Josh Cooley is a story supervisor at Pixar who has worked several of the studio’s films, such as The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and Up, and even contributed a voice to the recent TV special, Toy Story OF TERROR! Like many of us humans, though, he has other interests as well. He has collaborated with Chronicle Books to release a great little book which celebrates famous moments in film through clever artwork. The result is creative and humorous – get a preview after the break!
Pixar Times Reviews
You just never know what you’ll see at Disney’s D23 Expo. The gathering has become known for its early peeks and surprise screenings of the latest and greatest Disney has to offer. This year was no exception. Before unveiling early glimpses of next year’s The Good Dinosaur and 2015’s Inside Out, John Lasseter had a special surprise for attendees of the Art and Imagination: Animation at The Walt Disney Studios arena presentation. Expo-goers were treated to a full screening of the new Pixar short Party Central. Mike’s New Car (2002), a short attached to the Monsters, Inc. DVD, was the first extension of a Pixar feature film. Party Central continues that tradition almost 11 years later, as this latest toon takes place in the world of Monsters University. Check out my review after the break!
One of the biggest criticisms directed at Pixar today is that the studio has become reliant on producing sequels to its films rather than films based on original stories. We live in an era where franchises are highly sought after by major studios because they are more likely to be successful at the box office. Films such as Star Wars Episode VII and Fast & Furious 7 are currently in development and will likely bring in hundreds of millions of dollars. Audiences have a connection with the characters in franchises, hence the larger success rate. Pixar’s argument has been that it is not looking to develop sequels – it is seeking to bring great stories to the screen. Toy Story 2 and 3 were success stories. Monsters University, Pixar’s first prequel which arrives in theaters today, is another great addition to the studio’s catalog. Check out the spoiler-free review after the break!
Disney has been incredibly active on the App Store, with its Disney Mobile and Disney Publishing divisions releasing numerous apps that take advantage of the wealth of Disney properties. With the debut of the iPad a few years ago, Disney Publishing increased its focus on the device by developing interactive books. Recently, Disney Storytime was released, which serves as a gateway (bookshelf) for 20 new books featuring the characters of Toy Story, Cars, Monsters, Inc., Aladdin, The Lion King, 101 Dalmations, and more. Find more details and our thoughts on the app after the break!
Through Disneyland, Walt Disney wanted to transport park visitors to a different era filled with joy and free from the harsh realities that daily life brings. To set the tone, he found attraction posters to be a gateway for children and adults to connect with happy memories of the past and fun-filled potential for the future. Although the process of screen printing to bring these posters to life was not cheap, Walt felt it was essential to give guests the full experience – combine the posters with the attractions themselves and those of all ages would find themselves immersed in their surroundings at all times, with little opportunity for the mind to wander away from enjoying “the happiest place on Earth.” Disney Editions has released “Poster Art of the Disney Parks” to celebrate that aspect of visiting the parks and it is without a doubt a must-have.
With most reviews written today for Pixar films, there is this innate drive to compare the studio’s latest with its fantastic catalog. The Pixar name has become synonymous with more than just great animated films – a story that is layered so that both children and adults can enjoy it, characters that you can relate to, smart and creative humor, beautiful visuals – over the last decade, Pixar has become a brand that brings in droves of people expecting another great film. The challenge that arises from that expectation is that instead of weighing the films on their own merits, they are endlessly compared to the films that came before. Brave arrives in theaters tomorrow with much hype about whether it makes for a film worthy of the Pixar name – Pixar film or not, Brave is first and foremost an impressive feature, with a compelling mother-daughter relationship that sits at its core. After the break, you can find my full spoiler-free thoughts on the film. [Read more…]
If we’ve learned one thing from Pixar’s Toy Story trilogy of films, it is this: It’s not easy being a toy. The new Toy Story Toon, Small Fry, currently playing in theatres with Disney’s The Muppets, further emphasizes this point and expands on the idea that all a toy wants is to be played with. The setup is great – Buzz Lightyear finds himself left behind at a fast food restaurant. In his attempt to escape, he accidentally comes across a group of discarded Fun Meal toys. In the meantime, a tiny Fun Meal sized version of Buzz stows away in Bonnie’s backpack hoping to get some playtime at home. The short intercuts between the two situations. [Read more…]