Tuesday, April 30, 2013

MU Artwork Arrives at WDW

Every year, Disney's Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida put up a special exhibit dedicated to Pixar's latest feature film (I myself was there when they were showcasing Toy Story 3). These exhibits include lots and lots of artwork, character sculptures, and more, and are always a treat to admire.

Well, the Monsters University exhibit has officially gone up! Of course, not all of us can be at WDW at the moment, but don't worry, Attraction Magazine have got you covered, as they took the time to record every inch of the colorful exhibit!

I may have mentioned this before once or twice, but The Art of Monsters University is going to be one gorgeous book!

WDW seems to be quite excited for the release of MU, because recently they also adorned the monorail with the colorful cast from the film, and Spaceship Earth at Epcot was in fact turned into the once and only Mike Wazowski!

Have you gotten the chance to see any of the Pixar exhibits at Disney's Hollywood Studios? If so, which one?

Monsters University hits theaters June 21.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

How to Make a Monster Look Younger

Jim Hill Media recently had the chance to sit down with Pixar artists Ricky Nierva and Jason Deamer and chat with them about the upcoming Monsters University. The two Pixarians talked about what it took to make Mike and Sulley look 18 years old, while still maintaining all their iconic features.

The filmmakers studied the many changes people go through during the gap between their college years and adulthood and applied these to our favorite monsters, and then additionally assumed that in the monster world, one's horns also grow and sharpen with age. The result: a much more youthful Mike and Sulley.

Be sure to read the full article here, and don't miss Monsters University on June 21 (that's in just 54 days!).

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Final 'Monsters University' Trailer Released! [UPDATE]

With summer just around the corner, Disney and Pixar have released the final trailer for Monsters University. Watch it below.

While I probably like the previous trailer a bit more, this one does further amplify my already fierce excitement for this film, and reveals a little bit more of the plot, without giving away too much. Although it was pretty obvious from the start that this movie would be downright hilarious (the "I don't shed" gag is brilliant), the story's heart also begins to peek out a bit in this trailer, and of course, the animation in the new footage is as colorful and lively as ever.

There's not much I can say that I haven't already stated before, but I just really want it to be June 21 now...but on the plus side, Iron Man 3 does come out next week!

What did you think of the new trailer? How excited are you for Monsters University? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Update 6/2/2013, 11:29 PM (Pacific Time): Turns out this wasn't the final trailer. Oops.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Pixar Corner: Celebrating Three Years of Blogging

Prepare yourself for the cheesiest blog post this blog has ever seen...

Time flies, and rather quickly I should say. Just a few short years ago I was an eager 11-year-old Pixar fanboy with big dreams, and now fastforward to 2013 and I am 14 and have been blogging about my favorite movie studio in the world for three years now. I've even gotten the miraculous opportunities to visit both of Pixar's facilities in Emeryville, California and Vancouver, British Columbia.

These have been an incredible three years, and I've grown to learn that when you put your mind, heart and soul into something, you can achieve wonders. I've met many great people along the way who have encouraged me to continue to do what I love and reach for the stars, and I owe my sincere gratitude to them, as well as to my readers, followers, and fellow bloggers, who are all a delight to interact with. Also a big thanks to Paul Robin for contributing his talents to make this blog much more appealing to the eye with the seasonal logos. And of course, a big thank you to the talented folks at Pixar who never fail to inspire me.

I hope to continue blogging for many, many more years, so I'll finish off with a quote I find quite fitting:

To infinity, and beyond!

Monster Mania!

It's been a crazy week filled to the brim with exciting Monsters University news, which is only two months away! Can you believe it?

Pixar screened an unfinished but full-length cut of their latest feature for attendees at CinemaCon on Wednesday, and so far the response has been quite enthusiastic, which is great because this may mean the end of all this "Pixar is dead" rubbish. Check out some tweets from bloggers who got the chance to see the film:

The studio's famed lucky charm, the very talented John Ratzenberger (who has thus far voiced a character in every single Pixar film), will indeed lend his voice to a character in MU. This year he will not be reprising his role from the original film as the friendly Abominable Snowman, but will be the voice behind "a Monsters, Inc. employee". Look forward to hearing his iconic voice once again this June! (via Entertainment Weekly)

Another beautiful still (above) from the film made its way online this week, and gives us another look at Mike and Sulley's rough rivalry.

The official Monsters University website received a minor update the other day, and now includes a large assortment of colorful downloads featuring the characters from the film, with everything from wallpapers to Twitter headers and more. The site also now includes character bios for Mike, Sulley, and other scary folks.

Lastly, this mischief-filled poster from the UK was posted online a couple of days ago. Heaven knows what other pranks Sulley has got in store for Mike... (via A113Animation)

It's hard to believe the film is so close already. It seems like just yesterday came the announcement that "Monsters, Inc. 2" was in the works, but it's already been three years since we first found out that we'd be seeing our favorite monsters return to the big screen. So just hold on two more months, because Monsters University is almost here.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Stunning New 'Monsters University' Concept Art

We are well into spring, and summer is zooming towards us at full speed, and that means Pixar's latest film, their first ever prequel, will soon be here. Disney has released a wide array of absolutely gorgeous never-before-seen concept art for Monsters University for your viewing pleasure, and when I say absolutely gorgeous I mean...well, absolutely gorgeous. You'd have to be some sort of fool to not acknowledge that. Those folks at Pixar sure are talented.

This is only a small lick of what's in store in The Art of Monsters University, which arrives in bookstores this June, just a few days prior to the film's release. Boy, is that ever going to be an amazing book.

Concept Art Courtesy of Pixar Animation Studios © 2013 Disney•Pixar

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Steve Jobs Lives On at Pixar

Apple, iPhone, iPad, and Mac may be a few of the first words that come to mind when someone mentions Steve Jobs. The late innovator is well known for changing the way we use computers, listen to music and make phone calls, but his legacy at Apple often overshadows all that he did at a little animation studio called Pixar.

"He saw the potential of what Pixar could be before the rest of us, and beyond what anyone ever imagined," said Pixar CCO John Lasseter and president Ed Catmull after Jobs passed away in October 2011.

The company has most definitely not forgotten Steve, and recently renamed their central building in Emeryville "The Steve Jobs Building", a building in which Jobs had a huge role in designing. Last summer's Brave was also dedicated to him, and now The Pixar Times reports that the studio has planted a tree on their campus dedicated to his memory.

Photo credit: The Pixar Times

A plaque underneath the tree reads:

Dedicated With Love And Gratitude To

Steve Jobs

Our Partner, Mentor, And Friend

It's nice to see the studio pay tribute to a man who helped them live out their full potential. Imagine a world without Pixar, how awful would that be? May Steve Jobs rest in peace, and may we never forget how he helped bring us some of the most beloved stories of all time.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Watch: Four MU Vignettes

These short little Monsters University vignettes made their way online the other day. It's hard to believe the film is only a bit over two months away already. The vignettes are all very funny, highlighting on both the old characters and the new. The best one I'd say is the one where Mike and Sulley each put on a pair of 3D glasses. Their different reactions are hilarious.

Watch all four vignettes here:

Monsters University hits theaters June 21!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Fun Sneak Peek at 'Planes'

Along with yesterday's big announcement of Finding Dory, Disney also released a fun little sneak peek at their upcoming spin-off of Pixar's Cars franchise, Planes, flying into theaters August 9. It's a fun little clip, and like I said the other day, I'm starting to look forward to this more.


What are your thoughts on Planes? And what did you think of this new clip?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Nemo & Co. Swimming Back Into Theaters In 2015

No, this is not some elaborate, belated April Fool's joke. Although I originally thought so myself when I first read this news.

Rumors first surfaced this past summer that a sequel to Pixar's critically acclaimed and commercially successful masterpiece Finding Nemo was in the works, with reports that director Andrew Stanton would return to helm the film and that stars Ellen DeGeneres and Albert Brooks were in talks to reprise their roles. Today, Disney and Pixar have stepped out to declare that the rumors are indeed true.

On November 25th, 2015, prepare to immerse yourself once again into the world of Nemo, Marlin and Dory when they swim onto the big screen once again in an all-new undersea adventure, Finding Dory.

From the official press release:

When Dory said “just keep swimming” in 2003’s Oscar®-winning film “Finding Nemo,” she could not have imagined what was in store for her (not that she could remember). Ellen DeGeneres, voice of the friendly-but-forgetful blue tang fish, revealed details today about Disney•Pixar’s “Finding Dory”—an all-new big-screen adventure diving into theaters on Nov. 25, 2015.

“I have waited for this day for a long, long, long, long, long, long time,” said DeGeneres. “I’m not mad it took this long. I know the people at Pixar were busy creating ‘Toy Story 16.’ But the time they took was worth it. The script is fantastic. And it has everything I loved about the first one: It’s got a lot of heart, it’s really funny, and the best part is—it’s got a lot more Dory.”

Director and Pixar veteran Andrew Stanton takes audiences back to the extraordinary underwater world created in the original film. “There is no Dory without Ellen,” said Stanton. “She won the hearts of moviegoers all over the world—not to mention our team here at Pixar. One thing we couldn’t stop thinking about was why she was all alone in the ocean on the day she met Marlin. In ‘Finding Dory,’ she will be reunited with her loved ones, learning a few things about the meaning of family along the way.”

According to Stanton, “Finding Dory” takes place about a year after the first film, and features returning favorites Marlin, Nemo and the Tank Gang, among others. Set in part along the California coastline, the story also welcomes a host of new characters, including a few who will prove to be a very important part of Dory’s life. 

“Finding Nemo” won the 2003 Academy Award® for Best Animated Feature; the film was nominated for three additional Oscars® (Best Writing, Original Screenplay; Best Music, Original Score; Best Sound Editing). It was also nominated for a Golden Globe® Award for Best Motion Picture–Comedy or Musical. In 2008, the American Film Institute named “Finding Nemo” among the top 10 greatest animated films ever made. At the time of its release, “Finding Nemo” was the highest grossing G-rated movie of all time. It’s currently the fourth highest grossing animated film worldwide. The film has more than 16 million Likes on Facebook, and Dory—with more than 24 million—is the most Liked individual character from a Disney or Disney•Pixar film.

DeGeneres’ distinctive comic voice has resonated with audiences from her first stand-up comedy appearances through her work today on television, in film and in the literary world. Her syndicated talk show, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” is in its 10th season and has earned 38 Daytime Emmy® Awards. DeGeneres has won 12 People’s Choice Awards and the Teen Choice Award for Choice Comedian for three consecutive years. Additionally, her show won two Genesis Awards and a GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Talk Show Episode. For her unforgettable turn as Dory, DeGeneres was nominated for an MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance.

Now, I'm one of the people that, for many years, dreaded the idea of a second Nemo film. I simply did not think it necessary; the original told the story of an overprotective father (who just so happened to be a clownfish) and his son, and finished off beautifully and flawlessly. But then again, no film needs a sequel. There are films that beg for a sequel, but no film needs one. Toy Story certainly didn't need one, and yet we still got two unbelievably good follow-ups to it. And yes, Finding Nemo did conclude with the words "the end" written across the screen, but it may have been the end of that particular story, and that doesn't mean a new one can't begin.

Why exactly is this happening though? Many believe that its purpose is to overwrite the Nemo sequel that was originally planned by Disney when it appeared that the Mouse House and Pixar would split (head on over to Kyle's Animated World for some great insight on that). Others say it's only a chance for Andrew Stanton to compensate for his live-action debut John Carter bombing at the box office so that Disney will give him another shot at directing another live-action film, although I find this notion ridiculous. First of all, it wasn't even Stanton's fault that the film performed poorly, and I find it hard to believe that he would agree to make a sequel just for the sake of, say, John Carter 2, or whatever else he may have in mind. He's an incredibly talented writer, director, and filmmaker, so for the time being I refuse to believe he is simply treating Finding Dory as his ticket to continuing with his live-action career.

"I'm glad I got that off my chest," as Dory would say.

I have to say, I've fallen in love with the story that was announced today. It sounds like the film won't be about Dory literally getting lost, but about her finding herself and who she is, and there are countless of wonderful things Pixar could do with this. And who doesn't love Dory? Plus, this is not only a chance to explore one of the most beloved characters to ever emerge on the big screen, but it's a great way to revisit the other characters without doing something ridiculous like having Nemo get lost again. And just imagine, if the original 2003 film was one of the most visually stunning films Pixar has ever produced, just think what they could accomplish 10 years afterward! What's more, Ellen DeGeneres and Albert Brooks are both returning! Seeing as the film is supposed to take place just one year after the original, it's pretty much certain that Alexander Gould (now 18 years old) will not be returning to voice little Nemo, so it'll be interesting to see who they recast as the lovable handicapped clownfish.

Ellen is obviously thrilled, and made the announcement today on her show after several years of politely demanding Pixar make a sequel to Nemo. I can't imagine her reaction when she was told Dory would in fact be the main focus of said sequel! Watch her announce Finding Dory to an ecstatic audience in the clip below:

Well? What are your thoughts on today's big reveal? Are you excited, or maybe not so much? What do you think of the plot? Why do you think this movie is being made? Do share your opinion in the comments!

Finding Dory swims into theaters November 25th, 2015 (I can't tell you how much pleasure it gives me using that pun)!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Will 'Planes' Soar?

If you walk into pretty much any store in the world, you'll find at least one piece of Cars-related merchandise. As with Angry Birds, there are Cars products everywhere you look these days, and the execs at Disney are delighted with the truckloads of cash that John Lasseter's creation has been raking in since 2006. So naturally, they would take advantage of this new-found goldmine, and what better way to milk it than with a direct-to-video spin-off?

Of course, said direct-to-video spin-off is no longer going direct-to-video, it's flying straight into theaters (pun shamelessly intended). Disney's Planes is being produced by DisneyToon Studios, the studio behind the Tinker Bell movies and all other Disney DTV sequels, and hits theaters August 9. 

Given that these DTV films are usually hit-or-miss and are rarely any good, ever since Planes was announced I haven't been too keen on it. The plot seemed bland and uninspired and never grabbed my attention, and the whole thing was obviously just an excuse to make new toys, backpacks, t-shirts, eating utensils, shoes, stickers, cupcake holders, night lights, bathroom curtains and whatever else they can come up with featuring a colorful new cast of anthropomorphic aircraft. Simply put, Planes came across as a cheap cash grab.

However, as Disney begins to drop a bit more details on the movie and reveal some more images, I'm becoming less skeptical towards it. If in anything, Planes will succeed in the visual department; a lot of the characters that have been revealed are undeniably cool, and the film in general sure looks like it boasts some impressive eye candy.

But I also think (or hope) that if the film was given a theatrical release then it must have been above the standard for your typical DTV fare. Either that or the execs just wanted to raise awareness that they're making this new movie, and a billion new toys to go with it. Even if the latter is true, I'm trying to keep an open mind. After all, not all of DisneyToon's films have been complete disasters, this could very well be one of those exceptions. Perhaps the artists and filmmakers at DisneyToon are not quite as skilled as those over in Emeryville (at least not as of now), but who says they don't have it in them to get there? Plus, an early review has already surfaced online and according to The Rotoscopers, Planes is not the horrible catastrophe that many of us are making it out to be - it's actually pretty decent.

Like I said, I'm keeping an open mind, and may actually consider paying to see the film in theaters. The way I see it, Planes looks like it has the potential to be an enjoyable flick and not just a wallet-emptying device.