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Toy Story Land Grand Opening

Disney Parks, Toy Story Land

Posted by Simoa • May 4, 2018

June is going to be a big month for Pixar fans! Not only will Incredibles 2 grace theaters on June 15th, but Toy Story Land arrives at Walt Disney World on June 30th! Lucky visitors to Disneyland’s Shanghai Resort actually got to experience Toy Story Land just last week. Here you’ll get to see some prized behind the scenes footage of the Imagineers as they brought this brand new world to life.

So what do we have to look forward to at the end of the month? Quite a ton, gaddily bob howdy! Check out these awesome construction photos (via Oh My Disney) of the new Slinky Dog Dash roller coaster.

See Slinky Dog in action:

The Alien Swirling Saucers will definitely be another cool ride inspired by a few more favorite characters. You’ll join them on an “interstellar romp set to an out-of-this-world beat.”

Our favorite penguin will also be performing Toy Story‘s signature tune. That’s right, Wheezy is back and sounding better than ever before! He’ll be accompanied by tape recorder Mike and Mr. Spell.

Toy Story Mania is guaranteed to be another hit, with Oh My Disney reporting that guests will be tossing baseballs and cream pies at 3D objects, and that’s just what we know about it so far.

 

One of the reasons Toy Story Land is such an appealing addition to Walt Disney World is because it’s one of the most iconic movies ever. An attraction like this has been a long time coming. And certainly it’s worth the wait!

Will you be visiting Toy Story Land at the end of the month? Be sure to let us know here and on twitter, and stay tuned for more updates.

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Yummy New Look at Pixar’s latest short

Bao, Domee Shi, Short Film

Posted by Simoa • March 30, 2018

“Bao,” the short film set to premiere with Incredibles 2 this summer, got us plenty excited with its short synopsis and the fact that it’s Pixar’s first film (feature length or otherwise), to be directed by a woman. Courtesy of Entertainment Weekly, we now have more details on Domee Shi’s directorial debut, as well as some lovely art work!

Much like Sanjay Patel and his directorial effort, “Sanjay’s Super Team,” Shi was inspired by her own childhood as the daughter of Chinese immigrants.

“Often times it felt like my mom would treat me like a precious little dumpling, wanting to make sure I was safe, that I didn’t go out late, all that stuff. I just wanted to create this magical, modern-day fairy tale, kind of like a Chinese Gingerbread Man story. The word ‘bao’ actually means two things in Chinese: Said one way, it means steamed bun. Said another, it means something precious. A treasure.”

Truly one of the most encouraging things is the variety of stories coming out of Pixar, which have been long overdue. And it’s especially wonderful that Pixarians like Patel and Shi are given the opportunities to tell these very specific stories informed by their lives and families. We can’t wait for more updates on what will surely be one of Pixar’s most charming shorts, and can’t wait to see it on June 15th!

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Pixar Pier and so much more!

Disney Parks

Posted by Simoa • March 13, 2018

Pixar Pier at Disneyland is looking to be even more fabulous and creative with each new bit of concept art. A whole new Pixar world is currently under construction at the famed Anaheim theme park, with all of our favorite characters making an appearance. Check out all the new additions below!

Adorable Snowman Frosted Treats

Non dairy frozen lemon treats will be available at this stand, a wonderful nod to the Yeti’s snowcone creations from Monsters, Inc.

Incredibles Neighborhood

Perhaps the most enticing new addition is The Incredibles themed neighborhood. The Incredicoaster will be a thrill, based on Jack-Jack escaping and unleashing his powers as he explores. Though he’s tiny and bald, Jack-Jack is the most powerful super since he has an assortment of powers and we still don’t know what he’s fully capable of!

Toy Story Neighborhood

Here, guests will ride “Jessie’s Critter Carousel” and can eat at Poultry Palace and Senor Buzz’s Churros. Yum, yum, yum!

Inside Out Neighborhood

Not many details have yet been released about this emotion themed neighborhood, but we do know there’s another food stand.

Pixar Promenade is a new archway featuring new replacements as well. Wall-E’s Space Spin, La Luna Star Catcher and Heimlich Candy Corn Toss are the three additions.

Lamplight Lounge will serve cocktails and light meals.

It truly is wondrous to see a place like Disneyland, which champions imagination to be including so many diverse Pixar attractions. Check back here for more developments!

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Coco’s Big Oscar Wins

Academy Awards, Adrian Molina, Coco, Darla K. Anderson, Lee Unkrich, Oscars

Posted by Simoa • March 5, 2018

 

Though it might have been expected, Coco‘s victory at last night’s Academy Awards wasn’t any less sweet! And the film scored not one, not two, but three wins!

Remember Me

First there was the sensational performance of “Remember Me,” beginning with Gael Garcia Bernal accompanied by a guitarist as he sang the gentle lullaby version of the song. It was impossible not to be moved, especially with Bernal’s spotlight on the darkened stage while thinking of that pivotal moment in the film when the lullaby is first heard. But a show stopping spectacle was waiting in the wings! Miguel and Natalia Lafourcade sized the stage with their rendition, complete with Ernesto de la Cruz’s legendary stage. It was reanimated just for Oscar night and mirrored the film closely!

photo via Ava Duvernay

Best Animated Feature

“Viva Latin America!” Oscar Isaac, one of the award presenters, cried out before announcing Coco the winner. It highlighted just how important this film is to so many and was the first indicator of Mexican filmmakers winning during the broadcast. Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina were joined onstage by Darla K. Anderson and three in the film’s cast: Anthony Gonzalez (Miguel); Gael Garcia Bernal (Hector); and Benjamin Bratt (Ernesto de la Cruz). It was a first for Pixar filmmakers to be flanked by their cast at an awards show, and it’s particularly noteworthy since they’re of Mexican and Latino descent.

Once more, it was impossible not to be moved as Lee, Adrian, and Darla gave their acceptance speeches. This was truly a momentous win for Coco. If you missed it last night or if you want to watch it again (and really, who wouldn’t?), the segment appears below.

“Coco is proof that art can change and connect the world, and this can only be done when we have a place where everyone and anyone who feels like an other to be heard.” -Darla K. Anderson

“Love and thanks to my family, my Latino community, to my husband Ryan, each for expanding my sense of what it means to be proud of who you are and where you’re from. We hope the same thing for everyone who connected with this film.” –Adrian Molina

“…the biggest thank you of all to the people of Mexico. Coco would not exist without your endlessly beautiful culture and traditions. With Coco, we tried to take a step forward toward a world where all children can grow up seeing characters in movies that look and talk and live like they do. Marginalized people deserve to feel like they belong. Representation matters!” –Lee Unkrich

Anthony Gonzalez also got a moment at the microphone, making Lee’s declaration that much more resounding.

Best Original Song

Coco‘s win in this category was unexpected, perhaps because it didn’t take home the Golden Globe back in January. “Remember Me” marks Pixar’s second ever win for Best Song (previously awarded to Randy Newman for Monsters, Inc.’s “If I Didn’t Have You”). Songwriters Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez also secured their second Oscar win. There was no end to the inspiring speeches as Anderson-Lopez acknowledged the diversity of the nominees, while Lopez dedicated the award to his late mother.

“I really want to take a minute to look at this category of incredible nominated songwriters tonight. Not only are we diverse, but we are close to 50/50 for gender representation. When you look at a category like ours, it helps us imagine a world where all the categories look like this one.” -Kristen Anderson-Lopez

Although Dave Mullins’ short film “Lou” walked away empty handed, it was a spectacular night for Pixar and Coco. This film’s message of familial love, as well as its celebration of an underrepresented population, has been embedded into the cultural zeitgeist. It signals even more diverse and inclusive stories at Pixar and beyond.

Representation matters enormously, and so does Coco.

Congratulations to Lee, Adrian, Darla, the Lopezes, and the entire cast and crew for their tremendous movie and wins!

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Pixar and Oscar

Academy Awards, Coco, in depth, Opinion Piece, Oscars

Posted by Simoa • March 3, 2018

With the 90th Academy Awards airing this Sunday, March 4th, your trio of Upcoming Pixar writers are here with some musings on the awards show.

Academy Award for Best Animated Feature

Animated movies have been cemented in our culture for the best part of a century now, so it’s hard to believe that the Academy Awards, founded in 1929, only introduced the Best Animated Feature award in 2002. In the years since, so many beautiful animated features have become nominees in this category, and while it’s great that these movies are gaining recognition, it seems strange that this recognition doesn’t stretch over into other categories as often as it should.

There are only three animated movies that have ever been nominated for Best Picture: Beauty and the Beast, Up, and Toy Story 3. (None have ever won it though). And while I may be a little biased as an avid Pixar and animation fan, I feel like there are plenty of animated movies that easily rival the most critically-famed live-action movies out there. Or at least, more than three. It feels as if the creation of the animated feature category has caused the Academy Awards board to disregard these movies when considering them for any other merits besides being ‘a good animated movie’, or ‘pretty good…for an animated movie.’ Which is weird because, to quote Brad Bird, “animation is not a genre. It is a method of storytelling.”

So right off the bat, it’s like movies that happen to use animation as their art form are already unfairly regarded as ‘beneath’ live-action movies. And then there’s the issue that many animated movies seem to be completely overlooked. Pixar have won 50% of all the Oscars ever awarded for Best Animated Feature. Disney and Pixar combined have won ~70%. This is where I begin to feel conflicted – I love Pixar. I like to see them succeed. I am always happy and proud when a Pixar movie is awarded with an Academy Award. But, especially in more recent years, when a Disney or Pixar movie is nominated for Best Animated Feature, it almost feels like a guaranteed win. And it shouldn’t be! There are so many inspirational animation studios doing amazing work at the moment. Pixar is in good company.

The Academy Award members do a good job at nominating a diverse set of movies for Best Animated Feature (even after the rule change this year where all members, not just a specialist branch, were able to nominate contenders in this category). This year’s nominees include the Mexican-culture-celebrating Coco, the first fully painted animated film Loving Vincent, and the stunningly animated The Breadwinner by the very unique and distinctive studio Cartoon Saloon. It’s when it gets to the voting for which nominee should win where things seem to get a bit problematic. It’s been reported in the past that some members don’t take this category seriously, choosing to not even bother watching all the nominated animated movies. The fact that only Disney and Pixar – huge and very well-known studios – have won Best Animated Feature for the past five years seems like a pretty good indicator that members are just voting for whatever movie they vaguely recognize. Don’t get me wrong, Zootopia, Inside Out, and Big Hero 6 are all brilliant movies that are completely deserving of their awards, but the way the winners are chosen in this category is unfair to all the animation studios involved.

-Joanna

Pixar Always Wins

As we’ve seen on every Oscar night, Pixar does always win. (With a few exceptions where they either lost or didn’t even receive a nomination). Coco will most likely take home the grand prize. However! While Pixar movies are overwhelmingly the favorites, it’s unfair to the studio’s first film with an all Latino cast, one that celebrates a culture and country far too demonized by Hollywood and politicians, to be labeled as undeserving just because of the Pixar name. And if Pixar doesn’t win? The films are stellar whether or not “Academy Award winning” precedes the title.

Oscar voters are a disappointing bunch. Like the general population, they don’t consider animation a serious art form and usually choose Pixar because they don’t bother to watch the other worthy contenders. Whatever reasons they have for dismissing animation is their own business, but it is frustrating to think that Pixar’s wins weren’t always the results of a fair competition.

Coco deserves every honor it receives. I hope that if it’s the winner Sunday night, it was because voters honestly thought it stood up better against the other nominees. If the Academy and Hollywood at large are committed to inclusivity, then the film’s win for Best Animated Feature will not only be a win for positive Mexican representation, but a win for the entire industry.

-Simoa

Academy: What’s the Point?

I used to be a massive Oscar fan when I was younger. Between the star-studded ceremonies, the tear-jerking Oscar acceptance speeches, to the inspiring films that took home the gold, I was in awe and obsessed. I would beg my parents to let me stay up late on Oscar Holy Sunday so I could find out who would win Best Actress or what film would win Best Picture. Later I’d hold Oscar parties and watch everything that was nominated so I could make accurate predictions as to what would win and why.

It wasn’t until I got older and discovered the vast number of films that are released each year and how the Academy doesn’t even recognize most of them that I realized the Oscars themselves are not only a huge popularity contest, but also a con.

Behind all the glitz and the glamour, what do the Oscars actually represent within our culture? When one of the nine films nominated for Best Picture wins the prestigious award, does it make that film any better or any more worthy than the other ones that were nominated? Do you even remember what won Best Picture last year? Or five years ago? What about the other films that were released during the year and were snubbed when the nominations came out? Are those considered bad films because they weren’t nominated? I’d like to think of the Oscars as a celebration of all the hard work that thousands of talented individuals poured into each film released, whether or not they made the Academy’s cut.

One of my favorite categories at the Oscars is Best Animated Feature and each year I constantly find myself disappointed at the Academy’s lack of knowledge of the animation industry.

I’ve been a massive Pixar fan since I first remember going to the cinemas when I was a wee lass, but the animation world goes far beyond Pixar’s pearly gates in Emeryville. Pixar definitely raises the bar when it comes to animation and sets a high standard for storytelling, but that doesn’t mean they’re the only studio making good films, or Oscar worthy films. There are so many other studios around the world making equally compelling and engaging content that often go unnoticed. Whereas the Best Picture category is often compelling as the winner can sometimes be a film completely unexpected, there is really no suspense in the Best Animated Feature category because if a Pixar film is nominated then 9 times out of 10 they’re going to win the Oscar; unless a Disney film is nominated, like Zootopia or Big Hero 6. I’m not saying those films didn’t deserve to win but it would have been more entertaining had there been a little more competition among the other animated films nominated.

It’s nice that the Academy honors animated films that were made outside of Pixar or Disney or even DreamWorks, such as The Breadwinner or Loving Vincent, but that still doesn’t make up for the other films they left out this year and in the past. If the Best Picture category can have up to 10 films nominated, then the Best Animated Feature could have the same, of course depending on what animated films are released throughout the year.

The Academy does have a high regard for Animation – they added the category to the program in 2002 and even nominated Up, Beauty and the Best, and Toy Story 3 for Best Picture, so they obviously take animation seriously and know that it’s worthy of everyone’s praise and attention… but there’s still a long way to go before animation is anywhere equal to live action.

-Nia

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The passing of a Pixar veteran.

Bud Luckey, rest in peace

Posted by Simoa • February 25, 2018

Bud Luckey, one of Pixar’s key animators, passed away yesterday at the age of 84.

Bud Luckey (July 28th, 1934 – February 24th, 2018). Photo via Animated Views.

If you didn’t know his name or his face, you certainly knew his voice. He portrayed Agent Rick Dicker in The Incredibles, Chuckles the Clown in Toy Story 3, and Eeyore in Disney’s 2011 Winnie the Pooh film. His voice was so well suited to those stoic, frowning Pixar characters. As Jerry Beck reports at Animation Scoop, Luckey had also recorded his lines for Toy Story 4.

Luckey’s mark can also be seen in the Toy Story trilogy, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo, Cars, and Ratatouille, with his character designs. He is credited as the creator and designer of our favorite cowboy, Sheriff Woody.

 

Boundin‘, the 2004 short film that premiered with The Incredibles was also written and directed by Luckey, who provided the voice of the bouncing jackalope. The film’s song with its catchy refrain was performed by Luckey on banjo. Boundin’ has abundant charm even if it’s not one of Pixar’s glossier efforts, and it’s all the more impressive with Luckey’s triple duties as director, narrator, and performer. You can watch the short with Luckey’s commentary in the following video.

In addition to Pixar, Luckey was a Sesame Street animator and storyboard artist. Luckey also illustrated numerous children’s books, including Disney’s Golden Books.

Luckey is survived by his son Andy Luckey, who posted the news on facebook. You can read his tribute below.

With great sadness I announce the passing of my Dad: Bud Luckey.

My Dad was best known for his work in animation (PIXAR/Disney/Sesame Street) and as a voice actor (Eeyore, Agent Rick Dicker, Chuckles the Clown et al.). He loved his work but got even greater satisfaction from seeing others enjoy it.

He’ll be deeply missed by his friends, family and colleagues to whom he was just “Bud.” His kind and easy
going demeanor led his PIXAR colleagues to dub him “Bud Low-Key.”

He served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War.

In lieu of flowers our family encourages donations to The California Institute of The Arts — Bud Luckey Scholarship Fund.

He will be missed at Pixar and beyond. We want to extend our condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues at this time.

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Sneak peek: Incredibles 2

Incredibles 2, Trailer

Posted by Simoa • February 14, 2018

June 15th is still exactly 4 months and 1 day away, but the wait for Pixar’s most eagerly anticipated sequel just got a little easier. Behold the sneak peek that originally aired (for select viewers) during tonight’s Olympics:

The clip is almost two minutes long and packed with tons of awesome footage. Helen Parr aka Elastigirl dons her super suit and jets away to fight crime and be a superhero while Bob aka Mr. Incredible has to play the role of stay at home dad. Helen is getting the glory and looking fabulous while doing so. Bob on the other hand, is fumbling. And the one to deliver wisdom pertaining to his struggles comes from an unlikely source: Edna Mode. “Done properly, parenting can be a heroic act. Done properly.”

Only one new character got some brief screen time in this trailer, Winston Deaver, the tycoon who wants to bring supers back.

Pixar usually takes their time with sequels. This newest trailer is reason enough why it’s taken the Parrs so long to return to the screen. And we can’t wait to watch it again and again!

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New and Incredible Pixar Attractions

Disney Parks, The Incredibles

Posted by Simoa • February 12, 2018

Newly minted Pixar additions to the Disney Parks are coming soon! It was recently announced at D23’s Japan Expo that Pixar Pier’s grand unveiling at Disney California Adventure is on June 23rd.

“This reimagined land will feature four whimsical neighborhoods representing beloved Pixar stories with newly themed attractions, foods and merchandise.”

I love the idea of whimsical neighborhoods, since they perfectly encapsulate the simple charm of Pixar’s elaborate and magical worlds. And not only that, but the Incredicoaster will also arrive on the same day! What kind of thrills can we expect from a ride that’s long overdue?!

Paint the Night Parade will feature an Incredibles themed float with our favorite supers, and there will be some surprises there too. The parade comes to California Adventure during the Pixar Fest on April 13th.

All of this ties in quite well with the release of Incredibles 2 in June. We’re in for an action packed summer with the returning Parrs both on and off screen.

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Ooooooooh: New Concept Art for Toy Story Land

Disney Parks, Toy Story Land

Posted by Simoa • February 8, 2018

I’ve long thought that the rides at Disneyland and Walt Disney World are perfect but not living up to their Pixar potential. Now with new expansions to the parks, Pixar films are becoming more of a fixture which is long overdue. The latest concept art for Toy Story Land has been revealed, with everyone’s favorite little green guys, the Pizza Planet aliens!

Here’s the full description of the latest attraction, officially named Alien Swirling Saucers (via Disney Parks):

Once the aliens have powered up their flying saucers, you’ll get to climb into a toy rocket and hang on as aliens lead the way on an interstellar romp set to an out-of-this-world beat. And if you’re really lucky, you just might get “chosen” by the claw!

Sounds like it’ll be a fun galactic addition to Toy Story Land!

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Coco deleted scene: Celebrity tour

Coco, DVD

Posted by Simoa • February 5, 2018

Mark your calendars: on February 13, Coco will be available on digital, with a BluRay release set for February 27th! As usual, there are plenty of goodies and extras to look forward to, and just today, we got a glimpse of a deleted scene. In the clip below, directors Adrian Molina and Lee Unkrich explain how Miguel’s buddy Hector was first a tour guide in the Land of the Dead. This clip also explained the concept of memories and why people need to be remembered if they want to continue living in the great city.

There were lots of celebrity cameos in Coco. It definitely would’ve been wonderful to get a close up look at stars like Pedro Infante, Jorge Negrete (both of whom inspired Ernesto de La Cruz), Maria Felix and Dolores del Rio (a personal favorite of mine!).

We can’t wait to see what more surprises didn’t make the final film.

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