Finding Sinbad? Pixar & DreamWorks Compete Again

Every week, Vern Seward takes a look at Appleis latest offerings at the QuickTime Trailer site, letting you know whatis new.

Most batters would chew slugs for an average like the one Pixar boasts. Of the five movies the animation-house-that-Jobs-built has released, all five have been, not just hits, but out-of-the-park home runs. Starting with Toy Story, and all the way into Monsteris Inc., Pixar seems unable to produce a dud. This Summeris Pixar release, Finding Nemo, looks as if the hit machine still works.

There is another animation house that seems to be able to match Pixar, at least some of the time, hit for hit. No, we are definitely not referring to Disney. We are talking about DreamWorks, the animation studio that produced the hits, Antz and Shrek, and the duds Road to El Dorado and Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. DreamWorks does more than animation, however, which may be why they are unable to be as consistent as Pixar is with its hits. It also seems interesting that DreamWorks produces and releases movies that have striking similarities to Pixaris efforts.

When A Bugis Life came out in i98 DreamWorks released Antz. Both movies were about ants but took entirely different views; Pixaris movie was far more family oriented while the humor in Antz was viewed as being more for adults than kids. The same can be said for Monsteris Inc., from Pixar, and Shrek, from DreamWorks. Both films dealt with monsters and both films did well, but for different reasons. Shrek was far more adult oriented, poking obvious fun at Disney and cracking jokes that only adults would understand. ("So, thatis Lord Farquaris castle. ... Do you think maybe heis compensating for something?")

True to form, when Pixar releases Finding Nemo this Summer, DreamWorks will be releasing its iwateri movie, Sinbad - Legend of The Seven Seas. The main characters in Sinbad - Legend of The Seven Seas wonit be fish as they are in Finding Nemo, in fact, the only things similar about the two movies is the copious amounts of water and the fact that both are adventures. Donit discount the water element of the movies, however; if you watch both movies, you wonit be able to help comparing how the water is animated and which looks more realistic.

As with the previous offerings, both studios stand to do well. Sinbad uses the voice talents of Brad Pitt, Catherine Zeta Jones, and Michelle Pheiffer, so there is plenty of star power behind it. Both movies have nice sites but we think Finding Nemois is better than Sinbadis. You be the judge.

OK, switching gears: Imagine you are the captain of the of one of the fire companies that responded to the emergency at the World Trade Center on September, 11. Youive lost most of your men, people youive known for years, and now your task is to speak on their behalf at a service in their honor; what do you say? The Guys is based on a true story, and stars Anthony LaPaglia and Sigourney Weaver. Just watching the trailer tugs at the heart strings.

Finally, on a lighter note: Gretchen Mol and Paul Rudd star in a movie about being obsessed with your looks, or lack of looks. In, The Shape of Things, Adam (Rudd) is being transformed from a so-so into a stud-muffin, but is it really him? Could be a fun flick.

Thatis it for this week. If you havenit already, check out Appleis video about it new Music Store, and be sure to check out the Webcast of Steve Jobs announcing the new Music Store and iPods.