In Part 1 of my interview with Roger Gould, creative director of Pixar’s Theme Parks Group which just oversaw the opening of the Ratatouille plaza in Disneyland Paris, he described the behind-the-scenes development of the exciting new addition. In Part 2, after the break, he speaks more about the technology as well as the story of the headlining attraction, Ratatouille: L’Aventure Totalement Toquée de Rémy, and the restaurant, Bistrot Chez Rémy. Although visiting the park is second to none, in terms of experiencing the ride, there is something special about being walked through an attraction by one of those responsible for it. Check out Part 2 of our interview here!
La Place de Rémy at Disneyland Paris’ Walt Disney Studios park, inspired by the world of Ratatouille, is one of the most ambitious Pixar projects we have seen to date inside of a Disney Park. Following the tremendous success of Cars Land at the Disneyland Resort in California, it has quite the reputation to live up to, but after its grand opening to the public last week, signs are pointing to another great development from the Disney and Pixar collaboration. Inside the mini Ratatouille land, you will find stunning architecture that is pulled right from the film, an attraction that shrinks you to the size of a rat and places you in the chaotic world of a chef’s kitchen, and a restaurant themed in a way that further immerses you into Remy’s world. I had the opportunity to speak in-depth with Roger Gould, the creative director of Pixar’s Theme Parks Group, about the development process and the land’s unique details. Go inside the mind of Gould and get a closer look at La Place de Rémy after the break!
Stephy Coffey does some seriously appealing character design. Lovely ladies and dashing gents fill her portfolio pages. There’s lots to like about her great work. Her conceptual work and illustrations are sure to please. Check them out for yourself at her blog. She’s really outdone herself with this all-American tribute to Pixar just in time for the 4th of July. Take a closer look at her artwork and read more about Stephy in her own words after the break!
While Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida was generating buzz last week over its preview of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter: Diagon Alley, Disneyland Paris was holding its own with a first look at its (breathtaking) new Ratatouille mini-land, attraction, and restaurant. A fitting home for the film’s Paris setting, the huge new addition to the European Disney Park has been in development for approximately six years, and it looks like it has been worth the wait. After the break, get your closest look yet at the fantastic detail in the land and restaurant’s design, and get a glimpse at first footage from the headlining attraction!
A few weeks ago, this column discussed the concept of risk-taking at Pixar Animation Studios. Recently, one of the studio’s head honchos, Ed Catmull, admitted that the growing reliance on creating sequels as well as original films is in part because sequels were financially less risky. Perhaps, when considering the cost of marketing as well as how much certain movies or characters make in merchandising, that may be true. But simply looking at the box-office takes of Pixar films proves that Catmull’s statement is faulty: as daring as their stories may be, no Pixar film can be categorized as a flop. As much as we may presume that original storytelling is riskier than relying on sequels in financial terms, at Pixar, it’s almost as if they can tell whatever stories they want and people will pay no matter what.
Ratatouille is one of Pixar’s most unique films, with the story revolving around a rat who discovers he is incredibly talented when it comes to cooking. It does not sound like an idea that would translate easily to an attraction at a theme park, but then again, the idea did not sound like it would work on the screen either, but we know how that went. An ambitious Ratatouille ride is on the way to Disneyland Paris this summer and we have just learned its opening date – July 10th!
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.
“Gravity’s $ucce$$ will lead to a new round of 3D films NOT conceived for 3D…” These words, from Pixar stalwart Brad Bird via Twitter last fall, are unshakably true; if we have learned anything from Hollywood over the years, it’s that they will ride a passing fad into the ground, well past its expiration date. The industry’s leaders presume that if one unique aspect represented in one popular film works, that same aspect will work in every upcoming film. Though there are various add-ons Hollywood loves to graft upon its products, such as an IMAX presentation for something that wasn’t shot in the IMAX format, the most prevalent remains 3D. There are a handful of major films, from Gravity to Avatar to Hugo, that have been aided enormously by being presented in this immersive format; however, for each Gravity, there are 10 Need for Speeds right behind, films that were post-converted to the 3D format not because they require it, but because the studios want to make a quick buck.
Mondo has become the face of the movement to create limited-edition posters of films. Designing great posters requires the ability to tell a short story about what viewers can expect through a limited amount of space. Setting out to develop posters for classic films, when millions have seen them and have grown fond of them, is not as easy as it sounds, but Mondo has quite a number of talented and creative artists by its side. New limited-edition Pixar posters are coming soon, including for WALL-E and Up. Take a peek at them after the break! (UPDATE: Online sale info has been added at the end of the post!)
As expected, 2014 has been fairly quiet so far for Pixar Animation Studios fans. Seeing as both Monsters University and The Blue Umbrella didn’t receive any Oscar nominations, there’s no studio-specific rooting interest in the upcoming Academy Awards ceremony. The next Toy Story TV special won’t be on ABC until, presumably, this December. And, as we all know, there’s still nearly a year and a half until Pixar’s next new feature film, Inside Out. In the meantime, thus, this column could either choose to focus on a recent bit of fan art gone wrong, or accentuate the positive and discuss the ways in which Pixar has embraced the quirks and stylistic flourishes of live-action filmmaking over the years. The latter option is far more palatable and less likely to induce a massive headache on this writer’s part, quite frankly. (Quickly, regarding the former option: inserting Pixar characters into live-action movie posters is a fine idea. Inserting Frozone into the 12 Years a Slave poster, in place of Chiwetel Ejiofor, is at best wildly misguided, and at worst something far more despicable.)
The question asked in the headline of this article is a ridiculous one but as we have often seen, the Internet is always prepared for situations like this. Where there is an outlandish idea, there are some creative folks waiting to provide us with a preview of what it may look like. There were no Pixar films nominated for an Academy Award this year, but what if characters in the studio’s catalog appeared in the nine films nominated for Best Picture – what would that look like? Find out after the break!
We have often seen the incredible work that Imagineers can produce, from the attractions themselves to the designs of the buildings that house them. The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train coaster is nearing its opening at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom park, and it looks more incredible than ever. Out in Disneyland Paris, the construction for the Ratatouille ride is also nearing completion, and a buzz is in the air from all the excitement. After the break, take a look at the beautiful plaza where the ride will be located!
There are many reasons why Ratatouille is a great film – its story, memorable characters, and, of course, its music. Michael Giacchino, composer for the film, had previously worked with director Brad Bird on The Incredibles, and has gone on to collaborate on other Pixar projects. Giacchino has also worked on the music for Disney attractions Space Mountain and Star Tours: The Adventures Continue. The worlds of Disney and Pixar are crashing together with Ratatouille: The Ride coming to Disneyland Paris this year, and Giacchino is returning to compose the music for that as well!
Ratatouille is not a property that is seen often throughout Disney’s theme parks. The main character, Remy, used to make an appearance at the Chefs de France restaurant at Walt Disney World’s Epcot park, in a great interactive session with diners. An attraction is currently being built, though, at Disneyland Paris’ Walt Disney Studios park, and it looks like it will be a great addition. More details have been released, about the story of the ride, which you can take a look at after the break! [Read more...]
We have lost one of the greatest and wiliest actors of the 20th century in Peter O’Toole, who passed away yesterday at age 81. He had announced his retirement from acting in the summer of 2012, but of course, he can’t really ever fully leave us. We will never see a new performance from this titan, but those he delivered over a 50-plus-year career are among the most memorable in all of cinema. Of course, any fan of Pixar Animation Studios knows O’Toole best as the voice of Anton Ego, the feared critic with whom Remy the rat clashes in the second half of Ratatouille. But well before he entered the recording booth for one of only a few voiceover performances, Peter O’Toole entered the pantheon of cinematic perfection with a string of roles most actors would kill for.
The unsubtle art of product placement has been present in film dating all the way back to the era of the silents. As of late, however, people have grown so tired of seeing real-life products or brand names being painfully evident that it becomes the first topic to discuss, as opposed to the plot or characters. (A recent example is Man of Steel, in which Ma Kent works at the local Sears, per her prominently displayed nametag, which she’s seen wearing at home.) Product placement by itself is not automatically a bad thing. Sometimes, it’s used subtly enough by a filmmaker to not be obnoxious; using a fake generic name for Google or a similar search engine, for example, can often be worse than seeing a character just go to Google. On the flip side, some filmmakers or actors are so blatant about the product placement that it becomes satire; you’d have to look to TV for the prominent examples, such as David Cross hawking Burger King on Arrested Development or Tina Fey on 30 Rock looking into the camera and asking for “our money” after bragging about her cool new cell phone. To take money from sponsors and using their products in your film is a delicate balance, in short; being too obvious may bother audiences.
Trends always crop up in movie news, whether they’re based in fact or not. As such, the trend last week was cinema icons announcing their retirement. (Or, in the case of the most famous purported retiree, Jack Nicholson, sources said that he had already retired, then other sources backtracked and said the initial claim wasn’t true. Even though he’s got nothing in the pipeline. So you never know.) Specific to this column, Hayao Miyazaki, the master behind Japan’s Studio Ghibli animation studio, announced that his newest film, The Wind Rises, would be his last. Now, it’s worth noting that Miyazaki has said in the past that he’d retire, but this time, at least, he seems fairly serious about leaving behind the director’s chair. Many words will be written about Miyazaki’s influence and about the great films he’s made over the last 30 years from Princess Mononoke to My Neighbor Totoro. If he’s going to stick to his guns this time, if The Wind Rises is Miyazaki’s final directing effort, then it may be high time to wonder who will take up his mantle of making animation for everyone, not just for kids.
The D23 Expo runs from Friday through Sunday, celebrating the worlds of Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm. As a result, there will be a host of exclusives offered at booths throughout the show floor and at the Dream Store and Disney Store. The exclusives often create an air of excitement due to their unavailability outside of the show. Their limited nature also means attendees have to make their way to their respective locations in order to ensure they do not sell out. We are excited to reveal a brand new line of Disney∙Pixar products that will make their debut at the show’s Disney Store. Find details and images after the break!
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.