When I first saw an ad for Coco, I felt hopeful. There aren’t very many movies about Mexican people, especially not children and family movies. However, once I watched the trailer, I was massively disappointed. It seems that time and time again, movies that revolve around Mexicans are about either Día de los Muertos or drugs. I get it.
It’s been three months since The New York Times released its bombshell story about Harvey Weinstein. Since then, more and more sexual offenders have been brought to light, and the entertainment industry has been rocked to its core. I can’t even begin to name all the actors, producers and so on who have had allegations come to light against them. It’s become a huge movement, but has sparked some backlash too. So I figured I would put my own voice out there, focusing on one case that hit close to me and my field: John Lasseter.
If you read the news, you’ve heard of the unfolding scandal with Harvey Weinstein. It’s put a spotlight on show business, demonstrating the rampant sexual harassment that occurs throughout the industry. More producers are now facing allegations, and, sadly, the animation industry that I love is not immune to sexual harassment. Chris Savino, the creator of Nickelodeon’s hit show The Loud House, was suspended from the show last week over allegations of sexual harassment. Twelve women came forward and recounted instances, stretching over the past decade, of Savino making unwanted advances and threatening to blacklist them if they spoke out.
After I reviewed My Little Pony: The Movie a couple weeks ago, I did two things. First of all, I went to see the next available screening of It to set myself at balance. Second, I started to look around and see what other online critics had to say about the movie, a favorite pastime of mine. To my surprise, I found a number of comments saying things like, “Go see the movie! It’s the last chance to tell Hollywood that we want traditional, hand-drawn animation back!”
Now, I want to make something very clear before I proceed: I am not, nor have I ever been, a “brony.” That is, I have never been a fan of the My Little Pony series. Those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, I’ll give a little refresher. In 2010, Hasbro released the newest iteration of its My Little Pony franchise with a show on the Hub (now Discovery Family). The show, spearheaded by Lauren Faust, become wildly popular… but not just with its target audience or young girls. A group of older viewers, especially male teens and young adults, joined the fanbase of the show and inflated its status into a cultural phenomenon, complete with their own conventions.
Spark: A Space Tail, written and directed by Aaron Woodley (with additional written material by Adam Rotstein, Robert Reece and Doug Hadders), has been a mystery to me. I didn’t know what to make of the film. It premiered nearly a year ago at the Toronto Animation Arts festival. There were no advance reviews, and only a nebulous plot synopsis. All I knew was that it was a Canadian-Korean production from ToonBox and Redrover, the same people who brought us The Nut Job.
After I published my article last week, I received comments from people around me: “Hey, you didn’t mention Finding Dory! What gives?” Well, I left Finding Dory off my list to talk about it more in-depth because the Academy gave it no nominations this year. Only four Pixar movies have ever been totally ignored by the Academy Awards; all of them have been in the past five years. Those films are Cars 2, Monsters University, The Good Dinosaur, and Finding Dory. See a pattern here?
It’s the beginning of 2017. You know what that means? That’s right, it’s time for awards season! And that also means it’s time for articles and Internet comments railing about how the Academy is rigged, complaints about how Movie X didn’t get nominated or how Film Y is going to win because it’s made by So-And-So Studio. Now, I’m not going to lie: it’s fun to guess which movie is going to win, to hope for your favorite film to secure an Oscar and to be either ecstatic or disappointed by the results.
We’re two weeks into the new year, and already film studios are putting out their work. Last weekend, Hidden Figures managed to replaced Rogue One at the top of the box office while earning critical praise. By contrast, Monster Trucks did as well as expected — Paramount had taken a $115 million write-down last September, and the movie has in fact bombed. Already we’re having highs and lows, and we’re only through three weekends! The rest of the year will surely give us some fantastic stories, especially in animation.