes.

Oscar Award

In the following year, the company changed hands when Steve Jobs bought the Computer Division from George Lucas and gave the new company the name Pixar. Later on, in the year Pixar and Disney started a joint venture and began the Computer Animation Production System which later transformed into creating customary energetic films. From this point, the journey and the projection of great things ahead began with the completion of the first short film the Luxo Jr. No one at that point had an idea of what lay ahead or dreamt that the short film was later to be nominated as the first three-dimensional Oscar-nominated short film. It was declared the Best Short Animated Film.

The Oscar nomination was a motivation to the team and created a new strength for the team to forge ahead for greater things. Later they came up with the Red’s Dream in 1987 premiering at SIGGRAPH. Most of the Red’s Dream has a share of it wholly concentrated on the Pixar Image Computer.

Academy Award

Pixar brought in what is known as Pixar’s proprietary animation system which created the modeling environment. Together with RenderMan software the two enable Pixar to produce the third short film, Tin Toy. This film later premiered at the Ottawa International Film Fest and amazingly became the first film in the animation category to receive an Academy Award and later it took the title, the Best Short Film (in the animated Category).

3D Animation Production

The year 1989 Pixar started its computer-animated TV commercials and later together with Disney jointly developed, produced, and distributed the three feature-length animation motion pictures. Using its 3D production Pixar for the next years spend a lot of its time on Toy Story which later appeared in theatres in 1995. This was the first computer-animated feature film and a family movie.

For the years that followed the film production, Pixar has been enjoying great success and expanding its operation. It has been creating crowd moving crowd-moving movies like Bugs Life in 198, Toy Story season 2 in 1999, and Finding Nemo 2003. In 2004 it produced the Incredibles and has always dominated the animated film production field since 2002.

From the first animated film production, Pixar has been enjoying a series of production which has made it one of the most successful animated film production company. It has its headquarters in Emeryville, California, United States. Its secret of success is associated with following the use of the right tools and breaking the digital barriers in production. Since the first production of the animated film, Pixar has been always pushing the level of technology further in each production. That includes:

• Global illumination

• Universal scene description

• Renderman and

• Presto

The three have given Pixar a milestone and kept it ahead of the competition making it one of the renowned animation film producing companies in America.

The company is known for winning awards in various categories with 23 Academy Awards, 10 Golden Awards, and 11 Grammy Awards. The company has also earned reveal other awards and acknowledgments for what they do. Many o its films have earned nominations for Academy Award as the Best Animated Feature since 2001.

Also in September 2009 the Company executives, JohnLaser, Andrew Stanton, B.Bird and Peter Docter were all recognized by the Venice Film Festival. They won the Golden Loin award for Lifetime Achievement with the physical award ceremoniously handed to the founder of Lucasfilm’s founder George Lucas.

Star Wars Rebels Series Plot Summary

Star Wars Rebels is an action-adventure science fiction television series created by filmmaker Simon Kinberg, American producers Dave Filoni and Carrie Beck. The Lucasfilm production is set in the Star Wars galaxy, five years before Star Wars: Episode iv A New Hope and 14 years into the reign of the Galatic Empire. It was first announced on May 20, 2013, after news about the end of Star Wars: The Clone Wars and the beginning of a new series. The animated film initially premiered as a one-hour TV movie, Star War: Spark of Rebellion, on Disney Channel on October 3, 2014. Star Wars Rebels became the first new major Star Wars project after the acquisition of Lucasfilm by The Walt Disney Company.

Let us get the back story of the original series- Star Wars, to understand the film better.

About Star Wars Film series

The Star Wars film series is created around three trilogies- nine films collectively known as the “Skywalker saga.” The films were not produced in chronological order. The first release was Episodes IV-VI, followed by the prequel trilogy (Episodes I-III) and finally the sequel trilogy (Episodes VII-IX)

Each trilogy depicts the story of a generation of the Skywalker family. The first, depicting the heroic development of Luke Skywalker, the prequels were telling the story of Luke’s father – Anakin, while the sequels focused on Luke’s nephew Kylo Ren. The anthology series are origin stories for the Star Wars Rebels series that entered development concurrently with the production of the sequel trilogy.

Star Wars Rebels Premise

Essentially, the general premise of this film is described as a dark time in the galaxy due to the tightened grip of power by the evil Galatic Empire from world to world. The series begins with the Imperial forces occupying a remote planet and running the lives of its subjects. However, a few brave ones – the clever and motley crew of the starship Ghost-come forth to challenge the endless Stormtroopers and TIE fighters of the Empire. They conduct covert operations against the rulers (Imperial forces) on and around the planet Lothal and proceed to other planets menaced by the Empire. The ragtag group faces new villains but at the same time enjoys thrilling adventures and eventually conquer to become heroes.

Development

The original Star Wars Rebels concept was Beck’s idea. She suggested that It be about a crew that went around righting wrongs. The idea came together with Filoni’s to deal with a few characters-Jedi Master and Padawan, a Gungan called Lunker, and a smuggler and his girlfriend. According to Filoni’s idea, the plan involved the group in black market trade, war espionage, and other stories that existed beyond the giant galactic conflict happening in the background. The decision was made to center the Rebels on the Rebel Alliance ( between Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith and Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope ) during the reign of the Galactic Empire. It was also decided that the film would depict Rebellion from one group of characters’ point of view.

The production team differentiated Rebels from The Clone Wars by basing most of the visuals on Ralph McQuarrie’s designs. Ralph was responsible for the concept art for much of the original trilogy. The film was also influenced by ideas from George Lucas for Star Wars: Underworld. Additionally, much of its action was inspired by the Indiana Jones franchise. In the early stages of development, Disney pushed for a more comedy-oriented series with much hesitation from Lucasfilm productions. It planted ideas on Filoni’s mind to involve Death Star plans. An idea that was soon abandoned after the development of Rogue One. Filoni later planned for appearances from the Death Star and Orson Krennic but again dropped the idea and saw It best to develop things that directly affect the Ghost crew.

Main Characters

The show focuses on six rebels who crew the starship Ghost. The lineup comprises ;

Ezra Bridger

A teenage street urchin and con artist on planet Lothal. The Force-sensitive Human male joins the scout after 8 years of riding solo. His parents were imprisoned and killed by the Imperial forces for setting up public broadcasts and speaking out against the Galactic Empire’s dictatorship.

Kanan Jarrus

Also, a force-sensitive human male, Kanan Jarrus, was initially Padawan to Jedi Master before the rise of the Empire. Before joining the crew, he goes into hiding from the Empire after surviving Order 66 and the extinction of the Jedi Order. The character is armed with a DL-18 blaster pistol and a two-piece dual-phase lightsaber. He also serves the crew as a de facto leader and mentors Ezra on using the Force.

Hera Syndulla

She is an independent and strong-minded Twi’lek and the owner and pilot of the Ghost. She is the crew’s voice of reason and keeps them together while bringing the best out of them. She puts her piloting skills to good use by fighting against the Empire. Although she is not Force-sensitive, her pilot and gunner skills put her at par with the enemy.

Sabine Wren

Sabine Wren is a teenage Mandalorian female, graffiti artist, an Imperial Academy dropout, and former bounty hunter. She acts as the crew’s weapon expert and frequently personalizes her hair, armor, and cabin.

Chopper

Chopper, otherwise known as C1-10P, is an astromech droid built from spare parts. The character is irritable, fussy, and quite stubborn. Most importantly, he is the crew’s lifesaver-frequently saving them from dangerous situations.

Zeb Orrelios

Zeb is a Last male honor guardsman with a gruff demeanor. His species were among the first to rise against the Empire and were massacred. He is a well-trained warrior and close friends with Ezra Bridger. The two dislike Chopper.

Generally, the film has had an overwhelming reception and garnered praises for its writing, voiceovers, characters, score, and the expansion of the franchise’s mythology. It was also nominated for various awards such as the Critic’s Choice Television Awards for Best Animated Series and the Emmy’s for Outstanding Children’s Program. The ideas from the show are also noticeable in subsequent Star Wars media.

Star Wars Rebels : Twin Suns – THAT Fight

Last nights Star Wars Rebels gave us the showdown that many had been hoping for but it came and went in mere moments. When we break down the action though, quite a bit occurred and all of it based on Star Wars history. To look further into the Obi-Wan/Maul battle we need to look back first.

In The Phantom Menace we see Maul take on both Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon Jinn for the finale. Well, part of it, the other parts…eh, never mind those. Anyway, when Maul finally gets Qui-Gon alone to battle, he uses the lightsaber hilt itself to throw off Qui-Gon and deliver the deathblow.

So falls Qui-Gon Jinn; Obi-Wan is up next and he is ready to go. You can even say he is being led by anger. As Maul paces back and forth like a tiger, Obi-Wan is nearly jumping out of his boots to get at his teacher’s assassin. He even snarls.

Meanwhile, here is Maul. Calm as all hell.

Even in the following wide shot, we see Maul is getting ready but Obi-Wan is chomping at the bit to get at it then RUNS into the battle. Not exactly the Jedi type way of handling a situation.

There was a comic that dealt with this too. Yoda and Obi-Wan discuss how anger controlled Ben here and it lead to him nearly being killed too. Now, lets looks at the battle in Twin Suns. Our fighters face each other and while Maul is ready to go, Obi-Wan has not even drew his lightsaber yet. In this scenario, he is calm as a Jedi should be.

After Maul puts together the WHY of Obi-Wan being on Tatooine, Obi-Wan draws, and the showdown is set to begin. With that, Obi-Wan takes his normal battle pose that Ewan McGregor used in the prequel films and was continued in the animated series.

The two continue to stare each down and Obi-Wan makes a choice to change stances. What he is doing is tricking Maul. Instead of going with his normal stance, he takes the battle stance used by Qui-Gon.

Marking this change, Maul takes note and adjusts his footing.

Then the two spring into action and Maul is almost instantly cut down by his nemesis. Why? Well, a few reasons go into this. Number one, Jedi are supposed to be the samurai of their time. Master swordsmen where the duels are decided quickly. That was the original idea anyway. It has expanded since but the creators here made the choice to go with the original interpretation and that makes perfect sense since so much of Star Wars Rebels is steeped in original concept drawings and ideas.

The other reason is this, Maul seeing the battle stance of Qui-Gon being adapted by Obi-Wan made him feel confident in pulling the same trick twice. Maul goes for the exact attack that killed Qui-Gon. You can see it here. He is trying to hit Obi-Wan with the hilt of the lightsaber to throw him off and deal the final stab. Watch the gif. Pay attention to where Maul is attempting to strike with the middle hilt of the saber. Obi-Wan knows this attack and counters it perfectly. He lowers his head and strikes directly down the middle, not only damaging Maul’s saber, but cutting him down the chest.

Now compare that to Qui-Gon’s death.

In short, Obi-Wan suckered him in. He used patience and thought out the situation to end Maul once and for all. So yes, while the battle lasted only a few seconds, it encompassed 18 years of history between these two characters effectively. I will take that any day of the week over two guys flipping end to end for 20 minutes where it looks cool, but lacks any emotional punch. See Revenge of the Sith for a perfect example of that.

Star Wars Rebels gave us the showdown

Star Wars Rebels gave us the showdown that many had been hoping for but it came and went in mere moments. When we break down the action though, quite a bit occurred and all of it based on Star Wars history. To look further into the Obi-Wan/Maul battle we need to look back first.

In The Phantom Menace we see Maul take on both Obi-Wan and Qui-Gon Jinn for the finale. Well, part of it, the other parts…eh, never mind those. Anyway, when Maul finally gets Qui-Gon alone to battle, he uses the lightsaber hilt itself to throw off Qui-Gon and deliver the deathblow.

So falls Qui-Gon Jinn; Obi-Wan is up next and he is ready to go. You can even say he is being led by anger. As Maul paces back and forth like a tiger, Obi-Wan is nearly jumping out of his boots to get at his teacher’s assassin. He even snarls.

Meanwhile, here is Maul. Calm as all hell.

Even in the following wide shot, we see Maul is getting ready but Obi-Wan is chomping at the bit to get at it then RUNS into the battle. Not exactly the Jedi type way of handling a situation.

There was a comic that dealt with this too. Yoda and Obi-Wan discuss how anger controlled Ben here and it lead to him nearly being killed too. Now, lets looks at the battle in Twin Suns. Our fighters face each other and while Maul is ready to go, Obi-Wan has not even drew his lightsaber yet. In this scenario, he is calm as a Jedi should be.

After Maul puts together the WHY of Obi-Wan being on Tatooine, Obi-Wan draws, and the showdown is set to begin. With that, Obi-Wan takes his normal battle pose that Ewan McGregor used in the prequel films and was continued in the animated series.

The two continue to stare each down and Obi-Wan makes a choice to change stances. What he is doing is tricking Maul. Instead of going with his normal stance, he takes the battle stance used by Qui-Gon.

Marking this change, Maul takes note and adjusts his footing.

Then the two spring into action and Maul is almost instantly cut down by his nemesis. Why? Well, a few reasons go into this. Number one, Jedi are supposed to be the samurai of their time. Master swordsmen where the duels are decided quickly. That was the original idea anyway. It has expanded since but the creators here made the choice to go with the original interpretation and that makes perfect sense since so much of Star Wars Rebels is steeped in original concept drawings and ideas.

The other reason is this, Maul seeing the battle stance of Qui-Gon being adapted by Obi-Wan made him feel confident in pulling the same trick twice. Maul goes for the exact attack that killed Qui-Gon. You can see it here. He is trying to hit Obi-Wan with the hilt of the lightsaber to throw him off and deal the final stab. Pay attention to where Maul is attempting to strike with the middle hilt of the saber. Obi-Wan knows this attack and counters it perfectly. He lowers his head and strikes directly down the middle, not only damaging Maul’s saber, but cutting him down the chest.

Now compare that to Qui-Gon’s death.

In short, Obi-Wan suckered him in. He used patience and thought out the situation to end Maul once and for all. So yes, while the battle lasted only a few seconds, it encompassed 18 years of history between these two characters effectively. I will take that any day of the week over two guys flipping end to end for 20 minutes where it looks cool, but lacks any emotional punch. See Revenge of the Sith for a perfect example of that.

Who is Benicio del Toro playing In Star Wars : The Last Jedi?

Vanity Fair has always done a fantastic job of getting Star Wars fans all gushy with their photo spreads by legend, Annie Leibovitz. This time around is no different and while hearts appropriately broke over seeing Carrie Fisher in Leia costume for what will be her final performance in the saga following her passing, a lot of swirl surrounds who exactly is it that Benicio del Toro is portraying.

As usual, he looks fantastic and seems dressed for either a Star Wars film or as a Gunslinger in Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. But who exactly is “DJ”? He is described in the VF article as being a “newcomer to the saga” and “shifty”. So, another scoundrel. Great. We just lost THE scoundrel of scoundrels in Han Solo, at the hands of his own son (spoilers?) so maybe BDT is here to fill that gap.

Of course that won’t suffice for the fan base. The now tradition of trying to work out every plot point months in advance of just sitting in a theater and enjoying the film as it unravels in front of you is not one I really enjoy, but let’s play along for today.

Bottom line. What if Benicio Del Toro is none other than Ezra Bridger of Star Wars Rebels fame? A stretch yes, but the character is the appropriate age and these two gents seems to share a similar mark upon their left cheek.

Yes, they eyes don’t match but I am not sure that Ezra’s animated hue is really of much importance in the overall game. This is proven by the recent use of Saw Gerrera in Rogue One. Saw’s eyes in the animated series were a distinct green as where Forest Whitakers’ eyes are decidely not.

At this year’s Star Wars Celebration, during the Star Wars Rebels panel, Executive Producer, Dave Filoni announced that the upcoming season of rebels will be its last. The story will have been told and it’s better to leave on a stride then stumble to the finish. To assume that the entire crew will be put on the shelf for good though, seems unlikely. While Filoni did announce they were working on a new project, it may not include any of the Ghost crew at all. Personally, my money is on a visitor to the Rebels franchise but one that stands all on her own…

What of the rest of the cast though? We hear Hera’s name said over a PA, this time as “General”, in Rogue One as well as the Ghost itself, and even it’s droid, Chopper, on the ground. What of Ezra, Kanan, Zeb, and Sabine though? Obviously a fair portion of that will be answered in the upcoming Rebels season but is it possible that just as that series wraps up, we move onto seeing one of these characters decades later? Additionally, Season 4 is set to debut Fall of 2017 but will it be completed by the release date of December 15th when The Last Jedi hits theaters?

That is really the biggest fly in the ointment of this theory, familiar scar or not. I don’t believe that Rebels would want any tension over the fate of Ezra, the shows main character for a majority of its run, to be spoiled by the film. If Rebels is not yet complete and we then learn that Ezra is…whatever the character of DJ is…we lose all drama towards the close of the show. Ezra lives and we know what path he chooses. Seems anti-climatic.

So, rumors are as they are, more than likely DJ is just another swindler with an angle in the galaxy trying to survive. It is fun to imagine a larger stake in place though with such a noted talent playing the role.

Walt Disney Animation Studios vs PIXAR

Over the past few years many have been citing that the Walt Disney Animation company has been experiencing a new renaissance. With its latest release, Moana, currently trending at 99% on Rotten Tomatoes, it seems that statement holds weight given the immense success that just occurred with 2013’s Frozen phenomenon. Most cite the beginning of this upswing starting with the release of The Princess and the Frog in 2009. It was a return to hand drawn animation and seemed to give a new energy to the studio overall. Keep in mind this was also due to the new leadership of John Lasseter who took over as chief creative officer of PIXAR and Walt Disney Animation in 2006 following the announcement of Disney purchasing the CGI powerhouse.

Lasseter is of course widely known as the creative force behind PIXAR, which first hit the big screen in 1995 when Toy Story changed the game completely and ushered in a new age of digital animation that continues to grow this very day. At the same time that PIXAR was wowing audiences, child and adult alike, with films as Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Monsters Inc., and Finding Nemo, Walt Disney Animation Studios was struggling to make large connections with its offerings of Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Hercules. That is not to say that Disney did not make fine films during this era either. I will stand by my belief that Mulan is one the best the studio ever produced. James Woods as Hades can’t be denied and Tarzan was surprisingly good and well received by critics even earning an Oscar. Compared to the numbers at the box office that PIXAR was pulling though, it was no contest.

From the years of 1995 to 2008 the average box office for Walt Disney Animation releases was $249 million worldwide. PIXAR in the same time frame averaged $555 million. Keep in mind during the 14 year span PIXAR produced 9 films while WD Animation put 16 to the big screen. Going forward, from 2009 to present, WD Animation has produced 7 films (we will exclude Moana for now since those numbers are unknown) at an average of $577 million. This number of course is helped by inflation of ticket prices but it shows a massive improvement with Frozen and Zootopia bringing in over a billion in returns a piece while also being dropped down by Winnie the Pooh in 2011 which only earned 33 million, while appearing on only 2400 theaters during a short engagement. By comparison, Zootopia appeared on nearly 4000 screens. PIXAR meanwhile has averaged $732 million over its 8 film releases with Toy Story 3 and Finding Dory both cracking the billion mark worldwide.

Box office does not a great film make though. If that were true then Transformers is a better film that Spotlight, and no. Just no. So how about critical response during these times? Has Disney Animation closed the gap that existed for so long? For most of recent memory it was the PIXAR films getting all the hype and the studio that started it all was playing a distant second fiddle. Big brother became little brother. Recently though PIXAR has seemed more hit or miss. Granted the hits are homeruns but the streak seems to have ended. Has the landscape shifted since the new renaissance? Is it fair to call it that? Let’s take a look.

We will refer to Rotten Tomatoes scores to see how this plays out. Here are the numbers I compiled using the very basics of math. In these listing you will see the films released, there Tomatometer score, and box office earnings. Then below the titles released in the time frame, the average Tomatometer score, the highest score, the lowest score, the average amount of films produced per year (FPY) and average box office earning worldwide in millions.
1995 – 2008 Walt Disney Animation

Pocahontas – 56% – $346

The Hunchback of Notre Dame – 73% – $325

Hercules – 83% – $252

Mulan – 86% – $304

Tarzan – 88% – $448

Fantasia 2000 – 82% – $90

Dinosaur – 65% – $349

The Emperor’s New Groove – 85% – $170

Atlantis – 49% – $186

Lilo and Stitch – 86% – $273

Treasure Planet – 69% – $109

Brother Bear – 38% – $250

Home on the Range – 54% – $103

Chicken Little – 36% – $315

Meet The Robinsons – 66% – $169

Bolt – 89% – $309

Average : 69.0%

Highest Score : Bolt 89% (Note : Yeah, that was a surprise to me as well)

Lowest Score : Chicken Little 36%

Average Films Produced Per Year : 1.14

Average BO Worldwide : 249 Million

1995 – 2008 PIXAR Studios

Toy Story – 100% – $373

Bug Life – 92% – $363

Toy Story 2 – 100% – $497

Monsters Inc – 96% – $577

Finding Nemo – 99% – $940

The Incredibles – 97% – $633

Cars – 74% – $462

Ratatouille – 96% – $620

Wall-E – 96% – $533

Average : 94.4%

Highest Score : Toy Story 1 and 2 with 100%

Lowest Score : Cars 74%

Average Films Produced Per Year : 0.64

Average BO Worldwide : 555 Million
2009-2016 Walt Disney Animation Studios

Princess and the Frog – 84% – $267

Tangled – 89% – $591

Winnie the Pooh – 90% – $33

Wreck I Ralph – 86% – $471

Frozen – 89% – $1002

Big Hero 6 – 89% – $657

Zootopia – 98% – $1023

Moana – 99% – TBD

Average : 90.5%

Highest Score : Moana 99%

Lowest Score : Princess and the Frog 84%

Average Films Produced Per Year : 1.00

Average BO Worldwide : 577 Million *Moana not included
2009 – 2016 PIXAR Studios

UP – 98% – $735

Toy Story 3 – 99% – $1066

Cars 2 – 39% – $562

Brave – 78% – $540

Monster University – 78% – $744

Inside Out – 98% – $857

The Good Dinosaur – 77% – $332

Finding Dory – 94% – $1026

Average : 82.6%

Highest Score : Toy Story 3 99%

Lowest Score : Cars 2 39%

*Average minus Cars 2 : 88.8

Average Films Produced Per Year : 1.0

Average BO Worldwide : 732 Million
Rank in Order of Highest Average Score

1 – Pixar 1995-2008 94.4 FPY .64

2 – WD Animation 2009-2016 90.5 FPY 1.0

3 – Pixar 2009-2016 82.6 FPY 1.0

4 – WD Animation 1995-2008 69.0 FPY 1.14

So what does this all show? A few things that are interesting to dissect.

Firstly, PIXAR’s heyday was incredible and may never be duplicated. We also cut off two of the best films ever created by PIXAR in Toy Story 3 and UP due to when the “rebirth” of Walt Disney Animation is supposed to occur.

Second, Walt Disney Animation has rebounded in a HUGE way as of late. From 95-08 they came in with a cold average of 69% and since then sit at over 90%. That is an improvement to be celebrated by the company. To call it a new renaissance seems apt.

PIXAR’s second set of scores are still fine at 82.6% but we see some inconsistencies. Brave, Monsters University and The Good Dinosaur all dipped below 80% while Cars 2 earned the raspberry at a 39%. That score was only above Chicken Little and Brother Bear if you rank all the films from both studios and timelines. Ouch. Compare the overall average of 82.6% to that of their previous score of 94.4% and that is a significant dip. Half of the films from 2009 and on are also sequels that were met with varying results from fantastic to Cars 2. “Cars 2” may become an adjective by the end of this. PIXAR has recently announced that the currently planned sequels to Toy Story, The Incredibles, and Cars (…) will be the last for a time. More original films are lined up and for my taste that is great news.

Has Walt Disney Animation Studios overtaken PIXAR though? That ultimately comes down to the viewer I feel. The gap is certainly been closed but UP, Wall-E, and Toy Story 3 are films that it seems only PIXAR could have made. There is still a mystique to PIXAR releases as well. We expect more as an audience. Walt Disney Animation though has the momentum and Moana seems to be keeping it going.

I want to point out how hard it was not to use a “wave” pun there.

For me though the most interesting stat is in a direct correlation between the average number of films produced per year and the average score received on Rotten Tomatoes. The more focus on a single project, the better that project turns out. From 95-08 PIXAR only produced 0.64 films per year and have a cumulative percentage that is stunning. Compare that to the churning days that were happening over at Walt Disney Animation in the same time frame. Disney was creating 1.14 films per year, approximately 1/3rd more action that resulted in nearly 1/3rd less the average score. Then, as PIXAR upped their annual outage, the quality dropped. Disney cut back on production and the quality increased. Less is more.

Bottom line is we now have two studios within one company that are putting out some very high quality entertainment and pushing for more that just that in many cases. I like to think there is a friendly rivalry building between the two studios as well which will push them even further.

Where do you stand? Do you feel PIXAR has lost a bit of its swagger? Has Walt Disney Animation taken the crown from them? Are you happy with the directions each studio has taken an plan to take in the near future?

How Coco Tells More Mexican Folklore via Music

As many of us know, Coco is Pixar’s recent release that focuses around Mexican culture- specifically on Dia de los Muertos. However, a deeper dive into Coco and its music will also bring you to another piece of Mexican folklore, The Crying Woman.

Who is this woman, you ask. Legends of La Llorona, also known as the crying woman, dates as far back as Aztec days where the goddess Cihuacoatl was said to take the form of a beautiful lady dressed in white who cries throughout the night in misery about what will happen to her children- the Aztecs- when the Spanish come. Another story, set in the 1500s, is of a woman named La Malinche who, after being betrayed by her husband/lover, killed her twin baby boys and dropped their bodies in a lake- her ghost is then seen by the lake weeping and wailing for her children around this lake. Multiple stories arise throughout Latin culture about a woman who was betrayed in some way by her husband and then kills her children as revenge- she is said to be La Llorona, coming back to cry and wail about what she had done in life and what was done to her. Many of these stories can be found here discussing the legends and following it through the years.

But how does such a graphic and sad legend tie into a Pixar film- that’s clearly the question right? Well, first, I have to say that there will obviously be Coco spoilers- so go see the film first then come back to me. Now, we need to look at the character who sings this song in the movie- Mama Imelda. She is the matriarch of Miguel’s family, who, we learn at the beginning of the film, was betrayed by her husband due to his love of music- he leaves her and their young daughter to pursue a musical career. Mama Imelda then, since this is a Pixar film- she cannot kill anyone of course, must “kill” music by cutting it out of her life, as well as the rest of her family’s life. This sacrifice is, at first, played off as a matter of fact- she had to do this since it was music that tore her family apart and now, to move on, she would put music aside forever. We only learn later in the film how Mama Imelda did, in fact, love music. The sacrifice of cutting this out of her life must have been similar to the legends of La Llorona sacrificing her own children as a means of revenge for her husband’s betrayal. But, just as the legend indicates, the loss of music/children clearly impacts Mama Imelda/La Llorona to the extent that she cannot be completely at peace with her decision.

This is evident when we meet Mama Imelda- she is portrayed as mean, forceful, and no-nonsense. She initially places the condition to Miguel that he never pursue music again- a condition that, if he did not follow, would keep him trapped in the land of the dead and so kill him. While this condition seemed harsh to many, we can now see that it was due to the great sorrow that music had in her own life that she was attempting to save Miguel from. We see later in the film that she is, in fact, more than understanding towards Miguel’s love of music- she lets down her guard and shows that her happiest memories are of her and her family surrounded by music. To accentuate this, she sings the La Llorona song.

While this song goes back to the mid 19th century, it was made well known by Raphael, a Spanish singer, in 1968. Then, in 1993 Costa-Rican born Mexican singer Chavela Vargas brought it to contemporary audiences. The song in Coco uses portions of the folk song that highlight, in particular, the sorrow behind the tale of La Llorona. And having this song be sung by Mama Imelda, which is presumably her first time singing since her husband left her (while she was alive), is an underline, bold, italicized bullet point emphasizing not only her love of music, but her sorrow at its loss in her life. The subtly of this song being used is only lost to those who don’t seek out the translation. Here is it below- the song from the movie with its translation to the right.

We can see in the lyrics that, it would be Hector was the one that lost his life by loving music, no matter what. But we can also see that Mama Imelda also lost a component to her life that caused her great sorrow- both her husband and her source of joy. While Mama Imelda may have always seemed hard and strong to her family, the lyrics make you wonder how many times, particularly when her daughter was young, did she cry to herself with no one to comfort her about the losses in her life. Just as legends do, Mama Imelda became the legend in the family for being the rock that kept her family moving on in life. But, here, while she sings this song, she is raw with emotion, and we see the toll the sacrifice made on her.

Coco brought the lore behind Dia de los Muertos to the everyday American audience that maybe had no idea the deep family connection this holiday held for many. But the movie goes even further to demonstrate another folk tale that captures the emotional side of Latin culture and shows that, life, without music, is truly sorrowful indeed. So celebrate as the family does- with song and with each other, both alive and dead, by keeping those who have passed on alive through stories and songs of their lives.