Friday, December 21, 2012

Cars Spinoff Planes Getting Theatrical Release

Breaking News: Planes, DisneyToon Studios' spinoff of Pixar's Cars franchise will be getting a theatrical release on August 9, 2013, instead of going direct-to-video as previously announced.

Planes was originally slated for release in Spring 2013, then moved to Fall 2013. It's been about a year and a half since Disney released the teaser (embedded above), so expect to see a new one soon.

The film, featuring the voices of Jon Cryer and Brad Garrett, follows "Dusty, a small town dreamer who longs to enter the most epic around-the-world air race, despite his fear of heights."


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Teaser for DreamWorks Escargot Adventure Turbo

Earlier today, DreamWorks Animation released the first trailer for their upcoming, gastropod racing adventure, Turbo, online at iTunes Movie Trailers. There's a lot in it that's to my liking.

Even though I'm pretty sure this was Jeffery Katzenberg's plan to get boys to stop loving Cars, the plot is admirably original—a snail whose goal in life is to win the Indianapolis 500.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Monsters, Inc. 3D Another Winning Pixar Rerelease

Roz is looking more fabulous than ever! 

Pixar's fourth feature, Monsters, Inc., is back in theatres today, in 3-D, eleven years after its original release in November 2001.

I just returned from a noon showing and, like Finding Nemo 3D, it's another winning stereoscopic rerelease from Pixar.

Yeah, yeah, I know I said that Nemo was the "perfect movie to experience in 3-D", but I was wrong—this is.

The roller coaster 'Ride of the Doors' scene—one of many superb shots in the film—is Pixar's most adventurous use of 3-D to date, by a mile.

The largely inorganic environments of Monstropolis (think architecture) really benefit from the added depth. When Boo and Sulley stumble upon the secret passageway leading to Randall's lair, it feels like you're right in there with them.

Besides the 3-D, the animation generally looks as fresh as if it had been done this year. And in the (very) few places it doesn't, well, who cares? You've got a clever, action packed story, loveable characters, lots of heart. Exactly why Pixar's doing the prequel.

Speaking of that, if you were already anxiously awaiting Monsters University, watching Monsters, Inc. 3D will make the wait unbearable. (Only 183 days left in North America; 246 in Lithuania.)

Go see it this weekend. You'll also get a bonus: For The Birds, which happens to be my second favourite Pixar short (after Red's Dream). Simple, funny, and the ending never gets old.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Disney Releases Paperman Score Digital Single

Walt Disney Records released the music of Walt Disney Animation's latest short film, Paperman, as a digital single today. It's available for download from iTunes or Amazon and plays just under five minutes.

The airy score was created by Canadian composer Christophe Beck, who previously worked with Disney on 2011's brilliant The Muppets.

"I tried to combine some traditional musical colors (like strings and harp) with more modern electronic elements in a way that felt sonically unique," Beck says in a media announcement released this afternoon.

Paperman, which has received much praise from the animation community, though not from me, is currently on the 10-film short list for an Oscar nomination in the Best Animated Short category. You can still catch it in theatres with Wreck-It Ralph.

Watch New Monsters, Inc. 3D Featurette

Monsters University is still six months away from opening, but you don't have to wait that long to see Sulley, Mike, and friends on the big screen: Monsters, Inc. returns to 2,400 theatres tomorrow, in 3-D for the first time.

In this new, clip-filled featurette from Disney/Pixar, director Pete Docter talks about the added dimension and what it means for audiences watching the film, which first hit screens in November 2001.

Having greatly enjoyed the 3-D rerelease of Finding Nemo earlier this year, I'm looking forward to experiencing Monsters, Inc. 3D  tomorrow. Stay tuned for my review.

Friday, December 14, 2012

New Monsters University Still: Mike Rides Farm Monster

Disney/Pixar has unleashed another new still from Monsters University on its official studio Tumblr. It continues the scene we saw a couple of days ago. That weird farm animal monster thing is taking off!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

First Concept Art from Disney's Frozen

The Walt Disney Studios UK just released this first image from Walt Disney Animation's Frozen on Facebook. It's our first look at main characters Anna and Kristoff. (Anna sure looks like Rapunzel from Tangled.)

Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale The Snow QueenFrozen will tell the story of Anna, a "fearless optimist", and her mission to end the permanent freeze that has befallen her kingdom.

Talking to Entertainment Weekly, directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee reveal a little bit of the storyline (it's Anna's sister Elsa's fault; Elsa is not very nice) and the 'extreme' nature of the environments in the film.

With Frozen hitting theatres next November, we should be seeing more from the film in the coming months, with a teaser trailer possibly coming as soon as next week with Monsters, Inc. 3D.

(via Stitch Kingdom)

Art of Monsters University Available for Pre-Order

Pixar's latest 'Art of' volume, The Art of Monsters University by Karen Paik, is now listed for pre-order on Amazon and other booksellers. The book features a preface by John Lasseter and Pete Docter, and a foreword by MU director Dan Scanlon.

Here's the synopsis from publisher Chronicle Books:
Featuring the concept art that went into the film's creation; from character studies and sculpts to colour scripts, storyboards and more, The Art of Monsters University also includes behind-the-scenes interviews with the film's many artists.
Coming in early June, about three weeks before the release of Monsters University, the book will be 172 pages long; slightly longer than The Art of Brave and The Art of Cars 2.

If previous 'Art of' books are any indication, the current cover art is only temporary and will be replaced closer to publication.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

See New Monsters University Stills

Here are two brand new film stills from Pixar's Monsters University, coming to theatres June 21, 2013. They were published this morning by Entertainment Weekly.

The top one (in hi-res via Stitch Kingdom) is especially good. The color and lighting is spectacular. Plus, it reminded me of my first day of school, minus the braces, and the smile!

In the EW piece, director Dan Scanlon talks about the scene and reveals that monsters have their version of farm animals, and that explains the odd disturbing creature Sulley is carrying—it's a prank on Mike.

Who's Going to Distribute Rovio's Angry Birds Movie?

Rovio Entertainment announced yesterday further details about its long-discussed CG animated feature based on its enormously popular Angry Birds gaming franchise.

Though a director remains unnamed, the production team will include a former Marvel Studios chairman David Maisel (executive producer of Iron Man) and Despicable Me producer John Cohen.

The movie, squawking into theatres in Summer 2016, will be entirely financed and produced by Rovio "outside the studio system". That raises the question of how it will be distributed—they're going to have to team up with one of the majors.

Bet against 20th Century Fox: their animation plate is plenty full for the next few years, between Blue Sky and their new deal with DreamWorks. Sony and Paramount are possibilities, but the smartest option, of course, would be Disney.

No one could market it and extend its reach better, and as I discussed on The Disney Blog in October, Rovio already has a connection to build on through its most recent hit, Angry Birds: Star Wars.

Would a Disney/Rovio distribution deal remind you of anything? Does 1995 ring a bell?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

DreamWorks' The Croods Gets a Second Trailer

A second trailer for DreamWorks Animation's The Croods (opening March 22, 2013) is up at iTunes Movie Trailers—an improvement over the horrifying first one released two months ago.

At least this one is less slavishly imitative of Pixar's Brave and gives audiences a bit more of the story. The scene where cavegirl discovers shoes for the first time is actually pretty good.

Monday, December 3, 2012

40th Annual Annie Award Nominations

Nominations for the 40th Annual Annie Awards—"Animation's Highest Honor"—were announced this morning by the International Animated Film Society, ASIFA-Hollywood, kicking off the awards season for animated films.

While two of my favourites, Wreck-It Ralph and Brave, made it into the Best Animated Feature category, it's surprising that The Lorax was nowhere to be seen. I will never understand the Annies.

Of note, Partysaurus Rex was shut out of the Animated Short Subject slot, probably because everyone at Pixar joined Disney in supporting PapermanMadagascar 3 got a well deserved nomination for Animated Effects.

Here's the complete list of categories and nominees. The awards will be presented  to winners on February 2, 2013 at UCLA’s Royce Hall in Los Angeles.