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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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New Disney/Pixar Gallery Nucleus Exhibition Opens in Los Angeles

30 Years of Pixar, A Bug's Life, Art, Cars, Cars 2, Finding Dory, Finding Nemo, Inside Out, John Lasseter, Monsters University, Monsters, Inc., Ratatouille, The Incredibles, Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Toy Story 3, WALL-E

Posted by Nia • December 10, 2016

Have you ever wanted to see some of your favorite artwork from Pixar films in real life? Fear no more, as a new exhibition has just opened up at Gallery Nucleus in LA today. For the first time ever, the gallery will be showcasing brand new images from each of Pixar’s feature films. What makes it even more unique is that John Lasseter himself picked each design for the show. There will also be hand-signed limited edition prints for sale by each artist who worked on the pieces.

Thanks to Oh My Disney for providing the artwork that will be featured at the showcase.

By Bob Pauley

By Bob Pauley

 

By Tia Kratter

By Tia Kratter

 

By Randy Barret

By Randy Barret

 

By Pete Docter

By Pete Docter

 

By Ralph Eggleston

By Ralph Eggleston

 

By Teddy Newton

By Teddy Newton

 

By Bill Cone

By Bill Cone

 

By Dominique Louis

By Dominique Louis

 

By Ralph Eggleston

By Ralph Eggleston

 

By Lou Romano

By Lou Romano

 

By Robert Kondo

By Robert Kondo

 

By Harley Jessup

By Harley Jessup

 

By Steve Pilch

By Steve Pilch

 

By Rickey Nierva

By Rickey Nierva

 

By Ralph Eggleston

By Ralph Eggleston

 

By Sharon Calahan

By Sharon Calahan

 

By Daniel L Munoz

By Daniel L Munoz

 

Be sure to check out Galley Nucleus and celebrate the art of Pixar if you’re in town – it runs from today, December 10th to January 8th, 2017.

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Pixar Memorabilia Auctions to Benefit Haiti [UPDATE X3]

A Bug's Life, Auction, Cars, Charity, Lee Unkrich, Merchandise, Monsters, Inc., Pixar, Poster, Ratatouille, Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Toy Story 3, WALL-E

Posted by Thomas • January 23, 2010

Toy Story 3 Woody Poster Signed by Tom HanksEver wanted to get your dirty mits on original gear from a Pixar director’s own private collection?

How about an original 1995 Buzz Action Figure signed by Tim Allen or perhaps even a Toy Story 3 poster signed by a cast member? Well today is your lucky day!

Toy Story 3 director, Lee Unkrich, is hosting a series of auctions on eBay for you to score this insanely cool Pixar gear. All of the proceeds from each of these auctions benefits the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund

Update: New items added, finished auctions removed!
Here is what you can currently bid on:

Cars Joe Ranft Storyboard Print Crew Gift
Ratatouille Vintage-Inspired Poster Crew Gift
The Incredibles Teddy Newton Artwork Print Crew Gift
Lee’s Personal The Incredibles Hawaiian Shirt
Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage Disneyland Poster
The Art of The Incredibles Signed By Brad Bird
The Incredibles Screenplay Signed By Brad Bird
Monsters, Inc. Original 2001 Crew T-Shirt
Monsters, Inc. 2001 Mug Signed By Pete Docter
Monsters, Inc. 2001 Lunchbox Signed By Pete Docter
Original Tin Toy Pixar T-Shirt From 1988
Toy Story 1995 SIGGRAPH T-Shirt
Toy Story Original 1995 Crew Shirt
WALL•E Original 2008 Crew Jacket (BnL Edition)
WALL•E Crew Baseball Cap
Monsters, Inc. Hawaiian Shirt
Monsters, Inc. Boxers Worn By Chimp In DVD Featurettes
Monsters, Inc. Picture Book Signed By Ricky Nierva (2, 3)
Up Crew Leather Satchel
Toy Story 2 Jessie Doll Signed By John Lasseter

Lee Unkrich's Personal 2008 Original WALL-E Crew JacketGet your bids in quickly!
Check out past items at this archived post.

These are amazing once-in-a-lifetime offers, and not only will you be getting a cool piece of certified Pixar memorabillia, but you will also be helping people very much in need in Haiti.

Update 2: Lee Unkrich’s auction has raised over $13,000 dollars for Haiti so far! New items added above.

Update 3: Now the tally has gone up to $20,000 dollars raised! Keep helping Haiti, new items added.

That’s it for today! Be sure to stay tuned to Lee’s Twitter feed next week when he posts more signed stuff.

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Pixar Steel Book Blu-rays: Future Shop Exclusives

A Bug's Life, Blu-Ray, Cars, Disney, Monsters, Inc., Pixar, Ratatouille, UP, WALL-E

Posted by Martin • September 25, 2009

Canada’s Future Shop will be releasing exclusive Disney steel book Blu-rays each week starting October 6th for 12 weeks!

Six of the titles coming soon for this special promotion are from Pixar’s catalog. Ratatouille will be available on Week 5 (Nov. 3rd) with Week 6 (Nov. 10th) marking a double release of both Up and Monsters, Inc. The next week will be followed by WALL•E then A Bug’s Life and Cars (Nov. 17th-Dec. 1st) each spaced exactly one week apart from each other.

The first Blu-ray to go on sale from the series will be Disney’s first animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. During the promotion, you’ll also find other Disney classics like Sleeping Beauty, Pinocchio and The Nightmare Before Christmas in addition to the Pirates of the Caribbean series.

The art on each of these steel book Blu-ray cases is magnificent and definitely worth buying for any serious home video collector who can get their hands on it. If you’re looking for a unique way to display your Pixar collection, Future Shop’s set is the way to go!

Each Blu-ray will be available for pre-order 7 days prior to release.

(via Pixar Talk)

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USA Today’s Extensive Article on Up, Pixar’s Past, Present and Future

A Bug's Life, Cars, Cars 2, Finding Nemo, John Lasseter, Lee Unkrich, Monsters, Inc., Pete Docter, Ratatouille, The Bear and The Bow (Brave), The Incredibles, Toy Story, Toy Story 2, Toy Story 3, UP, WALL-E

Posted by Martin • May 22, 2009

USA Today is running a rich feature on Up including sections dedicated to Pixar’s past and future and an interactive timeline.

The main article starts off with a story about a couple who bond over Pixar movies. It’s a sweet tale of how the two lovebirds mark special occasions with these special movies. In the first few sections you’ll find USA Today’s non-spoilerific synopsis of the film with quotes from viewers weaved in, as well as a response to the Wall Street naysayers.

In the next section, the author takes Lasseter’s famous quote, "Quality is the best business plan", to the next level! This part of the article highlights the directors that make Pixar what it is and the new directors which will redefine the studio with their upcoming projects. Rejoining the 3D Revolution basically goes over how Pixar’s been making "3D" films all along, but that we only got to see them in 2D… until now. Restocking the Talent Pool talks about the new directors coming onto the scene. Last but not least there’s Repairing the Gender Gap which is a response to the recent question coming up around the ‘net: where are Pixar’s female leads? This section focuses on Brenda Chapman and her upcoming Pixar fairy tale which is "driven" by Merida "as opposed to having things happen to her. And there is no waiting for a prince."

Also of note is the interactive feature that chronicles each of Pixar’s 10 film. Laden with quotes from the directors and a clip of their favorite scene from their films, this is a fun way of anticipating the next installment in the Pixar canon. You can find that piece right here.

What are your opinions on the subject matter covered here? Enjoy reading this very fleshed out article, I highly recommend it!

(Thanks, TheIncredible)

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Reminder: A Bug’s Life Now Available on Blu-ray Hi-Def!

A Bug's Life, Blu-Ray

Posted by Martin • May 19, 2009

Pixar’s beloved second feature film is now out on Blu-ray Hi-Def and looking better than ever: A Bug’s Life!

This is just a reminder for all the Pixar fans out there who own Blu-ray players since, frankly, this release hasn’t been advertised all that well. I guess this is just another example of Bug’s being overlooked (on the disc you’ll see how Pixar celebrates ABL appreciation week) but over at Upcoming Pixar, we’re doing our best to get the word out! It’s strange that ads haven’t been plenty since this is a truly worthy addition to your collection!

Of course it includes an overall great film, beautiful picture/sound (1080p/5.1 DTS HD) and new bonus features that shouldn’t be missed by avid Pixar fans and fans of the film. To name one of the two standouts in the bonus material department I’ll start with "The First Draft" is a great look at the original story treatment for Bugs (featuring Red) presented in a creative way. The oher notable extra"Filmmakers Roundtable", is a 20-minute feature with tons of facts you’ve never heard before about Pixar’s journey on this epic of miniature proportions. To watch samples from the new release, check out this feature from Disney’s Video page.

A Bug’s Life on Blu-ray can be purchased from Amazon or from Disney Store among others locations and includes a free ticket to see Up (which is in theatres in just 10 days) and a digital copy. Check out our full review of the brand new product from earlier this month, right here!

P.S. Check out these Bug’s on Blu-ray themed interviews with P.T. Flea himself, John Ratzenberger, on MovieWeb and Ultimate Disney!

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Exclusive: A Bug’s Life on Blu-ray Review

A Bug's Life, Blu-Ray, Review

Posted by Martin • May 7, 2009

A Bug's Life on Blu-rayI’ll just start off by saying that the presentation and special features of A Bug’s Life on Blu-ray exceeded my expectations!

The picture is crystal clear and the signature rich colors of A Bug’s Life are more vibrant than ever! The optimized surround sound booms in the speakers with a perfection only found on Blu-ray. A great example of the overall quality would be the movie’s climax with the fire and water effects. But you knew that, after all, it’s a Pixar Blu-ray!

Being a Pixar blog, we assume you, the readers, have seen the 1998 hit A Bug’s Life (but never like this) so we’ll skip reviewing the movie itself (which is as awesome as you remember) and get on with the juicy details… 

As expected, the disc comes with never-before-seen special features that are worth the price by themselves, John Lasseter even recorded new introductions for the movie and the new content. Take it from me, even if you have this movie on VHS and on DVD, getting the Blu-ray is completely worth it and a whole new experience in itself with amazing navigation and interactive content like BD Live.

Speaking of new content, Filmmaker’s Roundtable, featuring director John Lasseter, co-director Andrew Stanton and producers Darla K. Anderson and Kevin Reher, is a must watch for any Pixar fan! The group of talented Pixarians look back at the last 10 years and their experiences on A Bug’s Life which they call the most fun and most challenging movie they’ve ever done. Stories in this segment include when ABL was shown to Bill Clinton while he was President, how Andrew Stanton got on The Today Show, and the deal behind A Bug’s Life Appreciation Week.

Another stand-out feature would have to be A Bug’s Life: The First Draft. This is a full color animated story reel bringing the original concept of Bugs (you can see the preliminary logo during the previous feature) to life. Yes, the version where the main character was a circus ant named Red. Dave Foley, the voice of Flik, narrates this piece. The presentation of The First Draft is phenomenal, just imagine yourself being immersed in living storyboards!

Now you may be asking yourself, what about the features from the DVD release (AKA The "Supah Genius" Edition)? They are all there including Geri’s Game, Silly Symphonies’ The Grasshopper and the Ants, Behind the Scenes Featurettes, Audio Commentary, Outtakes and more! My only complaint would have to be that they neglected to add 10th Anniversary insignia.

In less than two weeks you too can experience the epic of miniature proportions in the best picture quality ever! The 2-disc set comes out on May 19th with a digital copy and a free redemable ticket for Pixar’s next film, Up.  
A Bug’s Life is now available for pre-order with an MSRP of $39.99 from Disney Shopping or Amazon.

(Thanks goes out to Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment for allowing us to review such an amazing product!)

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The Pixar Treasures Cover Revealed!

A Bug's Life, Cars, Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc., Pixar, Ratatouille, The Incredibles, Toy Story, Toy Story 2, UP, WALL-E

Posted by Martin • April 24, 2009

The cover for Tim Hauser’s new Pixar book after The Art of Up, The Pixar Treasures, has been revealed, and it’s stunning!

The official description is as follows: "The Pixar Treasures is a scrapbook of instinct and inspiration, experiences readers can touch, and visions that exist only in the imagination. It begins with a group of animators who were inspired by Walt Disney films. In the late 1970s and early ’80s, John Lasseter, Brad Bird, and Joe Ranft were hired into an apprenticeship program at Walt Disney Productions. The last of Disney’s golden age artists, including animators Eric Larson, Milt Kahl, Frank Thomas, and Ollie Johnston mentored the young dreamers, and as Pixar later developed, their work would draw heavily from this direct connection with Walt Disney’s "Nine Old Men." The tale continues with Pixar’s foray into computer animation, and the resulting success of Toy Story. With chapters on A Bug’s Life; Monsters, Inc.; Finding Nemo; The Incredibles; Cars; Ratatouille; and WALL*E, Hauser’s narrative covers the struggles, growth, and successes of an incredible animation studio. And it gives readers a sneak peak at the newest Disney*Pixar film, Up. Filled with unique removable keepsakes, The Pixar Treasures is an essential collector’s item for every Pixar fan."

The book will be out September 22nd, 2009 from Disney Editions for a pricey $60.00 (a little less on Amazon) but I bet it’s worth it! Pre-order The Pixar Treasures over at Amazon.com!

Note: Don’t forget to check out these posts (Pixar Book Report: The Pixar Treasures/Partly Cloudy + Logo Design and Up Tie-in Books Now Available!) for more details on other Pixar books out now and coming soon!

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Up TV Spot Featuring Pixar Logo Balloons

A Bug's Life, Cars, Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc., Pixar, Ratatouille, The Incredibles, Toy Story, Toy Story 2, UP, WALL-E

Posted by Martin • April 5, 2009

A brand new TV Spot from Up has surfaced on The Movie Box’s YouTube channel!

The clip features all the Pixar movie logos up to WALL•E, in colorful balloons. This is a really creative way to recap the studio’s filmography for those who may not know exactly what they’ve made. Of course, it also features exciting shots from Pixar’s 10th film.

In less than two months, we’ll be able to see the movie which people are calling deeply emotional, and equally hilarious! But for now you can enjoy the TV Spot here!

(Thanks, Bryko614 from the Pixar Planet Forums)

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A Bug’s Life on Blu-ray Trailer!

A Bug's Life, Blu-Ray, John Lasseter

Posted by Martin • March 21, 2009

Pixar’s sophomore effort A Bug’s Life is coming to Blu-ray on May 19th, and Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment wants to give you a taste!

This Spring, experience the high-definition sights and sounds as Flik, Atta, Dot and the gang return like you’ve never seen (or heard) them before. The brand new trailer for this "Epic of Miniature Proportions" re-introduces our favorite misfit bugs, and promises new features such as a filmmakers roundtable, never before seen animated sequences and more!

Click on the image above to view the trailer and learn more about the Blu-ray.

(Thanks, Pegasus from the Pixar Planet Forums!)

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