Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Samuel L. Jackson Says Frozone Will Return In 'Incredibles 2'

Marvel's latest superhero flick Captain America: The Winter Soldier hits theaters this Friday internationally and next Friday in the US and Canada, and while out promoting the film, Hollywood legend Samuel L. Jackson, who plays Nick Fury in the film, was asked about the possibility of his character Frozone returning for the recently announced Incredibles sequel.

"Every time I run into Brad [Bird] he always tells me Frozone is part of what's going on, so I have to believe that," the actor explains. "I guess they could be the Incredibles without Frozone, but I think Frozone would be a wonderful, wonderful addition to what's already there." He goes on to say that he's simply "excited to see what Jack-Jack turned into."

Here's the original clip from the interview:

Since The Incredibles' debut in 2004, Frozone has been a fan favorite, and that's largely thanks to Jackson's impeccable job voicing the character. His line "Honey, where's my super suit?" is probably one of the most frequently quoted from any Pixar film.

It is probably safe to assume that we indeed will be seeing Lucius Best, a.k.a. Frozone, once again fighting crime alongside Mr. Incredible and co. in The Incredibles 2 when it hits theaters in a few years; why wouldn't he return? It was very much a given from the very start, but it's nice to hear Sam Jackson show interest in reprising the very popular role in the highly-anticipated sequel. The Incredibles is a mighty fine film as it is, but Frozone is the cherry on top that makes it all the better.

(via DigitalSpy)

Saturday, March 22, 2014

'Party Central' Will Have You Roaring With Laughter

We may not be getting a Pixar feature this year, but that didn't stop the animation studio from putting out an all-new short film, featuring the stars of their 2013 flick, Monsters University. I was able to catch Party Central (alongside the fantastic new Muppet pic, Muppets Most Wanted) on Thursday night, and I am happy to report that it was a delight to watch on every level.

In the new short, the members of Oozma Kappa start the night off feeling rather bummed out, as no one has bothered showing up to their party. But low and behold, their pals Mike and Sulley burst through the door, carrying with them something that should help get the party going. Mike fires up a door station, and chaos ensues.

Without giving away too much, Party Central has everything you'd expect from a Pixar short; humor, wit, and just the right amount of inventiveness. The original Monsters University cast is all back, making the short all the more enjoyable. Mike, Sulley, and the rest of the characters all make welcome returns, and one could argue that Squishy's mom, Sherri Squibbles, ends up being the star of the show. Of course, the gags are all really funny (no surprise there), making the short a fun 6-minute laughing session. Its fast pace keeps you engaged until the very end, and when it does end, you can't help but wish there was more.

So really, no complaints here. Pixar's latest short is not just a blast, but it is testimony to the studio's impressive range when it comes to short films (and features too, for that matter). They are capable of crafting innovative, artsy shorts like La Luna and The Blue Umbrella, yet they are also able to produce fun, fast-paced romps like Party Central, which also give us a chance to revisit some of their most beloved characters without having to make another feature film with them.

In conclusion, even if you don't like the Muppets (and if that's the case, shame on you!), see Muppets Most Wanted if only to catch Party Central, which makes the price of admission all the more worth it.

And to Pixar; please, make more Monsters shorts.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Confirmed: 'Incredibles 2' and 'Cars 3' In Development

You can keep pinching yourself as many times as you like, but this is no dream. The day has finally come, ladies and gentlemen. We have been begging, pleading, and clamoring for this announcement for years now, and Pixar has finally answered our prayers today by announcing that they are indeed making Cars 3. Oh, yeah, and a certain other sequel known as, yes indeed, The Incredibles 2.

The news broke today at the annual Disney shareholders meeting, where Disney CEO Bob Iger let it slip that both sequels are indeed currently in development over at Pixar. No other details were given, leaving fans to speculate about the plots and release dates.

So it's official: The Incredibles 2 is finally happening. It's hard to believe that the original film turns 10 years old this year. Over the past decade, it seems that no sequel has been asked for more than an Incredibles sequel. Fans have constantly inquired of director Brad Bird about when we could see another film starring the family of supers, and every time he has spoken about the matter, he's said that it will only happen if he can come up with a story better than that of the original.

Recently he stated:

I love the world. I love the characters, and if I could come with a story that was as good or better than the original, I’d go there in a second. I have pieces of things that I would love to see in a sequel, but I haven’t got them all together yet, and I certainly wouldn’t want to come out there with something that is less than the original. … Sequels are not part of the business plan at Pixar. It’s all about the filmmakers being passionate about going somewhere.

Well, it looks like he's finally put those pieces together. Bird will reportedly pen the sequel's script, although it is currently unknown if he will return to the director's chair for the Parr family's second outing. It is reassuring to know he is involved in the project in some form, however, and I can definitely see him directing The Incredibles 2 once he's finished with Tomorrowland (which hits theaters next year).

The announcement comes right on the heels of yesterday's news that the original Incredibles film is being converted to 3D. No word yet on whether the film will be given a theatrical re-release once the conversion is complete, however that does seem a bit unlikely at the moment after Disney's past two 3D re-releases underperformed at the box office. But who knows, they could bring the film back to theaters in a few years in order to pump audiences up for the second installment, similar to how Toy Story and Toy Story 2 were released in 3D as a double feature a few months before Toy Story 3 hit theaters.

As for Cars 3, it was bound to happen eventually. It's obviously the less exciting of the two films announced today, but I don't see how its existence is a problem. I love the Cars universe; it's got some great characters, the first film is fantastic in my opinion, the shorts are great as well, and I still think Cars 2, while underwhelming, is decent and definitely not the piece of garbage most people claim it is. And if you've been to Cars Land at Disneyland, there's no denying that it's pretty darn impressive. Plus, who's to say the third film won't be any good? For all we know, it could be better than the second installment, and heck, it could even surpass the original! According to Michael Wallis (voice of Sheriff in the films), Cars 3 will take audiences back to Route 66 and will even include Route 99, so it seems like it will be closer in style to the first film than the second.

Overall, not a bad day in terms of Pixar news. We're finally getting the sequel everyone has been praying for, and the sequel that no one really asked for, but could still prove to be good, if not excellent.

And please, if you're still on that whole "Pixar is all about sequels now" bandwagon, do recall that there are not one, not two, but three (and probably more) completely original and very promising projects in the Pixar pipeline as well.

What do you think? Are you excited for The Incredibles 2? How excited are you for The Incredibles 2? What are your thoughts on Cars 3?

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Awards Season Recap: Monsters University

This awards season, unfortunately, has been a rather disappointing one for Pixar, as their brilliant but underrated feature Monsters University has been largely ignored by most notable award organizations. The film was downright snubbed by the Golden Globes and the Oscars this year, who for some reason preferred arguably weaker films like Despicable Me 2 and The Croods.

The Monsters prequel has, however, received some recognition from less-known organizations, and it did win a couple awards at the Annies, where it had a total of 10 nominations and ended up taking home the awards for Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production and Editorial in an Animated Feature Production. It was nominated for, but ended up losing, the following Annie Awards:

  • Best Animated Feature
  • Animated Effects in an Animated Production
  • Character Animation in an Animated Feature Production
  • Character Design in an Animated Feature Production
  • Music in an Animated Feature Production
  • Production Design in an Animated Feature Production
  • Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production (Billy Crystal as Mike Wazowski)
  • Writing in an Animated Feature Production
  • Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production

Way back in October, the film also won a Hollywood Animation Award at the 17th Hollywood Film Awards. Unfortunately, it hasn't won anything outside of that and the Annies, but it has at least been nominated for several other awards including:

  • Best Edited Animated Feature Film - American Cinema Editors
  • Best Animated Film - British Academy Film Awards
  • Outstanding Achievement in Sound Mixing for Motion Pictures (Animated) - Cinema Audio Society Awards
  • Best Animated Feature - Critics' Choice Movie Award
  • Best Animated Feature Film - Denver Film Critics Society
  • Best Animated Film - International Cinephile Society
  • Outstanding Producer of Animated Theatrical Motion Pictures (Kori Rae) - Producers Guild of America Award
  • Best Animated Feature - San Francisco Film Critics Circle
  • Best Motion Picture, Animated or Mixed Media - Satellite Awards
  • Outstanding Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture and Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature Motion Picture - Visual Effects Society Awards
  • Best Animated Feature - Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association

Awards are marvelous things, it's never a bad thing to give recognition to a filmmaker, actor, artist, or studio for their outstanding work. However, let's not forget that a film's (or a director's, actor's, etc.) greatness is not really determined by the number of accolades it earns. Films are meant to entertain, so shouldn't their greatness instead be determined by the joy they bring to people across the world? As the wise Doc Hudson would say, an award is "just an empty cup".

Congratulations to Dan Scanlon and the entire cast and crew for crafting a truly remarkable film with an exceptional message, a film that I hope will gain more recognition as it ages.