It's A Brave New World For Abraham Lincoln - Week 8 Preview | Brave | Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

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It's A Brave New World For Abraham Lincoln - Week 8 Preview

Brave
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
You have to go back five years to find the last time a Pixar film hasn't made the Top Five in the season it was released. Ratatooie (look, if I can barely spell words in English, please don't ask me to spell words in French)cleared $200 million in the summer of 2007, yet couldn't come up with the right recipe to stop the "cubed" movies of Spider-Man 3, Shrek 3, and Pirates 3, the first Transformers, and the fifth Harry Potter.

Believe it or not, that Top Five miss is the only one in Pixar's history! Even last year's disappointing (in more ways than one) Cars 2 raced into fifth place thanks to week competition. When an animated version of Johnny English starring Larry The Cable Guy is a Top Five movie, it just makes you want to wish the Mayans were a year off in their prediction so that 2011 never happened.

Given that knowledge on the history of Pixar's Top Five performances, it's easy to see you were a Sucker MC if you didn't slide Brave onto your list at some point. It's hard to argue against the most successful studio in movie history. However, there could have been some doubts about Brave coming into the summer and some of those questions could still play in your favor if you felt Brave was more Ratatooie than Up.

Some have argued Pixar's success has been based on making movies that appeal to boys, while Disney continues to mine the girls (shouldn't there be child labor laws to prevent this?) with their Princess franchise. Thus the lower returns for movies like The Princess and The Frog. Brave marks Pixar's first attempt at making a movie with a female protagonist. Will that discourage some families with kids who see this as a "girl" movie? Likewise, with the setting and accents seeming similar to 2010's How To Train Your Dragon, could this film be thought of a knock-off female version of that film?

When in doubt, I've usually trusted the Disney marketing machine to make movies into hits. You can see how well that worked out with my The Princess and The Frog Top Five pick in 2009 (which was almost as bad as my Charlotte's Web pick in 2006). In the end, it really does help when the film is actually good, as Disney realized a year later with Tangled. Disney seems to be following the same pattern of trying to make Brave feel like a film for everyone, and given Pixar's track-record of delivering just those type of movies, this looks like another slam dunk for the Top Five.

For those who apparently prefer axes to bow and arrows, we have the historically accurate Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Based on the second book by Seth Grahame-Smith who's first was Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, I can only guess his agent said something like, "We need something more American if we're going to get a movie deal. This Victorian Jane Austin stuff isn't going to cut-it," leaving Grahame-Smith to go what's more American than Abraham Lincoln. How else to explain the movie deal being announced before the book was even for sale?

About the only thing going for this movie is the director, Timur Bekmambetov, who directed the hit Wanted a few summers ago after his acclaimed Russian trilogy Night Watch. He's certainly someone known for the visual flair, but really, we need a Russian to tell the cinematic adventures of an American president kicking ass? Is this an exchange program? Are we sending McG over there to make Nikita Khrushchev: Shoe Slayer? I want to believe this film is not going to just be Jonah Hex all over again, but just like Fox Mulder on The X-Files, I think Scully's going to show me there's a perfectly reasonable explanation for why this is exactly going to be like Jonah Hex.


by Matt Neuenburg on 06/22/2012

Movies Mentioned in this Post: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Brave
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