I go to these (animation movies) for reasons of movement and placement. There is so much you can do with animation in terms of the eye, how we move through and see the story since we’re not bound by human means.
But alas, we are bound by humans, and most animation simply replicates human-camera movements: helicopter shots for landscapes, crane shots for emotional affect, nothing we have not seen from Spielberg or Zemeckis who at their most rambuctious have pretty much set the standard for the way we crane in and out.
But some folks do impress me, and they are, Peter Jackson’s crew (WETA), Rodriguez’ studio (Dynamite), and the makers of this film right here, Pixar.
Pixar has (as seen in their credits), different cinematographers and editors for different segments of their films. It must be very exciting to be working there and changing the way we watch and follow. There are swoops I have never seen before that explore horizontal aerial space the way DePalma might if physically possible. There are movements in spaces such as dirt roads that would never come out as clean in real life, and reverse shots which if you think about it, become entirely new compositions and placements, but are just as effective.
The rest is competent storytelling. We have two movies competing for our hero’s soul, the sports movie (the one where we are spectators the same way there are spectators of the sport), and the sentimental movie where values are nurtured and honesty is cherished. They both get him in the end, but my favorite bit is how the sports movie literally come and removes our hero from the sappy place he’s wallowed in. It is like they were competing for my own soul.
And oh yes, “Get your camera out of here!” is not there for nothing. Just hinting some intelligent people were behind this.