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October, 2017
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Review: The Art of Coco

Adrian Molina, Art, Art Of:, Coco, Lee Unkrich

Posted by Simoa • October 28, 2017

When I visited Pixar in August, there was dozens of Coco artwork lining the walls that I wanted to hang up on my own walls at home. The art and animation presentations also featured bold and visually striking pieces that I could have ogled for hours. Now that the art book has been released, we can all get our fill of the film’s mesmerizing art. But you should wait until after the film is released to read the whole thing!

Released by Chronicle Books on October 10th, The Art of Coco, with a foreword by John Lasseter and introductions by Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina, will indeed be a treasured addition to any collection. Pixar films routinely deal with death, but Coco will transport audiences to a world where death is linked to life. However, this is not a story about mourning. Unkrich and his team took so much care to authentically portray Mexico’s Dia de Los Muertos holiday, which is both a remembrance of departed loved ones and a celebration of life.

The Art of Coco is yet another celebration of Mexico, its people, and its culture.

Numerous pieces of concept art, sketches, and clay models are included, as well as storyboards and the breathtaking color scripts. Color is what makes The Art of Coco so appealing; it’s saturated with it. Deep, vivid hues of red, orange, and yellow fill the book, as well as warm tones and color palettes. All of this, combined with lush digital paintings, make the artwork come alive on the page. Now imagine seeing it all in motion on the big screen.

Sharon Calahan, digital

Along with the dazzling artwork are photographs taken during the research trips to Mexico. The crew members snapped photos of the people they met, as well as the gorgeous scenery and Dia de Los Muertos celebrations.

Art of books function as learning tools for animated films and this one is no different. The artists detail their processes from character design to lighting to storyboards. These insights help animation fans broaden their knowledge and their appreciation. The amount of meticulous and precise details just can’t be overstated, especially with a film like Coco. The sheer breadth of the land of the dead alone is astounding.

Tom Gately, china marker/pencil/digital

But it’s not only the artists who have a space in The Art of Coco. Because the film is centered on Dia de Los Muertos, the cultural consultants who were hired provide more background on certain customs and traditions. Their expertise was not only an asset for the film’s accuracy and respect; it informed the story as well.

Zaruhi Galstyan, digital

Much of the crew aiding Lee Unkrich on his vision are Mexican, including co-director Adrian Molina, who shares a songwriting and screenplay credit. Molina and the other artists, like character art director Daniel Arriaga, sketch artist Ana Ramirez and character modeling artist Alonso Martinez, drew from their own experiences, family, and heritage to shape Miguel’s journey. One of the many joys in poring over this book was reading about their pride at being involved and sharing a bit of themselves. It’s evident, as Lee Unkrich writes in the introduction, that this is both a personal and a universal film.

The Art of Coco is overflowing with stunning imagery and is an excellent companion to the film.

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Coco releases in Mexico and it feels like the world is already a better place

Coco, Pixar

Posted by Joanna • October 27, 2017

Coco released in Mexican theatres today, and floods of compliments, congratulations, and thank yous have been filling up the Twitter feeds of directors Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina. It must be an incredibly exciting time for Pixar’s Coco crew to see their 6 years of hard work really paying off and affecting people so deeply and positively.

Adrian Molina tweeted a sketch of Miguel and Mama Coco to celebrate Coco’s Mexican release.

Here are just a small number of the many touching comments that have been retweeted by the directors:

“It’s the best movie I’ve ever seen. It is absolutely magnificent. Thank you”

“Coco had me laughing, singing and crying. Thank you & Pixar for making such a beautiful movie based on my culture.”

“Thank you thank you thank you so much!!I just saw coco and I can’t stop crying! You represented Mexico in a beautiful way! I LOVED IT!”

These in addition to the tweets that simply say ‘thank you’ or ‘congratulations’ are so, so heartwarming. I can’t imagine how immensely proud, relieved and grateful the crew are feeling right now. It will be a while before I get to see the movie for myself, but its release in Mexico has already made the world feel brighter and warmer.

Coco releases in US theatres on the 22nd of November – just under a month away! Let’s hope these positive reviews just keep on coming.

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Pixar at the Parks: Pixar Fest and First Looks at Woody’s Lunch Box

Disney, Disney Parks, Imagineering, John Lasseter, Merchandise, Pixar, Round-Ups, Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Toy Story 3, Toy Story 4, Toy Story Land

Posted by Nia • October 27, 2017

Do you love Pixar? (Obviously) Do you love going to Disneyland and Disney World? (Duh!) Well, now’s the perfect opportunity to plan your next trip to California AND Florida because, drum roll, please…

  1. Pixar Fest is coming to Disneyland!
  2. Not only that, but a brand spanking new Pixar-themed area will be at Disney’s Hollywood Studios soon!

According to Oh My Disney, Pixar Fest will be coming to both Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure beginning April 13th, 2018! That’s only five months away! Unfortunately the event will be for a limited time, but during April you will get to see both parks completely dedicated to the world of Pixar. The parks will include a new fireworks show, two new Pixar-themed parades, new merchandise, food and drinks, and more!

Thanks to Oh My Disney, here’s some of the cool things to look forward to at Pixar Fest:

“Together Forever—A Pixar Nighttime Spectacular”

The nighttime spectacular will feature a brand new fireworks display with Buzz Lightyear flying over Sleeping Beauty’s Castle. The main focus of the show, as the Together Forever title suggests, will be about the special bond between friends and celebrate the true meaning of friendship.

“Pixar Play Parade”

You guessed it, not only will Luxo the Lamp be in this Disneyland parade, but characters from films like Inside Out and Up will also make appearances.

“Paint the Night”

The Disney California Adventure parade will showcase characters from Monsters Inc., Toy Story, and Cars.

Pixar Shorts Film Festival

You can finally watch some of Pixar’s short films at the Sunset Showcase Theater in Disney California Adventure’s Hollywood Land.

Pixar Fest Charm Bracelet

Be sure to pick up one of the exclusive merchandise items that will be for sale, which includes Pixar-themed charm bracelets.

So 2018 is obviously going to be a great year for Pixar. Need any more proof? Over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida, Woody’s Lunch Box (an area that will be in the new Toy Story land section of the park) will be opening! Oh My Disney shared a first look of the area:

As the concept art depicts, Woody’s Lunch Box will feature a plethora of different toys from Andy’s collection, even showing off some of Andy’s lunch box items.

It will certainly be thrilling walking among some of the iconic Toy Story toys in Woody’s Lunch Box AND celebrating the studio with Pixar Fest – it’ll feel like we’re finally apart of the magic behind a Pixar film.

 

 

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Cars 3 deleted scene: The Betrayal of Lightning McQueen

Brian Fee, Cars 3

Posted by Simoa • October 25, 2017

Cars 3 is now available on digital, and one of its deleted scenes has been shared online, courtesy of USA Today.

In an earlier version of the film, Lightning experiences betrayal at the wheels of Sterling (Nathan Fillion), the new owner of Rusteze. Sterling was skeptical of Lightning’s ability to race, preferring him to retire. But in this version, he replaces Lighting with Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo), his beloved new trainer, early on. Watch the clip below.


No doubt Cars 3 would have been a much more dramatic film had this scene remained. And it is interesting to speculate how Lightning and Cruz’s relationship would have evolved. There are so many directions encompassed in the filmmaking process, and it’s wonderful that Pixar shares them with us, including the directions not taken. While this scene contains some emotional weight surrounding Lightning’s journey as he’s pressured to retire, it’s for the best that it was cut. Director Brian Fee explains why brilliantly.

“We didn’t want McQueen to be the last one to realize her [Cruz’s] value; we wanted him to be the first to discover it.”

See this deleted scene and plenty more extras when you pick up Cars 3 on digital.

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Coco’s Morelia Film Festival Premiere

Adrian Molina, Coco, Lee Unkrich

Posted by Simoa • October 22, 2017

Today, Coco is now officially one month away from release! However, the film had its grand debut at the Morelia International Film Festival this past Friday. As we previously reported back in July, Morelia was most deserving to hold the premiere, as Coco is a love letter to Mexico. The film will premiere to the rest of Mexico on October 27th.

We compiled some of the mini reviews of the film in last week’s round up post following the wrap party. Now the latest reviews are in post Morelia, praising the film’s strengths and thoughtfully examining the shortcomings. We strongly recommend reading these first reviews, as they provide ample reason to anticipate Coco even more. Highlights are included below. While there aren’t any major spoilers, we’d advise not reading Variety’s review if you’d rather be surprised when the film opens next month.

Variety:

“In an era when young people are so easily seduced by celebrity, “Coco” reveals the emptiness of such adulation, poignantly teaching kids to preserve and respect the memory of their elders while reminding them that the source of true creativity is so often personal.”

The Hollywood Reporter:

“Delivering a universal message about family bonds while adhering to folkloric traditions free of the watering down or whitewashing that have often typified Americanized appropriations of cultural heritage, the gorgeous production also boasts vibrant visuals and a peerless voice cast populated almost entirely by Mexican and Latino actors.”

The Wrap:

“Visually, “Coco” is a swirling, vibrantly hued artistic achievement. It’s everything from a sepia-tinted memory book come to heart-tugging life to a pulsating multi-tinted mural. The stellar design team and animators find room for both the sun-kissed verisimilitude of a homey pueblo, and the razzle-dazzle of elaborately designed folk-art animals called alebrijasthat become flying, hot-colored spirit creatures in the Land of the Dead.”

Vanity Fair was also effusive in its praise, drawing a connection to real life politics with director Lee Unkrich and co-director Adrian Molina offering their own thoughts. Gael García Bernal, who voices Miguel’s guide, Hector, spoke of his pride in co-starring:

“I’m excited to show this very special film and to tell the world about the Mexican culture and our traditions. It’s incredible and an important moment. There’s a lot of emotion, and it’s beautiful that the film truthfully tells the story of life and death and the identities of being a Mexican in a positive and human way.”

As reported by Variety, Coco was met with a strong emotional response. Lee Unkrich spoke of the tearful gratitude the film elicited from the Mexican audience at Morelia, noting “That was the biggest thing: people were just so proud, they expressed to us that we had gotten it right, that we had made a respectful, accurate job.” Filmmaker Carlos Cauron, also in attendance with his brother Alfonso, expressed his hope that Coco would be a worldwide box office success.

Read more about the Morelia Festival here, which takes place in a city renowned for its Day of the Dead celebrations.

We’re more than heartened to hear that this first audience has embraced Coco so enthusiastically and that the film is a source of pride. We hope you’ll join us in eagerly awaiting the film on Thanksgiving!

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Cars 3 Deleted Scene “The Boogie Woogie” Released

Brian Fee, Cars 3, Pixar

Posted by Joanna • October 21, 2017

With Cars 3 being released digitally on October 24th and on Blu-ray on November 7th, we’re excited to see all the deleted scenes and extras and get an insight into the movie’s production process.

Pixar have already treated us to one particular deleted scene – “The Boogie Woogie” – which features Cruz Ramirez and Lightning McQueen training on the beach. You can watch it below!

Cars 3 director Brian Fee talks us through the deleted ‘beach training’ scene, explaining that in this version, Cruz was much more experienced. In the final cut, Cruz ended up struggling to drive on the sandy terrain, skidding about all over the place, but this alternate deleted scene shows her driving faster than the Lightning McQueen right from the get-go. Her little ‘good luck charm’ routine that she likes to perform before a race is also incredibly endearing. Who knew these deleted scenes could make Cruz Ramirez even more likeable?

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New Coco Clip Released: Rescue and Reunion in the Land of the Dead

Adrian Molina, Coco, Lee Unkrich, Trailer

Posted by Nia • October 20, 2017

Alas! A brand new clip has been released from Coco, Pixar’s upcoming film.

It’s a brilliant clip, but it’s also full of a few spoilers. You can watch the clip at the link below, in one of Pixar’s recent Tweets.

In the clip you will see a charming little musical number done by Miguel, some more gorgeous designs of the Land of the Dead, and Miguel FINALLY interacting with Ernesto de la Cruz.

Pixar, you’re killing us with these clips! Luckily November 22nd is almost a month away!

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In Depth: Why These Female Pixar Characters Mean So Much To Me

30 Years of Pixar, A Bug's Life, Brad Bird, Brave, Brenda Chapman, Cars 3, Finding Dory, Finding Nemo, Pete Docter, Pixar Heroines, The Incredibles, The Incredibles 2

Posted by Nia • October 20, 2017

It’s been over two weeks since the New York Times article on Harvey Weinstein was published and the dam finally burst in Hollywood. It seems almost unbearable to comprehend all the allegations that are still stacking up against Weinstein, not to mention the plethora of other men in the industry and beyond. The “me too” movement on social media has also shown a disturbing amount of women who have been sexually harassed and assaulted by co-workers, friends, and family members.

This past week I’ve found it hard to focus and carry on with my life, job, and day-to-day activities.  It’s empowering seeing women come together, but also distressing to learn how it’s happened to us all, one way or another.

I needed inspiration and I needed something to lift my spirits up so I turned to what I know best to help me in troubled times: Pixar films.

Over the years not only has Pixar produced some of the greatest animated films of all time, but they’ve also created some of the strongest and most relatable female characters in the business. I was going to try and talk about all of them, but then realized how long the post would be (actually this would make a wonderful book some day). Instead, I decided to pick my three most important female characters and share why they mean so much to me both as a woman, and as a professional working in the animation industry.

Merida

Brave came out at a perfect time in my life, I was a sophomore in college and I was struggling with trying to figure out exactly what I wanted to do. I was feeling the pressure of comparing myself to other people my age; be it with work, relationships, and even school.  I was even feeling pressure from certain family members about my love life and if I was going to be getting married anytime soon (this is a true story for any Greek woman).

Then Merida arrived, with her ridiculous hair goals, amazing horse-riding skills, and sassiness I wish I had when I was a teenager.

Merida broke the mold when it came to princesses – she had her own goals and her own motivations that she wanted to achieve in life, even if it went completely against what her family has wanted for generations. She didn’t care what her family thought and she was ready to fight against her mom if it meant being able to do what SHE wanted to do in life. Maybe she didn’t really have any dreams or goals at the moment, and that was OK – as long as she wasn’t stuck being a princess and fitting the mold, then she was content. That was Merida’s life, and she wanted to pursue those dreams of being free and exploring the countryside with her horse.

I also really appreciated how independent she was and how she didn’t need romance in her life to be successful. She was content with being alone, even if that meant being isolated from her own family or off in the forest basking in her solitude, that didn’t matter to her; she didn’t need a man in her life to tell her what to do or to be content.

I was the biggest tomboy growing up, I got dirty rolling around and play fighting and spent most afternoons playing sports with the other kids. But I still liked to dress up and get pretty; that didn’t mean I had to do it all the time. I really appreciated how Merida didn’t always need to be pretty or dainty or wear fancy dresses and spend her time curtsying to all the men; she wanted to roll around in the mud, dance in the rain, ride on horseback, climb mountains, and shoot arrows. I loved that adventurous side of her and I loved that she didn’t let anyone tame her.

I wish I had Merida to look up to when I was that young tomboy.

 Cruz Ramirez

It’s a shame Pixar wasn’t able to create a character like Cruz until now. She is one of the better things to come from this summer’s Cars 3 release and she might actually be one of my all-time favorite characters now.

Like Merida, I wish I had someone like Cruz to look up to when I was growing up and dreaming about coming to work in the animation industry in Los Angeles.

What I love the most about Cruz is that she showed me it doesn’t matter where you were born or who your family is, if you set your mind to what you want to achieve in life then you can fulfill your dreams.

People might keep telling you no, no, no; and you might continue to get rejection letter after rejection letter, but you have to keep going, to keep pushing forwards; hearing no or getting a rejection letter does not mean you’ve failed, but giving up does. It’s okay to have doubts, to feel bad about yourself, but you can still carry on and push forwards.

I also really loved the signal she sent to boys and girls alike, how it’s OK to be a girl and be really interested in boy things (like racing cars) or vice versa. In a typical male dominated world, it’s important to show young children that you can do whatever you want; it doesn’t matter if you’re a boy or a girl.

Cruz is the type of female character we need in film and TV now – a woman who stands up for herself, who goes against the norm, and who never gives up her dreams when obstacles are in the way.

Helen Parr AKA Elastigirl 

Helen is important to me, not only because I’ve always dreamed of being a superhero and kicking all sorts of butt, but because she’s a wonderful mother and person to look up to.

At the start of The Incredibles she’s living a pretty normal life, only having to deal with the typical mom duties that come with any parent. But soon it’s clear that Helen can balance both the mom and superhero life when she’s forced to follow and rescue her husband, Bob Parr AKA Mr. Incredible, when he’s off trying to deal with his midlife crisis.

It turns out that Helen actually saves her husband, brings her family closer together, and in turn, is a huge part in actually saving the world from the supervillain Syndrome. Where would we be without her? I’m really excited for The Incredibles 2 and having some more focus on Helen; which is a good sign that Pixar is definitely moving in the right direction regarding female characters.

One of my favorite things about Helen is that she doesn’t take crap from anyone, not her husband, children, or even Edna. She wasn’t about to sit around and wait for her husband to come home, making up different stories in her head as to why he’s been acting so strange lately. She was also not afraid to go against the societal norms at the time and take things into her own hands – she had every right to know what her husband was doing and to go and find him.

Helen is the type of woman and mom I aspire to be one day, with her, anything is possible. She gives me the confidence that I can balance both my work and home life completely if I chose to go down that path.  I work in the animation industry and have hopes of gaining as much experience as I can and moving on to different studios and jobs in the future. Thanks to Helen, I know that I don’t need to wait around for anyone to make the right decisions for me, and it’s possible to have a family and a career at the same time and be happy.

Each female Pixar character has taught me something different about myself throughout the years. What I love most about Pixar films, and the female characters they create, is that they provide a plethora of diverse characters from all ranges of life. Yes, fish and robots and superheroes are all incredibly different, but when you look at the stories that surround each character, and the struggles each woman (or ant) has to overcome, it’s all universal.

Who are some of your favorite Pixar female characters? And why are they so important to you?

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Coco Exclusives: Research and New Movie clip

Adrian Molina, Coco, Lee Unkrich

Posted by Simoa • October 18, 2017

There are two elements of the filmmaking process that Pixar prioritizes above all else – story and research. They are famed for both, and Coco is the latest film to rely extensively on research. As they did in 2012 with Brave, a team was assembled for a research trip, this time to Mexico. A new featurette was released yesterday about the Mexico trip and demonstrates their commitment to authenticity. Watch the video below.

But that’s not all! You can also watch the “Mariachi Plaza” scene that features Abuelita in all her fearsome, chancla wielding glory! This is an extended clip that’s appeared briefly in earlier trailers and videos. Although Abuelita dominates this scene, Miguel earns our sympathy as he wistfully shares his dream to someday become a musician.

Both of these clips succeed in communicating Pixar’s dedication to research and story. Keep an eye out for more previews!

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Pixar’s creative advertising – a Cars 3 messenger bot?!

Cars 3, Pixar, Shorts

Posted by Joanna • October 18, 2017

Along with the release of Cars 3 on Digital on the 24th of this month and on Blu-ray on the 7th of November, we’ll be able to see the new Cars 3 short Miss Fritter’s Racing Skoool.

Miss Fritter, the strong and self-assured school bus voiced by Lea DeLaria, will take centre stage in this mini-movie, and Pixar have come up with a characteristically creative way to advertise it: you can talk to Miss Fritter herself on Facebook Messenger!

By following the link in the tweet above, you’ll be directed to Messenger where you can talk to a cleverly programmed ‘Miss Fritter bot’. The opening screen reads:

“Rev your engine and become a world class racer! In this Cars 3 bot, attend Miss Fritter’s Racing Skoool and learn to race like the famous Lightning McQueen.”

You’ll then get to do a fun quiz – there are lots of different questions you might get asked – and at the end, you get rewarded with a teaser for the new short!

It’s great to see Pixar trying out some new advertising techniques, and this one was particularly fun to experience. If you have Facebook Messenger yourself, then it’s well worth a quick test-drive – you even get a certificate.

 

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