We are now less than one year from the release of Inside Out, the newest Pixar feature film. The film, the latest from director Pete Docter who last directed Up, is already gathering momentum and most of the world has not seen anything except for a synopsis, a logo, and one piece of concept art. Still, buzz is building – Pixar seems to have an incredible amount of confidence in the animated film as the studio has been previewing scenes for the last few weeks around the world, to festival attendees, critics, and online media. The consensus? Inside Out may just blow your mind.
When I attended “Pixar In Concert” at Lincoln Center in NY a few weeks back, I was struck by how many memorable scores there are in the Pixar film catalog. The score that played just before intermission, arguably the most stunning piece of music in any Pixar film, was that from Pete Docter’s Up, the film that only needs mentioning to induce tears. The score went on to win an Oscar for composer Michael Giacchino, and has developed a life of its own. Docter and Giacchino are now reuniting once more, for Inside Out, which is due out next year!
Pete Docter is a Pixar veteran who has been with the company since before the original Toy Story. Although he has only directed Monsters, Inc. and Up for the studio, the passion those two projects have inspired among critics and fans has made Docter one of the most highly-regarded directors at the studio. His next film, 2015′s Inside Out, has understandably garnered high expectations, given that it will be the first Pixar feature film since 2013′s Monsters University, but also because a short scene screened at the D23 Expo and CinemaCon generated immense praise. This summer, you can learn more about the film from Docter himself at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival.
Fans have been anxiously anticipating Pixar’s next film, Inside Out, which is due in theaters next summer. It was handed the baton to represent the studio’s next film after Pixar decided to delay The Good Dinosaur, which had been scheduled to debut this May. This places extra pressure on Inside Out, but there is no better person up to beating high expectations than Pete Docter (Up, Monsters, Inc.). A screenings of a scene from the film played incredibly well at last summer’s D23 Expo, and now we hear that it received raves from the CinemaCon audience on Wednesday!
Newt is the only announced Pixar feature film that failed to make it to theaters. Set to tell the story of a male and female newt forced together in order to extend their dying species, the film was being directed by Gary Rydstrom, who previously directed the short, Lifted. However, Newt was cancelled, which left eager fans, who had become caught up in the idea and gorgeous concept art, perplexed. The reason for why the film was cancelled has finally been revealed.
The Pixar Braintrust is a respected group of directors, writers, and executives at the company who provide notes and advice to a film’s creative team during the development process. Consisting of John Lasseter, Ed Catmull, Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich, Brad Bird, Pete Docter, and others, the group has been credited as one of the reasons for the studio’s success. In Catmull’s upcoming book, the president of the studio discusses the importance of the Braintrust by highlighting a meeting held to discuss Docter’s upcoming film, Inside Out!
At the D23 Expo last summer, Disney and Pixar previewed Inside Out, the next film from Pete Docter (Monsters, Inc., Up), which takes us in the mind of a young girl. The main characters in the film will be her emotions, which should excite you because it is an ambitious idea for a film. In addition to seeing an early storyboard version of an incredible scene from the film, we learned who would voice the characters. After the break, take a peek of one of the great actors from the Inside Out recording booth!
The gravitational pull of the endless Star Wars franchise is inescapable in modern cinema. Though there have only been six live-action films in the series, the vast ocean of toys, theme-park attractions, animated TV series, books, and more make it impossible to avoid, even before there were rumors of a new trilogy. After the Walt Disney Company purchased Lucasfilm in the fall of 2012, the rumors became truth: within just a few years (now under 2 years), a new trilogy of Star Wars films would be unveiled, following up on the events of Return of the Jedi. Since that time, it’s been assumed that Disney wouldn’t just make new live-action films in that galaxy far, far away. Why not make more animated films, or spin-off series, and so on? For now, at least, these are rumors.
Though it isn’t the first of Pixar’s films to inspire audiences to reach for as many tissues as possible, Up may be the most universally successful at getting grown men and women to do some good old-fashioned ugly crying. Up, released in May of 2009, was the first of Pixar’s films to be presented in both 2D and digital 3D; that latter format allowed many to use their 3D glasses as a shield, to make sure no one around them saw the tears streaming down their cheeks. However, just as it’s a predictable response that the majority of people who saw Up were viscerally impacted by the first 10 minutes, the reaction to the film as a whole has also become slightly stereotypical, summed up as follows: the so-called “Married Life” montage, in which we watch the lead character, Carl Fredricksen, and his wife, Ellie, as they live their lives over multiple decades, culminating in her death at an old age, is excellent. It’s amazing! It’s emotional! And the rest of the film can’t even begin to compete with its devastating, heartbreaking finality.
Last week, this column pondered why, exactly, Disney and/or Pixar Animation Studios were holding back on a teaser trailer for their next film, The Good Dinosaur, which is slated to open in May of 2014. By the time the article was published early Tuesday afternoon, the rumor mill was in high churn about the film’s status. Was its director, Bob Peterson, being taken off the project? Would this explain why he wasn’t present at the Pixar presentation at last month’s D23 Expo? Did this explain his ever-changing Twitter biography? (If only that last question was a joke, but no, that’s something fans were left to ponder as Disney stayed silent.) On Friday, the rumor became news: Peterson had indeed been booted off The Good Dinosaur sometime “over the summer,” and presumably before the D23 Expo. The project is now reportedly in the hands of a mix of people, including the film’s co-director Peter Sohn (known equally well for his behind-the-scenes animation work as for voicing characters like Emile in Ratatouille), Lee Unkrich, and John Lasseter himself.
D23 Expo: Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton, Others Reflect On Pixar Films And Source Of Their Inspiration
John Lasseter kicked off Disney’s massive D23 Expo with a look at what is coming next in the world of Disney and Pixar animation. The packed arena presentation was easily the highlight of Day 1 and offered fans a first look at the company’s upcoming slate of animated offerings. Pixar’s highly anticipated roster included next year’s The Good Dinosaur and 2015′s Inside Out. However, it wasn’t all forward thinking taking place on Friday. Late in the afternoon, a handful of Pixar creatives took some time to look back.
At the D23 Expo in 2011, Pixar had a huge presence, as it was the studio’s 25th Anniversary. The first scene from Brave was previewed almost a year before the film’s release, character art from Monsters University was unveiled, 2014′s The Good Dinosaur and 2015′s Inside Out were announced, and a retrospective panel was held with the talented pool of Pixar directors. With the 2013 iteration of the convention just over one week away, the schedule for Pixar panels has just been released. After the break, find out what the studio has in store for show attendees this time!
Pete Docter has an incredible resume, having contributed to the story for Toy Story, Toy Story 2, and WALL-E, in addition to having directed Monsters, Inc. and Up, two of Pixar’s critically-acclaimed films. Although you may wonder why he did not direct Monsters University, the prequel to his first directorial effort at the studio, the reasoning is that he was working on an ambitious original project called Inside Out. The film, which takes place inside the mind of an 11-year-old girl, is a fascinating concept but difficult to describe. After the break, find what Docter had to say about what is making the development process challenging as well!
It’s been just over a month since Pixar’s newest film, Monsters University, opened wide across North America. While the financial response has been solid—at this point, it seems safe to assume that Monsters University will end up as Pixar’s fourth-highest-grossing film domestically, just behind Up—the critical response was slightly more mild, though not outright negative or contentious. (The film has a 78% on Rotten Tomatoes and 65 out of 100 on Metacritic; neither are bad numbers, of course, and this column has recently pointed out the shakiness of using these critic-aggregation websites as the foundation of an argument against Pixar’s perceived decline. But the rapturous response of some of the studio’s recent films is, by and large, not present for Monsters University, earned or not.) The attitude among some film lovers is either that Pixar’s golden days are permanently over, or that a lack of qualitative consistency is going to be the norm from now on.
We’re only a few days away from a very exciting time of year for Pixar fans, the release of their newest film. For their fourteenth effort, as you are no doubt aware, Pixar is looking back with a prequel to Monsters, Inc. called Monsters University, in which we see how Mike Wazowski, James P. Sullivan and the rest of the Monstropolis crew became the adult monsters they were in the 2001 movie through their collegial exploits. And so, why not spend today’s column looking back at that original movie for another monthly look at a Pixar moment? The world of Monstropolis, sometimes more teased at than revealed in full, is a fascinating parallel to humanity, yet its apex is a series of doors to our world.
Late last week, the Walt Disney Company decided to expand our knowledge of their inner workings just a little bit, specific to the future of their animation studios. Anyone who may have been concerned, for example, that Walt Disney Feature Animation would be going the way of the dodo (this writer is among them) could breathe a bit easier because of this news story. In some ways, the entire story is fairly random—why Disney chose to announce its animation slate through 2018 at the end of May 2013, we may never know—but it’s got plenty of information we can parse through. Specific to Pixar and this week’s column, the topic of concern is multiple films in one year.
Depending on who you listen to, cinema is dying. Or cinema is dead. Pining for the fjords, or soon to be buried, don’t forget: the medium of film is in serious trouble. Recently, director Steven Soderbergh—who’s been very public about retiring for the last couple of years, and is finally heading out after his HBO biopic about Liberace premieres later this month—gave an address at the San Francisco International Film Festival, holding court for nearly an hour on how the difference between cinema and movies has opened an immense and irreparable divide between art and commerce, one that few filmmakers can bridge. Over the weekend, this video was posted around the Internet; in it, Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle categorized the problem he saw with mainstream cinema as being the “Pixarification” of films.
Ever since the release of Up, many of us (translation: I) have been anxiously awaiting for Pete Docter’s next directorial effort. His next film was announced at the D23 Expo two years ago. It was described as taking us inside the mind of a girl, with emotions embodied as characters. While we had a very brief synopsis, we still did not have an official title. A few months ago, there were reports that the film had been given a title, but had not yet been announced to the public. Today, in conjunction with CinemaCon, Disney/Pixar has officially titled the film Inside Out.
Over the last year or so, there’s been a trend online where people create short videos in which they list a series of problems they spotted in a mainstream movie, from Skyfall to Looper to The Dark Knight Rises. These videos all have received a disturbing amount of traction, as if their creators deserve a pat on the back for seeing what the rest of us, apparently, didn’t see or chose to ignore. These bite-sized excuses for modern film criticism are created by people who presume they’re being insightful, which is far from the truth. Better still, when they’re called out for their unnecessary whining, as happened when Looper’s director, Rian Johnson, got audibly frustrated at one of these videos, they half-heartedly shield themselves behind the “Oh, it’s just a joke!” excuse. Among Pixar films, Brave avoided this nitpicking—at least on such a grand scale. But if this video is any hint, we may need to batten down the virtual hatches because the nitpickers are already unloading on Monsters University. [Read more...]
Over the last two decades, Pixar Animation Studios has been able to top its competitors by reaching an almost unattainbly high level of quality. Pixar isn’t worried, it seems, with topping DreamWorks, but topping only what they’ve done in the past. Those rival studios—really, any studio making a family film, animated or not—are judged against whatever Pixar makes, but the Emeryville, California company raises the bar mostly so they can clear it before anyone else does. We may become rapidly disappointed at their output when they release something like Cars 2 after Toy Story 3, but it’s only because when Pixar delivers on a promise of brilliance, they do so in such unbelievable, ridiculous, unexpectedly moving ways. Their various consecutive runs of quality are unparalleled in the modern film industry, which they’ve worked hard to be separate from. Pixar works with Disney, fully ensconced in the culture of Hollywood, but being placed hundreds of miles north makes them feel totally separate, even now. And yet, there is one disturbing trait they share with the greater film industry, one that needs to be fixed soon: Pixar has a woman problem.