Sunday, February 7, 2016

30 Years

The original Pixar logo

It has now officially been three decades since Steve Jobs bought the Graphics Group, a computer division of Lucasfilm, and Pixar Animation Studios was born. No one could have predicted what would come next.

To celebrate the studio's 30th anniversary, Disney put out a six-minute video featuring one of Pixar's founding fathers John Lasseter. He talks about the studio's beginnings and the basis upon which it was built.

The cultural impact that Pixar and its films have had in just 30 years is monumental, to say the least. Through combining art and technology, the wizards at the studio revolutionized the animation industry and have created characters as beloved as Mickey Mouse, and continue to do so to this day.

Where Pixar has truly excelled, I think, is in making audiences around the world believe that the computer-generated creatures on the screen are real, living beings. Their films are much more than visual eye candy; they have heart. You forget the fact that you are watching a movie and become fully immersed in the fantastical worlds and, above all, the characters. Corny as that may sound, I'm sure many people would agree.

It's crazy to think that what started as a meager computer company has gone on to create some of the most beloved films of all time and inspire a whole generation of artists. I cannot wait to see what they accomplish in another 30 years.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Tom Hanks Begins Work on 'Toy Story 4'

Work on the next installment in Pixar's Toy Story saga is well underway as actor Tom Hanks, who has been the voice of Sheriff Woody for twenty years now, returned to Pixar early this month to begin recording for Toy Story 4.

On December 2, Hanks posted a time lapse video of his drive to the Emeryville animation powerhouse on Twitter.

Though the cast for the film has yet to be officially unveiled, it's probably safe to assume that the rest of the original cast members will reprise their roles. The Toy Story franchise has one of the most diverse and talented ensembles in any animated film series, ranging from big stars like Hanks to legendary comedians like Don Rickles. If you've ever seen behind-the-scenes footage of the actors recording their dialogue, you'll know how much fun the actors seem to have doing their job. If you haven't, well, have a look:

Toy Story 4 is slated for release on June 15, 2018.

Michael Giacchino Will Score 'Incredibles 2'

The long-awaited sequel to Pixar's acclaimed The Incredibles is finally on the way, although it won't be here for a while. That didn't stop Brad Bird, director of the original film, from dropping some news regarding the new film's score a few weeks ago.

On Thanksgiving, Bird tweeted out a video of hailed composer Michael Giacchino signing to compose the score for The Incredibles 2. Giacchino has written the music for five of Pixar's films, including the first Incredibles.

Giacchino's work never ceases to be astounding, but the scores he has done for Pixar films are, I'd say, among his finest accomplishments, particularly his score for The Incredibles. His jazzy themes for the film evoke a real sense of wonder, thrill, and excitement, and I am excited to see, or rather, hear what he brings to the table the second time around.

The Incredibles 2 hits theaters June 21, 2019. In the meantime, enjoy some of Giacchino's masterful music from the first film's soundtrack:

Thursday, December 10, 2015

ABC Special to Commemorate Toy Story's 20th Anniversary

Two decades ago, Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the gang made their way onto the big screen and captivated the hearts and imaginations of audiences all over the world in the first-ever computer-animated feature film. Toy Story was not only a groundbreaking technological achievement, but the film that put Pixar on the map with its relatable characters and organic themes of acceptance and friendship. It has since given rise to two critically-acclaimed sequels (with a third on the way), three short films, and two television specials.

The studio's beloved classic celebrated its 20th anniversary two weeks ago, and to commemorate this milestone ABC is airing a new television special, Toy Story at 20: To Infinity And Beyond. tonight at 8/7 central.

The special will delve into Pixar's early years as well as the making and legacy of the worldwide phenomenon, featuring interviews with the film's crew and some of its cast members, including Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, and Annie Potts.

Catch Toy Story at 20 tonight, Thursday, December 10, on ABC at 8:00 PM / 7:00 PM CST.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

'The Good Dinosaur' Is Now Playing!

After a troubled production that involved a director swap, a full-on revision of the voice cast, and an 18-month delay on the original release date, Pixar's sixteenth feature The Good Dinosaur finally stomps into theaters today.

Concept art first spotted in 2009

The film's production can be traced back as far as 2009, when a behind-the-scenes video for Up offered a glimpse at some concept art featuring a dinosaur and a human boy. For two years fans wondered whether Pixar was hard at work on a dinosaur-centric movie, until the film was officially unveiled at 2011's D23 Expo as "The Untitled Pixar Movie About Dinosaurs". The film was to be directed by studio veteran Bob Peterson, who came up with the idea of a story set in an alternate reality where dinosaurs never went extinct himself. Peterson was eventually removed from the director's chair when problems with the story arose and was replaced by co-director Peter Sohn (Partly Cloudy). From there, the film was entirely reworked and given an entirely new cast, with the exception of Frances McDormand, who is the sole remaining cast member from the original cast, which included Neil Patrick Harris and John Lithgow.

Though reviews for The Good Dinosaur so far have not been quite as enthusiastic as those for the studio's smash summer hit Inside Out, the film is still being received positively and is said to be charming and visually sutnning. It currently holds an 85% "fresh" critic score on Rotten Tomatoes

Unfortunately I will not be able to see the film until the weekend, but after following its progress for so many years I am incredibly excited to finally see the finished product.

Accompanying the film is Pixar's latest short Sanjay's Super Team, directed by Sanjay Patel, who drew inspiration from his childhood for the film. From what I've heard, the short is an absolute delight and yet another unique entry in the Pixar short film canon.

Will you be seeing Pixar's latest offerings this weekend? Have you already seen them? Share your thoughts in the comments!

The Good Dinosaur and Sanjay's Super Team are in theaters now!