Although the series lives on in shorter form, the final 20 minutes of Toy Story 3 is something of an emotional trip through the wringer (that is, if the film works as intended to the audience). Much in the same way that the opening sequence of Up is called out as an example of Pixar working at its tear-jerking peak, almost nullifying the impact of the rest of the film, Toy Story 3 has a lengthy climax culminating in a curtain call, all of which is meant as a massive payoff to a 15-year trilogy, a firm period on a franchise that could easily be extended on the silver screen for years to come. (Rumors will, of course, abound about a potential fourth Toy Story film; let’s only hope that this never comes to fruition.)
When this column began its theme of highlighting the so-called “Pixar moment” in various Pixar films (we’re still waiting on that patent to go through), it was predominantly about focusing on moments of powerful emotion in films that are targeted primarily at the family audience. That animation can inspire adults and kids alike to grab for a tissue isn’t terribly unique—though few modern animated films would attempt to echo its impact, let’s not forget the iconic moment in Bambi when the title character’s mother is killed by a hunter—but Pixar’s later films, such as Ratatouille and Up, reach for emotion in surprisingly mature and complex fashion. So in starting off 2014 with a look at the Pixar moment in Pixar’s first film, Toy Story, you might think this column would look for the origins of those unforgettable, tearjerking moments.
Toy Story is easily one of the most popular franchises at Disney, so it is only fitting that the series would receive its very own play set for Disney Infinity. Plans to release a play set for the huge property were announced at the D23 Expo in August. Now, we have more details and many more images featuring Woody, Buzz, Jessie, and the rest of the gang. After the break, take a look at a collection of new images from the play set, watch a video delving into the set, and find out when you can pick one up!
The D23 Expo is essentially a dream convention for fans of Disney and Pixar. All of the various properties come together under one roof for a weekend-long celebration of Disney/Pixar films, theme park attractions, television, and, of course, merchandise. Many times when major announcements are made outside of a convention, they are shared with the press who then relay the news to fans. The Expo, like similar events such as Comic Con, allows fans to see the news and sights with their own eyes. New films will be detailed, clips will be shown, and exclusive merchandise will be available. Due to the sheer size of the show, it can also be overwhelming, which is where this guide to Pixar at the D23 Expo may help.
The cornerstone of the Walt Disney Company is nostalgia. Every film they make, every character they create, every world they concoct furthers the notion that looking back at your past, dreaming of a time when everyone said it was truly wondrous to be alive, well before the minor frustrations of the future took over, is the best possible way to approach life. What are Disney’s theme parks if not various ways in which to embrace youth, either your own or the country’s? So many of their movies call to mind a vision of the “good old days,” a manufactured simulacrum that makes us wistful, wishing we’d been around at the turn of the century, say, or that we’d known as we lived our childhoods that we should cherish them appropriately. The irony is that the more technologically groundbreaking Disney films—and especially Pixar films— are, the more nostalgic they become.
Combine comics, monsters, and pop culture and you arrive at the fantastic art of Chris Raimo. This talented east coast based illustrator has a distinct style and a wicked sense of humor. I was immediately drawn to Chris’ ability to adapt existing properties to his whimsical drawing style. Check out his website for really fun takes on everything from Mickey Mouse to wrestling zombies! While you’re there, check out his other Pixar-themed illustrations and mash-ups. Chris is currently a designer at NECA/Wizkids and also does freelance and commission. Read on for more about Chris in his own words!
Consciously or not, we often look for the existence of the human in the art we consume. Sometimes, that presence is visible, and sometimes it’s just outside of the frame of the filmmaker’s camera or the words on the author’s page or inches away from the artist’s canvas. But we want and expect some form of humanity to be present in what we watch or read. In film, this manifests differently in live-action versus animation, the latter of which has been criticized for the “uncanny valley” effect, when human characters are rendered in such a way that’s off-putting, distracting for perhaps being too realistic, uncomfortably human. Pixar Animation Studios has not yet fallen into the uncanny valley, but it’s interesting to watch the evolution of their computer-animation technology from as far back as their pre-feature shorts up to Brave, in part because so much of their work is infused with the presence of humans even when none physically appear. Except for the films in the Cars franchise.
It’s amazing how iconic Pixar characters have become in such a relatively short amount of time. I was reminded of this when I first saw today’s PixArt piece. Even with just basic shapes and large swatches of bright colors, one can still quickly recognize Buzz and Woody. These wonderfully abstract portraits come to us from artist Pintachan. Based in Spain, this whimsical and prolific freelance illustrator has churned out some really fantastic images and designs for magazines, t-shirts and more. Make sure to visit his website for samples of his professional work. Read on for more about the artist in his own words!
All we can say is WOW! The response to the Pixar Knick Knack project has been spectacular! We are thrilled that so many of you have been inspired to create and participate. The images are still rolling in and getting more impressive each day. Today, we are happy to unveil another group of Knick Knacks from some fantastic artists. Big thanks to the amazing artists who contributed their time and talent to this release.
In this posting, you will see Knick Knack designs from our artist friends Rob McClurkan, Alfredo Cáceres, Mike Moran, Sascha Preuß, Adam Grason and Chris Dicker. Check out all their designs below and make sure to visit their sites to see more of their amazing work. [Read more...]
We here at PixArt are constantly on the look-out for new ways to inspire our artists. And what could be more inspiring to an artist than toys? It’s a match made in creative heaven. From classic action figures to the new wave of vinyl collecting, we love it all. We wanted to bring some of that charm and fun to PixArt. So, after months of planning, we’re happy to announce a new project here at the blog – KNICK KNACKS! [Read more...]
Mattel and Disney have teamed up to create a new Toy Story short, but not the kind we are used to seeing from Disney/Pixar. This short was created using the “Toy Story: Space Mission” toys that were recently released. One of the greatest things the “toymation video short” has going for it is that a child does all the voices for the characters, including that of Buzz, Woody, and Zurg. Similar to Andy in the Toy Story feature films, this takes us inside the mind of a child and exposes us to his imagination. Take a look at the video here and learn some cool facts on how the video was made! [Read more...]
Check out this cool deco Buzz Lightyear! We think it’s out of this world. Big thanks to Argentine artist Franco Spagnolo for sending us this beautiful illustration. Make sure to check out his sites for more great images! Keep on reading to learn more about this fantastic artist and his work. [Read more...]
In my post yesterday, I neglected to mention one of the cooler celebrity sightings on the red carpet of the Toy Story 3 premiere at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California. Buzz Aldrin, the second man to set foot on the Moon (and also a former contestant on “Dancing With The Stars”), attended the premiere and therefore needed to be photographed alongside Buzz Lightyear.
In his childood, Aldrin (born Edwin Eugene Aldrin, Jr.) had a sister who pronounced “brother” as “buzzer”. The nickname was shortened to “Buzz” and stuck around.
Early in the production cycle of the original Toy Story, Buzz Lightyear actually went by the name of Lunar Larry. Believing his name was not grand enough, the Toy Story team decided to go with the first name of an actual astronaut, Buzz Aldrin! I guess we have Aldrin’s sister to thank for the Toy Story character’s name. The Lightyear portion was tacked on to further the character’s association with outer space. Now can you imagine the spaceman going by a name other than Buzz Lightyear?
Buzz Lightyear, his pal Woody, and all of Andy’s other toys invade North American theaters on June 18th, less than four days from now.