The demon bear Mor’du was shrouded in mystery throughout much of the story in Brave. As director Mark Andrews and his team developed the character, it became clear to Andrews that the bear should be a monstrous figure that posed a very real threat to Merida, her family, and the rest of the kingdom. If you wanted to learn more about the deadly beast, you will be able to get a better look at it in a new short entitled The Legend of Mor’du that is being included on the feature film’s home video release. After the break, find the first two images from the short that provide us with a look at the film’s unique art style.
In an article over at EW, along with the debut of the first images from the short (UPDATE [Nov. 7]: now in hi-res thanks to Stitch Kingdom), writer Anthony Breznican talks with director Brian Larsen. We learn that the short film will give us more of the backstory on Mor’du’s character, and will be utilizing a somewhat unique art style for Pixar; Larsen states that they “wanted a 2-D look that still had volume and geometry to it.” Given that feature films at the studio primarily utilize computer animation to give the films a 3D look, it is refreshing to see some experimentation taking place.
I love the idea of directors, animators, and the rest of the production staff being able to fully extend their creative arms on shorts. Of course, the shorts are the best place for different takes on filmmaking, as the 5-7 minute films have shorter production times and less risk is involved as they are not usually equated with box office and home video success – they are largely seen as an extra form of entertainment. Your Friend The Rat (directed by Jim Capobianco), which accompanied the home release of Ratatouille, and La Luna (directed by Enrico Casarosa), which ran with Brave in theaters, are some great examples of filmmakers letting their imagination run wild.
Larsen also comments on the inspiration of the art style, describing how the work of renowned artist Mary Blair, who collaborated with Disney a number of times, served as a guide during production. Seeking the “painterly syle,” of concept art, Larsen opted for a “romanticized” look, rather than trying to approach realism with the animation. As a huge fan of Blair’s work (I make sure to ride It’s A Small World every time I visit Disneyland and Disney World), I am ecstatic to see how her style has informed the appearance of the short.
The Legend of Mor’du will be available on the Brave Blu-ray combo packs, which go on sale next week – Tuesday, November 13. You can pre-order them from Amazon now.