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Woody’s Round Up 12/7/18

Disney Parks, Inside Out, Luxo, Jr., Round-Ups, Teddy Newton, Toy Story 4, Toy Story Land

Posted by Simoa • December 7, 2018

Welcome back to Woody’s Round Up! With all the speculation about Toy Story 4 and the excitement over the Annie and Golden Globe nominations for Incredibles 2, some other noteworthy happenings may have slipped your radar. But no worries, we’ve compiled a list here.

Jolly Holiday at Toy Story Land

Toy Story Land has been decorated just in time for Christmas and the holidays! I’m especially fond of this giant Hamm sugar cookie complete with Santa Hat:

Hope they’ll be selling edible versions in the park…

And check out these ornaments I definitely want on my tree at home!

You can see more of the decorations on the Disney Parks blog. Here’s a video of the decorations going up:

Light it Up Luxo

Pixar Pier at Disneyland also got a lovely addition in the form of animatronic Luxo Jr. atop the marquee. While the technology has not yet evolved for Luxo to bound off its perch and stomp anywhere (or on anything), it would be quite a treat to be welcomed by the energetic lamp to California Adventure. Watch Luxo in action below:

More photos at Laughing Place.

Tears of Candy Galore

Bing Bong’s Sweet Shop opened at Pixar Pier over the summer, and a new statue has been installed inside.

Bing Bong isn’t animatronic, but he does play audio from Inside Out, as reported by WDW News Today. I’m sure everyone who visits will be crying happy tears too! They just won’t taste as sweet.

Teddy Newton’s Sneaks

Teddy Newton, mastermind behind some of Pixar’s most brilliant story ideas and indelible artwork, as well as the director of ‘Day & Night’ will be directing his first feature length film! Although not a Pixar production, Sneaks is worth supporting. The official synopsis describes it as follows:

Sneaks centers on a group of misplaced sneakers that end up lost in New York City and must find a way to work together in order to get back to their “sole mates.”

The film will also be Ohio’s first animated feature, and Pixar production designer Ricky Nierva will also be part of the crew. It’s always wonderful to see Pixarians branching out, and we wish them both great success. Read more about Sneaks at THR.

Expanding Toy Story

A Toy Story 4 graphic novel anthology will be hitting shelves ahead of the film’s release next June. Released by Dark Horse comics in collaboration with Pixar, the anthology is available for preorder on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and comic book stores. More details and art will surface before the May 7th release date, so stay tuned for more!

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Incredibles 2 scores 11 Annie Award nominations!

Annie Awards, Brad Bird, Incredibles 2

Posted by Simoa • December 3, 2018

It’s a little hard to believe that awards season is very nearly upon us! The 46th Annual Annie Awards, which honors achievements in animation, released its list of nominees today, and Incredibles 2 has been nominated in nearly every category for animated feature. Take a look at the list below.

Best Animated Feature

Outstanding Achievement for Animated Effects in an an Animated Feature Production
Nominees: Greg Gladstone
Tolga Göktekin
Jason Johnston
Eric Lacroix
Krzysztof Rost

Outstanding Achievement for Character Animation in an Animated Feature Production
Nominee: Lance Fite

Outstanding Achievement for Character Design in an Animated Feature Production
Nominee: Matt Nolte

Outstanding Achievement for Directing in an Animated Feature Production
Nominee: Brad Bird

Outstanding Achievement for Music in an Animated Feature Production
Nominee: Michael Giacchino

via /film

Outstanding Achievement for Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production
Nominees: Dean Kelly
Bobby Rubio

Note: Kelly and Rubio were each nominated separately, so the film received 11 nominations in total.

Outstanding Achievement for Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production
Nominee: Holly Hunter

Outstanding Achievement for Writing in an Animated Feature Production
Nominee: Brad Bird

Editorial in an Animated Feature Production

Nominees: Stephen Schaffer, ACE
Anthony J. Greenberg
Katie Schaefer Bishop

Congratulations to Brad Bird and crew for their well deserved nominations! Pixar’s production designer Ralph Eggleston will also receive the Winsor McCay Lifetime Achievement Award. Adam Burke, Pixar animator who passed away earlier this year, will also be honored with the June Foray Award.

The Annie Awards will be broadcast on February 2, 2019.

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Toy Story 4 cast: Keanu Reeves in a mystery role

Toy Story 4

Posted by Simoa • November 23, 2018

At this point, most everything about Toy Story 4 is a mystery. This latest reveal about the addition to the film’s cast comes not from Pixar or any of the filmmakers, but one of its stars. Watch the clip below of Tim Allen on The Tonight Show sharing some details with Jimmy Fallon.

Of course, Tim Allen can’t say much about the film, but what he did say leads to more questions than answers!

“They really will surprise you with the toys they come up with.”

Everybody was surprised by Forky (Tony Hale), in that first teaser, but could there be more? Not more sporks, but other wacky creations? And are they in denial about being toys as much as Forky is?

“Characters came back.”

So more than one returning character? It’s hard to believe, but the first mention of Bo Peep’s return was announced three years ago. She’s the only one we know about so far, and it’ll probably be some time before she is mentioned or seen in any teasers and other promo. And as far as other returning characters are concerned, we really will just have to wait and see!

But now to Allen’s comments regarding Keanu Reeves and his role:

“Keanu Reeves has got a great part. […] Even he said – gentle, wonderful guy that he is- ‘This sounds too much like Buzz Lightyear.’ And his character does have an edge to that. And the guy said, so we calmed him down a little bit, and they reminded me that his toy is only that big.”

Last week, we met Ducky (Keegan Michael Key) and Bunny (Jordan Peele). Now that we know about Reeves, could his be the next character we meet? AV Club also offered a bit of…speculation on Reeves’ tiny, mysterious newcomer.

Allen also repeated that the film’s ending caught him off guard:

“But the last scene of that movie was – I couldn’t even get through it. And I thought there was pages after it. And I read it, you know, I had to turn around from looking at it in the studio. […] It was so emotional. It’s a ‘Scarlett, I don’t give a damn’ moment.”

Allen’s description of his recording is similar to what Tom Hanks described a few weeks ago, when he called Toy Story 4 a moment in history. Please also note Allen’s reference to Gone With the Wind (1939), in which Clark Gable as Rhett Butler delivers one of the most famous lines in movie history: “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

Both Allen and Hanks are setting Toy Story 4 up as a legendary finale. And maybe, just maybe, that’s exactly what it is.

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The Toy Story 4 Teaser Is Here!

teaser, Toy Story 4

Posted by Joanna • November 12, 2018

Toy Story 4 is set to release in June 2019, so we knew it was only a matter of time before a teaser was coming our way. But that doesn’t make this news any less exciting!

Pixar posted a Toy Story 4 teaser today – you can watch it below:

It’s surprisingly touching to see all these beloved characters in action again, even though we have been spoiled with Toy Story Toons over the past few years. It seems very little is being revealed about the plot at this stage – the toys are simply joyfully holding hands and spinning around in slow motion with the classic ‘Toy Story clouds’ as their backdrop. It’s oddly dreamlike, especially with Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now playing in the background.

With the news that Bo Peep is making a return in Toy Story 4, I was almost expecting her to slowly come into frame as the camera panned round, but perhaps that would have been an obvious twist… The strange spork creature, on the other hand, is not something I could ever have predicted.

Forky – a spork turned toy?

Here is Pixar’s description of Toy Story 4 so far:

“Woody has always been confident about his place in the world and that his priority is taking care of his kid, whether that’s Andy or Bonnie. But when Bonnie adds a reluctant new toy called “Forky” to her room, a road trip adventure alongside old and new friends will show Woody how big the world can be for a toy. Directed by Josh Cooley (“Riley’s First Date?”) and produced by Jonas Rivera (“Inside Out,” “Up”) and Mark Nielsen (associate producer “Inside Out”), Disney•Pixar’s “Toy Story 4” ventures to U.S. theaters on June 21, 2019.”

So is Forky going to be a central character of sorts? Is the movie going to explore the concept of what makes a toy a toy? Can we assume these ‘old friends’ will include Bo? All will be revealed in time, but it’ll be hard to stay patient!

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Woody’s Round Up 11/6/18

Auntie Edna, Bao, Incredibles 2, Round-Ups, The Pixar Story

Posted by Simoa • November 6, 2018

Welcome back to Woody’s Round Up! Today’s installment features amazing costumes, more details on Incredibles 2, out on DVD today, and an addition to Netflix.

A Very Pixar Halloween

We can always count on the folks at Pixar to get into the Halloween spirit with their creative costumes! This year was no exception. Check them out, courtesy of Pixar’s official Instagram page. Baby Bao is the clear winner!

Edna in Auntie Mode

Incredibles 2 is now on DVD today, so be sure to pick up your copy! But even if you’ve got the digital version and have already watched “Auntie Edna” (lucky!), you should still check out this interview with the short’s director and story artist, Ted Mathot. Audiences would need to see a new side to the iconic character while Mathot had to remain faithful to her essence. “Getting her out of her comfort zone a little bit, because she’s always the boss, always in control, was really fun to explore. What happens when she loses some of that control? What does that bring out in her character?” Read more from Mathot’s interview at Animation World Network.

Concept art by Matt Nolte.

Special Effects

Art, story, and technology define Pixar’s approach to filmmaking. Each of those are fascinating to learn about and gives audiences a chance to gain more knowledge about everything that goes into the storytelling we admire so much. Effects supervisor Bill Wattral was interviewed by Shack News about his role and the unique challenges that come with the job.


Wattral discusses the tools Pixar uses; existing ones that serve as foundations and the new programs created by the studio itself. These tools are necessary in making the film look as appealing as possible. One of Wattral’s main priorities is foreseeing problems in the tech department before they become unwieldy. A very informative look at the technical aspects of Pixar’s process.

Coming Soon

The Pixar Story (2007) comes to Netflix on November 18th. The documentary was directed by Leslie Iwerks (granddaughter of legendary animator Ub Iwerks) and is now ten years old. Although much has changed since 2007, the doc is sure to still be a great watch all these years later.

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Toy Story 4’s historic moment

sequels, Toy Story 4

Posted by Simoa • November 2, 2018

What could possibly be worse than that infamous incinerator scene in Toy Story 3? Tom Hanks knows…but don’t worry, no spoilers! The actor recently appeared on BBC’s The Chris Evans Breakfast Show to discuss his role in Toy Story‘s fourth installment.

“The way you record Toy Story, you’re in a room with the team that has created it. When I went in for my last day of recording, I wanted to have my back to them, because usually you’re facing him so you can look right up and you can talk about it. But I didn’t want to see them and I wanted to pretend they couldn’t see me. When I realized what they were going for, I realized, ‘Oh, this is a moment in history.’”

A moment in history. That’s quite a reveal! Of course, we still don’t know much about Toy Story 4 beyond these sparse details, and the blogosphere will be humming with theories about what Hanks could mean. Is there anything in Toy Story 4 that could equal or even rival the devastating third act in the previous film? Will Toy Story 4‘s ending be the perfect conclusion for this series? It’s still too early to tell, and no doubt people will remain skeptical. But all we can do now is put our faith in Josh Cooley and his crew and hope a teaser is on its way!

Update: Tom Hanks is not the first cast member to discuss the film’s emotional toll. Tim Allen, aka Buzz Lightyear, reported that he “couldn’t even get through the last scene.”

Allen also expressed his disbelief over the film’s ending, since he thought the third film was amazing. How could they top it? We’ll know in about seven months time!

Toy Story 4 opens nationwide on June 21, 2019.

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Your first look at Auntie Edna!

DVD, Incredibles 2, Shorts

Posted by Simoa • October 16, 2018

Although brief, this new look at the highly anticipated short film on the Incredibles 2 DVD is something of a throwback to “Jack-Jack Attack.” Unlike Kari the babysitter, Auntie Edna found inspiration in Jack-Jack’s powers. The memorable ending to the previous short had Kari seriously out of her depth, exhausted and relieved to hand the exploding baby over to someone else. In fact, Bob was suffering in a similar way when he discovered his son’s powers, and luckily Edna the babysitter came to the rescue. But as we see in the clip below (and as Edna herself hinted in the film), there was a bit of trial and error when she took on the heroic task of babysitting Jack-Jack.

“Auntie Edna” will feature more of Jack-Jack’s powers and more of the super bond between this powerful and tiny sized duo. We can’t wait to laugh and fall in love with them all over again!

You can see the brand new short when Incredibles 2 drops digitally on October 23rd and on Blu Ray November 6th. Preorder your copy at this link today.

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Auntie Edna short to be included on Incredibles 2 DVD!

DVD, Incredibles 2, Shorts

Posted by Simoa • September 11, 2018

Jack-Jack and Edna stole the show in Incredibles 2, no easy feat for one of the year’s best movies and best sequels overall. Their brief scenes together inspired incredible fan art, and lots of movie goers wished they’d had more screentime. Well, ask and Pixar shall deliver!

Just add this to the other features that will be available on the Incredibles 2 DVD, which includes 10 deleted scenes, listed below:

  • Suburban Escape
  • Kari Revisited
  • Return of the Supers
  • Chewed Out
  • Late Audition
  • Slow Day
  • Frozone and Honey
  • Restaurant Robbery
  • Fashion Show
  • Security Breakdown

Three of the most intriguing deleted scenes are Kari Revisited; what has Jack-Jack’s poorly equipped babysitter been up to?; Frozone and Honey, which will hopefully give us a glimpse of the wife we’ve only heard but never seen; and Fashion Show, because Edna’s designs are always worth seeing.

Other features:

Heroes & Villains: a collection of short documentaries about the origins of the characters and their designs.

Strong Coffee: a lesson with Brad Bird (!!!) on animation.

Paths to Pixar: Everyday Heroes: featuring the parents of Pixar as they discuss their careers and connections to the film and its themes of family.

All this and plenty more! Pre orders are now available on Amazon, cover art to be determined. The digital release drops October 23rd while the DVD and Blu Ray are released on November 6th.

But Incredibles 2 isn’t the only home release fans can look forward to. An all new Pixar Shorts collection will also be released on the heels of the former. Volume 3 includes the latest shorts, like “Piper” and “Bao.”

There might still be two months left of waiting, but we’re counting the days down until we can add all these gems to our collection!

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Incredibles 2 – Digital And Blu-Ray Release Dates Revealed

Blu-Ray, Incredibles 2

Posted by Joanna • August 21, 2018

We now know just how long we have to wait until we can finally watch Incredibles 2 from the comfort of our own homes. The reveal has come a little earlier than expected – Incredibles 2-themed treat bags being given out at the ‘Not-So-Scary Halloween’ events at Disney World were sneakily footnoted with the Blu-Ray and digital release dates. Incredibles 2 will be available for digital download on October 23rd, and can be bought on Blu-Ray on November 6th. Have a look at one of the treat bags below, posted by @laughing_place on twitter.

There’s no news on any special Blu-Ray features yet, but let’s keep our fingers crossed for plenty deleted scenes, commentaries, and behind-the-scenes peaks. No doubt the equally incredible short Bao will be included in the Blu-Ray (we’re kind of hoping for lots of Bao special features too).

Keep an eye on our blog for when the special features do get announced, most likely within the coming month. So – will you be buying Incredibles 2 on October 23rd, or will you wait until November 6th for a physical copy? And how many evenings in a row are you planning on watching it?

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The kids only table

editorial

Posted by Simoa • August 15, 2018

If you follow Brad Bird on twitter, (and if you don’t, you really should, he’s a riot), you’ve probably noticed that he’s responded to some complaints about the nature of Incredibles 2. With its PG rating, the film contains the superhero violence we see in all manner of live action films (significantly toned down) and just old fashioned cartoon violence, somewhat heightened. But fans, mostly parents of young children, have another gripe; the film’s language. Apparently, characters saying ‘I’ll be damned’ and ‘what the hell’ is unacceptable in a children’s film. And as Bird has continuously repeated, both on twitter and off, animated films are not solely for children. (Never mind the fact that the first Incredibles features a suicide attempt and references to marital infidelity, but that’s another topic for another day).

Your trio of Upcoming Pixar writers are here to straighten some of these misconceptions out.

Joanna: Children deserve quality entertainment, after all.

This phrase is a little predictable in these discussions now, but only because it’s a fact: animation is a medium, not a genre. Animated movies are just that – movies that are animated. Saying that animated movies are for children is just as ludicrous as saying that movies in general are for children. This statement isn’t wrong exactly – there are movies, and animated movies, made with children in mind – but it’s failing to take into account the impressive variety of films that have been created through animation.

I loved watching Watership Down as a kid, but it gave me nightmares. Watership Down was not made into an animated movie to appeal to a younger audience – animation allowed the film-makers to bring a very surreal story to life. That’s what makes animation such a magical and unique medium: you can create entirely new worlds; imagination can become a tangible thing; rabbits can speak! As a kid, I liked watching the rabbits in Watership speak. I did not like watching the fields slowly turn to blood, or rabbits getting horrifically trapped and slowly choking to death. This is not a movie for kids. I think my parents were also under the impression that animated movies were automatically filed under the ‘okay for my kids to watch’ category, because I also remember watching Animal Farm (1954) a lot. Once again – I enjoyed watching the animals talk, but the political messages went right over my head.

Even though I’m arguing that animated movies are for everyone, not just children, I think it’s worth noting that animated movies that have been made with young kids as their target audience shouldn’t be looked down upon. Studio Ghibli’s Hayao Miyazaki famously creates his movies to inspire children, and I think this is what makes them so pure and moving. Ghibli movies have simple messages, but never stray away from tackling important issues. They don’t patronise their audience.

Pixar movies aren’t exactly directed toward any age in particular – they’re made for everyone to enjoy. I love that I can watch a Pixar movie with my entire family, from younger cousins to an elderly grandparent, and there’s something in there that resonates with each and every one of them.

Simoa: Respect animators and their work.

When I was twenty years old, I revisited Pinocchio (1940) for the first time in years. I think I had only caught fragments of it when I was a child. This time, I knew I’d appreciate it more because I was going to pay attention to the full thing. I not only appreciated the film, I was also grateful that I’d never watched all of it when I was young.

Pinocchio is a frightening movie. It probably would have given me nightmares. I didn’t go to the movies often in my childhood. It was the age of VHS and I had an impressive collection of classics: Aladdin, The Lion King, Pocahontas, Mulan, Toy Story, and A Bug’s Life to name a few. These movies were treasured in my childhood and still were as I got older. When I watch those films now, it’s not because of nostalgia or because I want to feel like a kid again. I watch them because they’re good movies.

I hadn’t grown up watching the Disney films of the 1940s and 1950s. They’re stunningly animated with awe inspiring moments of beauty and terror. Like fairy tales, the wicked in these films are punished gruesomely. And in a film like Bambi, the elements of nature are harsh and unrelenting, while the evil force that must be reckoned with is man’s cold disregard for other living animals. Yet films like Bambi and Snow White are derided as childish while the Disney films of the 1990s are praised for their adult appeal. Why exactly is that? There were talking animals in the older Disney films, but they didn’t dominate the films or the marketing, nor did they seem shoehorned in, like much of the comedic sidekicks of the renaissance period.

Take 1996’s The Hunchback of Notre Dame for example. Were the three talking gargoyles added to entertain the adults? No, they were there for the children, maybe because they provided comic relief in a dark tale about racism and persecution. But the gargoyles don’t provide much of a distraction at all. Can you imagine characters like that in Bambi or Pinocchio? Or in a Ghibli film? The films of Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata are brimming with moments so lovely they almost ache. Those films deal with tragedy, loss, war, and illness, not unlike live action ones. Grave of the Fireflies (1988) is certainly not a children’s film, and anyone who feels differently ought to have serious discussions with children about war, violence, and trauma before allowing them to watch it. But it’s better to wait until they’re older so they can appreciate the magnitude of such a film.

Walt Disney didn’t make films exclusively for children but he still had a profound respect for them and knew they were part of his audience. He didn’t believe in dumbing anything down for children. People either think animated films should be sanitized so they’re suitable for children (as all the complaints against Incredibles 2 illustrate), or that all animated films are for children only, with some clever insinuations added for the adults.

 

Many people think we need more R rated animated films in the vein of Anomalisa and Sausage Party. What we need is more respect for this medium and the artists who work tirelessly to bring these stories to life.

Nia: Being amazed that a “children’s film” produced an emotional response in you is pretentious.

“Animation is for children,” she said, rolling her eyes and scoffing, “why don’t you pick another profession? Something more… respectable.”

These are the words I’ve heard for practically my entire life. Mostly from family, sometimes from friends, when I would profess my adoration for animation and my hopes and dreams of one day working in the industry I loved so much. Whenever I defended animation and explained why I could see myself doing nothing else, it would always end in a sarcastic, “well, good luck,” before they hastily changed the subject.

I can happily say I’ve worked in the industry now for over 3 years, but despite that achievement, I still haven’t been able to escape those condescending words. My family might’ve stopped making an effort to point that out, but upon going on twitter or reading reviews of animated films, the claim that animation is only for children persists. Reading how people still think that makes my blood boil and the hairs on my arms stand as tall as trees. I often catch myself having to do a triple-double take as I try to comprehend what I just read. How do people still not get it?

Animation as a preferred medium doesn’t mean the storytellers and directors involved in an animated film didn’t have intentions to make bigger impacts with their film. They just wanted to use the medium of animation to tell their story; just as all the writers and directors have been using live action as their tool for years. Like theater, novels, and so on, animation is an art form. It’s a medium within itself, another means of telling a story. There are so many more possibilities as to what animation can achieve, especially now with all the growing technological advances.

What I don’t understand is why do people have to feel ashamed for liking an animated movie, even when it’s slightly more mature and has adult themes? Why does going to the cinema alone, without children, to watch an animated film make people so uncomfortable? Why do people still make excuses as to why they felt emotional during a certain scene in a cartoon? Why can’t people just accept animation for what it is: a medium for ALL, and not inclusive to just children? Can’t we all still have a little bit of fun in our adult lives? What happened to all the whimsicality in our hearts? Yes, we’re all adults, but we were also children once.

When Paddington 2 was released earlier this year, I didn’t hear people making excuses when they fell in love with the sequel or the adorable Paddington himself. “I know this movie was for kids but man, I cried my eyes out!” Instead of reading those words all over twitter, which is usually what’s directed towards any Disney or Pixar film, it was praised for its story and visual elements. (Worth noting that Paddington 2 director Paul King was inspired by Pixar when making his film).

So much work goes into making an animated film, artists spend years of their lives putting detail into every single shot that’s on screen; everything is created from scratch and animation deserves the same amount of respect that goes to literally every live action film churned out by Hollywood; yes, even deserving to sit amongst the slew of Marvel films that are just never going to end.

Call me crazy, but I can’t wait for the day animation is finally respected and treated for what it is: another way of telling a story and captivating audiences all over the world. I even look forward to the day it wins the Academy Award for Best Feature.  It can most certainly be done, but the question is, how long will it take?

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