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D23 2017 – a quick rundown of yesterday’s Pixar highlights

D23, Pete Docter, Pixar

Posted by Joanna • July 16, 2017

As if we weren’t already wowed by all the Pixar news released at this year’s D23 Expo’s opening, yesterday’s events delivered even more surprises and exciting bits and pieces. Here’s a quick rundown of the highlights.

  1. The “Creating the Worlds in Pixar’s Universe” panel gave some wonderful insights into how Pixar movies are made

In a presentation by directors of photography Sharon Calahan and Kim White, production designers Ralph Eggleston and Harley Jessup, and producer Katherine Sarafian, examples across Pixar’s entire repertoire of movies helped teach the audience how the studio’s staff built these worlds that we’ve all come to know and love over the years. A focus was put on believability, collaboration, and creativity. Pixar have transported us to worlds both real and fantastical, and it’s the worlds that we have never seen before that present the biggest challenge. Even seemingly simple things like the colour of the sky are thrown into question when you’re building a world from the ground up.

  1. The “Evolution of Pixar Characters” panel delved into the world of character design

Pete Docter was joined by Daniel Arriaga, Tia Kratter, Deanna Masigliese, Chris Sasaki, and Jay Shuster  to give an inside look into how Pixar’s characters are conceived and designed, and the changes that are made along the way.

  1. New Pixar themed attractions are coming to Walt Disney parks

These new additions include Toy Story Land at Disney World, a Ratatouille themed attraction at Epcot, and the grand opening of the Pixar Pier at Disneyland Resort, along with a limited time Pixar Fest event. Toy Story Land and the Pixar Pier are to open in Summer 2018.

  1. The world of Toy Story is coming to Kingdom Hearts 3

Incredibly confusing plotlines aside, the popular video games series Kingdom Hearts involves Sora, Donald, and Goofy traversing Disney Pixar worlds and saving them from the Heartless. It was revealed yesterday that the Toy Story world will be featured in Kingdom Hearts’ next instalment in 2018! A trailer was released, showing the game’s protagonists meeting Woody, Buzz and the gang for the first time. With its updated graphics, it’s amazing to see how the character models look almost indistinguishable from the ones that we’re used to seeing in the movies – it’ll be interesting to see how Woody and his flailing limbs fare on the battlefield.  The attention to detail is positively heart-warming – Sora’s Toy Story-themed keyblade features a western style cactus, little Buzz-inspired wings, and a cute alien keychain.

 

Footage and photos of some of yesterday’s highlights have also now been made available online – there are photos on Pixar’s instagram, and a video of the performance at the end of the Coco presentation. There are still more Pixar-themed D23 events to come later on today , including a demo of Pixar in a Box, a signing with composer Michael Giacchino, and a drawing demo with Daniel Arriaga.

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What to expect from this year’s D23 Expo

D23, Pixar, The Incredibles 2

Posted by Joanna • July 12, 2017

This year’s D23 Expo begins on Friday, running from the 14th to the 16th of July. D23’s biennial expos never fail to generate excitement for upcoming Disney and Pixar movies. Somehow the 2011 D23 Expo when “The Untitled Pixar Movie That Takes You Inside The Mind” and “The Untitled Pixar Movie About Dinosaurs” were announced doesn’t seem so long ago, even though Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur are now sitting proudly amongst the rest of Pixar’s filmography. But what can we expect from D23 2017?

We’re already aware of some of Pixar’s upcoming movies, with Coco’s release date of 22 November fast approaching, and The Incredibles 2 and Toy Story 4 set to release in the summer of 2018 and 2019 respectively.

New footage from Coco is going to be revealed in the Upcoming Films presentation hosted by John Lasseter, and a Drawing Demo with Pixar character artist Daniel Arriaga promises to feature some of Coco’s new characters. Some brand new Incredibles 2 artwork has already been released on the D23 Expo 2017 app, advertising its signing event, although it has since been replaced with just the logo. If the art is anything to go by, it seems like the movie will be a direct sequel to its predecessor, and the ‘Underminer’ may be making an appearance. You can also see several supers flying in the background (including at least one with a cape – I can just hear Edna’s disapproval). And why is there a raccoon?! Here’s hoping all will be revealed soon.

During the Upcoming Films presentation, a large focus will probably be on Coco, but it’s likely that we’ll be finding out some more plot details for The Incredibles 2, and maybe even Toy Story 4. There are also going to be some “surprise announcements”, and with only 3 upcoming Pixar movies on our radars, stretching to only 2 years in the future, perhaps some new movie announcements aren’t too much to hope for.

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Coco to premiere at Mexico’s Morelia International Film Festival

Coco, Poster

Posted by Joanna • July 6, 2017

Very fittingly, Coco is set to have its world-premiere at Mexico’s Morelia International Film Festival on October 20th, over a month before the US release date.

The Morelia Film Festival’s Twitter announced the news yesterday, posting a video of Lee Unkrich, Adrian Molina (directors), and Darla Anderson (producer) expressing their delight in having Coco featured as an opening night movie at this festival’s 15th anniversary.

Adrian Molina describes Coco as:

“the first Pixar movie inspired by the lovely people, the beautiful traditions, and the culture of Mexico, so we are honoured to have the opportunity to launch it there first.”

A new poster has been produced for the festival, and it’s beautiful – it has the same bright colours as the logo, but some familiar characters and objects can be seen in amongst the brush strokes forming the iconic skull representing Día de los Muertos. Mama Coco takes centre stage, and the skull’s teeth seem to be formed by the bridge between the land of the dead and the land of the living that we saw in the latest trailer.

Here’s hoping Coco helps in making Morelia’s 15th film festival its best yet!

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OpEd: Brave’s 5th Anniversary and what it means to a Scottish person

Brave, Pixar

Posted by Joanna • June 22, 2017

In 2009, I saw Up in cinemas for the first time, and I left thinking I had just seen the best movie of my life. As soon as I got home that night, I googled Pixar to find out what movies they had in their pipeline, and when I saw they were making a movie set in Scotland, my heart leapt. Mainly with joy. But there was a little bit of worry in there too.

I have always lived in Scotland, and have seen my fair share of movies attempting to portray the country I have grown up in. These movies are riddled with horrible attempts at Scottish accents, actors that have no connection to the country at all, and scenery that wasn’t even filmed on location. They rely on blatant stereotypes and, at best, only skim the surface of what Scotland is really like. So after learning about the production of Brave, I was unsurprisingly cautious, at least until I grew to understand and appreciate Pixar and their values.

Pixar do their research. They made Paris feel real in Ratatouille, they took lessons in ichthyology for Finding Nemo, and they even worked out how many balloons it would take to lift Carl and Ellie’s house in Up (…then took some leniencies). For the creation of Brave, Pixar teams visited Scotland, sketched castles, and went walking in the highlands. They studied the scenery and foliage and experienced our weather and culture first-hand. The end result? Out of all the American movies I have seen, Brave did the absolute best job at capturing Scotland and its scenery, lighting, colours, people, and accents. They hired Scottish actors and learned from them, allowing them to really contribute to the movie. In an interview with Kevin McKidd, the voice of both Lord MacGuffin and Young MacGuffin, Pixar suggested he make Young MacGuffin have a particularly broad accent; almost incomprehensible. But instead of just spewing Scottish-sounding gibberish, McKidd proposed he did “a dialect from my home area, called the Doric, which is a very specific area in the north-east of Scotland.” This resulted in a joke that was funny for viewers in America, but hilarious for viewers in Scotland. It’s genius. Being from the north-east of Scotland myself, I have grown up with the Doric accent around me, and even I struggle to understand it without context (although I do understand all of Young MacGuffin’s lines!) It’s little touches and inside jokes like this that make Brave a film that Scottish people are proud to be associated with.

© Steve Pilcher

Even on the day it came out, Brave created a sense of community and pride across the country. It was released in cinemas a day earlier in Scotland than in the rest of the UK, and I saw it in a makeshift cinema that my village hall put on for the night – mismatched seats and a projector screen. The scenery was breath-taking, and you felt you could almost recognise some places because the attention to detail was so perfect. When Young MacGuffin said his first line, people turned to each other with huge grins on their faces. We were in hysterics. Even the ‘obvious’ jokes (that had to be done) were done completely tastefully.

It’s so refreshing to have a movie that depicts Scotland with such accuracy and respect. We don’t have bears, of course, but…leniencies. Animation allows leniencies. And on top of all of that, Brave is a wonderful movie with a beautiful message and strong, memorable characters. Merida will always be my favourite ‘Disney Princess’.

Pixar places so much importance on being able to transport you to these different worlds and settings that they create and imitate. They fully appreciate how crucial it is to know these worlds themselves before they’re able to make us believe that we know them too. Coco debuts this November, and I can’t wait for the people of Mexico to feel the way I did when Brave was released 5 years ago. Happy 5th anniversary, Brave!

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A chance to win a stunning Dolby-exclusive Cars 3 poster!

Cars 3, Poster

Posted by Joanna • June 15, 2017

The race towards Cars 3 is almost over, and with all these teasers, posters, and interviews it’s definitely been an exciting ride! Dolby Cinema is currently holding a competition where you could win an EXCLUSIVE poster. It really captures that striking Route-66-inspired scenery the Cars universe is set in. Comment on their Facebook post for a chance to win (follow the link for full terms and conditions).

Have you already got your tickets booked? Dolby Cinema offers an amazing theatre experience with high quality Dolby Vision imaging and moving Dolby Atmos audio. Cars 3 is bound to be Pixar’s most stunning entry to the Cars franchise yet. Find your nearest Dolby Cinema here.

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New Frozen Featurette Will Play Before Coco

Coco, Disney, Pixar

Posted by Joanna • June 13, 2017

Disney and Pixar revealed today that instead of being paired with an original Pixar short, Coco will have a new Frozen featurette played before it – Olaf’s Frozen Adventure. This is not the first spin-off from Disney’s ever-popular Frozen franchise, with the short Frozen Fever debuting alongside their live-action Cinderella in 2015. However, Olaf’s Frozen Adventure will be a whopping 21 minutes long.

It’s unusual that it’s being played before a Pixar movie, where original short films have become something of a tradition. A little disappointingly, this means we won’t be seeing another brand new short created by Pixar Studios this November when Coco is released – all the more reason to get excited for LOU which will be playing before Cars 3 in just 3 days in North American theatres!

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Pixar reveals an all-Latino cast for Coco (and a new poster!)

Coco, Lee Unkrich, Pixar

Posted by Joanna • June 6, 2017

Along with a beautiful new poster, Pixar released details today of the large cast of characters that we can look forward to seeing in Coco later this year, all voiced by actors of Latino descent (including Gabriel Iglesias, Renée Victor, Sofía Espinosa, and Edward James Olmos). It’s worth remembering that Pixar put a lot of effort into making the cast of Brave entirely Scottish or of Scottish descent (save a few lines of dialogue, like the now-essential John Ratzenberger cameo), so it’s great to see them doing the same and more for Coco.

Information on the cast reveal can be found on Oh My Disney. 18 characters have been revealed, many of them relatives of the main character Miguel, so it seems like we might be seeing a big family reunion in the Land of the Dead. Even though each character is given just a brief description, this new information has really fleshed out the world in which Coco is taking place. We’ve learned that Miguel’s family comes from a long line of shoemakers, and the business was created by his great-great grandmother Mamá Imelda. “The matriarch of the Rivera family”, she is bound to be a strong, interesting character that I’m sure many of us are looking forward to meeting. It also seems like there might be a bit of tension between the musicians and the shoemakers in his extended family…

With Coco being released in under 6 months, we can definitely begin to look forward to seeing more trailers, teasers and posters. In fact, a new trailer is expected to land later this week! Director Lee Unkrich has posted pictures on Twitter of some of the voice actors – Gabriel Iglesias and Edward James Olmos – at Pixar Studios recording lines for the movie.

And the continued support from Jorge R. Gutierrez, the director of The Book of Life which also centred around Día de los Muertos, is still as heart-warming as ever.

Coco is set to release in North American theatres on November 22nd 2017.

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More ‘LOU’ details

Dave Mullins, Lou, Pixar, Short Film

Posted by Joanna • June 2, 2017

Some new details about Pixar’s next short ‘LOU’ have surfaced this week on CinemaBlend in the form of “5 fascinating facts”.

LOU will feature a soundtrack written by Christophe Beck, who composed the memorable scores for Frozen and the Disney short Paperman, so we’re definitely in for a treat. By using a very interesting ‘round’ method, with musicians exhibiting great coordination skills, the soundtrack is sure to sound amazingly unique.

In addition to this, many of us will have already seen the character J.J.’s design: he appears in the background of Inside Out in Riley’s classroom! It’s not unusual for Pixar to recycle previously rendered characters and objects (a certain pizza delivery truck comes to mind).

Perhaps most excitingly, in response to the initial pitch for LOU, John Lasseter is reported to have said:

“This character looks like a pain in the ass to do, let’s make it.”

It’s always inspiring to see Pixar deliberately tackling challenges like this. LOU is a character made up of a mass of lost and found objects, and it’s easy to understand how difficult it must have been to animate him as a single living thing and not a collection of disconnected items. They’ve succeeded in doing this in the past – think of the school of fish in Finding Nemo, or the cute Lego character in Toy Story of Terror, or even the 7 limbs of Hank the septopus in Finding Dory – but animating LOU may just be their most impressive effort yet.

Ever since A Bug’s Life, all Pixar feature-length films have been coupled with original short films. The creation of these shorts is a way of encouraging creativity within the studio, and providing new and upcoming directors with confidence and experience. It’s clearly become a tradition that Pixar are particularly proud of, especially with their new internal short film project. It therefore comes as no surprise that the short film preceding the main feature is often equally as magical and compelling. Cars 3 is being released in North American theatres in just a fortnight, but the simultaneous release of LOU is just as exciting! ­

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Two Cars 3 Soundtracks

Cars 3, Soundtrack

Posted by Joanna • May 19, 2017

With Cars 3 under a month away, excitement is definitely building, further fuelled by the fact that two new Cars 3 soundtracks are available for pre-order starting today: the Cars 3 Original Score Soundtrack (pre-order digitally or via Amazon), and the Cars 3 Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (pre-order digitally or via Amazon).

The original score is composed and conducted by Randy Newman, who has written the music for a number of Pixar films in the past, including the first Cars movie. Cars 3 appears to be ‘returning to its roots’ in a sense, focusing again on Lightning McQueen as the main protagonist. With Newman reprising his role as conductor for the movie, it seems that this decision is being mirrored in the soundtrack – a decision that is sure to give Cars 3 that classic ‘Pixar’ nostalgic feeling.

Here’s the full track list:

  1. Storm’s Winning Streak
  2. When All Your Friends Are Gone/Crash
  3. Doc’s Painful Demise
  4. Mater on the Horn
  5. Sistine Chapel on Wheels
  6. Temple of Rust-eze
  7. A Career on a Wall/Electronic Suit
  8. Drip Pan
  9. McQueen’s Wild Ride
  10. Biggest Brand in Racing
  11. Fireball Beach
  12. Pull Over, Now!/Cruz’s Racing Dreams
  13. 1.2%
  14. If This Track Could Talk
  15. Letter About You
  16. Smokey Starts Training/A Blaze of Glory
  17. Starting Dead Last
  18. Flashback & Pit Stop
  19. Through the Pack
  20. Victory Lane
  21. The Fabulous Lightning McQueen

In addition to the original score, Cars 3 will also feature an album of eight songs (two of which are bonus tracks), including both covers and originals inspired by Cars 3 with artists Dan Auerbach, James Bay, Brad Paisley, Andra Day, ZZ Ward, Jorge Blanco, and Lea DeLaria (who voices the new Cars 3 character Miss Fritter!). The original song “Run That Race”, written and performed by Dan Auerbach, will play in the movie’s opening, while ZZ Ward’s original song “Ride” will play during the end-credits.

  1. Run That Race by Dan Auerbach
  2. Kings Highway by James Bay
  3. Truckaroo by Brad Paisley
  4. Thunder Hollow Breakdown by Brad Paisley
  5. Glory Days by Andra Day
  6. Ride [feat. Gary Clark Jr.] by ZZ Ward
  7. Drive my Car by Jorge Blanco (The Beatles cover) *BONUS TRACK*
  8. Freeway of Love by Lea DeLaria (Aretha Franklin cover) *BONUS TRACK*

With such varied and exciting soundtracks, it’ll be a joy to sit through the credits in theatres next month (hopefully in anticipation of a bonus end-credit scene!) Cars 3 will be released in North American theatres June 16th.

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New Cars 3 trailer: “Rivalry”

Cars 3, Trailer

Posted by Joanna • May 10, 2017

In the new trailer for Cars 3 that was released today, a larger focus is put on Lightning McQueen’s new ‘rival’ – Jackson Storm.

High-tech, competitive, and – most importantly – fast, Jackson Storm represents the ‘new generation’ of cars that is threatening Lightning’s career, overtaking him on the racetrack, and overshadowing him in the public eye. Once “faster than fast, quicker than quick”, Lightning isn’t used to being left behind, but he’s not ready to give up just yet.

“I decide when I’m done.”

This trailer is just as gritty and tense as the last, but exhibits more of the great humour that Pixar always pulls off so well. It also showcases some of the beautiful scenery we’re familiar with from the original Cars, in addition to new stunning backdrops. Revisiting these characters and settings again, it’s amazing to see how far the technology has come. Lightning, on the other hand, is much less excited by this prospect of ‘new technology’…

Cars 3 will be released in US theatres June 16th!

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