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.
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!
It’s high time that Pixar Animation Studios made a musical. In some ways, it’s been high time for them to make a musical ever since they started making features. From the beginning, the people at the top of Pixar’s food chain tacitly, vocally avoided making animated musicals in the same way as many of Walt Disney Animation Studio’s most beloved classics, either from the 1930s and 1940s or from the Disney Renaissance period. Pixar has defined itself, and the genre of computer animation as a whole, by refusing to have its characters break into song and dance on the regular. But why hold back on embracing one of the ironclad tenets of mainstream feature animation? All this refusal represents is a strange, stubborn unwillingness to be risky.
The magic word in Disney Infinity is customizability, as the platform allows players to build their own worlds using a variety of Disney and Pixar franchises as inspiration. The ability to build comes in its Toy Box Mode, where characters from different worlds, such as Dash from The Incredibles and Mike from Monsters University can interact. While there will be a large number of options included in the game at start, power discs that unlock additional options will be sold at retailers. After the break, find a full gallery of the power discs that make up the first wave, along with descriptions of the power each of them will unlock!
PixArt: Monsters Mash-Up Round 4 Mixes With The Worlds of Calvin and Hobbes, Harry Potter, Batman, Marvel, More
At long last, Monsters University has been unleashed in theaters nationwide! To celebrate Pixar’s fourteenth animated feature, we’re back with a super-sized batch of Monsters Mash-Ups. So, before you head out the door to go see Pixar’s first prequel, take a moment to peruse this final batch of artwork from some of our very talented readers. This time out, Monsters take on the worlds of UP, Tangled, Speed Racer, Batman, Harry Potter and more!
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.
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.
‘Disney Infinity’ Series 1 Power Discs Revealed – Homages To ‘Up,’ ‘Dumbo,’ ‘Aladdin,’ ‘Mickey Mouse,’ ‘Toy Story,’ ‘Mulan’ And More
Many have stated that Disney Infinity is simply the Disney corporation’s version of Activision’s Skylanders, a franchise that has earned over $1 billion from sales of its game as well as character figures that can be beamed into the game. While Disney Infinity also allows players to purchase and send characters into the game, its power discs that unlock items and power-ups differentiates it from Activision’s blockbuster game. The starter pack for Infinity will include one power disc, but other discs will be sold in blind packs. After the break, take a look at 20 power discs that will be included in Series 1!
What’s not to love about this fantastic Holiday-themed Up illustration from artist Keith Frawley? This super talented New York-based artist has a real passion for character-based storytelling. Take a look at his website – it’s packed with terrific character designs and illustrations for a wide variety of clients across several industries. After the break, take a closer look at his great artwork and read more about him in his own words!
We are thrilled with this outrageously original piece from Malaysian artist tanglong. Based on his favorite Pixar movie, the artist says this is the “Down” version of Up. You can check out more of his great work at his deviantART page. He’s got some great takes on classic characters and personalities. Lots of fun designs that are worth a look. We hope to see more from this fun artist. Read on for more about him in his own words below. [Read more...]