Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Mission Impossible 4: The Pixar Connections

Do you recognize the code on this ring?

I recently had the chance to watch the fantastic Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, and aside from the fact that it was directed by former Pixar director Brad Bird (The Incredibles, Ratatouille), there were some other connections to Pixar in the film, which made it even more exciting to watch.

The image above is a screencapture from the film, where I couldn't help noticing the peculiar code on Ethan Hunt's ring; A113. This code is well-known to Pixar and animation fans, as it was a classroom number at CalArts, the university which several Pixarians and filmmakers, such as John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, and Brad Bird, attended. The code has since appeared in several films and TV shows, such as The Simpsons (on which Brad Bird worked on multiple times), The Iron Giant (also directed by Bird), and every Pixar film to date.

A113 appeared more than once throughout the film, actually. One scene involves Ethan Hunt mentioning a "rendezvous at Alpha 113" during a phone call.

The other Pixar reference that was found in the film was the voice of Pixarian Teddy Newton, who recently directed the Pixar short Day & Night. He's voiced multiple characters in Pixar films, including the Chatter Telephone in Toy Story 3. His most recent role was the voice of Mini Buzz in Small Fry, the Toy Story Toon which debuted in November. Newton's role in Mission Impossible, while not a very big one, also involves him speaking through a phone. Watch a clip of his cameo here:

Pretty cool cameo, huh?

Brad Bird may have left Pixar, but he still seems to be carrying a little part of the animation studio inside him. I also hear that A113 may be appearing in The Avengers, which hits theaters in the US and Canada this Friday, although I'm not sure how or why it got there...

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