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Pixar’s First Emmy

Round-Ups

Posted by Joanna • September 23, 2020

Autumn is officially here, which means Soul‘s release date suddenly isn’t far away. In the meantime, here’s a quick Woody’s Round-up of the latest Pixar news.

Pixar’s First Emmy

Forky Asks a Question, created, written, and directed by Bob Peterson, is a short-form series exclusive to Disney+. It explores Forky’s adventures into the understanding of our universe, and it’s won Pixar its very first Emmy! It won in the category Outstanding Short Form Animated Program. The episodes are short enough that it’s easy to sit down and watch all 10 in one go, which we would thoroughly recommend. Congratulations to the Forky Asks a Question team!

Onward Coming to UK Disney+

At this point, it really does feel like Onward was released in another age. I went to see it in a cinema with lots of people and no masks. UK Pixar fans will be pleased to know that they can transport themselves back to this worry-free time by watching Onward on Disney+ from October 2nd.

Pixar and Adidas Team Up

Adidas are releasing a Toy Story-inspired collection on October 1st. Which is your favourite? The Buzz shoes might take the win for us.

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Pixar Fest Spotlight: Onward and Quests of Yore board game

Dan Scanlon, Merchandise, Onward

Posted by Simoa • September 6, 2020

Onward was the first Pixar movie with a limited theatrical run after COVID-19 halted regular daily life and forced the closure of movie theaters. It’s also the first to be featured in the new Pixar Fest Spotlight.

Just what is Pixar Fest? Like the name suggests, it’s a festival, but a virtual one from the comfort of home! Every Saturday all month long, fans can tune in to watch a Pixar movie on Disney+ and livetweet with the studio’s official account. But that’s not all: fans can also win prizes, enter giveaways, and get exclusive merch inspired by Pixar Fest. New products will debut each week, so be sure to follow along for updates! (The alien remix ones are my favorites).

As Onward was the first in the series, take a look at the awesome plush collection.

 

 

Pixar’s livetweet of the film also included gorgeous artwork and behind the scenes facts.

Artist credit: Brittney (prismaviolet_ on Instagram)

Laurel concept art by Maria Yi

The bittersweet origin of Onward is captured lovingly in these illustrations by Dan Scanlon:

 

There’s yet another Onward first: a roleplaying board game! Quests of Yore was developed by The OP Games with lots of insight from Dan Scanlon and the film crew.

What makes this game so unique is that it is Barley’s copy – all of his notes are in it, and it was important that the game reflected his personality, particularly the way he encourages and supports Ian. Quests of Yore is also meant to inspire players in the same way. To learn more about the development of the game, check out this video with Game Design Manager Pat Marino and Dan Scanlon.

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LUCA: Pixar Announces a Brand New Film for Next Year!

Enrico Casarosa

Posted by Simoa • July 30, 2020

We are living in some particularly challenging times, but what a comfort it is to still be surprised by new Pixar movies! The studio has just unveiled charming artwork for Luca, pictured below.

This image is so lovely, its gorgeous colors and background recalling Ghibli art. I like that it evokes a sense of tranquility, while the two young boys suspended in euphoria above the glassy sea are anything but! And who are these boys? One of them is our titular Luca and the other is his best friend. EW has provided a splendid synopsis of the film:

The film centers on a young boy named Luca who is secretly a sea monster from another world that lies just below the surface of the water. Appearing as a human, he meets a newfound best friend with whom he shares an unforgettable summer at a beautiful seaside town on the Italian Riviera, filled with gelato, pasta, and endless scooter rides. But Luca’s secret threatens this idyllic experience.

Everything about this is already unbelievably exciting! A sea monster in disguise! That’s another first for Pixar, along with its Italian Riviera setting. I’ve always wanted to visit Italy and I’m already imagining the seaside in animated form. My favorite film Roman Holiday, also set in Italy, features a very famous scooter ride, so I’m happy that Luca put me in mind of it. The film’s star Audrey Hepburn adored Italy and her son Luca is half Italian as well!

Luca is directed by Enrico Casarosa, who made his directorial debut with the gorgeous “La Luna” (2011) short film. This will be his first full length movie. The movie’s producer is Andrea Warren, whose credits include “Lava” and Cars 3. Casarosa also explained the story’s roots and its major theme:

“This is a deeply personal story for me, not only because it’s set on the Italian Riviera where I grew up, but because at the core of this film is a celebration of friendship. Childhood friendships often set the course of who we want to become and it is those bonds that are at the heart of our story in Luca. So in addition to the beauty and charm of the Italian seaside, our film will feature an unforgettable summer adventure that will fundamentally change Luca.”

The film’s logo is also brilliant, with the lettering in the sea’s blue-green colors and the waves underneath Luca’s name. It’s got a childlike quality, as if it was written with chalk.

Italy was one of the countries greatly impacted by the coronavirus, so it seems like this film will pay a beautiful tribute at just the right time. Luca premieres on June 18, 2021.

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Pixar Scores Two Emmy Nominations

Awards, Coco, Disney+, Toy Story 4

Posted by Simoa • July 28, 2020

Emmy nominations were announced earlier today. Disney+ received an impressive total of 19 nominations, and two of those belong to Pixar.

“Forky Asks a Question: What is Love?” was nominated for Outstanding Short Form Animated Program. I’m glad Forky is getting the recognition, as the entire series is delightful. “What is Love?” is also noteworthy for its legendary cast: Mel Brooks, Betty White, Carol Burnett, and the late Carl Reiner.

A Celebration of the Music from Coco, the live concert which premiered on Disney+ earlier this year, was nominated for Outstanding Contemporary Hairstyling for a Variety, Nonfiction or Reality Program. Have you ever heard of that category before? I know I haven’t!

Tune in to the 72nd Emmy Awards (online!) on September 20, 2020.

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We Chose Toy Story’s Best Quotes

Toy Story

Posted by Joanna • July 24, 2020

Pixar has provided us with countless quotes that have embedded themselves into our culture – and for good reason. Just as their movies often have that ‘instant classic’ feel, lines always seem to pop up in Pixar movies that are immediately unforgettable. It’s easy to think back to the movies that we grew up with and quote the famous gags and inspirational lines, but it’s a testament to Pixar’s writing that even in brand new releases, there are lines that resonate with millions of people after just the first watch.

We’re going to go through every Pixar movie in order of release and choose the best quotes – whether they’re the lines that have stuck with us, or the lines that have been overlooked (until now).

First up – Toy Story!

 

Joanna

Joanna’s pick:

“This isn’t flying – this is falling, with style!”

“To infinity and beyond!” is no doubt Toy Story’s most iconic quote, but this one has always felt more meaningful to me. It’s a throwback to Woody and Buzz’s first encounter – Woody dares Buzz to show off his ‘flying’ skills, and when he impresses the rest of the gang with what can only be described as an amazing feat of daring and luck, Woody exclaims defensively “That wasn’t flying! That was…falling with style!”

At the end of the movie when Buzz and Woody are soaring through the sky towards Andy’s car, the roles are reversed. This time it’s Buzz that disagrees with Woody and says “This isn’t flying – this is falling, with style!”

Let’s delve deep into this line. This quote says so many things.

  1. It’s demonstrates Buzz’s character growth. He now accepts that he can’t fly. He accepts that he’s ‘just a toy’. But he realises that these aren’t bad things – in fact, they’re great! He’s now at peace with who he is.
  2. It’s a defining moment in Woody and Buzz’s friendship. For most of the movie, they are exact opposites. They never see eye to eye. Buzz literally quotes what Woody said earlier, but with a different inflection. It shows that they’ve finally found a middle ground.
  3. It’s also kind of a beautiful quote to live by. We may never be the best at what we do, but we can put our hearts into things and have fun along the way.

 

Nia

Nia’s pick:

“You’ve got a friend in me.”

Randy Newman’s lyrics that launched an animation empire and a franchise that continues to grow almost 25 years after its debut in cinemas, changing film history forever. I know it’s not a direct quote from Woody or Buzz but you can’t imagine Toy Story without that verse from the song. There is nothing more magical and heart-warming than hearing those words for the first time, where we’re then introduced to the rest of the iconic toy gang and of course, Andy himself. The song not only fuels us with nostalgia but it also reminds us of the importance of friendship and no matter how old you are or where you are in life, you’re always going to be a kid at heart and you’re never alone if you have friends.

Sure, Clarence the angel from It’s A Wonderful Life famously said, “No man is a failure who has friends,” but Randy Newman’s lyrics give us a that reassurance and walk down memory lane as we revisit our companionships, past and present.

“You’ve got a friend in me” gives us a solid reminder of some of the most important friendships we’ve had in this life; reminds us to be grateful for all the people who are no longer with us. And like me, it reminds me of my childhood and the glee I found playing with my own toys and unlocking my imagination in my tiny bedroom as I daydreamed about one day telling stories and working in animation.

 

Simoa

Simoa’s pick:

“Now I know exactly who I am and what I’m here for.”

Toy Story is one of the rare Pixar films that isn’t heartbreakingly emotional. But it is punctuated by moments of melancholy. When Buzz realizes that he is indeed a toy (and one that can’t even fly at that), he’s devastated. What follows is one of the more brilliant musical touches in the film, with Randy Newman singing “I Will Go Sailing No More.”

“Now I know exactly who I am and what I’m here for.” Within the context of the scene, that line isn’t victorious. It’s admitting defeat. Buzz realizes that he’s just a toy with only a single purpose. Rather than joyfully embracing it as Woody has done for so many years, it depresses him. Dashed dreams, shattered illusions. And I think that’s one of the most familiar aspects of the human condition, figuring out exactly why we’re put on this Earth and what we’re meant to do with our time here. Even though this is a fantasy with toys that come to life, Toy Story doesn’t retreat from sobering realities. It takes Buzz some time before he finally accepts his purpose, and this shocking discovery was the catalyst. Sometimes we recognize our limitations and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Like Buzz, we can still find happiness even if our impossible dreams don’t come true. We can dream new ones.

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The original score for Pixar’s OUT is now available!

Soundtrack, SparkShorts

Posted by Joanna • July 3, 2020

If you haven’t seen Pixar’s latest SparkShort “OUT” yet, then I envy you – watching it for the first time is an absolute joy. It’s on Disney+ along with all of the other shorts from Pixar’s experimental shorts programme. You can read our review of it here.

“OUT” was made even more charming by its soundtrack, written by Jake Monaco and Natasha Adorlee. The rainbow space cat and dog duo’s theme – which is titled Pink and Purple in the soundtrack listing (by Natasha Adorlee) – stuck with me in particular. I think it stuck with the protagonist’s parents too, evidenced by the fact that they hum along to it at the end of the short.

You can purchase and listen to the soundtrack now.

Apple Music 

Spotify

 

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Catch A Sneak Peek Of Soul – Tomorrow!

Pete Docter, Soul

Posted by Joanna • June 26, 2020

Pixar’s next film Soul, directed by Pete Docter and Kemp Powers, was originally set to release on June 19th. It will now be released on November 20th. Lots of ‘firsts’ have happened this year due to obvious reasons, so Soul is now Pixar’s first movie to be postponed not due to production delays but due to a…global health crisis. A lot of the marketing is clearly shifting to virtual means because of this too.

Tomorrow (June 27th), Essence Festival of Culture is hosting a virtual conversation with the team behind Soul. We’ll even be given an exclusive sneak peek at the film.

The team behind Disney & Pixar’s upcoming film, “Soul” – director Pete Docter, producer Dana Murray, and co-director Kemp Powers – are joined by Dr. Johnnetta Cole and Jon Batiste to offer an exclusive sneak peek at the film.

To see the little featurette, you need to RSVP by following this link. The Soul portion of the event will run live from 6:44PM to 6:54PM ET. Since it’s live, we’ll be tuning in a bit earlier to make sure we don’t miss anything!

 

For many of us, Soul is acting a bit like a light at the end of a very long tunnel. We’re hoping that November 20th won’t just feel a bit more normal, but also better than the previous ‘normal’. I’ll leave you with this lovely quote from Pete Docter that has seen me through a lot.

“It’s like you run into this dark tunnel, trusting that somewhere there’s another end to it where you’re going to come out. And there’s a point in the middle where it’s just dark. There’s no light from where you came in and there’s no light at the other end; all you can do is keep running. And then you start to see a little light, and a little more light, and then, bam! You’re out in the sun.”

 

UPDATE:

Here’s the sneak peek and conversation with the film makers in case you missed it:

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Pixar’s “Out” Is A Weirdly Wonderful Coming Out Story

SparkShorts

Posted by Joanna • May 22, 2020

The latest SparkShort Out, directed by Steven Hunter, is Pixar’s first coming out story featuring its first gay protagonist, Greg. It’s moving day, and Greg is preparing for a new life in the city with his boyfriend Manuel. Moving day ends up being a little more hectic and otherworldly than he expected – not only do his parents show up on his doorstep, but a magical collar appears, defying the laws of time and space.

When the title of Out was first revealed, I’ll admit that my mind at no point envisaged a coming out story, but I am so thrilled to have been surprised by this. Not only is it a coming out story, but it’s a weird one. In the best way possible. The weirdness doesn’t take away from the emotional impact – if anything, it adds to it.

Greg is suffering from a struggle that will be familiar to many – coming out as gay to his parents. When the opportunity is flung on him, he freezes and does anything he can to hide the truth. In fact, he is so determined to not have his parents find out about his relationship that even when he swaps bodies with his dog his first priority is to continue hiding the evidence. And that leads to some pretty drastic decisions.

It’s only when he’s given the chance to sit and listen to his mom’s own inner struggle that he finds the courage to open up about his too.

Pets are wonderful things. They can’t talk back (at least in human). They’re just there, and they let you talk through your feelings. It’s so cathartic to have a dependable ear for those words to fall on instead of having them dissipate into thin air. Countless people have poured their hearts out in front of their cat and then thought “Wow, I wish I could just tell my parents that.” It’s good practice though.

This is what went through my mind when Greg’s mom was taking a moment to reveal her worries in front of Jim the dog (she wasn’t to know that her son was currently residing in the dog’s body). We should all wear our hearts on our sleeves a little more, and I think Greg learnt that in this short snippet of his life. Even more importantly, though, is that he learnt that there’s nothing wrong with him. He’s gay, and that’s good.

“What is wrong with you?” “Hm…nothing.”

The story isn’t the only wow factor that Out has – the experimental animation style, the character designs, the voice acting, Wheezy from Toy Story 2…they’re all great. It’s amazing that they fit this all into just 10 minutes.

No two coming out stories are going to be the same. This one was based on a true story, and we’re wondering how much was real and how much was imagined. Fingers crossed that beautiful gay-space-rainbow cat and dog couple are real though. Bravo SparkShorts on yet another inspiring film!

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New Pixar SparkShort – OUT – Coming To Disney+

SparkShorts

Posted by Joanna • May 1, 2020

OUT is the title of the new short coming out of Pixar’s SparkShorts program, and it will be available on Disney+ on May 22nd.

We don’t know anything about the story of OUT yet, but here is a very charming still that was just released today:

We’re enjoying the different art style they’ve gone for here – it’s a little reminiscent of the lovingly drawn and animated SparkShort Kitbull. And look at what’s in this cute pup’s mouth: Wheezy from Toy Story 2! Right?! We wonder if his squeaker is still working.

The SparkShorts program is really inspiring – it allows Pixar employees from all sorts of different departments across the studio to tell their own stories and try out new things. So far we’ve been beyond impressed by Kitbull, Purl, Float, Loop, Smash & Grab, and Wind. It’s been exciting seeing how creativity can be fuelled by limited resources and limited time. The animation style experiments have been eye-opening!

Not all SparkShorts have quite been released on the European Disney+ yet. Wind was released last week, and Loop is still to become available.

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What Pixar Have Been Up To During Lockdown

Round-Ups

Posted by Joanna • April 23, 2020

It’s time for another Woody’s Round Up on Pixar news! Even though the world in general is moving very slowly at the moment, there are some Pixar news nuggets to pick up on.

Companies around the world have had to drastically shift the way they engage with audiences. Pixar were already very active online on various social media platforms, but it’s been great to see some new content aimed at people who are stuck at home and feeling bored, anxious, or a combination of the two.

Learn how to draw your favourite Pixar characters

It’s no secret that Pixar employees are talented. Employees that are similarly stuck at home have put together some fantastic art tutorials. So far, there are tutorials on how to draw Barley from Onward by Kelsey Mann, Duke Caboom from Toy Story 4 by Emilie Goulet, and Lightning McQueen from Cars by Scott Morse. We’d love to see more! Learning a new skill is something that a lot of people are finding value in during lockdown, but it’s nice to just hear from the artists too. We’re all in this together! Remember to use the hashtag #DrawWithPixar

Pixar artists haven’t just been teaching us how to draw Pixar characters though – Ana Ramírez González also made an adorable ‘how to draw a koala’ tutorial to help celebrate Nat Geo’s ‘Earth Day at Home’ event.

Super cute!

 

WALL-E in 16 bit

This has been another addition to the Pixar YouTube channel which is incredible. WALL-E in 16 bit graphics! We can’t decide if we want a whole movie done in this art style, or a video game. Both would be ideal.

 

New Hallmark Pixar Christmas ornaments have been revealed!

Hallmark have revealed some new Pixar Christmas ornaments that will be available for purchase later this year. They’re the sort of ornaments you can imagine having out all year round and not just restricting to festivities. Our personal favourite is the Bo Peep one (available July 11th), but you’ll also be able to find the Pizza Planet Truck (!!), Boo from Monsters Inc, WALL-E, Woody and Buzz from Toy Story, Anger from Inside Out, Crush from Finding Nemo, Jack-Jack and the raccoon from Incredibles 2, and Ian from Onward. 

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