“Damn it! I forgot all about How To Train Your Dragon!” – Matt Edwards, overheard in conversation shortly after realising that this week’s column is built on weak foundations.
I’m a man. I’m a big butch manly man, yeah? I’m so manly, I drink beer with lots of alcohol in it and I don’t even bother to pour it into a glass. If someone gives me a beer that’s already in a glass, I will drink it, but if I need to put it down I don’t piss around looking for a coaster.
I’m so manly I’ve grown a beard and started carrying an axe around with me when I’m at home. I’m so manly I’ve got a treasure map tattooed on my back. I’m so manly that the other day I punched a baby in the face without provocation and then apologised to its mother. I’m a tough nut, me. I’m a man. Grrr.
I’m such a bloody man that I didn’t even cry when watching Toy Story 3. I just shrugged and then chopped down a tree with a chainsaw. And I wasn’t wearing any safety equipment. Of course, I probably could have cried at Toy Story 3 and remained just as manly. After all, it is a bloody sad film.
Based on its recent cinema releases, I’m going to assume that Pixar has declared war on my tear ducts. Last year they had grown men pleading that ‘there’s something in my eye!’ when it released Up (presumably short for Upsetting).
Now with Toy Story 3 it’s got even the bulkiest of testosterone machines making claims of ‘I’m just adjusting my 3D glasses!’ and ‘my nose is so itchy’.
Although I’m aware there’s a decent chance that I’m just finding films more emotionally unsettling because I’m getting old (I was tipped off that this may be the case when recently re-watching Toy Story 2 and finding myself unable to speak for about ten minutes after the Jesse flashback sequence), the previously mentioned films do strike me as being very effective in their ability to draw genuine emotion from the viewer. I’m impressed and not at all surprised that Pixar is the studio behind these films, given their consistently excellent output.
Of course, if Pixar has managed to perfect the art of teasing tears from its audience, surely DreamWorks is going to have an animated crack at it as well. It’ll be an incredibly difficult thing to do without seeming transparent or ham-fisted. Simply worded, I think they’re going to need my help. I’ve been preparing some ideas to propose to them.
I started out with a fresh spin on an apparently dead franchise. World War Shrek would be a gritty journey through the trenches where we see the characters we’ve all come to love, then tolerate and then sort of love again although it isn’t the same, pushed to the very brink. In the first twenty minutes Donkey would die a grizzly, bloody death in battle. A montage set to piano music would see his wife, the big pink fire-breathing dragon, breaking down at the news and trying to continue with her life.
My concern with this idea is that the Shrek franchise is supposed to be over. I can’t believe that DreamWorks would finish a series only to immediately launch into a continuation. It have far too much integrity for that. Although I toyed briefly with the idea of continuing one of its other existing franchises (Kung Fu Panda – Po’s Breeding Woes and Megamind 2: A Portrait of Genocide), I decided the tone of its films is so far from what I’m going for that I’d be better off starting from scratch. Well, I did briefly consider a CG remake of Schindler’s List where all the characters are kangaroos and Megan Fox does one of the voices, but I’m just not into it.
I spent hours trying to come up with the perfect cartoon for DreamWorks. Something that’s fun and enjoyable, good for the kids to see, but really leaves you with a lump in your throat. The result of that extensive labour? Puppy McWiggletail Gets Humanely Euthanised.
An adorable puppy runs around a park causing havoc. He chases balls, jumps up at people and snags bits of food from people’s plates, all with a big smile on his face. People want to get angry with him, but they can’t. He’s too adorable! With his lovely big eyes and floppy tongue.
Unfortunately, Puppy McWiggletail doesn’t have a home. He’s rounded up by the RSPCA, who promise to find him a family to love him and take care of him. Puppy McWiggletail couldn’t be happier! The nice people from the RSPCA take him to a vet for a quick check-over, only to find that he has heartworm and so is unsuitable for re-homing. He’s given a lethal injection and we watch him slowly nod off into a peaceful unending sleep. The end.
Coming to a theatre near you! Be sure to bring your tissues, this one’s a real tear-jerker!