Sunday, October 31, 2010

Chapman in contract dispute with Pixar?

An anonymous tipster evidently located in San Francisco—Pixarian country—says the following regarding Brenda Chapman's status at Pixar:
"The New York Times is wrong. Brenda has left Pixar but is still technically on payroll because of squabbles over her contract. Once those are resolved, she will be officially out of the company."
Unsubstantiated, yes, but intriguing.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

"Done."

With Toy Story 3 arriving on DVD/Blu-ray in a couple of days, director Lee Unkrich posted a short video to YouTube celebrating the finality of the moment. Watch.



Coming up next: the awards season!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Thoughts on Toy Story 3 Blu-ray/DVD

After being delayed for a week due to a storm and power outage at Disney's warehouse (true!), my copy of the Toy Story 3 Blu-ray/DVD finally arrived at my door on Monday.

I got the 4-disc combo pack, which has the movie on Blu-ray Disc (BD) and DVD plus a digital copy for iPods and other portable media players.

Picture and sound on the Blu-ray are awesome —no surprise there. It continues the tradition of every Pixar Blu-ray release supplanting the previous one as the "best I've seen". The experts at Blu-ray.com agree, giving the title a perfect 5.0 rating.

When it comes to extras, most are exclusive to the second BD. But some, like short film Day & Night and the animated Studio Stories, are also included on the DVD, which is identical in content to the standalone DVD edition.

(A complete list of extras included with each edition can be found in here.)

Talking about Studio Stories, the best one is probably "Clean Start", about the animators shaving off their hair at the start of production on Toy Story 3. They ain't kidding about Lee Unkrich having long hair before; there's a picture of him pre-haircut in one of the featurettes.

I haven't watched all of the bonus material yet, but the ones I have seen, like "Roundin' Up A Western Opening" and "Paths To Pixar: Editorial", are really good. And they're in full 1080p hi def, which is an extra treat.

This is precisely the home video release that Toy Story 3 deserves. Be sure to pick it up on Tuesday or as soon as you have the chance.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Writing for Cult of Mac

Regular readers of this blog know that I'm a huge fan of Apple. Without a doubt, it's the greatest consumer electronics company in the world. And, of course, it has a unique connection to Pixar.

Having wanted to write about Apple for a long time, I'm very pleased to let you all know that I've been given the opportunity to join editor Leander Kahney (author of Inside Steve's Brain) and his top-notch team of Apple lovers over at Cult of Mac.

My schedule doesn't permit me to join the site as a full-time contributor, but I'll be posting as often as I can; hopefully some really cool stuff. Stay tuned 

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Lasseter directing Cars 2; Brad Lewis is co-director

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures' media release for the Cars 2 "logo reveal" and artwork officially lists John Lasseter (pictured) as director of Cars 2, with Brad Lewis as co-director. Jim Hill Media first broke the story this past June.

When Cars 2 was announced in April 2008, Lewis, who served as producer on Ratatouille, was named as the sole director on the sequel. It was stated that he was working closely with Lasseter, for whom Cars is a very personal endeavour.

Officially becoming director of Cars 2 definitely suggests that he later took on an even greater leadership role, likely due to the rumoured development troubles. Being chief creative officer of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios and principal creative advisor of Walt Disney Imagineering, Lasseter hasn't personally directed a film since Cars.

Wednesday's press release also made public that Cars 2 is being produced by Up associate producer Denise Ream. Before joining Pixar, Ream worked as a visual effects producer/executive producer on a number of films, including Star Wars: Episode III –Revenge of the Sith and Mission: Impossible III.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Cars 2 teaser and concept art released

While I was engrossed watching Apple bring out their new products this afternoon, Pixar released a preview of their next "product", Cars 2, which will be in theatres on June 24 next year.

The very first teaser trailer for the film was posted to the official Disney/Pixar YouTube channel, in full 1080p high definition.

Except for Luxo shooting the laser beam, which is undeniably cool, I wasn't thrilled by it, mostly because there not a glimpse of footage from the film itself. And the whole concept of this teaser (or "logo reveal" as it's termed) is too similar to those 'grown up' promos for Toy Story 3 we saw a while back.

Three pieces of wonderful new concept art were also released. You can check them out at Empire (the film opens in the U.K. on July 22). I love London, so the one of Westminster Bridge and Big Ben has to be my favourite.

Brenda Chapman no longer directing Brave

Based on information provided by unnamed "reliable sources", Cartoon Brew is reporting that Brenda Chapman is no longer directing Brave at Pixar and has left the the studio entirely.
"We hear that she was pushed aside from full directing duties a while back, and that story artist Mark Andrews (who also co-directed the Pixar short One Man Band) has taken over directorial duties. We understand that the change officially happened last week, although it had been inevitable for some time."
Pixar and Disney have previously carried out similar shake-ups when things weren't heading in the right direction for a film, most notably when Jan Pinkava was pushed aside as director of Ratatouille in favour of Brad Bird.

However, this would be quite a shocking turn of events. Chapman has long been touted as "Pixar's first female director" who would bring a woman's perspective to Brave, which she wrote, and which features Pixar's first female protagonist. It would be a stunning change, and I'd love to hear what the studio would have to say about it.

Stay tuned as the story develops or is quashed by official word from the studio. Brave is scheduled to open in theatres on June 15, 2012.

(via /Film)
-----
Update: The New York Times reports that The Walt Disney Studios has confirmed Cartoon Brew's report from Monday that Chapman has been replaced as director of Brave by Mark Andrews.

The Disney spokesperson says that the change was made for "creative reasons". Contrary to Cartoon Brew's piece, however, Chapman hasn't left Pixar; she "remains on staff" at the studio.

As of the production of Toy Story 3, she's a member of the studio's senior creative team or "brain trust". Prior to joining Pixar in 2003, Chapman worked on Disney's Beauty and the Beast and co-directed DreamWorks Animation's The Prince of Egypt.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Incredibles Blu-ray confirmed for Spring 2011 [UPDATE]

A promotional booklet found inside the Toy Story 3 Blu-ray (in stores Nov. 2) confirms that The Incredibles will be arriving on Blu-ray Disc (BD) next spring, in a BD+DVD+digital copy combo pack.

User Sithlord75 of the Blu-ray.com forums already received a copy of the 'TS3' Blu-ray (I'm still waiting for mine) and photographed the promotional materials, including the advert for The Incredibles BD (cropped at right).

The member reports that, "There's a trailer for it on the disc too and it looks superb." Duh! The Incredibles is a perfect fit for Blu-ray.

Less superb is the fact that no mention is made of Finding Nemo coming to the high-def format anytime soon.

----------
Update: Watch the trailer below; it's really fun. Sounds like they got Brad Bird to come back and record Edna's voice over.

A bit surprising that only a 5.1 surround sound mix is mentioned. After such a long wait for this title, I was expecting something more advanced like 7.1.



(Updated Oct. 23)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Variety: Giacchino scoring Cars 2

After examining composer Michael Giacchino's remarkable career, Variety reports on his next project: "He's already begun work on Cars 2 for Pixar founder John Lasseter; he will finish in the spring."

Surprise! Until now, it was assumed that Pixar would follow tradition and have Randy Newman return to score the sequel. His work on Cars was perfect for the film ("The Big Race" is fabulous).

But Cars 2 will have a vastly different setting —international adventures instead of Radiator Springs. A soundtrack by another composer may be just the thing to reinforce that feeling.

Sound off, please!

Monday, October 11, 2010

The emotional impact of animated films

TIME.com has a terrific new piece entitled "Why Adults Cry So Easily in Animated Kids Movies", written by editor-at-large Belinda Luscombe. (The word "kids" in the title was unneeded.)

Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich shares some interesting theories on why adults respond emotionally to animated films, often more so than they do to live-action pictures.

Read it here.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Preview of "Cereal Bar" Studio Story

Disney/Pixar released a short preview last night of one of the new animated "Studio Stories" found on the Toy Story 3 Blu-ray/DVD, out November 2nd.

This one has the self-explanatory title "Pixar's Cereal Bar". Watch.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Disney to push Toy Story 3 as Best Picture

The Walt Disney Company has decided that Pixar's Toy Story 3 deserves to be promoted as a contender for this year's Best Picture Oscar, reports The New York Times.

Disney will push the film to Academy voters "with all its might" come awards season, which suggests a strong "For Your Consideration" campaign is being prepared to get 'TS3' nominated for the top Oscar prize.

If the successful campaign for Up is any indicator, we should begin to see the first ads in trade publications early next month. Nominations will be announced on January 25, 2011. The 83rd Annual Academy Awards presentation takes place on Sunday, February 27.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Pixar news roundup (10/4/10)

Five interesting Pixar stories from over the weekend and today that didn't get a full post here:
  • With the success of the The Social Network, a film about Pixar's founding needs to be made. [My idea]
  • Animator Doug Sweetland, who worked at Pixar since 1994 and directed the short film Presto, left the studio today to make his feature directorial debut at Sony Pictures Animation. [Press release]
  • Last night's episode of The Simpsons opened with a parody of the "Married Life" sequence in Up. [Hulu; U.S. only]
  • Seventh annual Cartoon Art Museum Benefit at Pixar takes place Saturday, November 6. Complete details: [cartoonart.org]
  • Lee Unkrich inducted into Hall of Fame in hometown of Chagrin Falls, Ohio. [cleveland.com.com]