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New film still and new insight into Soul

Pete Docter, Soul

Posted by Simoa • January 22, 2020

Pete Docter’s Soul bears some resemblance to Inside Out with its abstract concept, but the two films have another connection. Speaking with Empire, the director gave further insight into what his newest film is all about. As it turns out, Joe Gardner’s journey after his death is to The Great Before, defined as a place where people get their personalities. I can’t help but be reminded of the beginning of Inside Out, where Riley greets the world and her parents as a newborn baby. As Docter noted,

“The instant my kids were born, they seemed to have a very specific, unique personality; this is a deep dive into why that’s the case.”

I love that Docter is drawing inspiration from his children once again for this latest exploration into the human experience. I also wonder exactly how he thinks their personalities were fixed from the moment they were born. Maybe that’s something only parents can understand. Regardless, Soul, in theaters on June 19th, will be a film for everyone. Check out the exclusive new film still.

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Toy Story 4 Short ‘Lamp Life’ Coming To Disney+

Disney+, Shorts, Toy Story 4

Posted by Joanna • January 22, 2020

It feels like Disney+ is slowly but surely filling up with Pixar shorts, and we couldn’t be happier. Between the pioneering SparkShorts (you can read our review of the latest SparkShort – Loop – here), the classic shorts that premiered before Pixar’s feature films, Pixar Toons, and originals like Forky Asks a Question, Disney+ is accumulating quite the collection.

A new Disney+ exclusive Toy Story 4 short has just been revealed, and it’s going to be released in just over a week on January 31st. The new short is Lamp Life, and it’ll give us an idea of how Bo Peep lived her life as a lamp between leaving Woody and becoming a lost toy.

We’re still a little blown away by Bo’s incredible comeback, so it’s exciting that we’ll get to see more of her personality shining through, even if only for a brief short.

There are some Mater’s Tall Tales vibes happening too. It’s great to get to see a snippet of a character’s life that didn’t quite fit into a feature length movie, even if some of the snippets may or may not be entirely true.

“That all happened?!”

“Well…more or less.”

Here’s to January 31st!

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Looping through colors and sounds

SparkShorts

Posted by Simoa • January 21, 2020

When “Loop” premiered on Disney+ a few weeks ago, I watched it three times in a row. (As of this posting, my view count is now at five). It’s the first Pixar release of 2020, and I can’t think of a better one to hold that distinction. It represents another first as well: one of the protagonists is autistic and nonverbal. Her name is Renee. I remember really liking her design the first time I saw the poster last year. All that hair!

“Loop” is Pixar’s second SparkShort about autism, but this time, there are no metaphors or magic. Renee’s autism isn’t portrayed as a mysterious gift. This short is extraordinarily simple – we spend one bright and sunny afternoon with two teenagers in a canoe. Marcus is Renee’s partner. He is not autistic and seems nice enough, although he is reluctant to be paired off with Renee, referring to her as “that girl who doesn’t talk.” Their continuous loop around the lake is fairly uneventful at first, but that’s why I find it so compelling. It’s just two kids with vastly different experiences of the world learning to communicate with one another.

Also available on Disney+ is “The Making of Loop.” It details how the filmmakers, led by director Erica Milsom, worked with The Autistic Self Advocacy Network to bring this story faithfully to the screen. One way they achieved authenticity was with the casting of Madison Bandy, a nonverbal autistic actress, as Renee. Girls are largely under diagnosed with autism, and we might be tempted to associate it with boys only. But for a Pixar film to center a nonwhite autistic girl is really making strides in the realm of representation for both the studio and media in a broader sense. It’s also cool that both characters in “Loop” are nonwhite, with Marcus having dark brown skin.

It’s evident just how passionate Milsom and her team were to tell this story in such an honest way. Marcus is well intentioned, but his plans go awry, and he becomes frustrated. He doesn’t know how to communicate with Renee, but he does give her some space. He learns to be patient. We’re able to sympathize with him. Not once are we meant to pity Renee; rather we identify with her; see and hear the world through her eyes and ears. A great moment in “Loop” occurs when Marcus tells her, “I hear you.” Just because she can’t talk doesn’t mean we shouldn’t listen.

One of my nieces is on the autism spectrum, and she struggled a lot with sensory overload when she was younger. That scene in the short where Renee claps her hands to her ears was so immediately recognizable to me, because my niece would always do the same when she was overwhelmed by noise. I am not autistic, but Renee hiding under the canoe was deeply relatable to me. I’ve never done that, but I understand the need to. The comfort she draws from listening to her ringtone, a continuous looping sound, is also something I could relate to: I’ve listened to the same song on repeat when I need comfort, or need to calm myself down.

“Loop” just radiates so much compassion, color, and warmth.

“Loop” is dedicated to Adam Burke, who also has a story credit on the film. Read this Forbes interview with Milsom and producers Michael Warch and Krissy Cababa for more insight on this beautiful little story.

Click the banner below for more of our SparkShorts reviews. 

 

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Onward – More Posters Revealed

Onward, Poster

Posted by Joanna • January 16, 2020

Believe it or not, we are now a mere 50 days away from the release of Pixar’s next movie, and first of the decadeOnward.

Today, new character posters were revealed, including the one we were all waiting for: the Dad poster! Or the ‘weird, detached legs’ poster.

Just legs, and yet so much personality.

In addition to these, there are also some new UK Onward posters, featuring familiar characters but with different backdrops, and some new poses. The Ian and Barley poster is just precious – let’s just wait and see if Ian actually puts up with his big brother so patiently when the film is released.

In the background of Ian and Barley’s mom’s poster, you can just make out the sign for ‘Pizza Realm’, a clever reference to Toy Story’s Pizza Planet! Now that we’re into the final countdown to the movie’s release, keep checking back for more updates and insights into the making of Onward. We can’t wait to share more with you!

 

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