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.
We have covered projects that Pixar employees work on their own outside of the animation studio because, similar to the films that they work on, their own projects are often creative, ambitious, and imaginative. Does reinventing the emoticon fit those characteristics? Pixar artist Matt Jones is currently working with Facebook to provide us with a broader set of emoticons to choose from. Find more details after the break!
First Look: Concept Art For ‘The Good Dinosaur,’Inside The Mind’ Film, And ‘Dia de los Muertos’ Film
This past year has been the busiest that we have seen from Pixar, with the release of Brave, La Luna, PartySaurus Rex, Finding Nemo 3D, Monsters, Inc. 3D and the opening of Cars Land in Disney California Adventure. On New Year’s Eve, the animation studio is looking directly ahead, as a number of original films are in the works. Pixar has shared brand new concept artwork for several of its upcoming films over the next few years, which you can take a peek at after the break!
Chronicle Books and Pixar have worked together for over a decade to deliver art books filled with gorgeous pre-production artwork created during the development of films from the animation powerhouse. Years are devoted to exploring ideas in art form at the studio, so getting a chance to take a peek at the behind-the-scenes process is often awe-inspiring. With Monsters University on deck for release this summer, that means another art book will be making its way to stores. Actually, The Art of Monsters University was recently listed for pre-order, giving us a look at the possible cover for the book. Take a look at it after the break!
There have been a rash untitled Pixar films that have been announced over the last few years – The Untitled Film About Dinosaurs (now called The Good Dinosaur), The Untitled Dia de los Muertos Film, and The Untitled Film That Takes You Inside The Mind. From the little that we know about these three films, I have found the Mind film to be the most intriguing, mostly because it is to be directed by Pete Docter, who sat in the director’s chair for Monsters, Inc. and Up. We had been unsure of when the film would receive its title, but a report has just emerged that the Docter film will be called The Inside Out.
Before Pixar’s focus turned to feature films, the studio mastered the art of the short. Back in the 1980s, animation technology was far more limited than it is now, but John Lasseter and company were still able to blow audiences away with revolutionary computer animation but more important than that, stories with heart. After the release of Pixar Shorts Volume 1 , which collected such memorable shorts as Luxo, Jr., Tin Toy, and For The Birds on DVD and Blu-ray, many have been anticipating a Volume 2. The time is now, as the Blu-ray and DVD for the second volume has just gone up for pre-order!
One of the reasons why Monsters, Inc. is one of my favorite Pixar films is the imaginative world created by director Pete Docter and his supporting staff – the character design and architecture of Monstropolis are incredibly creative, bringing a unique bustling city to life on the screen. Back in 2001, Monsters, Inc. was the first film to receive the “Art of…” treatment from Chronicle Books, which has gone on to release a stunning art book for each subsequent Pixar release. After being unavailable for sale through retailers for years, the hardcover book is now back in print! [Read more...]
Cafe Where Pixar Came Up With ‘A Bug’s Life,’ ‘Monsters, Inc.,’ ‘Finding Nemo,’ and ‘WALL-E’ Shuts Down
Hidden City Cafe is well-known in Pixar lore, as it is the location of a very special lunch that studio employees had – a lunch where they came up with the ideas for four of its films. Andrew Stanton, John Lasseter, Pete Docter, and Joe Ranft (RIP) gathered for a memorable meal at the cafe, as they outlined ideas that went on to become A Bug’s Life, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, and WALL-E. The cafe has often been visited by Pixar fans, to get a taste of the birthplace of so many of the studio’s films. However, when one fan recently dropped by, he discovered that the place had been shut down. [Read more...]
Each year at CinemaCon, movie theater owners gather to get a preview of coming films from movie studios. This year, Pixar used the Disney presentation to announce the title for its previously untitled film about dinosaurs. Additionally, Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich, who was rumored to be working on a brand new Pixar film, is now confirmed to be working on a film due in 2015 or 2016. Get a rundown on the big news after the jump! [Read more...]
If you love to collect books that give you rare looks behind the scenes of great films, brace yourself because Up and Monsters, Inc. director Pete Docter has a project coming out that is perfect for you. In his younger years, Docter was quite the fan of flipbooks, creating his own to satisfy his love of animation. He is still rather fond of them and is now collaborating with Disney to release a box set of nine flipbooks, each one portraying a classic Disney scene with original linework by the legendary Nine Old Men. Check out more details after the jump! [Read more...]
John Lasseter recently sat down with Charlie Rose for an extensive interview about Pixar, Steve Jobs, and Disney. He speaks at length about the beginnings of Pixar and how George Lucas sold the company to Steve Jobs, how important it is for the studio to focus on quality, and how animation is simply a medium for telling stories (just like in live-action films). Towards the end of the interview, Lasseter briefly describes Pixar’s upcoming slate – Brave, Monsters University, The Untitled Dinosaur Movie, and The Untitled Movie That Takes You Inside The Mind. The most mind-bending of those is easily the Pete Docter-directed Mind film and now we have a few more details on how the film will work. [Read more...]
Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to sit down with La Luna director Enrico Casarosa and talk to him about his work on the short that has been generating a good deal of buzz. Topics of discussion include the short’s journey from inception of the idea to getting it made, how Monsters, Inc. and Up director Pete Docter suggested they screen it at film festivals, that the short will be eligible for eligible for accolades this awards season, and the bold visual and sound choices made to give the film a unique voice. We also briefly hit upon a certain Untitled Pixar Movie About Dinosaurs that Casarosa will be working on next. For the first time, I am also including the audio of the interview, so if you would rather listen to our discussion, you have that option. Continue on for my in-depth interview with the director of one of Pixar’s newest (and most magnificent) shorts. [Read more...]
The New York Times is reporting that a studio executive told the paper that Up director Pete Docter played a crucial role in the painstaking process to get the Up house recreation built in Utah. When Blair Bangerter, the designer of the Utah house, came up with the idea to bring the home to life, it was widely assumed that Disney, who has been known to strongly protect its properties, would reject the offer. However, Docter learned of the plans and apparently stepped in. [Read more...]
In celebration of 25 years of Pixar magic, the top creatives from the studio sat down for an informal chat at the D23 Expo on Saturday. On hand for the event were John Lasseter, Jim Morris, Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton, Bob Peterson, Mark Andrews, Dan Scanlon, Pete Sohn and Ronnie del Carmen. Scheduled but missing from the panel was Lee Unkrich. The “nine young men” told stories about Pixar’s past and reminisced about their time with the studio. Each Pixarian was asked to recall their favorite memory while working at the studio. Some of the stories were new and some famiilar. From the first SIGGRAPH convention to the production of the first Cars film, each panel member had a great story to tell. [Read more...]
The huge Walt Disney Studios panel just let out here at the D23 Expo, and if Disney was trying to leave an impression with media and fans, they truly succeeded. Previewing films from Marvel Studios, their animation and live-action branches, as well as Pixar, Disney brought out a ridiculous amount of clips, directors, and writers to talk about their upcoming films. We were provided with clips and artwork from Pixar’s 2012 and 2013 films, Brave and Monsters University, respectively. Pixar also surprised the D23 attendees with the announcement of two brand new (and completely original) films – one involving dinosaurs and the other focusing on how the mind works. Read on for a quick recap of the fantastic presentation! [Read more...]