Friday, August 15, 2014

Summer Recap: First Look at 'Toy Story That Time Forgot'

In January, Pixar announced that this holiday season they would premiere their second television special, once again starring the characters from the beloved Toy Story films. Now this year's San Diego Comic-Con has come and gone, and we have some new details about the upcoming Toy Story That Time Forgot, directed by Steve Purcell (co-director and head of story on Brave).

Last month Pixar released this awesome poster for their new TV special, created by the talented Mike Mignola. The poster indicates that dinosaur toys, including Trixie the Triceratops (voiced once again by the hilarious Kristen Schaal), will feature heavily in the new 22-minute special.

The Battlesaurs (photo credit: stitchkindom)

Toy Story That Time Forgot reunites us with Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the gang shortly after Christmas. Somehow, the toys find themselves lost in a strange new world, populated by a group of "dangerously delusional" dinosaur action figures known as the Battlesaurs. It's up to Trixie to get everyone back safely to Bonnie's room.

The Toy Story gang and newcomer Angel Kitty (photo credit: stitchkingdom)

As always with Toy Story shorts and specials, the original cast is all back - Tom Hanks as Woody, Tim Allen as Buzz, Wallace Shawn as Rex, Timothy Dalton as Mr. Pricklepants, Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head, and Joan Cusack as Jessie. Of course, there are also some newcomers to the Toy Story world. Kevin McKidd, who previously voiced Lord MacGuffin in Pixar's Brave, joins the cast as Reptillus Maximus, one of the various Battlesaurs in the special.

Toy Story That Time Forgot panel at Comic-Con (photo credit: @FindingMickey)

The great Michael Giacchino scored the last Pixar special, Toy Story of Terror, and he returns once again for That Time Forgot. Giacchino's work never fails to impress, so his score for the new special ought to add some additional flair to what will surely already be a brilliant new adventure in the Toy Story world.

Pixar is taking the Toy Story characters where they have never gone before, and I for one cannot wait to see the strange new world that the artists at the studio have crafted this time around. The character designs for the Battlesaurs are phenomenal, and if Toy Story of Terror is any indication, this special will be funny, quirky, and heartfelt. There is plenty to get excited for!

Toy Story That Time Forgot airs on ABC on December 2.

Summer Recap: First Look at Pixar's 'Lava'

This summer (and this year in general) have been relatively quiet for Pixar, but they have dropped little bits of news here and there. Last month, they released the still seen above, giving us our first look at their latest short film, Lava. Pictured here is the short's protagonist, Uku, a gentle, warmhearted volcano who finds himself falling for neighbor volcano, Lele.

Lava is described as "a musical love story that takes place over millions of years". Director James Ford Murphy spoke with the LA Times about the short, which is inspired by Hawaiian culture and backed by a song which Murphy composed himself on the ukulele. The song is performed in the short by Hawaiian singers Kuana Torres Kahele and Napua Greig.

"I thought it would be so cool to fall in love with a place who's also a character," said Murphy. "I wanted to make Uku appealing and likable but also look like he's been carved out of lava flows."

At Pixar, short films are often used as a way of testing the waters for new technology and visual styles. Lava challenged the artists at the studio to create detailed wide shots like those in a live-action movie.

Be sure to check out the full LA Times interview here.

The short will premiere this month at the Hiroshima International Animation Festival, which starts on the 21 and ends on the 25, but the rest of the world will get to see it next summer when it hits theaters alongside Pixar's next feature-length film, Inside Out, on June 19, 2015.

Friday, July 4, 2014

New Details on 'Inside Out', Pixar Announces 'Lava'

2014 has sure been painfully slow in terms of Pixar news, and I am not proud of having only published eight posts this year prior to this one. However, the animation powerhouse did recently give us some insight into what they are cooking up for us at the moment and it all seems very promising.

Of course, we all know that Pete Docter, the mastermind behind previous Pixar features Monsters, Inc. and Up, has been hard at work on his latest project Inside Out for several years now. The film, which takes audiences into the world inside the mind of an 11-year-old girl named Riley, is due in just a little under a year from now, and last month Pixar previewed the film at the Annecy Film Festival in France, where those in attendance were treated to a clip from the studio's latest feature. The approximately 5-minute-long clip reportedly showed the birth of the character Riley and then progressively introduced each of her emotions in different stages of her childhood. The same clip was later shown at a press event for the Director's Guild of America. If you're interested in reading a detailed description of the screened footage, head on over to Cinema Blend.

Also at that same Director's Guild event, Pixar veteran James Ford Murphy stepped onto the stage to unveil his new short film Lava, which will play in theaters in front of Inside Out next year. Disney and Pixar released an official synopsis for the short:

Inspired by the isolated beauty of tropical islands and the explosive allure of ocean volcanoes, "Lava" is a musical love story that takes place over millions of years.

From Pixar Animation Studios, director James Ford Murphy and producer Andrea Warren, "Lava" opens in theaters on June 19, 2015, in front of "Inside Out".

An official poster for Pixar's upcoming short film Lava

Early buzz for the upcoming short film, which was screened for attendees at the event, has been very positive.

Yup, that just about sounds like a Pixar short. Innovative, heartfelt, and sweet.

Murphy himself reportedly composed the short's song on ukulele, which will be sung by Hawaiian singers Kuana Torres Kahele and Napua Grieg Makua. Again, none of this has been confirmed by Disney or Pixar, but it seems very plausible.

Back to the topic of Inside Out, several tidbits regarding the film have been dropped here and there over the past couple of months, so here are some of the most notable ones.

The official title treatment for Pixar's Inside Out

Pixar released a new official logo for the film (above), as well as a new synopsis for the film:

From the tepuis of South America to a monster-filled metropolis, Academy Award®-winning director Pete Docter has taken audiences to unique and imaginative places. In 2015, he will take us to the most extraordinary location of all - inside the mind of an 11-year-old named Riley. 

Growing up can be a bumpy road, and it's no exception for Riley, who is uprooted from her Midwest life when her father starts a new job in San Francisco. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions – Joy (Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith). The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley’s mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. As Riley and her emotions struggle to adjust to a new life in San Francisco, turmoil ensues in Headquarters. Although Joy, Riley's main and most important emotion, tries to keep things positive, the emotions conflict on how best to navigate a new city,
house and school.

Inside Out will be the second Pixar feature film to have a female protagonist, the first being 2012's Brave. The main character, however, is not the preteen Riley, but rather her emotion Joy, voiced by Amy Poehler. Riley will reportedly be to Inside Out what Andy is to the Toy Story films; while a key character in the story, she is not the protagonist.

Like the new Lava short, the 5-minute Inside Out clip has also sparked wild enthusiasm in those who saw it. Eric Eisenberg tweeted:
On June 19, Pixar's social media accounts posted this funny picture of director Pete Docter showing his excitement for his upcoming film by holding up a sketch of Joy.

We were also treated to a beautiful piece of concept art from the film, showcasing Joy inside the headquarters of Riley's mind.

Photo credit: The Pixar Times

Last of all, Docter signed autographs and gave out drawings like the one above featuring characters from Inside Out last month at Annecy. Expect the film's art book to be packed with fun doodles like this one!

Photo credit: hayleyanimates

This year sure is an odd one for Pixar news. It's been very quiet for the most part, but every now and then we get a sudden burst of exciting news about the studio's future projects. In March they announced the ever-coveted Incredibles sequel (and the not-so-coveted Cars threequel), and now we got a bunch of exciting details about their next feature film, as well as word on what their next short film will be! And though they seem far away now, a year flies by quicker than you think. Just think, Monsters University just turned a year old! So don't you worry, June 19, 2015 will be here in the blink of an eye, bringing two astounding Pixar films along with it.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

'Toy Story of TERROR' Coming to Blu-ray in August

At long last, some Pixar news!

Last October, Pixar premiered their first ever television special, Toy Story of Terror, to which audiences reacted quite warmly. For the past few months, fans have been wondering when the special will be available to own on home media, and we now have our answer.

The 22-minute special will arrive on Blu-ray and DVD on August 19 and will be stuffed with plenty of bonus features, including the three existing Toy Story Toons short films; Hawaiian Vacation (2011, directed by Gary Rydstrom), Small Fry (2011, directed by Toy Story of Terror director Angus McLane), and Partysaurus Rex (2012, directed by Mark Walsh).

All three Toy Story Toons are already available on home media (Hawaiian Vacation on the Cars 2 Blu-ray/DVD and Pixar Short Films Collection: Vol. 2, which also includes Small Fry, and Partysaurus Rex on the Blu-ray re-release of Monsters, Inc.), though it's nice to see that they'll all be together on the same disc, and fans who haven't been able to get a hold of these shorts previously can now get them all in just one purchase.

Other extras on the Blu-ray set include faux vintage commercials for some the toys featured in Toy Story of Terror, similar to this Lotso one released as part of the marketing campaign for Toy Story 3:

Blu-ray Special Features:
  • Toy Story Toons” Shorts: Hawaiian Vacation, Small Fry, Partysaurus Rex
  • Audio Commentaries: Toy Story OF TERROR!, Hawaiian Vacation, Small Fry, and Partysaurus Rex
  • Team of Specialists  – Director Angus MacLane goes deep behind the scenes to introduce the team of specialists required to make Toy Story OF TERROR!
  • 3  Deleted Scenes + Editor Introductions – Pencil Topper Trilogy, Travel Brochure, Road Trip Roulette
  • Vintage Toy Commercials + Director Introductions – Old Timer, Combat Carl, Transitron
  • D23 Teaser

The DVD will come with all the same bonus features as the Blu-ray excluding  the deleted scenes and editor introductions, and the Disney Movies Anywhere app will have an exclusive feature with Mr. Pricklepants as well as an additional deleted scene.

The TV special itself is an absolute blast (you can read my review here), but all the bonus material really makes this set worth picking up. Commentaries, deleted scenes - what more could you ask for?

Finally, Pixar released this trailer for the upcoming Blu-ray release, which gives us a sneak peek at some of the faux toy commercials included on the set.

This is a must-own for any Pixar or animation fan, so mark your calendars - Toy Story of Terror hits store shelves August 19!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Four Years Later...

Exactly four years ago today, I opened up this little blog dedicated to the work of Pixar Animation Studios. I never could have foretold what would follow.

Here we are now in 2014, a relatively slow year in terms of Pixar news, what with no new Pixar feature film until 2015. It would be easy to merely shut this blog down and be done with it, but that's not something I plan on doing anytime soon, because I know it would likely end up being one of the biggest regrets of my life. In the past four years, Pixar Corner has opened so many doors for me, and it's also given me the privilege of meeting some wonderful people, both in person and through social media. I have also been incredibly, unbelievably fortunate to have been able to visit both Pixar's HQ in Emeryville, California and Pixar Canada in Vancouver, Canada (before its unfortunate closure in October, which still has me feeling pretty bummed out). A huge thank you goes out to Pixar publicist Chris Wiggum and Pixar Canada General Manager and VP Amir Nasrabadi, who made those once-in-a-lifetime experiences possible. If either of you is reading this, know that you made one of my childhood dreams into reality, and that's a debt I don't think I'll ever be able to repay.

A shoutout also to the very talented Paul Robin, who continues to spruce up this blog with his very inventive seasonal headers. Don't forget to check out his blog!

I'd also like to thank my fellow bloggers and Twitter buddies, with whom it is always a pleasure to interact and share opinions, and my readers, both the ones who have been here from the start and the ones just tuning in. And of course, thank you to all the artists and storytellers at Pixar, who have continued to entertain and inspire me throughout my entire life.

Here's to another four years of blogging!