Disney Parks around the world give people a chance to be transported to other worlds – the past, the future, and the films under the Disney banner, including Pixar, Lucasfilm, and Marvel. A unique opportunity exists at Epcot in Walt Disney World, where each year incredibly detailed topiaries bring to life some of the famous Disney characters seen on screen. Dubbed the Flower and Garden Festival, it is an annual event that is always celebrating some new characters. This year, a new character from Cars 3 made his debut – take a look at his topiary after the break! [Read more…]
With the days of the calendar entering the year 2017, comes the promise of two new Pixar films. It will be only the second time that two feature films have been released by Pixar in the same year – the last time was in 2015, when Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur debuted. Cars 3 and Coco are set for release in the summer and fall of 2017, respectively. Cars 3 is up first, which means there will be plenty of photos, teases, trailers, and ads for the film headed your way imminently. Today, Pixar unveiled video close-ups of three of the characters that will appear in the film – watch them and get to know them better after the break! [Read more…]
Two months ago, Disney CEO Bob Iger confirmed that Cars 3 was currently in development at Pixar. The Cars feature films are the only place where the main voice cast of the franchise have worked together – while the shorts that have been released have included Larry The Cable Guy as Mater, notably absent were actors like Owen Wilson who is the main voice for Lightning McQueen. That is no longer true, as Pixar has unveiled the first Cars short to reunite the films’ cast, Radiator Springs 500 1/2 – you can watch it online, and for free!
Mater has been the star of the Cars universe of films and shorts following the release of the original film. The shorts that followed, Mater’s Tall Tales, were brief stories that placed the titular character in outlandish situations, while the follow-up feature film placed him in the middle of a spy plotline. For those wondering when the other characters from Radiator Springs would return, we have your answer – in a new series of Cars shorts, the first of which is arriving sooner than you think.
Quoting the late Walt Disney is fairly commonplace in the world of the Disney theme parks. Anywhere you walk in Disneyland or Walt Disney World, you’ll see a quote attributed to Disney, whether or not the quote is totally accurate. (He may not have said, in so many words, “If you dream it, you can do it,” for example.) One quote that is prevalent and does belong to him can be spotted in a plaque at the gateway between the entrance plaza to the Magic Kingdom (or Disneyland Park) and Main Street, U.S.A.: “Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy.” In short, if you allow yourself to submit to the cloistered theme-park worlds within, you are essentially engaging in a potent, immediate form of escapism.
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.
Yesterday, Disney provided me with an extensive tour of its upcoming merchandise for the next few months. Unsurprisingly, given their popularity, we will be seeing new toy lines from both the Toy Story and Cars franchises. With Monsters University still a year away, the big focus is on Brave merch at the moment, though, as bow and arrow sets continue to sell out across Disney Stores and other retailers. After the break, get a preview of some of the merchandise based on Pixar films you can expect to see at retailers soon. [Read more…]