Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Look Back at 2013

Here we are, once again at the end of yet another year. While not without its fair share of saddening tragedies in the Pixar realm, this year has nonetheless seen the release of not one, not two, but three fantastic new works from the folks down in Emeryville.

Unfortunately, this hasn't quite been the best year for Pixar. We saw the removal of Bob Peterson as director from The Good Dinosaur - making this the fourth time a director at the studio has gotten the boot. This eventually lead to nearly 5% of the staff being laid off.

Then in October came the headline that probably devastated me most of all - Pixar Canada was shut down. It's a real shame; the Vancouver-based satellite studio had made some remarkable shorts since opening in April 2010, and the studio itself was filled to the brim with talented artists. Those who have followed this blog for a while now may know that I was fortunate enough to visit Pixar Canada this January and tour the studio (you can read about my visit here). I'm more thankful for that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity now than ever before, so a big thank-you is due to Amir Nasrabadi (general manager and vice-president of Pixar Canada at the time of its closure) for allowing this dream of mine to become a reality. The studio itself may have closed, but it built quite the legacy in the short three years that it was operational. So long live Pixar Canada!

Now let's talk about some of the more exciting things that happened this year.

Of course, Monsters University, the studio's fourteenth feature-length film and prequel to fan-favorite Monsters, Inc., hit theaters in June and its reception was generally quite warm, despite a select stubborn few still riding that old bothersome 'Pixar is losing it' bandwagon. Oh well, you can't please everybody. Let them keep riding that bandwagon while we look forward to the studio's future wildly ambitious projects.

The latest short film to be pumped out by Pixar, The Blue Umbrella, also made its debut this year alongside MU. While perhaps not as groundbreaking as, say, Day & Night or La Luna, it's arguably still a splendid and very creative work of art, accompanied by an irresistibly catchy soundtrack, not to mention its gorgeous photo-realistic visuals.

More recently, in October Pixar released its first ever television special! Toy Story of Terror saw the return of Woody, Buzz, Jessie and co. and delighted audiences across the globe, proving that the folks at Pixar are more than capable in handling the half-hour special format. Needless to say, Toy Story of Terror left audiences hungry for more Pixar TV specials, so here's hoping they're cooking up some more for us to enjoy in the near future.

All in all, it's been another great year. 2014 will likely be quite a quiet year in terms of Pixar news, what with no new feature film until 2015, but who knows, maybe the studio will surprise us with another television special later in the year. Whether that happens or not, let's make 2014 another memorable year.

Happy New Year, everyone!

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