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Lasseter Out, Docter In – Pete Docter Named As Pixar’s New Chief Creative Officer

Pete Docter

Posted by Joanna • June 19, 2018

It’s official – Pete Docter has been named as the new Chief Creative Officer for Pixar Animation Studios.

John Lasseter announced he was taking a six month leave of absence at the end of last year, following sexual misconduct allegations. He has since stepped down from his role as Chief Creaitve Officer, and will leave the studio at the end of this year.

The news that Lasseter was leaving Pixar was largely met with relief, but also concern about who Pixar would choose to fill the position. Pete Docter has been up there with the most likely contenders ever since the disappointing news first broke out last November. The director of Monsters Inc, Up, and Inside Out, Docter has been with the studio for 28 years and we feel that the future of the company couldn’t be in better hands. Read his official statement below:

“I started here 28 years ago. I am fortunate to work alongside some of the most talented people on the planet, and together we will keep pushing animation in new directions, using the latest technology to tell stories we hope will surprise and delight audiences around the world.”

© Deborah Coleman, Pixar

Jennifer Lee has also been named as the Chief Creative Officer for Disney Animation Studios. Lee and Docter will jointly take on Lasseter’s old role.

Whenever a new Pete Docter-directed Pixar movie is announced, a huge amount of excitement always follows. The fact that Docter has now been named chief creative officer for Pixar Studios conjures up this same feeling of excitement for the company’s future – let’s hope Pixar’s story from here on out is as positive and uplifting as Docter’s beautifully woven stories that we’ve been introduced to throughout his career.

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11 Fascinating Behind-The-Scenes Facts About The Incredibles 2

Brad Bird, Events, Incredibles 2, Interview, The Incredibles, The Incredibles 2

Posted by Nia • June 13, 2018

Last Thursday I had the honor of attending the Global Press Conference for the Incredibles 2 at the London in West Hollywood. In attendance was writer/director Brad Bird, producers Nicole Grindle and John Walker, and the rest of the cast which included Craig T. Nelson (Bob), Holly Hunter (Helen), Sam L. Jackson (Frozone), Bob Odenkirk (Winston Deavor), Catherine Keener (Evelyn Deavor), Sophia Bush (Voyd), Sarah Vowell (Violet), and Huck Milner (Dash). The junket was also moderated by film critic and producer Scott Mantz.

(Photo by Araya Diaz/Getty Images for Disney)

(Photo by Araya Diaz/Getty Images for Disney)

Here’s everything I learned from the junket about the making of the Incredibles 2, from what went on behind the scenes during production to Brad Bird’s initial story inspiration.

  1. Brad Bird decided to start the sequel right where the first one left off, despite it being almost 14 years, because “I thought it was bold and weird; people take the time that passes very literally and they think linearly that the characters should have aged. But if they age, their super powers don’t reflect that part of life they’re in and their role in the family.” Bird also went on to mention that if it worked for the Simpsons, which has been on the air since 1989, that it could work for the Parr family. And if you see the film in cinemas on Friday, it obviously did.
  2. There have been huge leaps in technology since the Incredibles was released in 2004. The new technology that Pixar uses and pushes with each film, which is super evident in all the minute details from the hair on Dash’s head to the fibers on Helen’s pants, allowed them to make the film “look more like how Brad intended it to look like the first time.” Nicole Grindle went on to mention “the characters are more nuanced and developed, and we were able to build a lot more sets more quickly, we’ve populated the world with more characters, who have lots of hair and clothing – this is all stuff that most of you guys don’t even notice. Actually that all makes the world feel richer and more alive, not to mention all the other visual effects. We also have lots of artists who’ve had 14 years to get better at their craft, and a lot of artists who were kids when the first one came out and it’s a dream come true for them to work on this film.
  3. Believe it or not, the actors aren’t given full scripts when they come in to record, they’re only given their lines and direction from Brad. So most of the actors don’t even know the full story until they see it with everyone else at the premiere, when everything has finally come together. Holly Hunter didn’t even know about the role reversal until about halfway through her recording session with Brad, “I didn’t read a screenplay, because there wasn’t a full script. Brad was the screenplay, he was my walking encyclopedia; he was my instruction manual. It was a while before I truly realized what I was really going to get to do in the movie and I was thrilled.

    (Photo by Araya Diaz/Getty Images for Disney)

  4. There are many layers to being an ~incredible~ director in animation; there’s dealing with the initial story, figuring out what to do with design, and even directing and shepherding the actors during their voice sessions. The actors come in solo and have to act as if their other co-stars are in the room, which itself can seem like a huge challenge. Sophia Bush mentioned that “I know I’m technically talking to Holly but she’s not there, its just me and Brad and I’m yelling into a void. It’s really so much fun, Brad knows what Holly’s done in the room and he knows how our voices are going to sound together, so you just trust your captain when he tells you that you’ve gotten it right. That the tone, volume, is all right – it’s very cool.
  5. Another challenge for the actors, since there is no screenplay, is figuring out just where they are in a scene. That thought alone can change how an actor delivers their lines, Sarah Vowell went on to discuss: “Are we talking to someone a few inches away or at the back of the room? Because that changes what you’re doing vocally. Like is this scene going to be in a car? How loud do I need to be?  You’re trying to get a sense of the literal architecture of where the characters are. Everything has to be drawn from scratch in animation, whereas with live action the actor is actually in the car; so trying to gauge where we are is really important. It’s not that we’re sitting at a kitchen table, its everything that being a family at a kitchen table implies.
  6. Helen being chosen to take the helm and save the day as opposed to Bob seems to have come at the right moment. Others have speculated that Brad and the team at Pixar released this movie now because of the rising tides against sexual harassment and assault, but in reality, Brad always had this idea brewing in the back of his mind. “The idea of the role switch, that the assignment would go to Helen rather than Bob, I had when we were promoting the first film.” Even Holly said, “it’s purely luck of the draw that this happens to be duck tailing with Me Too and Times Up; I feel that way personally and it happens to be serendipitously reflected in this movie and at the same time, it’s character revelation period. Everyone is having revelations, including Jack-Jack; all the characters are revelations to the audience and to themselves.

    (Photo by Araya Diaz/Getty Images for Disney)

  7. One of my favorite facts from the junket was that the villain kept changing throughout development. It was left unclear who the initial villain was or what changed about them, but Brad discussed why the finished film is different: The superhero part, the villain part, always seemed to change. When I came to Pixar and said I think I have the other part of the story figured out, that old version got green-lit. Then John and Nicole came on, we got a crew and started spending money, and got a release date and then the release date got moved up a year and suddenly the pressure’s HUGE and that plot doesn’t work and now I’m screwed because I have a release date. The villain plot kept changing, everyone else had to adjust to it constantly, which only gave us more anxiety. But I think we wound up with the right version of the story.” 
  8. Another important element that changed included the Parr’s gorgeous mid-century modern home. Ralph Eggleston, production designer on both Incredibles films, played a huge part in designing the iconic new home. “One day Eggleston came in and we’d already put a lot of effort into that old house and we were under tremendous pressure. He said, ‘OK so I have this idea for this new type of house and you know it’s really going to screw things up for everyone, including me.‘” Eggleston then went on to tell Brad Bird that, “the house should not work for the Parr family; it should initially be impressive, but then you get in there and everything is wrong for the family, these things that are beautiful originally soon become this problem. The house has to be impressive but wrong for the family; they’re not in a comfortable place yet, they have to find their way there.” All these things Eggleston said was right but that also meant it would ruin months of hard work and everyone on the team would have to start over from scratch, but Brad Bird agreed to it anyways, “it totally screwed up the script and everything was a giant problem, but it felt right and what needed to change to help the story and characters.”
  9. Even Winston Deavor, the tycoon and superhero enthusiast who seeks out the help of Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, and Frozone in the sequel, was completely different when Bob Odenkirk signed on to voice the character. Deavor wasn’t always Mr. Nice Guy, “when we first started working with Bob, his character wasn’t so nice. It changed over the course of working on the film and he responded so well.” Odenkirk was just happy to be a part of a Pixar film, he “loved that Winston became more genuine; when he starts out he’s more exuberant, more excited, and as he goes you start to see an innocence to him which is more of a twist and even surprising. Where he ends up, I won’t say…

    (Photo by Araya Diaz/Getty Images for Disney)

  10. There’s a scene in the sequel where Jack-Jack takes on a raccoon, and it’s probably the highlight of the film. Watching it back at Pixar in April and then again last week, I can tell that it’s already an iconic scene, one that will be talked about for decades. The scene and overall inspiration for the iconic battle actually came from the first film: “Teddy Newton had this idea back on the original film – he had a gang of raccoons that Jack-Jack confronts. In his original drawings the raccoons came up and shoved Jack-Jack and it went a lot darker; they fought and went to the bottom of the pool, but the idea always killed me because raccoons vaguely looked like robbers. Teddy did a drawing where he’s watching an old movie like in the Incredibles 2 and he sees a classic robber with a mask and looks out in the yard and something is stealing from him, a ‘robber’ is stealing from his family. It doesn’t matter that its garbage, Jack-Jack doesn’t know that, he knows that he’s being robbed and he must do something about it. So I loved that and it was so visual and clear and it was such an off the wall idea that it was one of the things I couldn’t wait to do if we got another Incredibles going.”
  11. As Brad Bird mentioned, there was a lot of pressure going into the sequel; the tight deadlines and story issues weren’t the only thing that bothered him, he was also worried about how audiences would perceive the Parr family amidst all the Marvel superhero films being released. Brad’s darkest moment came two years ago when he feared if people would be sick of the Incredibles 2 by the time it was released. But Brad started thinking about what truly inspired him about the Parr family and why he made this film in the first place. “What excited me wasn’t the superheroes, it was the family dynamic and everyone’s roles in different parts of their life. Superhero’s are a just twist of lemon you squeeze on top of it all. Families are a continent of fresh opportunities because it’s so universal.

The Incredibles 2 comes to theaters this Friday! Be sure to let us know what you think of the film below and on Twitter! We can’t wait to hear your thoughts.

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Incredibles 2 Film Review: Supers Are Definitely Back in the Spotlight

Brad Bird, Incredibles 2, Review, The Incredibles, The Incredibles 2

Posted by Nia • June 11, 2018

A lot has changed since The Incredibles was released in cinemas way back in November 2004. First of all, like so many others my age, I’ve basically grown up within that time frame; graduating high school, surviving college, and taking the biggest risk of my life as I stuffed my car to the brim with everything I owned and moved across the country to fulfill my dreams, crossing my fingers and toes I was making the right decision. Obviously a lot has changed in the film industry too, and yes, I’m talking about the elephant in the room: the Box Office monster that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There have literally been hundreds, no, millions of superhero movies made in the last 14 years. So much that I’ve stopped shouting, “ANOTHER ONE?” whenever I see a trailer or hear rumors about the next Thor VS. Iron Man installment; instead I just sit there, defeated, and accept the fact these movies are just never going to end.

©2017 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Despite all that, the Incredibles 2 somehow still seems refreshing. Seeing Bob, Helen, Dash, Violet, and Jack-Jack on screen again felt like I was reuniting with my long-lost relatives; the ones I saw only once when I was a kid but always somehow managed to keep in touch with throughout the years. The same relatives I never thought I’d see again but we miraculously found a way to coordinate a date where everyone was available. And even though the reunion was only for a few hours, the reminiscing was unforgettable and even more memories were made together.

Brad Bird takes the helm again as both writer and director of the Incredibles 2. Most of the original cast returns, Craig T. Nelson as Bob, Holly Hunter as Helen, Samuel L. Jackson as Frozone, etc., save for Spencer Fox, who voiced Dash in the original, and Bud Luckey. Unfortunately Bud Luckey passed away earlier this year, so Jonathan Banks stepped in to voice the iconic Rick Dicker.

The sequel starts right where the first one left off, with the Underminer bursting through the concrete parking lot on his massive mining machine, threatening the innocent people of Metroville. C’mon, you didn’t think they’d let the Underminer not get at least a few more minutes on screen? Despite some hiccups during the opening sequence, like the family fighting over who gets to actually save the day and who’s stuck babysitting Jack-Jack, they barely manage to stop the Underminer from destroying the city center. Frozone even pops in at the last minute to help out. The Parr’s barely have time to celebrate their first real success as a superhero family before they’re apprehended by the police and thrown into an interrogation room. It turns out the world isn’t ready to have supers helping them again and they bring up a good point: if the Parr’s never helped in the first place, there’d be less damage to clean up and the officers could follow protocol to get things back to normal. Who knew everything the Underminer stole was insured?

The family has no home to return to, since it was destroyed at the end of the first film, and they’re soon relocated to a modest hotel with the help of their old pal Rick Dicker. But they can only stay in the hotel for two weeks; Dicker’s Super Relocation Program is shutting down, so it was the least he could do for the family before he’s forced into retirement. Once the two weeks are up, the family will be on their own, which means one of them is going to have to get a job in the real world again to support their family. Bob shudders at the thought of returning to a cramped desk, we all know how well that turned out in the last film, but Helen is quick to offer her help and seems eager at doing something more with her life. Bob dismisses Helen’s offer and as the couple fight over who’s turn it is to support the children, they’re interrupted by Frozone, who slithers into the scene from the shadows. He gives them a business card from tycoon and superhero enthusiast Winston Deavor (voiced by Bob Odenkirk) and tells them to suit-up; Deavor wants to chat with the trio at his headquarters. Could this be another reconnaissance mission? Or a top secret assignment that’s only worthy of a superhero? Bob nearly rips his shirt off in excitement, but Helen backs away, cautious after literally being thrown in jail that same day.

Despite the mixed feelings, they all head to Deavor’s gorgeous high-rise building downtown. He greets them like old friends, showering them with praise and nostalgia as he explains his history with superheroes and how much their legacy means to his family. We’re even introduced to Winston’s sister, Evelyn Deavor (voiced by Catherine Keener), as she stumbles through the doors of his office, nearly dropping all of her paperwork and blueprints and other mysterious documents. Winston is the face of the company, the businessman, while his sister is the one who designs everything behind the scenes. Winston then gives a presentation to the trio, detailing how they want superheroes legal again. But how are they going to achieve this goal? With the help of Helen AKA Elastigirl, obviously. Of course Bob is flabbergasted – he’s Mr. Incredible, the strongest and “manliest” superhero in that room, it should be him bringing superheroes back into the spotlight. But he also causes the most damage, which is the laws biggest complaint against supers. Elastigirl, on the other hand, is sleek and tidy; Evelyn’s research even proves Elastigirl’s damage numbers are way less than Bob’s.

©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

When Helen finally accepts her new job, it almost seems too good to be true for the Parr family. Not only does Helen get to suit up like old times, but the Parr’s are quickly moved into a new gorgeous mid-century modern home, complete with fancy gadgets and waterfalls. Everyone seems to be content with where things are going and ready for the challenges ahead. Of course that all changes once Helen leaves and Bob is stuck with the children and his new role as Dad. As Helen fights crime, stopping trains from derailing and helicopters from crashing, Bob is stuck at home dealing with Violet’s pubescent rage, Dash’s ridiculous math homework, and the discovery of Jack-Jack’s new never-ending powers. The more Helen rises in popularity, garnering interviews and news specials on TV, the more Bob struggles – seething with jealously and nearly exploding due to his lack of sleep and rising stress levels. It’s not that easy for Helen though, she’s soon faced with conflicts of her own as a new villain, the Screenslaver, starts provoking her on missions. The Screenslaver is able to manipulate people from their screens – be it TV’s or glasses, and if you look into the hypnotic light for even a second then you’ll be under their spell. As the Screenslaver puts more and more people in danger through their manipulation, Helen struggles with finding out who’s behind this facade and is thrown off kilter each time they make an appearance. The more Helen’s superhero fame rises, the louder Screenslaver gets and the more elaborate their plans become.

Will Helen defeat the Screenslaver? Will supers be accepted again? And most importantly, will Bob be able to learn how to do math homework while somehow helping Violet with her boy troubles?

©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights reserved.

©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

I’m usually not a fan of sequels, I think they’re almost always unnecessary and only made to benefit the studio executives, forcing beloved characters into contrived situations because it’s what the public demands. The Incredibles 2 still worked and the film is a solid sequel but it’s just that, a second installment, a DLC added to the main story-line of a popular video game. Although I had a lot of fun watching the sequel I didn’t leave feeling as inspired or blown away as I did after watching the first one, and I’m actually OK with that.

I really enjoyed the fact the sequel explored more of the Parr’s family dynamics. It was great being able to see the family interact more, how they worked together at home and out in the field, how they showed their love for each other in unique ways, and even how they managed to get around their conflicts when they butted heads. Although I’m not a parent, Bob’s struggle to be a good Dad and take care of his family was still relatable; from staying up to the wee hours of the morning trying to figure out how to help Dash with his homework to going out of his way to help Violet with some personal struggles, it brought me back to my youth and my own relationship with my parents. I also enjoyed that the roles were so obviously reversed – that alone created enough conflict to carry the entire film. Helen being in the spotlight, receiving praise for her powers and abilities to save the day was a refreshing change. Her role in the sequel seems to have come at the right moment. I loved the conflict between Helen in the spotlight and Bob stuck at home, gutted that it’s not him getting all the glory. I’m glad Brad Bird decided to show that side of Bob, as it only makes him more human and empathetic. Without spoiling anything, I’d also like to say that Jack-Jack and Edna Mode steal the entire film. Edna was always my favorite, but I have a newfound respect for her after this. If Pixar announced tomorrow that there’s going to be an Incredibles 3 but it would only focus on the relationship between Jack-Jack and Edna then I wouldn’t even be mad, in fact, I’d start throwing my money at them right now. The pair deserves their own film series ASAP.

©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

The characters and story are one thing, but the Incredibles 2 wouldn’t soar without Michael Giacchino returning to his classic score and the overall design and animation seen throughout the film. With every Pixar film, there is so much detail thrown into every single shot. Artists spend months researching and designing elements on screen so that it can look as realistic as possible by the time it’s projected in cinemas. From the immaculate mid-century modern home the Parr’s move into, the lighting in the city as Elastigirl sits on top of a roof surveying the area, the detail on every single piece of clothing that the characters wear, the animation when Bob finally succumbs to the pressures of parenthood, and all the ridiculous explosions and special effects; this film is gorgeous and stands up to Pixar’s motto: “The art challenges the technology, and the technology inspires the art.” I don’t even question the way a Pixar film looks on screen anymore, at this point I’m just expecting to be staring at the screen in awe, with my mouth agape at how they treat the water in the oceans, the clouds in the sky, and the dirt in the ground.

With that being said, the Incredibles 2 still had its issues, and most of it revolved around the script. The film is nearly two hours long and it definitely felt like it. The film started off with a big bang but when it got to the second act the spark started to fade away, so by the time the film was over I was almost relieved. Finally, we got there! The pacing lagged and it didn’t feel natural, in turn that made the ending feel clunky and forced; as if the outcome had to happen because Brad Bird was running out of time and needed to wrap things up. Without giving away important twists and turns in the story, I still wish the stakes were upped more in terms of how Helen was going to make supers legal again. Everything felt so easy, and besides the superhero legacy, nothing else was really at stake for Helen. If Helen failed, then what’s the worst thing that could’ve happened? Return home to Bob? The Screenslaver was an interesting villain, powerful and manipulative, but the character was flat and one dimensional. Until the face behind Screenslaver is revealed, the character only feels like they were thrown into the picture to add that random conflict for Helen. The reveal could’ve been better executed, making that realization even more gut-wrenching and maybe less predictable.

Although the Incredibles 2 was far from perfect, I still got to enjoy some heartwarming moments, great laughs, amazing action sequences that pushed animation technology to even greater places, and on top of that, I got to spend time with some of my favorite characters. Who says every movie released by Pixar has to be mind-blowing or change the animation industry? Who says every film has to be as good as the first? Why can’t it just be a solid sequel and help us escape for a few hours from the horrors of the real world? If you’re looking for that distraction, then definitely check out the Incredibles 2, which bursts into cinemas this Friday.

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Dolby Presents New Stunning Incredibles 2 Poster

Incredibles 2, Poster

Posted by Simoa • June 7, 2018

Thanks to our friends at Collider, we have a new poster of Incredibles 2 from Dolby.

The minimalist design is a direct contrast to the official movie poster which features more characters and action. The silhouettes here of the super Parrs are used to great effect as they appear on the film’s iconic logo. Even though their faces aren’t visible, each of them are instantly recognizable. Jack-Jack (who steals the whole movie according to early reviews) has stolen the shine on this poster as well. We see him with fists raised opposite his raccoon enemy. Can’t wait to see this rivalry play out onscreen!

Audiences can experience the Dolby graded Incredibles 2 when the film opens nationwide on June 15th. Director Brad Bird has nothing but praise for the Dolby’s advanced technology:

“I’ve admired Dolby technology since the original Star Wars. Dolby has been consistently innovating ever since, and I’ve tried to take advantage of their genius. We remixed sequences from two films of mine for their reel to demonstrate Dolby Atmos, and I was thrilled to direct the first film released in Dolby Vision. Dolby Vision is an incredibly bright, sharp image, with a much wider color spectrum than traditional digital imagery. The images have amazing brightness and clarity, yet with richness and detail in the blacks that really pop in both live action and animation. The picture quality is nothing short of stunning.”

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How Pixar Employees Utilized Their Archives for The Incredibles 2

Behind The Scenes, Brad Bird, Incredibles 2, Pixar, Pixar Archives, Pixar Employees, The Incredibles, The Incredibles 2

Posted by Nia • May 31, 2018

During my most recent visit to Pixar for an Incredibles 2 press event, which was a massive thrill in itself,  I was given an exclusive tour of their new archive facility. And it was definitely the cherry on top of a very fabulous two days at the studio. Inside the archives I learned how Brad Bird and his team went back in time to research the designs and characters for the Incredibles 2.

© 2017 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Pixar itself is a magical place, and I don’t have enough room in this post to write about how it meant to visit the studio for the first time (stay-tuned for an upcoming post about just that), but the archives are really something special.

Just think of your favorite Pixar film and then think about all the hard work that went into making it. All of the designs that were created in the 3+ years of developing the film are all archived in their new 15,000 square foot facility.

Originally the building was just a raw cement warehouse, but the folks at Pixar spent a few years making it perfect and customizing it to accommodate all of the designs. The facility is now a working space where employees from Pixar can come to visit and pull designs for their research.

The archives is so big that it could get a little creepy when you’re there by yourself; every time someone enters through the main door there’s a cute little doorbell that rings, which alerts whoever’s working that someone has entered the premises. *Cue dramatic music*

I wanted to spend days, hours, WEEKS in that building looking at each and every piece of art work but alas, I only had less than an hour inside.

Archives Manager, Juliet Roth, led the tour and has been with Pixar for 15 years. Everyone who works in the archives has a master’s degree in library science with an archive focus, or something similar. According to Juliet, “this is as much my job as a story artist is an artist that draws storyboards, we work really closely with the art and story teams in production, that’s where the majority of the materials are coming from. We also collect scripts from editorial, some animation drawings, and we also have a historical collection; which is more about the history of Pixar as a company, sort of what is culturally unique. What makes Pixar Pixar?”

(Photo by Marc Flores)

So, what does the Pixar Archives house exactly? And how did going back through the old designs help the artists prepare for the Incredibles 2?

  • The archives hold molds and maquettes of some of your favorite characters, like Mr. Incredible; some are full body while others showcase a range of emotions and expressions for the animators to study as they work. Artists were able to come into the archives and use these old designs as a starting point when re-creating the characters for the sequel. “They make the sculpts so they can sit on the animators desks and they can reference it as they’re animating all the smile lines, teeth and tongue and eye shapes, so we have a lot of them for all the main characters in The Incredibles. You can draw a character all you want, the drawings are really wonderful, but there’s nothing like bringing a character to life in 3 dimensions.”
  • The archivists work with the production team to integrate themselves into their pipeline. Once a design has served its purpose in production, such as going through art reviews and being approved by the director, it slowly makes its way into the archives. But it doesn’t stop there: the archivists spend time with the team, making sure the artists hand off important information, such as the context of the artwork that was created. It’s even important to know about the characters who didn’t make it in the final film or a character who might’ve started off as the villain but ended up the hero; whatever it is, they like to get the contextual information because the archivists are the “information experts in the future.”
  • The archives also hold all the concept art that was created during The Incredibles and the rest of Pixar’s feature films. In relation to the world of the Incredibles we saw heaps of collages from the first film, pieces assembled from copious magazines and other materials created for character and costume designs; there were also color scripts from Lou Romano; background roughs, character sketches, and original Tony Fucile model packs, which is basically a blue print of the main characters; Ralph Eggleston and Lou Romano gouache paintings; different versions of Edna Mode’s concept art, in each one you could see her attitude, despite it being completely different to what made it on film; and finally the tour included Tony Fucile’s Edna designs and expressions. It was pretty neat seeing what Edna could have looked like and how all of these different artists initially pictured her in their minds.

    (Photo by Marc Flores)

    (Photo by Marc Flores)

  • Ralph Eggleston and his team came to the archives prior to starting their work on the sequel 3 years ago. Eggleston was trying to work out designs for the Incredibles 2, particularly for all of the background characters. Since they had done so much work on the first film with unused characters and villains, they decided it was a good place to start and pull from, maybe even re-using old designs. You’ll definitely see a lot of the initial forgotten supers and background characters in the Incredibles 2 next month.

    (Photo by Marc Flores)

    (Photo by Marc Flores)

Some other fun things I found in the Pixar archives worth noting:

  • The building houses a collection of press clippings from the early days of Pixar, including clips from when Pixar was first founded and when Steve Jobs bought it; those artifacts go back to Juliet’s earlier quote of “what makes Pixar Pixar?” That thought alone blew my mind because the posts I write for Upcoming Pixar, and even this post, *might* somehow end up in the archives one day.
  • Before Pixar started making movies they sold software and hardware and they made some commercials; like the dancing Life Savers holes in Babies and the boxing Listerine in Boxer, which were both Pixar’s claim to fame before Toy Story. They had copies of the original software and items from the commercials mentioned on display. Those items all come from Pixar’s “historical collection.”
  • They even saved original crew gifts from the wrap parties of each feature film; for the first Incredibles they had given out t-shirts. I asked for a shirt but unfortunately they were out of stock.
  • The walls of the archive facility were decorated with original concept art from Brave, Up, Monsters Inc., and an even original character line-ups from Inside Out.
  • At the end of the building there were display cases that showcased a squash and stretch maquette of Sulley from Monstes Inc., samples of different Sulley concept art, a maquette of Woody’s original character design which was a ventriloquist dummy, and a maquette of Buzz Lightyear AKA Lunar Larry’s original design. There was even a printed card that showed a bunch of potential titles for Toy Story, my favorite being Toys in the Hood. The best part was seeing some of the bronze statues the employees at Pixar get after being there for 5, 10, 20 years, etc.

    (Photo by Marc Flores)

You could get lost in the Pixar archives and honestly, if that happened to me I’d be content living inside the building for the rest of my life. Although it was only a tour, I could see how important the archives are to the employees at Pixar and the company’s legacy. It’s amazing that the everyone at the company has a place like the archives to escape to, where they can venture into the past to study previous films and pull designs for research. It not only makes them stronger artists, but it makes the content coming from Pixar even more important and relevant. The more Pixar grows, the more designs and artifacts the archivists have to help continue to build the company’s legacy.

Don’t forget to grab your tickets to the Incredibles 2, which comes to cinemas on June 15th. Only 15 more days to go!

P.S. Do you have your super-suit packed and ready to go?

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New Incredibles 2 Clip: Taking On The Underminer!

Incredibles 2

Posted by Joanna • May 29, 2018

Incredibles takes place right where The Incredibles left off – a superhero family fight against The Underminer. Today, Entertainment Weekly posted a new, 1-minute clip of this hugely anticipated action scene, and so far, it does not disappoint! The action sequences are just as exciting as ever, and we still love the unique twist that the family dynamic brings into play. You can watch the clip here, brought to you by EW.

From the teasers and trailers that have been released over the past few months, a lot of this footage isn’t completely new to us, but it’s amazing to see how it all ties together. And listen to that stunning Michael Giacchino soundtrack! It’s difficult not to notice the backgrounds too – the city is looking so much bigger and busier than it did back in 2004. Pixar really have come a long way.

The Incredibles (2004)

Incredibles 2 (2018)

The comparison really speaks for itself – the city in Incredibles 2 just looks so much more real!

Incredibles 2 releases in US theatres on June 15th, and you can preorder your tickets already.

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It’s Incredibles Day! Here’s How Pixar Are Celebrating

Incredibles 2, Merchandise, Pixar

Posted by Joanna • May 14, 2018

Happy Incredibles Day! Incredibles 2 is just a tad over a month away – Pixar are building the excitement by releasing more and more teasers, merchandise, and offers, and even announcing today (May 14th) as Incredibles Day. So what exactly does Incredibles Day entail?

1. Later today, Pixar will be streaming a liveshow on YouTube

This liveshow will be taking us inside Pixar, and we’ve been promised a “super sneak peek at new swag, activities, obstacles, and more.” The video will be being led by actress Ashley Eckstein. It’ll be starting at 4PM Pacific time. Watch below:

2. There’s an exciting Twitter giveaway going on!

If you live in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, San Francisco or Philadelphia, and you’re a fan of The Incredibles (which we’re sure you are), then follow the Twitter link below to enter the giveaway and be in with the chance of receiving a surprise today!

The surprises on offer are special edition posters, collectable merchandise, a pair of tickets to see Incredibles 2 in IMAX, or even a trip for two to the Incredibles 2 premiere in LA – flights included! The flights are being provided by Alaska Air, the company that Pixar teamed up with to create their super Incredibles themed plane.

3. Vintage Toy Ads have been released for Frozone, Elastigirl, and Mr Incredible toys (and they’re amazing)

Pixar have posted retro commercials for their new Incredibles toys and they’re beyond entertaining to watch. They even have theme songs! Watch them below:

 

We hope everyone’s Incredibles Day turns out super! If you were lucky enough to win a surprise in the Incredibles 2 Twitter giveaway, be sure to let us know what you won on our own Twitter! (@upcomingpixar)

In case you missed it over the weekend: Pixar also recognised Mother’s Day with an Elastigirl TV Spot, jam packed with clips of her being a more-than-incredible mom. Here’s the video below:

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Super Excited for Incredibles 2? Advance Screening Tickets Now Available

Incredibles 2, The Incredibles

Posted by Phileas • May 13, 2018

For more than 13 years, we’ve heard your calls and pleas, Incredibles fans – and even though the wait is only just a touch over a month, we know that’s still too long to contain your excitement for the anticipated sequel to The Incredibles. 

But we have some amazing news… you can now beat everyone to the punch by two whole days with exclusive advance screenings for Incredibles 2 – better yet, they’re now available to purchase!

There are a myriad of cinemas across the United States that will be hosting an advance screening on May 13th. In addition, some theater brands are offering super perks when purchasing your advance tickets:

IMAX

If you want to watch Incredibles 2 on a huge screen that matches your huge eagerness, IMAX Cinemas will be screening a back-to-back screening of both The Incredibles and Incredibles 2 on May 15. As a bonus, you’ll also receive an exclusive commemorative mini poster.

Cinemark

Should you prefer watching the sequel at the nation’s third largest cinema chain, Cinemark will also offering a commemorative Incredibles 2 poster during opening weekend. (Available while stocks last.)

Alamo Drafthouse

At Alamo Drafthouse, you can add an exclusive Incredibles 2 glass by Mondo when purchasing your ticket, alongside an Incredibles 2 sketchbook, both designed by artist Dave Perillo.

Fandango

None of these chains work for you? You can still get your hands on an exclusive poster from Fandango – just buy your Incredibles 2 ticket through the platform. (Also available while stocks last.)

Pixar releases Incredibles 2 in cinemas across the United States & Canada on June 15th. Stay up to date on the latest Incredibles news & follow us on Twitter & Facebook.

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New Incredibles 2 Footage!

Incredibles 2, Trailer

Posted by Joanna • April 30, 2018

Pixar have sneakily been teasing more Incredibles 2 footage, and you may have missed it.

International trailers often contain different clips to appeal to different audiences, and this new Japanese Incredibles 2 trailer is no different. These international trailers can sometimes be a little more prone to containing things that could be considered spoilers, so tread carefully, but as someone who is usually very wary of spoilers, I wouldn’t consider this to be spoiler-heavy at all. Watch below:

Known as Incredible Family (インクレディブル ファミリー) in Japan, the new Incredibles 2 trailer focuses more on the individual family members, giving each of them a brief introduction and showcasing some of their heroic moments that we can look forward to seeing on the big screen this summer. There’s also more action-packed footage of the Underminer battle that presumably is the opening of the sequel.

From the latest US trailer, it’s already been established that Violet might be ‘having adolescence’, but this trailer goes even deeper and shows off some more of her amazingly exaggerated moody expressions.

Super siblings with attitude.

We also get to see Jack Jack being (perhaps deceivingly) very sweet, pointing to his mom when he sees her on the TV.

Loving how they’re reusing that old footage that played at the start of The Incredibles!

And what’s this?! Is this that raccoon we’ve been hearing so much about?

The raccoon character has already been teased in posters, concept art, and way back at D23.

All those new Elastigirl action scenes are definitely a welcome sight too.

The Japanese roughly translates to ‘human rubber mom – Helen’.

A Japanese Incredibles 2 poster has also been released. It seems like Jack Jack being adorable is playing quite a large role in their marketing strategy!

Stay tuned for more Incredibles 2 news – it’s sure to keep coming as the release date approaches! The US release date is June 15th.

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The Making of Bao: Story, design inspiration, and more!

Bao, Behind The Scenes, Domee Shi, Interview, Short Film, Shorts

Posted by Nia • April 23, 2018

Bao is Pixar’s new theatrical short that will be playing this summer in front of the Incredibles 2. It’s one of my favorite shorts from Pixar and it goes without saying – the film is full of scrumptious designs and a heartwarming story that will have you begging for more. If you haven’t yet, be sure to check out our review of the film.

During my most recent trip to Pixar I learned some fantastic things about the making of Bao from director Domee Shi, production designer Rona Liu, and producer Becky Neiman-Cobb.

(Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar)

(Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar)

(Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar)

  1. Bao has two meanings in Chinese: steamed bun and to treasure something precious. Domee thought it would be the perfect title for a story about “a precious little steam bun.”
  2. Domee’s #1 obsession in life, outside of animation, is obviously food (and I don’t blame her – I think about food 24/7). “I love food, not just eating it, but drawing it as well.” Before the days of Bao, Domee was making art about food and posting it online. You might remember some of the food related gags and little food-centric comics from her My Food Fantasies
  3. Domee was also inspired by food folk tales because “they’re so cute and strange – like the little gingerbread man and that one song, there was an old lady who swallowed a fly.” With Bao, she was inspired to do a Chinese version of all those folk takes she loved.
  4. According to Domee, the first ingredient to Bao was obviously food and the second ingredient was what she knew best: growing up as an only child. Domee’s family was a small immigrant family that moved from China and lived in Toronto. Domee’s father worked a lot and because of that she spent a lot of time with her mom growing up. Her mom would hold her close whenever she could and treated her like a “delicate little dumpling.” When Domee started growing up and doing things on her own, it was hard for her mom to let go and she’d tell Domee,“I wish I could put you back in my stomach so I’d know exactly where you were at all times.” Domee even said, “It’s that creepy sweet love of a mom who doesn’t want to let go of her little dumpling that was the spark that became the heart of the story.”

    ©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

  5. Domee wasn’t only inspired by her relationship with her mom, but she was inspired by her. She is a “dumpling Queen.” Food was how Domee’s mom showed her love for her and they formed a special bond making dumplings together over the years for numerous holidays and events. “In Chinese culture, food and family go hand in hand. When you want to show that you care about someone and that you love someone, you don’t say ‘I love you’ you say ‘have you eaten yet?'”
  6. Her mom was involved in the research for Bao. She’d come in to do “dumpling making demos” for the animators and effects and simulation artists.

    (Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar)

  7. The third ingredient for this short was Chinatown, specifically Chinatown in Toronto where Domee grew up. She wanted to honor that setting and the equally vibrant Chinatown grannies. “I wanted to celebrate their bold colors, their keen eye when it comes to picking out the freshest produce, and their determination to get the best deals in town.”
  8. The style of Bao was inspired by 2D Japanese animation, especially the visual styles of My Neighbors the Yamatas and One Piece. Domee “loved how squishy the characters looked and how pushed their expressions were.”

    ©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

  9. Though translating 2D designs to 3D was the biggest obstacle Domee and her team had to get past. Some poses and expressions didn’t translate as well when it was created with 3D software, since 3D itself is its own medium. Some of the design aspects Domee wanted to pull from My Neighbors the Yamatas or One Piece were going to be an challenge, like the mother’s massive head and exaggerated limbs, but there’s nothing that a little planning can’t solve, especially in animation production. In the end, after trial and error, they were able to combine 2D graphic design and 3D modeling, which gave Domee range to achieve what she wanted.
  10. Production designer Rona Liu “oversaw all the visuals in the film.” Her job was to work with the different departments to make sure the look was cohesive and adhered to Domee’s vision.
  11. According to Rona, Domee wanted the short to look and feel very, very cute. It was also heavily influenced by Japanese folk art. She loved the “simple and graphic designs and the fact that a slice of life was the main subject… she wanted to borrow some of that philosophy with Bao, while keeping focus on the characters as much as possible.”
  12. The patterns on the mother’s clothes supported her emotional journey throughout the film. When the mother is unhappy and lonely, Rona used muted colors. When the mother is happy, the colors were “bold and red and auspicious.”
  13. The environment also played a supporting role to the characters. The background designs used throughout the short are not perfectly straight; if you look closely at some of the sets in the trailer and even when you see the film this summer, you’ll find that none of edges actually meet perfectly together, lines are wibbly wobbly. The mother’s house in particular had to reflect that she was an immigrant, a “blend of East meets West.” Rona had decided all the built-ins in the mother’s kitchen would be Western, while all the things the mother buys would be Chinese. 
  14. According to producer Becky Neiman-Cobb, the pork filling was the hardest thing for the effects artists to figure out. “It took two months for them to master the look and feel of the pork filling for the short.” What made the food effects so challenging was that, “we’re all experts as to what food looks like.” And food is the star in Bao, so “if it didn’t look perfect or believable it would pull the audience out of the story.”

Make sure you save lots of room for dessert because Bao is coming to theaters June 15th!

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