Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Awesome Clips From Cars 2!

I have officially crossed the point where I am desperate to see every ounce of footage there is of Cars 2, instead of just watching more and more awesome footage that make me even more desperate. Anyway, check out these two great little sneak peeks at Cars 2, one starring Mater as he uses a fancy high-tech Japanese toilet, and the other one featuring mainly Lightning McQueen and Francesco Bernoulli at the Tokyo race.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Cars 2 Is Rated G!

Ka-chow! The upcoming Cars 2, due to theaters in less than a month, has officially been rated G by the MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America). This shocked me a bit, because there has been a lot of action and weapons in some of the footage released so far, so I thought that it was probably going to be given a PG rating. On the bright side, we can now be 100% sure that Cars 2, like all Pixar films, will be a movie for the entire family to enjoy!

Cool New Pixar Videos

A couple of new Pixar-related videos have hit the web. One is an insurance commercial for State Farm starring Mater, Finn McMissile, and Holley Shiftwell. State Farm is the main sponsor for the Agents on a Mission tour, which is making several stops in many different places so that people can admire life-size replicas of Mater, Lightning McQueen, and Finn McMissile. For an insurance commercial, it's pretty well done! The other video is all about Pixar CCO John Lasseter's massive Hawaiian shirt collection. You have probably noticed that in pretty much every picture or video with John, he is wearing one of his iconic Hawaiian shirts. It's pretty interesting to see what his closet looks like.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Celebrating Pixar's UP: My Essay

Exactly two years ago, on May 29th, 2009, Disney/Pixar's UP was released in theaters. We were introduced to many great new characters, including Carl Fredricksen, Russell, Dug, Kevin, and of course, Ellie. Audiences all over the world loved UP, so I think it's important we take some time today to honour the day that we first saw this true masterpiece.

I have written an essay about UP, and what a marvelous film it was, and have posted it below. Please take the time to read at least one or two paragraphs.

UP, the hit animated film from the summer of 2009, is without a doubt one of the best movies I’ve ever watched. The story grabs your attention from the very start and takes you on a wild ride throughout the course of the film. UP was especially designed to be a movie for people both young and old. Also, this motion picture was embraced worldwide by critics and audiences alike. It’s easy to say that it is quite tough to come up with a valid reason to why UP is not an outstanding movie.
            Many of the greatest films that have ever been created are so astounding because they have strong and intriguing storyline. UP is similar to such classics like Titanic and The Lord of the Rings because it tells a story that clutches you on for the ride the instant you see 78-year-old Carl Fredricksen lift up his house with thousands of balloons. Just when you think that the movie couldn’t get any more bizarre, a chubby 8-year-old wilderness explorer named Russell hitches a ride on Carl’s house, and the two unlikely heroes go on an exotic adventure to the wild jungles of South America. UP takes you on an exhilarating trip through your own emotions. At times of the film, you’ll feel like crying, at others you’ll be laughing insanely, and other scenes will have you at the edge of your seat! This film also introduces the audience to a whole slew of funny, colourful, loveable characters. Carl the grouchy old man really has a heart of gold, Russell the wilderness explorer is endearingly innocent, Dug the dog is dopey but very huggable, and Kevin the giant flightless bird always shows her true colors.
            Out of all the big blockbuster movies out there, only a handful can be enjoyed by children, teenagers, and adults alike, but UP intelligently manages to entertain audiences of all ages. When a family watches this film, it will keep the parents from dozing off in the middle of the opening act, and the kids from taking a nap as they try to figure out what the movie is even about. Even though violent fights, car chases, and explosions are often a key element in many films, UP does a good job on its own without all the extreme action. Young children will stay just as engaged as older audience members, because there will be no scenes that will scare them off. This spectacular animated flick teaches the entire family a valuable lesson. In the movie, when the main protagonist, Carl, finally fulfills his and his departed wife’s dream, he realizes that an adventure doesn’t have to be in a wild, mysterious place filled with tons of dangers, but that an adventure is the precious moments you spend with the people you love.
            UP received countless of overwhelmingly positive reviews, and many referred to it as one of the best films of 2009. Internet website Rotten Tomatoes reports that 98% of critics gave the movie a positive review. Critic Ben Mankiewicz states that UP has “the perfect blend of heart and humour.” The film’s success also showed when the awards season came. At the 82nd Academy Awards, UP took home the award for Best Animated Feature, and even received a nomination for Best Picture. Audiences demonstrated their love for this wonderful picture at the box office, where it earned approximately $731,342,744 worldwide. I am one of the people that loved this film as well, because of its remarkable action, hysterical humour, and the incredibly moving story it tells.
            UP does exactly what movies are supposed to do; it entertains people. The completely unique and imaginative story is a vast part that makes this movie successful. UP doesn’t amuse just kids, but it takes the whole family along for the journey. Judging by the amount of good reviews it received and all the money it grossed, there is no denying that UP was a truly epic film. Therefore, many people agree that Pixar achieved yet another great triumph in 2009 with the miraculously entertaining UP.

I hope you enjoyed my essay, as I really enjoyed writing it! More importantly, I hope it reminded you what a miraculous piece of art UP is! Hopefully a handful of you readers are now rushing to your TVs and watching the movie all over again!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My Visit to Pixar: Brooklyn

Pixar's Phase II building as seen from Park Avenue

During my visit to the giant animation studio stationed in Emeryville on May 13th, I was lucky enough to enter the recently opened Phase II building at Pixar, more commonly known to Pixarians as Brooklyn.

I felt honoured to be one of the very first people from outside of Pixar to get to actually go inside and see the new building. The first thing I must mention is the beauty of the architecture in the building, which was absolutely marvelous. The moment you enter you realize how much planning and hard thinking went in to design the wonderful building.

Here are a few fun facts about Brooklyn:
  • At the entrance, there is concept art from Brave, the upcoming 2012 Pixar feature, on display.
  • Beside the door to the Brooklyn recording studio, there is the "STAND BY/SCARE" sign from the Scare Floor in Monsters, Inc.
  • All throughout the building, you can find hidden metallic silhouettes of Pixar characters imprinted on the ground.
  • Behind the chimney there is a secret room, similar to the Lucky 7 and the Love Lounge in the main building.
  • There is another cereal bar in the second building! The only difference is that the Brooklyn cereal bar is a different style.
Pixar has not yet released images of the interior of Brooklyn, so I was not able to take pictures of the inside, but I can say that it sure was a magnificent building, and a great expansion to the Pixar studio grounds!

Monday, May 23, 2011

My Visit to Pixar: The Cereal Bar

When I visited Pixar on May 13th, one of the things I was most anxious to see was the famous, iconic, legendary Pixar Cereal Bar.

Since the Cereal Room is in the atrium, it was one of the  first things I saw during the tour. Later on, I also got to eat a nice bowl of cereal from the actual bar! It was awesome finally getting to see that big row of free cereal...there were Frosted Flakes, Mini Wheats, Cheerios, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Cocoa Puffs, and so many more. Along with the cereal, there was also plenty of other healthy snacks, like bananas and oranges, bread, jars of peanut butter and jam, and of course, lots and lots of milk. There was a refrigerator, two microwave ovens, and I also recall seeing a toaster in there as well.

Check out some pictures I took in at the Cereal Bar, and other parts of the Cereal Room, below.

So basically, if you wanted to sum up the Cereal Room,  you could describe it as the perfect place to have a perfect breakfast.

Stay tuned for more on my visit to Pixar Animation Studios!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Cars 2: The Video Game!

Cars 2: The Video Game hits store shelves on June 21, and some people are making as big of a fuss for the game as they are for the movie.

Often the video games based on films aren't exactly very good, but last year, Pixar teamed up with Avalanche to try and break that curse. The Toy Story 3 video game was incredible, and is one of the best movie-based video games I've ever known.

Toy Story 3: The Video Game was the first game that Pixar did with Avalanche, and since it was a big success, the two companies have teamed up again for the Cars 2 video game! Starting with Toy Story 3, Pixar was highly involved in the creation of the video games based on their movies, and as a result, the TS3 game was a big improvement over previous Pixar games.

Cars 2: The Video Game is set after the events of Cars 2. Players get the chance to train to become a spy at CHROME, which stands for Command Headquarters for Reconnaisance Operations and Motorized Espionage. This game is the perfect combination of an awesome racing game and a spectacular action-adventure game. Cars 2: The Video Game also features all the great characters from the film.

Watch the two trailers for the video game below:

Be sure to check out the "Developer Diaries":

Get your hands all over Cars 2: The Video Game on June 21, three days before the film comes out!

New International Cars 2 Trailer!

Along with the domestic Cars 2 trailer that was revealed on last week, we also now have a slightly different international trailer, with footage not seen in the other one. Also, we get a brief look at the end of the trailer at the title card for the upcoming Toy Story Toons as Woody and Buzz pose beside the logo.

Pretty cool, huh? I have absolutely loved all the Cars 2 trailers that have been released. They all tell you what the story is about in their own unique way. In this one, I enjoy the heroic music.

Only 36 days to go until we finally get to see every ounce of footage from Cars 2...only 36 days until we can watch the hilarious, spectacular, and action-packed sequel to Cars...

Cars 2 Videos: Featurette and 'LEGO' Trailer

Two amazing new videos have made their debut on the web; a featurette with John Lasseter, Larry the Cable Guy, and other actors from Cars 2, and a Cars 2 trailer...made of LEGO!!

The featurette talks about the inspiration for Cars 2, and talks a bit about some of the characters and their voice actors. It is also loaded with a bunch of new footage!

Disney/Pixar collaborated with the LEGO company to make a breathtaking recreation of the first Cars 2 trailer. All the sets and characters are made of LEGO pieces, and it actually looks like the original trailer! The Cars 2 LEGO trailer was first uploaded to YouTube by Patrick Boivin, who was one of the most important (if not the most important) people involved in the making of the video.

Watch the original trailer here:

Cars 2 rolls into theaters on June 24!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Contrasts in Pixar Characters

One of the things I love most about Pixar is how they create huge contrasts between their characters. Yet somehow, these two "opposites" always end up forming a really close relationship. Here are some examples...

Woody & Buzz What's the opposite of a cowboy ragdoll with a pullstring? A bulky space-man action figure with fancy gadgets!

Sulley & Mike What's the opposite of a tall, hairy, blue, and somehow intimidating monster? A tiny, green, one-eyed creature!

McQueen & Mater What's the opposite of a red, sleek, and shiny racecar? A rusty, buck-teethed hillbilly tow truck!

WALLE & EVE What's the opposite of an old, cubed, trash-compacting machine on wheels? A sleek, high-tech, hovering robot!

Carl & Russell What's the opposite of a grumpy, widowed, old man? An energetic, talkative and eager 8-year-old boy!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

My Visit to Pixar: The Almighty Atrium

The very first thing you see when you enter the Pixar studios is the atrium. As many people know, Steve Jobs designed the Pixar building, and when he was doing so, he wanted a place where all Pixar employees would be forced to go into this big, open space. This way, people could unexpectedly meet in the atrium, and have a nice meeting, and possibly solve a problem. As Chris Wiggum said, it is kind of impossible to go through a day at Pixar without entering the atrium.

The atrium holds many important rooms at Pixar. These include the Luxo Cafe, where Pixarians often eat, the Mail Room, where a couple of my handwritten letters have arrived in the past, the Studio Store, where there are loads of awesome and exclusive Pixar merchandise, and of course, the very famous Cereal Bar. There is even a game room! The atrium also holds several Pixar monuments and decorations, and an awards case for all the awards that Pixar films win. However, the only Oscar missing in the case was the one that Lee Unkrich won back in February. Right now, the atrium is flooded with Cars 2 retro posters and concept art. Some decorations that are usually stationed in the atrium year-round are statues of Mike and Sulley, Luigi and Guido, and the Toy Story Aliens, as well as LEGO statues of Woody and Buzz, which were added last year to celebrate the release of TS3.

Below are some pictures and a video I took while I was in the Almighty Atrium, which was very, very cool.

Some Pixarians sit on the couch reading beside Luigi and Guido, with  the awards case and Cars 2 concept art in the background

Cars 2 concept art on display

 The Pixar Game Room, where Pixarians can come and chill out. It includes air hockey, Foosball, and the TVs in the background are for playing the Toy Story 3 video game.

At the entrance, Mike and Sulley from Monsters, Inc. and Luigi and Guido from Cars give you a warm welcome.

Statues of Woody and Buzz made entirely of LEGO stand by the front desk.

The cute three-eyed Aliens from the Toy Story franchise look happy to be at Pixar.

The Cars 2 triptych is on display in the atrium as well.

Toy Story Toons Logo Revealed!

It's amazing all the things you can find on the Internet. Today I found some pretty good news! The image seen above is what will most likely be the title card for the upcoming Toy Story Toons, the series of short films starring everyone's favorite toys. This logo does not look like a photoshop, so I am positive that it is the final product. One of the highlights of this new logo is probably how vibrant it is and how it stands out in the black background, and I like how they used the signature Toy Story lettering with the "Toons".

See the first Toy Story Toon, Hawaiian Vacation, when it premieres on June 24 alongside Cars 2!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Monsters University Logo & Official Synopsis!

A few months ago we found out that the next Monsters, Inc. movie would be a prequel to the original, although we did not get a whole lot of details on the 2013 film. At last, we have gotten a first look at the new logo for Monsters University (pictured), along with an official synopsis which you can read below.

Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan are an inseparable pair, but that wasn’t always the case. From the moment these two mismatched monsters met they couldn’t stand each other. “Monsters University” unlocks the door to how Mike and Sulley overcame their differences and became the best of friends.

Screaming with laughter and fun, “Monsters University” is directed by Dan Scanlon (“Cars,” “Mater and the Ghostlight,” “Tracy”) and produced by Kori Rae (“Up,” “The Incredibles,” “Monsters, Inc.”). The film opens in U.S. theaters on June 21, 2013, and will be shown in Disney Digital 3D™ in select theaters.

It sure sounds like another great adventure for Mike and Sulley. John Goodman (Sulley) and Billy Crystal (Mike) will reprise their roles as the pair of best monster friends (or in this case, worst monster rivals). As always, we will be introduced to many new scary faces, and several characters from Monsters, Inc. will be back again for the prequel.

Monsters University screams into theaters on June 21st, 2013!

Are you excited to see Mike and Sulley on the big screen again, this time in 3D?

Friday, May 13, 2011

My Spectacular Visit to Pixar!

It was Friday, May 13th, 2011, I woke up at around 6:30 am. Friday the 13th is supposed to be an unlucky day, but this day would be the complete opposite.

Earlier on today at 3 pm, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, California, and I must say, it was the experience of a lifetime. Visiting Pixar had always been a dream of mine, and it finally became a reality!

Since it would be impossible to tell my beloved readers all about this amazing experience in just one post, I will be publishing several posts in the coming days with different themes of what saw, heard, felt, etc.

Here is a quick summary of my trip:

  • The tour was given to me by Pixar Publicist, Chris Wiggum, who was indeed, very kind.
  • I got the chance to take a few pictures of the famous Pixar atrium and the beautiful studio grounds.
  • I was able to go inside the recently opened Brooklyn, the astounding new addition to the Pixar grounds.
  • I made a nice stop at the Pixar Studio Store and bought a few things.
  • I saw (and tasted) the Legendary Pixar Cereal Bar!

Keep coming back in the next few days to read how the rest of the trip went! I can assure one thing though--Pixar is as AWESOME as it seems, and that is a proven fact.

An Epicly Amazing 'Cars 2' Trailer (UPDATE!!)

I just finished watching the all-new Cars 2 trailer, and I must say, it is the BEST trailer I have seen in a long time! If you thought the older Cars 2 trailers were great, just wait until you see the new one!! It will completely blow you away! This trailer really (and I mean REALLY) determines that Pixar's next feature film will also be filled with much humour, action, adventure, and of course, heart.

The awesome new trailer has a bunch of fabulous new footage. This new footage proves that Cars 2 will be Pixar's most visually stunning film to date! Along with the new footage, this trailer features some of the music that will turn up on the soundtrack (available June 14) including "You Might Think", performed by Weezer.

You can watch this astounding new trailer at the Cars 2 page on Apple Trailers.

UPDATE (May 13th, 2011 9:41): The trailer has been uploaded onto YouTube:

 I'm going to go nuts if June 24 doesn't come soon...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

New Cars 2 Trailer Coming on Thursday!

Another one!? That might have been your reaction to the headline. But this new and most likely final trailer is probably just to keep pumping everyone up for June 24! Tune in on Thursday when I will probably have the newest Cars 2 trailer here.

Speaking of trailers, check out an all-new trailer for the Cars 2 video game here. I wish they didn't make these things so expensive...

Are you excited for the new trailer?? More importantly, how excited are you for June 24???

Pixar Phase II: Officially Open for Business!

On Friday, May 6th, 2011, Pixar's new "Phase II" building (internally referred to as "Brooklyn") officially opened! Pixarians are now presumably working away in the beautiful new building. As I mentioned before, those films closer to their release dates will remain in the old building, and those ones that still have a while to go until they are unleashed to the world will be transferred to Brooklyn. Phase II has several familiar features on the interior, including a screening room/theater (110 seats included), a cafĂ© (just like in the main building), fancy recording eqipment, and a game room (duh).

It sure sounds like the new building is just as awesome as the original one! Hopefully we'll get some images from the inside of Brooklyn in the years (or months) to come!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Sneak Peek: New Pixar Short 'La Luna'

On Thursday, an upcoming Pixar short entitled La Luna was announced! It is scheduled to premiere this June at the Annecy International Animation Festival, and is directed by Erico Casarosa. Enrico joined Pixar in 2002, and has worked as a story artist on Cars, Ratatouille, and Up. Right now, he is head of story on an upcoming Pixar film. Seen above is the official logo for the short film. It looks extremely nice, and very classy.

Read the first official synopsis for La Luna below. Sounds very interesting. I can't wait to see another short little Pixar tale.

La Luna is the timeless fable of a young boy who is coming of age in the most peculiar of circumstances. Tonight is the very first time his Papa and Grandpa are taking him to work. In an old wooden boat they row far out to sea, and with no land in sight, they stop and wait.

A big surprise awaits the little boy as he discovers his family’s most unusual line of work. Should he follow the example of his Papa, or his Grandpa? Will he be able to find his own way in the midst of their conflicting opinions and timeworn traditions?

Judging by the fact that "la luna" means "the moon" in Spanish and Italian, many people are assuming that the Moon will be key in the short's plot.

The still seen above was also revealed on Thursday, and it looks quite nice. As you can see, the characters have a very simplistic design, but sometimes simple can be the best way to go.

You can hope to see La Luna in 2012, as it is probably the short film that will be attached to Brave.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Additions to Cars 2 Website

The Cars 2 website has been updated with two new games and a new video called "Zero to Sixty: New Places" with never-before-seen footage featuring Lightning McQueen and Francesco Bernoulli. It looks like Francesco is going to be a heck of a funny character! View it in the Cars 2 website video section (click on Zero to Sixty: New Places). Also, you can now play "Mater Memory Mission" (which I admit is a bit challenging for me sometimes) and  "World Grand Prix Races". Of course, these games are not as fun as the video game that is coming next month, but they are definitely entertaining time-passers!

Cars 2 hits movie theater screens in exactly 51 days!!

New Shot From Cars 2: McQueen & Mater!

Click to view in high-resolution!

We now have another great still from Cars 2 to add to the gallery! This one features best friends Lightning McQueen and Mater cruisin' along. As you may remember, this shot can be seen in several trailers and clips from the upcoming sequel, including yesterday's TV spot. Sometimes I wish I had a room in my home where I could just hang up all these great shots from Pixar films.

Cars 2 hits movie theater screens in exactly 51 days!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ka-Chow! New 'Cars 2' TV Spot!

Wow! This new TV spot for Cars 2 might be even cooler than the last one! It features a load of new footage, and, as all Pixar trailers, makes you even more excited for the film!

Is it just me, or are Pixar films getting more and more visually stunning each time?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Cars 2: Poster Mania!

If you have been reading my blog since the very beginning, you may remember the post Toy Story 3: Poster Mania!, which was one of my very first posts on this blog. Now, as the wait to Cars 2 quickly approaches the finish line, I give you more...

Poster Mania!! (Cars 2 Edition)

Lightning McQueen chills out in Tokyo, Japan...

Holley Shiftwell takes to the skies, while Finn McMissile keeps guard down low in London, England...

McQueen smiles while Francesco Bernoulli smirks back in Porto Corsa, Italy. As Lightning would say (in Italian), Ka-Ciao!

Mater and Holley share a moment in Paris, France. I'm starting to get the feeling that these "Mater + Holley" rumours are maybe true...

Check it out! Mater's wearing Mater-hosers in Germany!

Brrrrr...I guess even cars get cold, especially in Russia.

Feel free to click the posters to view them larger and in high-res.
Wow, these sure are amazing. They really capture the whole "international" aspect of the film, and I love the tagline The Road Trip Begins Summer 2011. Cars 2 is going to be AWESOME.

New Shot From Cars 2: Mater & Holley!

Yet another image from Cars 2 has now been released. Just look at the contrast between Mater, the rusty old tow truck with big buck teeth, and Holley Shiftwell, a sleek and purple spy car equipped with the fanciest of gadgets. Something that I realized recently is that many Pixar characters are all about contrasts, and I will be writing a post very soon about exactly that. This shot reminds me of all the hard work and effort Pixar puts into everything they do. This still has many vibrant colors, and did anyone notice Zen Master in the background of the image? Enjoy this new addition to a whole collection of Cars 2 stills!