Sunday, August 12, 2012

Sunday Best: Director 2009

Pete Doctor, Bob Peterson -Up
Pete Doctor
(photo by Nicholas Genin)

As stated in my review for Best Picture, Up works so well because of the visuals. I do not simply mean the stunning vistas and colors (though this cannot be overlooked), but the use of visuals to tell the story. The first 20 minutes alone is worthy on an Oscar. But the directors did not use up all their talents for a big opening. The story unfolds so naturally with such spirit and life that you can tell that this can only be done in the hands of a master. Or in this case two masters. Someone once asked me if directing for animation was as difficult as directing live action. While the skill using camera angles and other such techniques are implemented in both, the question revolved around character performance. Doesn't a live action director have to know how to get good performances out of people? Isn't that more difficult? I would actually argue the reverse. The animation director has to not only get these inanimate pixels to look and move in a human way, they have to create a sense of personality, a sense of soul. This is no easy feat (e.g. Final Fantasy). But even if Carl, Ellie, and Russel all look slightly cartoonish, they project more humanity than many of the Hollywood actors working today. Pete and Bob are responsible for that and we thank them.

Jason Reitman – Up in the Air
Marc Webb – 500 Days of Summer
Zack Snyder – Watchmen
James Cameron - Avatar

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