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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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Guest post: Coco Across Borders

Coco, guest post, in depth

Posted by Simoa • January 30, 2018

Today we’re featuring a guest post by one of Upcoming Pixar’s faithful readers, Karla! She discusses her meaningful connection to Coco. 

When I was fifteen, in 2012, Pixar announced that they would be making a movie about Día de los Muertos, also known as Day of the Dead. Although I had virtually no information about the production at the time, it felt like my two worlds were colliding as a Mexican and as a long-time Pixar fan. At the 2015 D23 Expo, Coco was officially introduced to the public and as evidenced by my Twitter archive, I went absolutely nuts. After seeing the first public image of Miguel, a boy I felt like I had already met before, I knew it was going to be a very special movie. In that moment, my love for Coco grew exponentially. Although many of my peers were skeptical about the movie being riddled with stereotypes (and rightly so!), I had faith in Pixar.

When I saw Coco for the first time in November, it felt surreal. I had been counting down the days for years and the date had finally materialized itself in front of me. As soon as I heard the beginning notes of the classic “When You Wish Upon a Star” in mariachi-style, I was hooked. From the start, using papel picado (tissue paper with cut-out shapes) as a medium, the story of Miguel’s ancestry was revealed. In his narration, two things Miguel said jumped out at me: “And the mamá? She didn’t have time to cry over that walkaway musician!” and “She found a way to provide for her daughter.” These statements strongly reminded me of the sacrifices mothers make in order to secure a livelihood for their children. Mama Imelda’s resilience and courage are traits that I see in my own mother. Considering I grew up in a big family, much like Miguel, I consider Coco an ode to my parents who taught me that family always comes first.

‘Remember Me’ (Lullaby) is an important song that resonated with the hearts of many immigrants across the world including mine. When people leave their country for a new beginning, a better life, they do so without knowing when they will see their families again. The pain of not being able to be close to your loved ones while they are still alive is resounding. ‘Remember Me’, for that reason alone, brings me to tears every time. It is a testament to the concept that neither love nor resilience can be bound by borders, no matter how many walls are built.

As a DACA recipient, I do not have the privilege of leaving the country and traveling to Mexico to explore my heritage. However, while watching Coco, I was able to immerse myself in a place that I have only been able to experience through stories and pictures. My favorite scene in the movie is when Hector was finally able to cross the bridge made up of brightly-colored cempasuchil from the Land of the Dead to the Land of the Living and visit his family. Hector expressed joy, excitement and relief all at once and although this moment may seem insignificant to some people, it meant the world to me.   

It brings me joy knowing that so many people loved Coco, whether they were of Mexican descent or not. In a rare occurrence, my family felt accurately represented by mainstream media in the United States and I hope this marks a change within the entertainment sector. I also respect Pixar for making Coco available in Spanish in theatres throughout the country. It allowed many people in my community to enjoy this film without relying on the translations of those around them. After watching Coco in my native language, I was able to connect to it in an entirely different level.

I want to take a moment and thank the Coco team for creating a movie that has impacted my life greatly in a short amount of time. It was amazing to see the amount of people who contributed their stories as well as talents to the film. When I was younger, after watching a Pixar movie or flipping through an “The Art of…” book, I would get so excited when I saw a name that sounded like mine in the credits. It still excites me to this day. Thank you and I can’t wait to own Coco on DVD!


(Fun fact: Miguel’s village is named “Santa Cecilia” which refers to the patroness of musicians in Catholicism. Coco premiered on November 22nd, the day the Catholic church acknowledges as Saint Cecilia’s “feast day” or a day of celebration in her memory. Although the date of the movie was entirely coincidental, confirmed by Lee Unkrich, the connection was significant to me because I am a musician named Cecilia and I was confirmed in the Catholic religion under the same saint. Love it!)   

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1/23/18: Pixar’s Oscar Nominations

Academy Awards, Coco, Lou, Oscars

Posted by Simoa • January 23, 2018

Oscar nominations were broadcast today, and Pixar secured three nominations in total.

“Lou,” the Dave Mullins directed short that played before Cars 3 (mysteriously overlooked) this summer, was nominated for best animated short film. The full list of nominees is below.

Once again, Coco has been nominated for both Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song, “Remember Me,” written by Disney’s latest and greatest songwriting duo, Bobby Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez! For some reason, Adrian Molina was not listed as a nominee.

[Update]: This Remezcla article explains why Adrian Molina was excluded as a nominee. The Oscar rules for who receives a nomination are below:

“The designated recipient(s) must be the key creative individual(s) most clearly responsible for the overall achievement. A maximum of two persons may be designated as nominees, one of whom must be the credited director and the other of whom must have a producer credit.”

It’s really unfortunate that Adrian Molina is not being acknowledged as a key creative individual for the film. Nevertheless, his contributions to the film simply can’t be overstated, and he deserves just as much recognition and praise as Lee Unkrich.

Congratulations to Dave Mullins, Lee Unkrich, Adrian Molina, Darla K. Anderson, Bobby Lopez, and Kristen Anderson-Lopez!

See you on Oscar night! The 90th awards will be presented on March 4th, 2018.

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An Incredible Cast Announcement!

Brad Bird, Cast, Incredibles 2

Posted by Simoa • January 22, 2018

THE WAIT IS OVER. Almost. We still have a couple more months to wait for the release of Incredibles 2, but the cast for Brad Bird’s hotly anticipated super sequel is here! While the familiar voices from the first film are returning, there are a couple of new additions. And rather than just announce the cast in a press release, Pixar has taken it one step further. The Google Arts app, which matches up user selfies with works of art, has been really popular over the past couple weeks. Incredibles 2 has utilized it with amazing results. It almost recalls Syndrome’s data base from the first film. Check out the cast list and accompanying art work below!

Helen Parr, (voice of Holly Hunter) known in the Superworld as Elastigirl, hung up her Supersuit to raise the family with husband Bob, leaving their crime-fighting days behind them. But when she’s tapped to lead a campaign to bring the Supers back into the spotlight, she finds she can still bend, stretch and twist herself into any shape needed to solve the trickiest of mysteries. In short, she’s still got it. That’s good news, too, because a new villain is emerging—unlike any they’ve ever seen before.

BOB PARR (voice of Craig T. Nelson) cherishes his days as Mr. Incredible—a popular Super with mega-strength and the power to singlehandedly take out the bad guys. Ever since Supers were outlawed, Bob’s been mostly lying low, raising the family alongside his wife Helen. But when she’s called on to stretch her Super skills and hopefully change the public perception of Supers for the better, Bob must manage the household on his own, which calls for a completely different set of super powers.
VIOLET PARR (voice of Sarah Vowell), the firstborn of the Parr clan, is an introverted and intelligent 14-year-old teen that doesn’t quite fit in with the normal crowd. Socially awkward, outspoken and sarcastic, Violet plays her teenager role to perfection—all while secretly mastering her superpowers of invisibility and creating force fields. A Super at heart, Violet can’t help her urge to fight crime alongside her family.
DASHIELL PARR (voice of Huckleberry “Huck” Milner) is a 10-year-old boy—restless, relentless, curious—though his remarkable power of Super speed certainly sets him apart. Dash sports a hearty sense of adventure and a boundless supply of energy. He’d love nothing more than to show off his special skills and fight a few bad guys along the way—and doesn’t understand why he has to keep his powers a secret.
JACK-JACK PARR, the baby of the family, likes to sit back with a bottle and a good story. Well-versed in gibberish with a penchant for throwing food, Jack-Jack may seem like a typical toddler, but he just might turn out to be the most powerful Parr in the household—if only his family had a clue of what this kid can really do.  
LUCIUS BEST (voice of Samuel L. Jackson) is not only Bob’s best friend, he’s a fellow-former Super who’s so chill, he can make ice with the point of a finger. But even when he’s not fighting crime as Frozone, Lucius is all about style. He has a quick wit and a cool, can-do attitude—and he wouldn’t think twice about breaking out his Supersuit if it could help bring Supers out of hiding. 
EDNA “E” MODE (voice of Brad Bird) possesses impeccable design sense, a keen understanding of cutting-edge technology and an unmatched skillset. A creative visionary, she longs for the return of Supers so she can once again create functional yet edgy Supersuits. The petite and powerful fashionista treats her clients like family, dahling, but sticks firmly to her long-held assertion: No capes!
WINSTON DEAVOR (voice of Bob Odenkirk) leads a world-class telecommunications company alongside his genius sister, Evelyn. Ultra-wealthy, savvy and suave, Winston goes big in everything he does—including his infatuation with Supers. He has been a supporter of Supers returning—all he needs is a hero (or three) to help him change public perception and bring them back into the sunlight.
EVELYN DEAVOR (voice of Catherine Keener), the brilliant brainchild behind her brother Winston’s telecommunications company, knows her way around tech. She loves tinkering with tech, and has never met a problem she can’t solve.
RICK DICKER (voice of Jonathan Banks) heads up the official Super Relocation Program, helping the Parr family keep their Super identities secret—that’s no easy feat with this family. But Rick takes his job very seriously—at least until his division is shuttered, leaving the Parrs all on their own.
VOYD (voice of Sophia Bush) is a young, overeager “wannabe” Super and a mega-fan of Elastigirl. Her superpower is the ability to divert and manipulate objects around her by creating voids that allow the objects to appear and disappear, and shift in space.
The Supers find an advocate in a dignified foreign AMBASSADOR (voice of Isabella Rossellini) who is committed to the support and legalization of Superheroes.
It’s a lot to take in, but thankfully this is only the beginning! Helen aka Elastigirl is the main character in this film, and based on what we’ve learned, this was a very thoughtful decision. Personally speaking, my hopes for this film have skyrocketed. I think it’s amazing that Bob will be the one in charge of the household, taking over Helen’s role, and that the filmmakers are treating that kind of work with the respect it deserves. Each of the new characters, particularly the female ones, are super interesting! I’m wondering if VOYD will be to Elastigirl what Buddy/Syndrome was to Mr. Incredible.
Incredibles 2 will be flying into theaters on June 15, 2018!

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Toy Story 4 has found its writer!

Stephany Folsom, Toy Story 4

Posted by Simoa • January 19, 2018

It was unclear after Rashida Jones’ departure from Toy Story 4 who her replacement would be. But the film’s new writer has been revealed. Stephany Folsom will be penning the script. She previously worked on Thor: Ragnarok, but did not receive writing credit for the film. Trade publications also report that Folsom’s script, 1969: A Space Odyssey Or: How Kubrick Learned To Stop Worrying And Land On The Moon, in which Stanley Kubrick partners with NASA to fake the moon landing, appeared on the Black List. The list includes screenplays for non realized films, though many have been adapted for the screen.

Details on the upcoming installment of Toy Story remain scarce, barring what we have already learned. As Pixar first revealed a few years ago, Bo Peep will be returning, but that’s all we know.

Judging from Folsom’s Black List screenplay, she’ll definitely bring something wholly unique to Toy Story 4, which is due in theaters on June 21, 2019.

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The Matriarchs of Coco and Why They Matter

Coco, in depth, Pixar Heroines

Posted by Simoa • January 16, 2018

There are slight spoilers below.

One of the things I love best about Coco is the strong female presence in the film. Although it’s a buddy movie with two male characters, women are vital in this particular story. They don’t only exist as peripheral characters either. Miguel’s journey to the Land of the Dead, where he learns the truth of his family history, involves three women of his family in very distinct ways.

Mama Imelda 

Mamá Imelda concept art by Daniela Strijleva.

She is the first character we meet, besides Miguel. He narrates the story. Mama Imelda was Miguel’s great-great grandmother. She banned music in the Rivera household, which has been in effect for generations. Miguel is the first in the Rivera line since his great-great grandfather to love and play music (in secret of course). As the young boy explains, his great-great grandfather walked out on his wife and daughter to pursue a music career. Rightfully livid, Mama Imelda banned music forever. Because of her husband’s betrayal, the Rivera descendants believe music is a curse.

We also learn from Miguel that Mama Imelda didn’t feel sorry for herself. She got to work instead. With a young daughter to support on her own, she learned to make shoes. It’s a skill she passed down to her daughter Coco, and when Coco married, her husband joined the family business too. In present day Mexico, the Riveras have continued the shoemaking tradition and operate Mama Imelda’s shop. Miguel is just expected to become a shoemaker, though he harbors musical aspirations.

It’s natural that Miguel doesn’t care about making shoes, but he takes the family business and his great-great grandmother for granted. Note that Imelda didn’t just find work; she actually started her own business. She also never remarried. In just a few minutes, her strength, resiliency, and independence are firmly established. I have to believe the filmmakers were deliberate with these insights into her character.

When Miguel comes face to face with Mama Imelda in the Land of the Dead, she’s severe and not to be trifled with. The audience is aware of this too immediately because she is berating a terrified office worker and wallops the woman’s computer with her shoe. It’s also fitting that Mama Imelda’s alibrije, Pepita, is a ferocious and stunning creature. Pepita is another version of Imelda; grand in size with massive wings and penetrating eyes. But Pepita has a tender and loving side like her human counterpart.

Pepita concept art by Huy Nguyen.

Later on, Miguel learns that Mama Imelda was a great music lover. She reveals a beautiful singing voice. She tells Miguel that she and her husband would sing while he played his guitar, and the memories light up her face with a fond smile. But the smile disappears. She and her husband had different priorities. Everything changed for her when Coco was born. “I wanted to put down roots. He wanted to play for the world.”

The severity of Mama Imelda melts away – all her pain and heartache and vulnerability are laid bare. None of that diminishes her incredible strength however. Something else I find striking about this exchange is that Mama Imelda is telling her story in her own words. Before, we had to rely on Miguel’s voice; now, Mama Imelda speaks with her own.

Mamá Imelda concept art by Daniela Strijleva.

Abuelita 

Now we return to the Land of the Living. Abuelita is Miguel’s grandmother and the head of the Rivera family. Abuelita’s house, Abuelita’s rules. As Alanna Ubach, who gave her voice to Mama Imelda says in this interview, in Latin households, the matriarchs are “the women that really bring the magical fairy dust to the entire family.” The most important rule in Abuelita’s house is absolutely no music ever. She honors Mama Imelda’s ban but takes it to another level. People singing outside the house are chased away. A bottle is snatched out of Miguel’s hands when he creates a simple rhythm by blowing into it. “NO MUSIC!”

Though she’s tough, domineering, and wants to protect her family from the music curse, Abuelita is defined by her great love. You only have to see how gentle she is with Mama Coco and the way she piles food onto Miguel’s plate.

There’s a moment in Coco that I find significant, and that is when Abuelita, frustrated by Miguel’s lack of interest in family traditions, looks to Mama Imelda’s photograph atop the ofrenda and asks, “What are we going to do with that boy?” It’s rhetorical, but she receives a solution anyway. I love this moment because Abuelita turns to the one person in the family tougher than she is, even though she isn’t there physically. But it highlights how important Mama Imelda still is to the family, and how the matriarchs are united in looking out for the Riveras.

Mama Coco

Miguel has a deep love and respect for his great grandmother. He treats her like a friend. Mama Coco has trouble remembering names and will sometimes call Miguel by the wrong one, but he says that it’s good to talk to her anyway. He tells her any and everything. Mama Coco is very old and frail, confined to a wheelchair, but Miguel welcomes her into his world with open arms. The world of a rambunctious 12 year old boy might seem foreign to an old woman, but the two of them just belong together. This shows what a good hearted kid he is, but it also lets the audience know that Mama Coco is still a cherished member of the family. In this film, a lot of reverence is afforded to the elderly. Also, grandmothers just make every story better.

Of course, Miguel’s close relationship with Mama Coco has even greater purpose. The film is named for her. She was the daughter left behind, and she never forgot her father. More importantly, she never stopped loving him. Mama Imelda wanted to forget him, wanted nothing to do with him in life or in death. But she was never the villain in this piece. Imelda and Abuelita after her were doing their best to protect Coco. In this film, it’s the love of women that covers a man’s mistake.

When Miguel sings “Remember Me” to his Mama Coco, her memory is recovered. It’s a tender moment between the two of them while the awestruck family looks on. Coco tells her story just as Mama Imelda did. The Riveras, stunned and joyful, listen in silence. How precious it is to hear family stories from our elders.

Mama Coco reminds me of the grandmother I never knew, who wore her hair in two long braids in the few photographs I’ve seen of her. Miguel is so lucky to have his Abuelita and Mama Coco, and to have met his Mama Imelda and learn her story firsthand. He set off on a quest to pursue a dream and follow in his great-great grandfather’s footsteps. But what he found was much greater. The history of the Rivera family is a song of women – proud, strong, and inspirational.

For a Latina perspective on the women and feminism of Coco, please read this article.

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Coco wins Best Animated Feature at the Golden Globes!

Adrian Molina, Coco, Darla K. Anderson, Golden Globes, Lee Unkrich

Posted by Simoa • January 8, 2018

Coco won the top prize at last night’s 75th annual Golden Globes. The film scored two nominations: one for “Remember Me” in Best Original Song and Best Animated Feature. While we hoped the film would walk away with both awards last night, we are incredibly happy for its Best Animated win!

 

Watch the clip below of Lee Unkrich accepting the Globe, along with co-director Adrian Molina and producer Darla K. Anderson.

 

Coco has made such a tremendous impact, both in Mexico and around the world. This truly is an honor for everyone involved, particularly the Mexican and Latino artists, consultants, and the actors who lent their voice talent to the film.

You can also watch the backstage video, in which the three answered questions from reporters and discussed the film’s enormous success worldwide. They re-emphasized their commitment to telling a story free of cliches. They also addressed the current John Lasseter situation, explaining their hopes for creating a safer environment with integrity, and making Pixar a better place for people to create art.

As Adrian Molina said, Coco is an encouraging film, for himself and the rest of the crew who worked on it. By creating an environment that prioritizes and includes more diverse voices, Pixar is taking steps to become better, and hopefully this will lead to even more positive change.

Congratulations to Lee, Adrian, Darla, and the entire cast and crew for their Golden Globe win! Be sure to check back here for more awards show coverage.

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