Friday, May 27, 2011

'Muppets' Teaser: The Fuzzy Pack

Above you'll find the most recent Muppets teaser, "cleverly" titled The Fuzzy Pack.

If you couldn't tell, it's trying to be a witty spin-off of The Hangover franchise, playing on the film's recent hype.

However, I think this teaser falls completely flat. It's boring. I mean, "fuzzy pack" doesn't even sound like "wolf pack"--it has got a different number of syllables, for pete's sake. I am a bit irked that something as amazingly creative and funny as The Muppets would parody something as unoriginal as The Hangover 2. That's what's wrong with Hollywood, ladies and gentleman; they look at box office numbers and mimic whoever's on top without once considering their target audience, the art form that is film, the integrity of their project, etc.

I am excited for The Muppets and I have faith in it, I just wish their marketing strategy was a bit more . . . tasteful.


'La Luna' Wrap Party

Briefly: Enrico Casarosa, the director of Pixar's upcoming short film La Luna posted on his blog earlier today that production on the short has finally wrapped! In the post, he discusses the wrap party from Tuesday night, which included Brad Bird and Michael Giacchino as guests. The restaurant, Paisan, served the Pixarians the above La Luna Tiramisu. Awesome.

In addition to the article about the wrap party, Mr. Casarosa released this video as a "thank you" to his crew, or as he puts it, his "new found family." He preempts the video by saying: "After a year of work with your crew you develop a sincere affection for all of them … I ended often showing my gratitude during production in my own goofy ways … here follows one of them … in animated form."

Way to go, Enrico and Pixar! I can't wait to see La Luna . . .


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Simba coming at you in Three Dimensions!

/Film and The Hollywood Reporter both report that The Lion King, one of the most beloved Disney films of all-time, will be re-released theatrically . . . in 3D. The rumor mill is a-buzzing that the re-release will be on September 6 of this year to prep the world for the 3D Blu-ray release of the film on October 4.

You can find the 3D Blu-ray trailer at Yahoo! here. The four-disc Diamond Edition can be pre-ordered from Amazon right here.

This is both wonderful and goosebump-enducing. I grew up loving The Lion King--it is one of the defining films of my childhood. For that reason, I am absolutely ecstatic that I am going to get to see "Hakuna Matata" performed on the big screen!

However, the fact that it is going to be in 3D is not only unfortunate, but stupid and lame. I mean, seriously, guys. It's a 2D film, and it should stay that way. When I read a Boston Globe article the other day discussing how 3D films were ruining 2D films due to the misuse of 3D lenses in theaters, I should have remembered that it could be a lot worse. They could turn 2D movies into 3D movies in the convoluted post-conversion process. To me, it doesn't even make sense. But all of my loyal readers out there will know where I stand in the whole "3D opinion spectrum."

Why can't they just re-release great films to theaters, untouched, so we can enjoy them? Why must they muss it all up with their multiple dimensions?

Developing . . .


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

First 'Brave' Still

Dutch Animation blog Animatie unearthed the above still from Brave. It's our first look at a fully-rendered Princess Merida, which matches concept art we saw back in March.

The still is presumably taken from the upcoming teaser for the film, which will be attached to Cars 2 later this summer on June 24.


Monday, May 23, 2011

Star Tours 2.0 Video and Reviews

Star Tours 2.0, the reboot of everyone's Star Wars-inspired, 1980s attraction at Disneyland and Disney World, has officially opened at Walt Disney World's Hollywood Studios and is just a few weeks away from its June 3rd opening at Disneyland in California.

The above promotional video, released by Disney for the Florida attraction, should get you excited for the sure-to-be awesome attraction.

The reboot includes high-definition digital imagery in 3D, 54 possible adventures (so the ride's different almost every time), better motion simulation, and an updated queue.

According [<--SPOILER ALERT!] to LA Times' staff writer Brady MacDonald, the ride is "light-years better than the 1987 original," and is a "fantastic update to a venerable classic."

If you don't want the ride to be spoiled, check out this spoiler-free review from Inside the Magic. It mentions that, thankfully, "George Lucas and the Walt Disney Imagineers that have improved this attraction have found a perfect balance between the original beloved Star Wars trilogy and the good, but less-enjoyed prequels," and that the ride is "an update to a classic attraction that keeps the same fun spirit it has had for more than 20 years but enhances it with new technology and more stories, characters, and excitement to be had." It also includes a nice, spoiler-free video review of the attraction.

For other SPOILER-ific reviews, look at this one from Star Tours Live, this one at Behind the Thrills, and this one from Inside the Magic.

If you want a taste of the ride before going out to see it for yourself, check out this Star Tours 2.0 blog. They have a collection of YouTube videos taken in the actual ride. Obviously, these videos include major SPOILERS, since they are, uh, video of the ride.

The attraction is open in WDW and will be opening in a few weeks on June 3 at California's Disneyland.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Unkrich on 'Win, Lose, or Draw'

Well, the director of Toy Story 3, Mr. Lee Unkrich, has kept his promise to post an embarrassing video of himself after reaching 100k followers on Twitter. The video, embedded above, features Mr. Unkrich on an old 80s game show, Win, Lose, or Draw.

Unkrich prefaced the video with these three facts:

  1. I was 20 years old
  2. I was plump
  3. I was coerced into buying that sweater by the show’s producers
Very nice.


Star Tours 2.0 Grand Opening

Briefly: StitchKingdom has a wonderful article filled to the brim with photos and video taken at yesterday's grand opening for Star Tours 2.0 at Walt Disney World. George Lucas and Disney CEO Bob Iger both came out for the event.

I'll be taking the intergalactic journey at Disneyland this August, and will certainly give you folks my thoughts on the attraction's update.


3 Pixar Videos: 'Cars 2,' Lasseter's Hawaiian Shirt Collection, and 'Cars' LEGOs

I've stumbled across three very interesting, Pixar-related videos. Above is the first, Back into Cars 2, a video released by Pixar. It shows director John Lasseter, as well as the members of the voice cast, discussing the premise of the film and specific characters and scenes. You'll also spot some never-before-seen footage from the film. If you're as skeptical about the movie as I was several months ago, watch this featurette. It will restore your faith in Pixar and make you super-excited to see Cars 2 come June 24 . . .

Peter Hartlaub, a pop culture critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, spent a Sunday morning with John Lasseter and his wife Nancy. But not just any Sunday morning: April Fool's Day. In the above video, you'll see John himself discussing his filing system for his thousands of Hawaiian shirts, 374 of which are currently in "active rotation." They are sorted by subject matter--such as Pixar shirts, Disney shirts, Baseball (Giants, to be exact) shirts, etc. After the filing system's discussed, you'll be treated to how fun April Fool's Day is at the Lasseter's. The article goes on to discuss how down-to-earth and fun they are to hang around.

The final video is a fan-made remake of the penultimate Cars 2 trailer . . . out of LEGOs! It's a great video--very well-done.

Cars 2 will be released on June 24, in just over a month. Oh boy! . . .


Monday, May 16, 2011

'Cars 2' track listing

Briefly: Below you'll find the official track listing for Cars 2, (courtesy of Amazon) featuring Weezer, Brad Paisley, and, of course, Michael Giacchino.

The soundtrack will be released on both CD and digital download this June 14. Unless otherwise noted, the tracks below are instrumental and by everyone's favorite composer (or at least mine) Michael Giacchino.

  1. You Might Think—Performed by Weezer
  2. Collision Of Worlds—Performed by Brad Paisley and Robbie Williams
  3. Mon Caeur Fait Vroum (My Heart Goes Vroom)—Performed by Bénabar
  4. Nobody's Fool—Performed by Brad Paisley
  5. Polyrhythm—Performed by Perfume
  6. Turbo Transmission
  7. It's Finn McMissile!
  8. Mater The Waiter
  9. Radiator Reunion
  10. Cranking Up The Heat
  11. Towkyo Takeout
  12. Tarmac The Magnificent
  13. Whose Engine Is This?
  14. History's Biggest Loser Cars
  15. Mater Of Disguise
  16. Porto Corsa
  17. The Lemon Pledge
  18. Mater's Getaway
  19. Mater Warns McQueen
  20. Going To The Backup Plan
  21. Mater's The Bomb
  22. Blunder And Lightning
  23. The Other Shoot
  24. Axlerod Exposed
  25. The Radiator Springs Gran Prix
  26. The Turbomater


Friday, May 13, 2011

'Monsters University' logo and synopsis

Disney/Pixar has just released the above hi-res logo (desktop wallpaper, anyone?) and the following title treatment/synopsis:

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.
The film will be a prequel to Monsters, Inc., and will feature Billy Crystal and John Goodman reprising their roles.

Very exciting! Monsters, Inc. has always been my favorite Pixar film, and I can't wait to see what they do with the prequel...

It will be released on June 21, 2013, and be directed by Dan Scanlon (story artist and writer on Cars) and produced by Kori Rae (The Incredibles, Toy Story 2, Up, Monsters, Inc., A Bug's Life).


Thursday, May 12, 2011

'TS3' auctions to support Japan

Briefly: Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich is having another set of charity auctions on eBay, this time to help the earthquake victims of Japan. There are only two items this time around, as opposed to the smorgasbord of items he offered for Haitian relief.

The items include an awesome, limited edition print (pictured to the left) from the film's story artist Adrian Molina and the complete TS3 soundtrack on a two-disc set, exclusive to Pixar employees.

The bid amounts are really getting up there, but if you love Pixar and want to support a good cause, get bidding!


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

'Little Mermaid' animators tour upcoming DCA attraction

In the above video just released by the official Disney Parks blog, animation veterans Andreas Deja, Glen Keane, and Mark Henn walk through the upcoming California Adventure attraction Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure.

In addition to showcasing the awesome effects and audio-animatronics of the ride as well as a behind-the-scenes look at the Imagineers' magical work, the video features the film's three animators discussing what the classic movie meant for the rebirth of Disney's fairytales and also how amazingly the Imagineers translated the film to theme park ride.

The attraction opens on June 3 in just under a month . . . So exciting! I'll be there later in August and I'll tell you all about it.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Lasseter talks 'Cars 2,' 'Brave' and 'Incredibles 2'

Moviefone just posted a great interview with John Lasseter. Not only does it go into great detail about Lasseter's inspirations for Cars 2 and how excited he is for Brave, but the interviewer also gives the reader a short tour of Pixar and John's office.

During the interview, Mr. Lasseter restates what we all know as the Pixar credo, if you will:
Part of the magic of what is Pixar is, of course, number one is the story. It's the humour, the characters, the emotion ... of course all that is in there, but the look of our films. I feel like I could reach up and touch it but I know it doesn't exist. It's the believability. Instead of the word 'realistic,' I use the word 'believability.' The goal I have as a director and a film maker and Creative Officer here is, I want people to come in to our movies ... I always think of the audience every day with everything I do ... I want them to sit down, the lights go down and I want right away to suck them into our movies. And they don't think about a thing until our movie is over.
Brilliantly said. John also discusses how he isn't against an Incredibles sequel, as long as there's a good story to be told. At the moment, however, an Incredibles 2 is not in the works.

He also discusses another pillar of Pixar rule, involving the likability of their characters:
Imagine going to lunch or dinner with someone you've never met before. That's the characters in our movies. You don't want to sit with a jerk, you know? Someone you don't like?
It's a great interview that you should check out to stay excited for Cars 2 and Brave!


Friday, May 6, 2011

Pixar Short: 'La Luna'

The Pixar Blog has just revealed the above title card and the below still from Pixar's upcoming short La Luna. The short's supposed producer Kevin Reher (who also produced Day & Night and Partly Cloudy) said that "the new short we're finishing production on now... it's beautiful, it's lyrical, it's very different from all the other ones. It's amazing how easy it can be when you just have three characters and two sets."

Here is the synposis for La Luna, which means the moon in both Spanish and Italian:

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?
The short is being directed by Enrico Casarosa, storyboard artist on Ratatouille and Up, with music by, of course, Michael Giacchino.

The short, which will most likely be attached to Brave next year, is Pixar's lengthiest at almost 7 minutes.

It sounds very simple and beautiful, and I can hardly wait to see it! . . .

To see more about the director, visit his website here, his blog here, or read a fairly dated (but still interesting) interview with GhibliWorld here.


Arrgh-dman!: Details on Aardman Studios' Upcoming Pirate Film

Big news! The geniuses behind Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run are developing a brand new, clay adventure all about pirates!

It is based on Gideon Defoe's book The Pirates! In an Adventure With Scientists (which will also be the film's title in the UK), and will be titled The Pirates! Band of Misfits for it's US release. The film is being headed by Chicken Run director and Aardman co-founder Peter Lord. It will feature the voice talents of Hugh Grant, Martin Freeman, Jeremy Piven, Salma Hayek, and Brendan Gleeson.

No word on a release date for the film yet, but I can't wait to see it. I grew up loving Wallace and Gromit, and there's just something about Aardman's style, and clay stop-motion altogether that just gets to me--it is so stylized and awesome! Expect more news about this in the coming months . . .