Sunday, December 13, 2015

Tom Hanks Begins Work on 'Toy Story 4'

Work on the next installment in Pixar's Toy Story saga is well underway as actor Tom Hanks, who has been the voice of Sheriff Woody for twenty years now, returned to Pixar early this month to begin recording for Toy Story 4.

On December 2, Hanks posted a time lapse video of his drive to the Emeryville animation powerhouse on Twitter.

Though the cast for the film has yet to be officially unveiled, it's probably safe to assume that the rest of the original cast members will reprise their roles. The Toy Story franchise has one of the most diverse and talented ensembles in any animated film series, ranging from big stars like Hanks to legendary comedians like Don Rickles. If you've ever seen behind-the-scenes footage of the actors recording their dialogue, you'll know how much fun the actors seem to have doing their job. If you haven't, well, have a look:

Toy Story 4 is slated for release on June 15, 2018.

Michael Giacchino Will Score 'Incredibles 2'

The long-awaited sequel to Pixar's acclaimed The Incredibles is finally on the way, although it won't be here for a while. That didn't stop Brad Bird, director of the original film, from dropping some news regarding the new film's score a few weeks ago.

On Thanksgiving, Bird tweeted out a video of hailed composer Michael Giacchino signing to compose the score for The Incredibles 2. Giacchino has written the music for five of Pixar's films, including the first Incredibles.

Giacchino's work never ceases to be astounding, but the scores he has done for Pixar films are, I'd say, among his finest accomplishments, particularly his score for The Incredibles. His jazzy themes for the film evoke a real sense of wonder, thrill, and excitement, and I am excited to see, or rather, hear what he brings to the table the second time around.

The Incredibles 2 hits theaters June 21, 2019. In the meantime, enjoy some of Giacchino's masterful music from the first film's soundtrack:

Thursday, December 10, 2015

ABC Special to Commemorate Toy Story's 20th Anniversary

Two decades ago, Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the gang made their way onto the big screen and captivated the hearts and imaginations of audiences all over the world in the first-ever computer-animated feature film. Toy Story was not only a groundbreaking technological achievement, but the film that put Pixar on the map with its relatable characters and organic themes of acceptance and friendship. It has since given rise to two critically-acclaimed sequels (with a third on the way), three short films, and two television specials.

The studio's beloved classic celebrated its 20th anniversary two weeks ago, and to commemorate this milestone ABC is airing a new television special, Toy Story at 20: To Infinity And Beyond. tonight at 8/7 central.

The special will delve into Pixar's early years as well as the making and legacy of the worldwide phenomenon, featuring interviews with the film's crew and some of its cast members, including Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, and Annie Potts.

Catch Toy Story at 20 tonight, Thursday, December 10, on ABC at 8:00 PM / 7:00 PM CST.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

'The Good Dinosaur' Is Now Playing!

After a troubled production that involved a director swap, a full-on revision of the voice cast, and an 18-month delay on the original release date, Pixar's sixteenth feature The Good Dinosaur finally stomps into theaters today.

Concept art first spotted in 2009

The film's production can be traced back as far as 2009, when a behind-the-scenes video for Up offered a glimpse at some concept art featuring a dinosaur and a human boy. For two years fans wondered whether Pixar was hard at work on a dinosaur-centric movie, until the film was officially unveiled at 2011's D23 Expo as "The Untitled Pixar Movie About Dinosaurs". The film was to be directed by studio veteran Bob Peterson, who came up with the idea of a story set in an alternate reality where dinosaurs never went extinct himself. Peterson was eventually removed from the director's chair when problems with the story arose and was replaced by co-director Peter Sohn (Partly Cloudy). From there, the film was entirely reworked and given an entirely new cast, with the exception of Frances McDormand, who is the sole remaining cast member from the original cast, which included Neil Patrick Harris and John Lithgow.

Though reviews for The Good Dinosaur so far have not been quite as enthusiastic as those for the studio's smash summer hit Inside Out, the film is still being received positively and is said to be charming and visually sutnning. It currently holds an 85% "fresh" critic score on Rotten Tomatoes

Unfortunately I will not be able to see the film until the weekend, but after following its progress for so many years I am incredibly excited to finally see the finished product.

Accompanying the film is Pixar's latest short Sanjay's Super Team, directed by Sanjay Patel, who drew inspiration from his childhood for the film. From what I've heard, the short is an absolute delight and yet another unique entry in the Pixar short film canon.

Will you be seeing Pixar's latest offerings this weekend? Have you already seen them? Share your thoughts in the comments!

The Good Dinosaur and Sanjay's Super Team are in theaters now!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

First Teaser Trailer and Poster for 'Finding Dory' Debut

Anticipation for Pixar's upcoming Finding Nemo sequel, Finding Dory, has been growing ever since the voice of Dory, Ellen DeGeneres, announced the film on her talk show two years ago. Few are more excited for the film than Ellen herself (she famously begged and pleaded for a sequel to Nemo for years), so naturally she was given the honor of debuting the first teaser trailer for the film Tuesday morning on her show and social media, following the reveal of the official teaser poster (above). Watch the teaser below:

Like most Pixar teaser trailers, it's brief and to the point, but wets your appetite and builds excitement for the film. The opening with the sentimental Thomas Newman score paired with the stunning and familiar underwater visuals is sure to strike a soft spot with fans of the original film. Watching it, I felt like it was 2003 again. The trailer goes on to establish the film's basic premise, throwing in a bit of classic Dory humor; she is still the forgetful but lovable regal blue tang you remember. In terms of plot, the trailer tells us what we already know; Dory suddenly remembers her family and sets off to find them, with Nemo and Marlin joining her on the way.

This also marks our first time hearing newcomer Hayden Rolence as the voice Nemo. Rolence takes over for Alexander Gould, who voiced the young clownfish in the original film but is now too old to play the part. From the sound of it, though, Rolence perfectly captures the essence of the character. Albert Brooks reprises his role as Nemo's paranoid father Marlin, and of course, Ellen DeGeneres is finally granted her wish of being able to voice Dory again. Though he doesn't appear in the trailer, Willem Dafoe will also return as Gill.

Ultimately, it's just a sheer delight to see these beloved characters again after more than a decade. It's also refreshing to see that the film will not be a rehash of the original, but will tell a new story and continue to flesh out the characters we know and love, as all good sequels do.

Andrew Stanton returns to helm this second venture into the vivid undersea world from Pixar's 2003 hit, with Angus MacLane (Toy Story of Terror) co-directing. Finding Dory swims into theaters June 17, 2016.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Final Trailer for 'The Good Dinosaur' Debuts

With just under two months to go until the film's release, the marketing campaign for The Good Dinosaur is picking up speed. Pixar treated us to a third and final trailer for the film this morning.

This latest trailer gives us a more extensive look at the interactions between the young Apatosaurus Arlo and the feral human child he names Spot. We also get our first real introduction to the T-rexes, Butch, Nash, and Ramsey, as well as some more brief looks at Arlo and Spot's journey home.

With every new trailer I am blown away with how gorgeous this film does. The vast, photorealistic landscapes and the different creatures are all breathtaking; some of the Pixar's best work yet, I would say. Underneath all the spectacle, there seems to be a pretty great story too. Though the dino film has undergone a troubled production, it certainly seems like all problems it may have had are all but extinct and the long wait will be well worth it. Pixar charmed audiences earlier this year with the masterful, tear-extracting Inside Out. Something tells me they may do it again next month.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Toy Story Land to Be Built at Walt Disney World

After the immense success of Cars Land over in Disney California Adventure in Disneyland, another popular Pixar franchise will be getting a themed land all to itself, this time in Disney's Hollywood Studios in Florida's Walt Disney World. Disney announced at D23 Expo this month that an 11-acre Toy Story Land is currently in development for the Orlando park.

Though Toy Story Land has been built before in both Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland, the Hollywood Studios version will be different from its overseas counterparts. Apart from adding a third track to the park's popular Toy Story Mania ride in order to shorten wait times, the new Toy Story Land will include all-new attractions, including a family-friendly Slinky Dog coaster and a flying saucer attraction hosted by the Little Green Men. More attractions are expected to be announced in the months to come.

Watch a video of the official announcement from D23 Expo with some sneak peeks at the attractions being developed for the new themed land:

Monday, August 24, 2015

'Coco' Officially Unveiled at D23 Expo

One of the most exciting parts of last week's D23 Expo was arguably when Lee Unkrich, director of Toy Story 3, and Darla K. Anderson, producer of Toy Story 3, walked on stage during the expo's animation panel to introduce their latest film; Coco. The film will center on a 12-year-old boy named Miguel and delve into the colorful world surrounding the Mexican holiday of Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead.

Early concept art from 2012

Though the film was announced back in 2012, we had heard virtually nothing about the project since, leading many to believe that the film had perhaps been shelved. All fears of that being the case, however, were struck down last week when Pixar officially unveiled the film, and its title, to the world.

This was my reaction upon hearing the good news:

A clip featuring some test animation was shown for attendees of the expo. The scene starts in a graveyard with people paying their respects to those who have passed away before jumping to a vibrant street populated by singing and dancing skeletons. A skeleton mariachi band appears; one of its members, it turns out, is the film's protagonist, Miguel, in disguise. The clip ends with an aerial shot of the colorful streets where the celebration is taking place, which from the shape of a skull.

Unkrich and Anderson also talked briefly about the film and the themes it will explore, as well as the inspiration behind the project.

"I'd seen it portrayed in folk art," said Unkrich of Día de los Muertos. "It was something about the juxtaposition of skeletons with bright, festive colors that captured my imagination. It has led me down a winding path of discovery. And the more I learn about Día de los Muertos, the more it affects me deeply."

Though they certainly found the iconic visuals of Día de los Muertos incredibly appealing, Unkrich and Anderson explained that, above all, "it was the celebration's core themes of family, remembrance and connection across generations that resonated within and truly inspired [them]." They explained how "Día de los Muertos is as singular as the Mexican culture, while at the same time completely universal in its message."

The two went on to talk about the film's story, in which "the celebration of Día de los Muertos serves as the perfect backdrop for [the] main character to ask where he comes from, what his place is within his family, and how families stay woven together across time through the simple act of remembrance."

This is still very little information to go off of, but I am already sold. Not only will Coco be undoubtedly breathtaking to look at, but it already sounds like it will touch on some very powerful and emotional motifs.

Lee Unkrich and Darla K. Anderson introduce Miguel (Photo credit: Inside the Magic)

Since the announcement last week, many have noted the peculiar nature of the film's title. What does "Coco" mean?

"El Coco" is, in fact, a mythical monster, much like the bogeyman, derived from Hispanic folklore. Given the new film's theme, this could very much be what the title alludes to. Perhaps the story will tie "el Coco" to Día de los Muertos somehow. Coincidentally, the word "coco" is also a word for "skull" in Spanish. Skulls, of course, are prominent in the Día de los Muertos holiday. The title could be referring to either of these two meanings, if not both. Though Coco won't hit theatres for another two years, we may learn more about why this particular title was chosen as the film's release date draws closer.

This may just be the Pixar film I am most excited for as of right now. It may be a while before we hear anything new about Coco given that it is currently scheduled for November 22, 2017, but stay tuned.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Pixar Gives Sneak Peek at 'Toy Story 4' at D23 Expo

This past November, Pixar surprised the world by announcing that they are currently working on a fourth installment in the beloved Toy Story franchise. Though many believed that 2010's Toy Story 3 would be the final chapter of the series, Toy Story 4 has been in production since 2012 and will hit theatres in the summer of 2017. We learned a little about the film's plot at D23 Expo last week.

Before the animation panel at D23 started last Friday, Toy Story 4 director and Pixar Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter revealed that the upcoming film, which we had previously known would be a love story, will revolve around Woody and Bo Peep.

To fans of the Toy Story films, this was a surprising reveal. Bo Peep, of course, was Woody's love interest in Toy Story and Toy Story 2. Though she was an important character in the first two films, she was absent from Toy Story 3, which takes place about a decade after Toy Story 2. In that time period, Bo Peep eventually parted from the rest of Andy's toys and was presumably sold off at a yard sale or donated. During Pixar's presentation at D23, Lasseter revealed that Toy Story 4 will see Buzz and Woody going off on a quest in search of Bo Peep.

I have to wonder, will the Bo Peep in Toy Story 4 be the same one from Toy Story and Toy Story 2? Surely others were made. If that were the case, it would make for a very interesting story. How would Woody react to finding the one that he loves, only to realize she has no recollection of ever having known him?

From left to right: John Lasseter, Will McCormack, Josh Cooley, Galyn Susman

The film's story, Lasseter explained, was inspired by him and his wife, Nancy. WALL-E and Finding Dory director Andrew Stanton penned the film's initial treatment, and Rashida Jones and Will McCormack were later brought on to work on the script. Galyn Susman will produce and Josh Cooley, director of the new short Riley's First Date?, will co-direct.

I'll admit, it took me a while to warm up to the idea of a fourth Toy Story. The original three films form what is one of the greatest trilogies of all time, and like many people I thought Toy Story 3 wrapped things up beautifully. Doing a fourth one is risky business, considering it has three phenomenal predecessors to live up to. However, Pixar knows this, and I have to believe that they truly are making another installment in the series because they have a story that demands to be told. The little information that we got out of D23 certainly has me intrigued, and there sure seems to be a lot of love being poured into the film, which is very reassuring.

To celebrate the original Toy Story's 20th anniversary this year, the presentation finished off with a live performance of "You've Got a Friend In Me" by Randy Newman himself. Green Army Men descended from the ceiling and were joined on stage by other Toy Story characters as confetti erupted around the stage, ending the panel with a bang.

You can watch Inside the Magic's brief recap of the presentation here:

Toy Story 4 arrives in theatres on June 16, 2017.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

'Finding Dory' Makes a Splash at D23 Expo

I'd like to first of all apologize for that irresistible pun in the headline.

Though it's been two years since Finding Dory, the highly-anticipated sequel to Finding Nemo, was announced, Pixar has remained tight-lipped on the film and we have heard little about it. Thanks to D23 Expo, however, a couple of new details about the film have been unveiled.

From left to right: Lindsey Collins, Angus MacLane, Andrew Stanton 

During Pixar's presentation at D23 Expo on Friday, John Lasseter welcomed director Andrew Stanton, who also directed the original Nemo, to the stage, as well as Finding Dory co-director Angus MacLane (BURN-E, Toy Story of Terror) and producer Lindsey Collins. Stanton said that he had always wanted to delve deeper into the character of Dory and explore her history, which is precisely what Finding Dory will do.

From left to right: Ed O'Neill, Ty Burell, Kaitlin Olson, Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen DeGeneres, voice of Dory, then walked on stage to introduce her co-stars. Ed O'Neill (Modern Family) plays a seven-tentacled octopus (or septopus) named Hank, Ty Burell (Modern Family) voices a beluga named Bailey, who is convinced he has a massive head injury, and Kaitlin Olson (It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia) lends her voice to Destiny, a whale shark who considers herself a whale despite being a shark. Additionally, Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy play Dory's parents, Jenny and Charlie. Of course, Albert Brooks will return as Marlin, and it was announced for the first time that Hayden Rolence will replace Alexander Gould as the voice of Nemo. Since the film is set just six months after the events of the original, Gould, now 21, is too old to reprise his role, but Rolence's performance reportedly sounds impressively similar to the original voice.

The audience was given a first look at the movie as some clips were screened. In one of them, Dory finds herself "sleep swimming" and dreaming about her family, which leads to her wanting to go out and find them. The ever worrisome Marlin objects, but eventually decides to help Dory find her parents. She eventually ends up at the Monterey Marine Life Institute, where she meets the new cast of characters and her parents.

Darla's cameo in Finding Dory

During the presentation, Pixar released the still seen at the top, which gives us a look at Dory and Hank, the septopus, in the marine life facility. Those with keen eyes may also notice a picture of Darla, the cold-blooded fish murderer from the original film, in the background of the still.

Inside the Magic has some brief footage of the Finding Dory presentation from Friday:

So far, it sounds like Finding Dory will be a whole lot of fun, and hopefully a worthy successor to Finding Nemo, which I consider to be one of Pixar's best. The film is less than a year away, so a trailer shouldn't be far behind; it is likely we'll see it attached to The Good Dinosaur in November.

Finding Dory swims into theatres June 17, 2016.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

'The Good Dinosaur' Plot Details Revealed at D23 Expo

In just three months, Pixar will finally release their sixteenth feature-length film, The Good Dinosaur. The film has undergone a troubled production, having had its original director replaced and release date pushed back 18 months. Fortunately, the filmmakers at the studio have been working hard to ensure they release a quality film, and it certainly seems as if they've gotten the project back on track.

Pixar screened a couple of clips from the movie for D23 Expo attendees this past Friday; some audience members were reportedly moved to tears. One of the clips showed an emotional scene in which Arlo the Apatosaurus and the human boy Spot bond, drawing in dirt to communicate their feelings to one another. Another clip introduced the horned dinosaur seen briefly in the film's trailer, who believes the animals perched on his head give him power.

Photo credit: Inside the Magic

Director Pete Sohn also explained the role that the three T-Rexes in the film will play. Though menacing in appearance, the T-Rexes are actually friendly and "help Arlo find a way through his personal fears and ultimately teach Arlo what he's truly made of.” Sam Elliott voices Butch, the leader of the trio and father to Nash and Ramsey, voiced by A.J. Buckley and Anna Paquin, respectively.

The Good Dinosaur hits theatres November 25.

'Riley's First Date?' Premieres at D23 Expo

A long-running Pixar tradition is that of including an original short based on the latest theatrical Pixar feature on the home release for said feature. The Incredibles had Jack-Jack Attack, Cars had Mater and the Ghostlight, WALL-E had BURN-E, and so forth.

Inside Out is the latest film to receive a home media short film, and Pixar took advantage of this weekend's D23 Expo to screen the new short, Riley's First Date?, for attendees.

Photo credit: Inside the Magic

The short is reportedly very funny and was received warmly by the crowd. Director Josh Cooley, who is also co-directing Toy Story 4, took the stage alongside Inside Out director Peter Docter and producer Jonas Rivera to introduce the short, which they say was inspired by every father's fear of having their daughter show up one day with a boy. The short sees Riley's parents having to deal with this very issue, and hilarity ensues.

Fortunately the rest of the world will not have to wait long to see Riley's First Date? as it will, of course, be included on Inside Out's DVD and Blu-ray releases, which hit stores November 3, less than three months from now.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Pixar Previews Upcoming Slate at D23 Expo

This weekend was jam-packed with excitement for Disney, Pixar, and animation enthusiasts alike, as Disney hosted its fourth biannual D23 Expo in Anaheim, California. The expo's animation panel, featuring looks at upcoming films from both Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios, took place on Friday, and Pixar certainly did not come empty-handed.

The three-hour panel got off to a rousing start when Pixar and Disney Animation Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter took the stage wielding a shirt cannon. Known for wearing his signature (and custom-made) Hawaiian shirts, the animation honcho proceeded to gleefully bombard the crowd with, yup, Hawaiian shirts.

Pixar's presentation provided further details and looks at the upcoming The Good Dinosaur and next year's Finding Nemo sequel, Finding Dory. Additionally, the studio surprised the crowd in officially unveiling an all-new original film; Coco. The film was announced back in 2012 as "the untitled Pixar movie about Día de los Muertos," but we had heard little about the project since then. Many even believed the film to have been abandoned, but fortunately this is not the case. Coco will arrive in theatres in the fall of 2017. Lastly, Pixar previewed the recently-announced Toy Story 4 and gave new details regarding the film's plot. The presentation ended with a live performance of "You've Got a Friend In Me" from Randy Newman as Toy Story characters hit the stage in celebration of the original Toy Story film's 20th anniversary this year.

Full posts about each of the films previewed at the expo are on the way; stay tuned.

Cars 3 and The Incredibles 2, though present on the studio's poster slate on the expo floor pictured at the top, were absent from the presentation since they are still both in the early stages of development and will not be released until after 2017. We did, at the very least, get a look at those two films' logos.

All in all, it was an exhilarating day that left fans eager to experience what the future of Pixar has in store.

Edit: Disney posted a great brief recap on Twitter of all that went down during D23 Expo's animation panel. Check it out:

Friday, August 14, 2015

Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters To Replace Flying Tires at Cars Land

via Disney Parks Blog

Earlier this year we learned that the Luigi's Flying Tires ride in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure in Anaheim would be closing to make way for an all-new attraction. Last month the Disney Parks Blog offered a glimpse at the Flying Tires' successor, "Luigi's Rollickin' Roadsters".

Picture from my July 2015 trip to Disneyland of the walls currently surrounding Luigi's Casa Della Tires

Luigi's relatives will serve as the ride vehicles in this new attraction, which will make use of the same trackless ride technology seen in Pooh's Hunny Hunt at Tokyo Disneyland. Though no fixed date has been set yet, Rollickin' Roadsters is expected to open in early 2016.

More details and images regarding the new Cars Land ride are bound to emerge as 2016 draws closer, so stay tuned!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

First Full-Length Trailer for 'The Good Dinosaur' Is Beautiful

Apologies for the blog silence this past month. I'll be catching up on some missed news this week, but things should be back to normal now, just in time for D23 Expo!

They've made you cry over toys, monsters, fish, and robots, to name a few. This November, the masterminds at Pixar Animation Studios will have you shedding tears over a young Apatosaurus and his pet boy. Only a little over a month after releasing the first teaser trailer for The Good Dinosaur, Pixar released a full-length trailer for the upcoming film. If you haven't already, watch it below:

There is much to take in here, but let's start with the visuals. From that two-and-a-half-minute trailer alone, it certainly looks as if The Good Dinosaur will be Pixar's most beautiful-looking film yet, which says a lot considering the studio's entire library consists of numerous visually stunning films. With Dinosaur, the studio seems to be pushing the limits of what computer animation can do. Everything from the dirt and plant life to the flowing rivers and wide landscapes looks phenomenal and almost real. That scene with the fireflies is particularly breathtaking. Even the film's cartoonish characters and creatures have touches of realism; upon closer inspection one will notice the scales on Arlo.

We know that the film will be light on dialogue, much like Walt Disney's Dumbo and Pixar's own WALL-E, and the trailer makes that clear. While the dinosaurs in the film do talk, the film revolves around the relationship between Arlo and the human boy Spot, who, being of different species, presumably cannot communicate verbally. The artists will have to rely primarily on visuals to tell the story, and I, for one, find that extremely exciting.

Lastly, though the trailer gives away little regarding the film's story, it definitely seems to have a strong emotional core, as is common with Pixar movies. Pretty visuals go a long way, but as one of Pixar's famous mottos says, "story is king". From the look of things though, the look isn't the only thing Pixar has done right here.

Thus far, The Good Dinosaur is shaping up to be a movie you won't want to miss out on. Mark your calendar; the movie arrives in theatres November 25.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Pixar Debuts Two Stills from 'Sanjay's Super Team'

Pixar has made it a habit to use their theatrical short films to test the waters for bold new concepts and visual styles. The wonderfully inventive Day & Night, for example, mixed 3D computer animation with traditional 2D animation and yielded fabulous results. The upcoming Sanjay's Super Team, set to debut in theaters this Thanksgiving alongside Pixar's next feature The Good Dinosaur, will evidently be unlike anything the studio has ever done before.

In an article published earlier this week by USA Today, two stills from Sanjay's Super Team were unveiled, giving us a look at the distinct visual style, or rather, styles, that will feature in the new short, which draws its premise from director Sanjay Patel's childhood. The film will seemingly employ two different art styles to distinguish Sanjay's experiences in the real world and within his daydream. The short is also heavily influenced by Patel's Hindu background. Described as a sort of Hindu version of the Avengers, the deities Durga, Vishnu, and Hanuman will be brought to life in Sanjay's daydream.

The first thing that stands out to me is that the artists at Pixar have clearly taken a much more cartoony approach than usual. Sanjay has particularly large eyes, for instance, perhaps meant to be a literal embodiment of his wide-eyed persona. The daydream scenes will undoubtedly be a riot and very different from anything we have ever seen in any Pixar feature or short. It is always a treat to see the talented filmmakers at the studio step out of their comfort zone and push the boundaries of what computer animation can do.

This does not mark the first time that a Pixar short is inspired by the director's personal childhood experiences and infused with a cultural touch. La Luna was based largely on director Enrico Casarosa's memory of the strained relationship between his father and grandfather and featured a touch of Casarosa's Italian heritage, most notably in the short's music.

Catch Sanjay's Super Team in theaters this fall with The Good Dinosaur on November 25.

Friday, June 12, 2015

First Look: LEGO WALL-E Set Coming This December

In February, LEGO announced that a LEGO-built model of the lovable, titular robot from Pixar's WALL-E, designed by Pixar employee Angus MacLane, would be coming to stores later this year. MacLane designed and built the model while working on the actual WALL-E film and uploaded it to LEGO Ideas, a site where fans can share their own LEGO creations and, potentially, have them made into real LEGO sets.

The WALL-E model was approved by LEGO in February, and today we have our first official look at the finished product that will be on store shelves by Christmas. The model has been tweaked here and there from its original design to meet LEGO'S standards, and now even includes the iconic plant from the film. It will retail for approximately $40 and is expected to be released in early December, according to Smyths Toys. An official statement from LEGO regarding the pricing and release date of the set should be coming in the next few weeks, if not within the next couple of days.

I, for one, being both a huge LEGO fanatic and a Pixar aficionado, will be picking this set up the instant I see it. It's a must-have for fans of the beloved film and the studio, no doubt.

Look forward to getting your grabby paws all over a LEGO WALL-E this winter.

Four New Pixar Art Books Coming Soon

Photo credit: Pixar Post

Since 2001's Monsters, Inc., every Pixar feature film release has been accompanied by an art book that offers an in-depth look at the sketches, paintings and storyboards that went into making the film. These books give fans a chance to go behind the scenes of the production of a Pixar film and allow them to enjoy artwork which would otherwise go unappreciated.

Fans will be pleased to hear that Pixar and Chronicle Books are going all-out this year, releasing not one, not two, but four new art books inspired by Pixar films, not counting the recently released Art of Inside Out book.

Of course, The Good Dinosaur will be getting the traditional art book treatment, but the short that will play in theaters before the film, Sanjay's Super Team, will also have an entire book dedicated to its artwork. This is significant since it will mark the first time that a Pixar short gets an art book all to itself. Previously, Chronicle Books published The Art of Pixar Short Films, which featured artwork spanning the entire library of Pixar short films at the time. Sanjay's Super Team must be quite unique visually to merit its own book.

Chronicle Books released the following official descriptions of the books:

(November 4, 2015; foreword by John Lasseter, introduction by Pete Sohn)
"What if the asteroid that forever changed life on Earth missed the planet completely and dinosaurs never became extinct? The Good Dinosaur expands on that premise in a humorous and exciting original story about Arlo, a lively Apatosaurus with a big heart. Showcasing the stunning artwork from the film’s creation—including sketches, storyboards, maquette sculpts, colorscripts, and much more—The Art of The Good Dinosaur offers the ultimate behind-the-scenes look at the research and design that went into the making of this innovative film."

The Art of Sanjay's Super Team
(December 2015; by Sanjay Patel, foreword by John Lasseter)
"In the new short film from Pixar Animation Studios, Sanjay’s Super Team, accomplished artist Sanjay Patel uses his own experience to tell the story of a young, 1st generation Indian boy whose love for western pop culture comes into conflict with his father’s traditions. This art-filled peek behind the curtain of this groundbreaking film is sure to excite Sanjay’s legion of fans, and thrill animation lovers around the world."

Additionally, this fall Chronicle Books will publish Funny! Twenty-Five Years of Laughter from the Pixar Story Room and The Animator's Sketchbook. These new books differ from most Pixar art books in that they will include artwork from all of Pixar's existing works, rather than being specific to one film. Funny! will focus on the trademark visual gags and humor of the studio's films, featuring gags which may have not made it into the finished films. Aspiring artists, filmmakers, and animators will definitely want to pick up a copy of The Animator's Sketchbook, which delves into the intricate process of crafting an animated film.

Check out the books' official descriptions:

(November 17, 2015; foreword by John Lasseter, introduction by Jason Katz)
"From Toy Story to The Good Dinosaur, some of the most iconic and hilarious moments in Pixar’s films were first conceived by the artists featured in this book. But there are hundreds of gags that don’t make it past the cutting room floor, like Mater as a ninja and Sadness wearing mom jeans. Funny! explores this material in depth, showcasing classic moments from all of Pixar’s films to date, plus never-before-published illustrations and doodles from the Pixar archives. With an introduction by veteran story man Jason Katz, this book is a must-have for any Pixar fan."

(September 8, 2015)
"Creating an animated film takes a lot of work, from the texture of a character’s hair to the shot sequence of a high-speed car chase. This Pixar-branded sketchbook provides a single volume in which to record the incredible journey of the making of an animated film. It covers the full preproduction process with discrete sections for Concept, Color, Story, Characters, and Worlds. Each section includes an introduction, a handful of inspiring quotes from some of the best artists working at Pixar, and a few key examples of related art. Useful and inspiring, this journal provides a structured space for aspiring filmmakers to workshop their ideas through all phases of development."

These ought to keep Pixar fans busy for a while! All of the new books sans The Art of Sanjay's Super Team are available on Amazon for pre-order, if you'd like to guarantee any copies in advance. 

'The Good Dinosaur' Gets an All-New Cast

Some new and surprising details regarding the voice cast for The Good Dinosaur emerged today. When Pixar said they were completely reworking the film, they weren't kidding. The new updated cast revealed today includes only one member from the original cast announced two years ago; all others have been replaced or cut. A couple of new characters have also joined the cast.

The new cast is as follows:

  • Thirteen-year-old Raymond Ochoa (The Night Shift) replaces Lucas Neff as the voice of Arlo the Apatosaurus, the film's protagonist.
  • Jeffrey Wright (Boardwalk Empire) replaces John Lithgow as Arlo's father, Poppa.
  • Frances McDormand (Fargo) voices Arlo's mother, Momma, and is the sole remaining member of the original cast.
  • Marcus Scribner (Black-ish) lends his voice to Buck, Arlo's brother.
  • Steve Zahn (That Thing You Do) joins the cast as a pterodactyl named Thunderclap.
  • A.J. Buckley (Justified), Anna Paquin (True Blood), and Sam Elliott (Justified) voice the T-Rexes Nash, Ramsey, and Butch, respectively.
  • Jack Bright (Monsters University) voices the human boy Spot, likely through a series of grunts since the humans in the film do not speak.

Bill Hader, Neil Patrick Harris, and Judy Greer were originally supposed to voice Arlo's siblings, Forrest, Cliff, and Ivy, respectively, but have been cut from the film.

The new cast is probably the biggest testimony to just how much the film has changed from its original incarnation. Arlo, for example, will now bear a child's voice as opposed to an adult one, as was previously intended.

Directed by Pete Sohn, The Good Dinosaur will arrive in theaters on November 25 this year. Stay tuned for more updates.

'Inside Out' Premieres at the El Capitan in Los Angeles

It's hard to believe it, but Inside Out is a mere week away from its release. The film's premiere took place on Monday at the El Capitan Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. The entire cast of the film, along with director Pete Docter, producer Jonas Rivera, Pixar honcho John Lasseter, and many others where in attendance for the exciting event. Even Joy and Sadness themselves were there! Scroll down to check out some pictures from Monday's festivities.

(L-R): Producer Jonas Rivera, co-director Ronnie del Carmen, and director Pete Docter

Joy and Sadness, the stars of Inside Out

(L-R): Mindy Kaling (Disgust), Lewis Black (Anger), Bill Hader (Fear), Amy Poehler (Joy), and Phyllis Smith (Sadness); the main cast of Inside Out

Pixar Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter poses with Joy and Sadness

Kaitlyn Dias, voice of Riley in Inside Out

(L-R): Pixar's lucky charm John Ratzenberger, John Lasseter, and Bobby Moynihan

(L-R): Bobby Moynihan, Bill Hader, and Jonas Rivera

Pete Docter and the cast of Inside Out

On a side note, Inside Out now has 26 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes—all of them positive. Catch the film in theaters next Friday!