Thursday, August 8, 2013

D23 Live

Alright, just like my CinemaCon and Comic-Con posts this year, I'll be talking about some big happenings this weekend while they are happening... You know... The D23 Expo!

Thursday, 8:06 PM Eastern

Entertainment Weekly got a piece of concept artwork from Pixar's next release, The Good Dinosaur in addition to details on what we will see at the expo! Feast your eyes on this lovely image...

Beautiful, isn't it? It's great to see our apatosaur protagonist in full color, rather than in silhouette form. Where's the boy? Well maybe we'll see more of him and other prehistoric beasts and humans over the weekend, since we may be seeing even more concept artwork!

Lasseter went on to talk about running Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar and DisneyToon and made some comments on DisneyToon going theatrical due to the sales of home media these days... Errr, I don't know how to feel about that.

Unfortunately, he also said that there are "no features on the docket for hand-drawn" but he did talk about how the studio is keeping it alive and how it's being integrated into Disney's style of computer animation... But damn it, I still want to see traditionally animated hand-drawn films. They can co-exist with the likes of Frozen and Paperman! Plus, you can make a very good-looking one for less than $100 million... C'mon... On the bright side, he also said that hand-drawn won't be a "lost art", as the interviewer puts it. In the end though, what matters is the quality of the film, of course... But of course hand-drawn shouldn't be kept away from features at the very studio that specialized in great hand-drawn classics.

Friday, 1:07 PM Eastern

Looks like Walt Disney Animation Studios will be making their presentation today... Also, have a look at this. See anything interesting on the bottom?

Yes indeed, Disney outright confirmed that Disney Animation's next film after Big Hero 6 (a new first look here, courtesy of /Film!) is in fact titled Zootopia and that it is Byron Howard's film. Yep, Honor Hunter of Blue Sky Disney was right! Also interesting to see that Jared Bush is one of the writers. His background is in television shows like All of Us, Still Standing and Who Wants To Marry My Dad? Disney and Pixar have been picking outsider (in an animation sense) writers recently, and the results have been good so far. Phil Johnston and Jennifer Lee had little to no involvement with animation prior to penning Wreck-It Ralph's fresh and fantastic screenplay, and Victoria Strouse - who will be writing Finding Dory - has only worked on television shows and productions, most notably ABC's October Road. Branching out and then some.

Anyways, I'm psyched to hear about Zootopia but of course I'm looking forward to more on Frozen and Big Hero 6 (the latter especially!), though I do have my theories about Howard's film and the other secret Disney Animation projects. The ones on Zootopia may be moot by the end of the day, or maybe not. Either way, I hope for a small detail or two!

1:52 - 4:19 PM Eastern

Pixar is now up.

Some footage from Pixar's The Good Dinosaur has been teased, along with Party Central, a Monsters University short that will be attached to it in theaters. I was hoping for a short that wasn't based on a film of theirs, but this could be good...

The footage description, reports ComingSoon's writers, shows the asteroid missing Earth, even though it looked it was going to hit it. Dinosaurs watch it go by. Now, they're saying that the dinosaurs in this film are like farm equipment and they all look tired. Brontosauruses are bending down, using their heads to plow fields. Very, very interesting so far. They also apparently talk! The main bronto is named Marlow. (1:55-1:58 PM)

John Lithgow will voice Marlow's father, Frances McDormand voices the mother and Bill Hader voices the brother. Strong cast so far! (2:00 PM)

Marlow is actually in fact named Arlo, as ComingSoon made a small mistake. He'll be voiced by Lucas Neff. Judy Greer will voice his sister, Ivy. As said a little earlier, Arlo is green like the film's logo implies. (2:03 PM)

Peter Sciretta of /Film describes the footage as "almost like a segment from Fantasia." Have we got Pixar's "The Rite of Spring" on our hands here? (2:04 PM)

The dinosaurs also hate bugs, but Arlo doesn't. Outcast story, much? Color me intrigued. (2:07 PM)

Arlo comes across what he thinks is a bug, but it's actually a caveman-like boy wearing a disguise that makes him look like a bug. The boy doesn't talk and is named Spot. So talking dinosaurs, but silent cavemen-esque humans? And Pixar is losing their creativity and touch? Gimme a break. (2:08 PM)

More concept art is shown, focusing primarily on the settings, one that includes a "snowy mountaintop". That concept art, anyone? (2:11 PM)

Now it's Inside Out time!

Director Pete Docter mentioned how the concept was "wholly unique" to animation and how it will be grounded as well. The young girl's name is Riley and she is a fan of hockey and other sports, who ends up having to move to San Francisco and find new friends. Hmmm, I wonder why... Her five emotions are the following...

  • Anger, a red "toad" with a white shirt and tie voiced by Lewis Black.
  • Disgust, a green thing with a dress, is voiced by Mindy Kaling.
  • Fear is voiced by Bill Hader (again!), ComingSoon's Silas Lesnick describes him as a "pink, non-furry Gonzo".
  • Joy is voiced by Amy Poehler, who may be the lead emotion. She has blue hair and a yellow dress, interesting color scheme...
  • Sadness is voiced by Phyllis Smith, and apparently looks like "a little blue Velma".

All these characters are said to be human-esque, like the human-like Muppets, as Lesnick puts it. It's only the designs that they are showing. (2:19 PM)

In a Monsters, Inc.-esque fashion, the emotions work for a headquarters that Lesnick describes as a "more colorful Minority Report base". They watch what Riley does from her point-of-view, Joy captures the memory, as it comes in the form of a ball. (2:22 PM)

The creation of her dreams is shown, as it's said to resemble a Hollywood film studio. They also show a "Train of Thought", which is an actual train. Joy and Sadness end up getting lost within Riley's mind, leaving the other three emotions to keep things going... Hmmmmmm, curioser and curioser... (2:24 PM)

Forgot this update, Neil Patrick Harris voices one of Arlo's siblings in The Good Dinosaur, Cliff. Now back to Inside Out... (2:28 PM)

We'll also be seeing what goes on inside other people's minds. Riley's mother and father have a fight, and they show how it all works inside both of their minds. (2:31 PM)

Now onto Finding Dory...

New characters are being announced... Dory's parents! Her mother Jenny is voiced by Diane Keaton and her father Charlie is voiced by Eugene Levy! There's also a beluga whale in this too, Bailey, he'll be voiced by Ty Burrell. Andrew Stanton jokingly says that Bill Hader won't be in it. Boy, Pixar seems to love Mr. Hader right now, don't they? Hader jokingly tried to get into this film on stage, boy would I love to be there right now! (2:35 PM)

After screening ten minutes of the upcoming Toy Story Halloween special Toy Story of Terror (the footage sounds amazing), now Disney is presenting DisneyToon stuff. I'll pass on this... In the mean time, I'll collect my thoughts on what was shown and revealed of the three upcoming Pixar films... (3:11 PM)

So... All of that Pixar news was inevitably exciting. The Good Dinosaur and Inside Out's footage reminds me of why I love the studio, not just for their storytelling and heart... But for their creativity. I love the idea of humans not speaking in this world, and how dinosaurs work as farmers, something that was talked about months and months ago. Our main character Arlo already seems like the outcast in his world, hence the title which implies that he may be doing something right while other dinosaurs do traditional things that may be in many cases... Well... Bad. Maybe...

Inside Out on the other hand reminds me of how well pulled off Monsters, Inc.'s concept was, especially the descriptions of the headquarters where the emotions work and how other people's inner-workings work as well. People may accuse Pixar of being formulaic now, I don't know about that... This sounds nothing like they've done in the past, and the whole plot of Joy and Sadness getting lost in the mind already piques my interest. Big time! I have a feeling that the emotional content in this film is going to be so thick that a jackhammer can't crack them... Buckets will be cried, maybe?

Other than that, I'm glad that we got some information on Finding Dory even if it wasn't more on the plot. Rumblings went around today about Pixar completely changing the film's planned ending after watching the controversial SeaWorld documentary Blackfish and speaking with the director, but since Pixar declined to comment, I think that article might be fake because it gives away both the planned ending and what they're going to do with the ending in the finished film. Massive spoilers. If those got out, I think Pixar would've seized the article or something. For now, I think the stories are rather... Fishy? Pun shamelessly intended.

While we didn't get a scrapping (yet) on "Dia De Los Muertos" or any of the other three untitled films scheduled for release between June 2017 and June 2018, it was great to hear some of the details on the three films that are next in line. Toy Story of Terror also sounds like fun, taking the toys to a spooky hotel and most likely playing off of horror movie tropes and whatnot. I was hoping the specials would branch out a bit, and it looks like they are! Party Central, I'm not too sure about that one yet, because I really want to see something original with each theatrical Pixar short, but this could work out. (3:39 PM)

Walt Disney Animation Studios is currently up! (3:58 PM)

Footage from Big Hero 6 is currently being shown... Can't wait to read about it! (4:02 PM)

Eric Vespe of AICN tweeted that it "looks kind of like Wreck-It Ralph in tone and design." Sciretta said "We might not get an Incredibles sequel anytime soon but Big Hero 6 will fill this void. Looks awesome."

Lasseter also officially announced Zootopia! Hooray! (4:09 PM)

Now we're getting details on Zootopia! According to Lesnick, it's similar to Robin Hood. It's an all-animal world with no humans, and they act and dress up like humans. Lasseter says he misses that. They also showed a wildebeest wearing a shirt saying "I'm with Gnu-pid". There are neighborhoods based on the different habitats of the animals. One of them is called Tundratown, which is all wintry and frozen... And it contains a polar bear karaoke club with seal waiters! The nightclub has a "fridgasine"... A limousine and a freezer... Man, they went all out! They also showed Sahara Square, where desert animals go at night. A fence chills the cold areas and warms the desert...

Yes that's a lot of little details and my goodness... It sounds very different and a tad bizarre. I love it! (4:14 PM)

Huh, looks like Jason Bateman is voicing a fox lead after all. His name is Nick Wilde, and he's got a rabbit friend named Lt. Hopps. Rabbits lives in Burrow Borough, and they ride a Rabbit Transit System. There's a pop musician named Gazelle with brawny white tiger back-up dancers. Wilde's wardrobe consists of a suit and sunglasses, and he also has very sharp teeth. Lesnick revealed that this puts him at odd ends with his rabbit friend. (4:18 PM)

In other words, holy smokes this all sounds very cool. Definitely creative and runs with the all-animal world ideas of Disney's Robin Hood and DreamWorks' Kung Fu Panda. There is an enormous, I repeat... An enormous amount of potential in this project! (4:19 PM)

8:42 PM Eastern

In the four hours I was away, I still was able to check updates... We got concept art for all of the animated films unveiled today.

First up, a new still from Frozen that looks fine, plus some great footage that was leaked last night. The YouTube comes courtesy of The Rotoscopers!

The footage looks great, no doubt. One minor nitpick is the dialogue, since I was no fan of Tangled's rather distracting modern slang. But I still loved that film, and this looks like it'll be a fine mix of action, comedy and drama. I also love the Elsa reveal at the very end.

This Big Hero 6 piece may be minimal in its content, but it's beautiful nonetheless. The full plot was revealed. Loosely adapted from the comic, 14-year-old boy genius Hiro's developed Microbots technology is stolen by an underground force below his home city, San Fransokyo. Soon, he finds himself in a team of crime-fighters including a robot named Baymax, whom he befriends after losing his brother. Sounds like an emotional ride and a crazy action-packed experience at the same time, classic Disney with a bigger bite. Think The Incredibles, which will coincidentally turn ten years old two days before this film opens.

Zootopia... Now I love this sketch, then again I'm in love with the concept. Seriously, I already see so much in this film even though we know little about it! Anyways, does the piece give you a slight Chris Sanders' vibe? It has that unique weirdness to it, if you ask me... Anyways, just awesome. Nick Wilde is already a favorite of mine. The full plot was also revealed:

"In the animal city of Zootopia, a fast-talking fox who’s trying to make it big goes on the run when he’s framed for a crime he didn’t commit. Zootopia’s top cop, a self-righteous rabbit, is hot on his tail, but when both become targets of a conspiracy, they’re forced to team up and discover even natural enemies can become best friends."

Wow, wow and wow...

This piece of Good Dinosaur concept art shows us how the dinosaurs will really look...

Leaked concept art showed more designs, which surprisingly didn't do much for me... Yet. The dinosaurs have a sort of clay-like look, they are definitely not naturalistic in their designs but definitely very cartoony. I think they'll grow on me, though I think Arlo looks fine.

The big one... Inside Out concept art!

The designs are certainly different, and again, I'm not too, too fond of them just yet. They do have that Muppet-esque look that Lesnick mentioned. I like the designs of Anger, Disgust Fear. Joy and Sadness? They're not bad, they just seem weird... But then again, in the finished film, they all ought to look fine. That's usually the case.

This piece is actually my favorite of the bunch, believe it or not... Finding Dory! (I am in Devil's Advocate mode right now?)

Murky, dark and mysterious in a sense. Looking at it already brings the atmospheric feel of Finding Nemo back, from the great sound design to Thomas Newman's immersing score. Now let's hope the film is great... Well it should be!

What do you think of the concept artwork for these films? Do any of them excite you?

Saturday, 9:15 PM Eastern

After a panel focusing mainly on live action (Disney, Marvel and some Lucasfilm), Disney then had a panel focusing on Pixar shorts and specials.

General Manager and Executive Vice President Jim Morris jokingly said that Toy Story of Terror is the studio's "first horror film". Angus MacLane (director of Small Fry) added "We wanted to have many things from the horror genre, but also make it accessible to everyone." It's a genre that I'd certainly love to see them tackle for a feature-length film, but... We'll save that idea for another day!

Then it was announced that two more Cars Toons shorts are coming next year: Radiator Springs 500 1/2 and To Protect and Serve. Now for a while, I was thinking that the Cars Toons series should ditch the whole "Mater's Tall Tales" deal because it got tiresome, and there's so much more they can do with the world of Cars through these shorts and possibly specials. The first sounds like it'll focus on racing, which is what I kind of wanted for the next Cars Toon. Something about, you know, Lightning McQueen. He's the star of the franchise too, right? Right? Anyways, one of the problems I had with Cars 2 was that the racing aspect was mostly glossed over. I wanted to see more of McQueen's colorful competitors, but alas we got bits of the races and only three of his rivals spoke.

The latter on the other hand sounds like a plug for Planes: Fire and Rescue since that opens next summer... Yeah, let's just I'm not happy with the fact that the "should be DTV" franchise is now theatrical. Feh!

Anyways, it's good to see that Pixar can continue franchises through shorts rather than sequels. I think that's why there's more Toy Story Toons and specials being made, ditto Cars and now Monsters. Better that than sequels, right?


1 comment:

  1. Oh my gosh, this is all so exciting!!! I haven't been this excited for an upcoming slate of films from Pixar, the Mouse House, and Dreamworks in a very long time!! Thanks for bringing us such awesome news!!!