Saturday 29 January 2011

Tangled Review - A Hair Raisingly Good Return to Form for Disney

Having just been to see Tangled, the day after it opened here in the U.K., I decided to do my first ever A113Animation review.

Tangled is the 50th animated film from Walt Disney Animation Studios, a studio that, in recent years, has embodied that oh so famous Forest Gump metaphor - Disney is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get. However, I can say with some conviction, that Tangled is the best animated film made by Disney (and not Pixar) in over a decade. It was great to see a return to the magical Disney of the nineties to commemorate the 50th Disney Animated Film.

A Collection of Things 2

Once again, I've decided to compile a list of pictures, videos and articles etc... that I've found over the past few weeks.

Firstly, I've found some awesome pictures courtesy of The Pixar Times' Pixart section (almost as good as the Buzz in the Grid picture from a while back): firstly is this awesome picture from Mark Crilley, entitled the Increditoys (pretty self explanatory);
Next, entitled Fluffy Friends, and features Bonnie from Toy Story 3 meeting Boo from Monsters, Inc., it is from Andry “Shango” Rajoelina, I encourage you to check out his blog, if not just for more picture like the 2 below (left from Pixart), with the right mashing up Pixar's Ratatouille and DreamWorks' How to Train Your Dragon.
Finally, in terms of Pixart, we have the below picture by Allen Gladfelter, just great.

Phew... That's a lot of pictures.

Now, we have also seen a great video, which, to put it simply, is what Up would look like if Disney made a live action version in the '60s. Who thinks these things up?

Also, in terms of articles and updates, we have been told (courtesy of Disney, etc.), that DreamWorks' upcoming animated film, Rise of the Guardians, based on the upcoming books by William Joyce, will star the voices of Chris Pine, Hugh Jackman, Jude Law, Alec Baldwin, and Isla Fisher. As well as being executive produced by Guillermo Del Toro. More details here.

Finally, check out this list of Toy Story 3 facts concerning its Oscar nominations, courtesy of Lee Unkrich's Twitter and The Pixar Times.

Angry Birds Rio

I've just found some of the strangest animation new in a while, Angry Birds Rio! The above trailer was just posted on the official YouTube channel for Blue Sky Studios' Rio as well as on the Rovio Mobile page, announcing a cross over game between iPhone smash hit game, Angry Birds, and upcoming animated film, Rio.

The trailer looks great, I don't know what they can do to make this game specifically Rio-ish, short of making Blu an Angry Bird.

Well, let's just wait and see, meanwhile let me know if you see Fruit Ninja Kung Fu Panda anywhere!

Friday 28 January 2011

Cars 2 Website Updated

Disney and Pixar have just updated the official Cars 2 website, the website now incorporates a super cool espionage theme and has the bios, images and wallpapers for computers and iPhone (above) for all of the characters.

In addition, the website shows us a new locale, Topolino's Village Italy. The website is exciting and interesting and has all the information about the film up until now.

Stay tuned and you can view the website here.

Thursday 27 January 2011

Raoul ÇaRoule Races Onto the Scene

We recently found out that we were going to be treated to a whole cast of new characters, bios, pictures and turntables for Cars 2 (a la Toy Story 3), and earlier in the week we were treated to our first glimpse at Brazilian, Carla Veloso. Now we have our first real look at French racecar Raoul ÇaRoule.

Above we have the first hi-res image of ÇaRoule (courtesy of, and we also have a new tunrtable video (now on Disney Pixar's YouTube Channel) (below) and official description:

Known as the "World's Greatest Rally Car," #6 Raoul ÇaRoule was born in Alsace, France. A restless soul, Raoul joined the famous 'Cirque du Voiture' French circus where he learned Gymkhana – a graceful, drift-filled motorsport that taught him pinpoint timing and an unparalleled ability to navigate tricky courses with ease. He's the first car to ever win nine consecutive rallies. Raoul is confident he can use his rally experience to pull ahead of his fellow World Grand Prix racers during the three courses' touchy dirt sections, especially with his fans in the stands waving banners that read: "ÇaRoule Ca-Rules!"

Wednesday 26 January 2011

Oscar Predictions

Since the nominations for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards have been revealed, I thought it would be a good idea to give my predictions for them. The films I want to win are in bold, the films I think will win are underlined. Categories with no bold or underlined entries means I haven't seen any of the films nominated.

Best Picture
'Black Swan'
'The Fighter'
'The Kids Are All Right'
'The King’s Speech'
'127 Hours'
'The Social Network'

'Toy Story 3'
'True Grit'
'Winter’s Bone'

Best Director
Darren Aronofsky, 'Black Swan'
David O. Russell, 'The Fighter'
Tom Hooper, 'The King's Speech'
David Fincher, 'The Social Network'

Joel and Ethan Coen, 'True Grit'

Best Actor
Javier Bardem, 'Biutiful'
Jeff Bridges, 'True Grit'
Jesse Eisenberg, 'The Social Network'

Colin Firth, 'The King's Speech'
James Franco, '127 Hours'

Best Actress
Annette Bening, 'The Kids Are All Right'
Nicole Kidman, 'Rabbit Hole'
Jennifer Lawrence, 'Winter's Bone'

Natalie Portman, 'Black Swan'
Michelle Williams, 'Blue Valentine'

Best Supporting Actor
Christian Bale, 'The Fighter'

John Hawkes, 'Winter's Bone'
Jeremy Renner, 'The Town'
Mark Ruffalo, 'The Kids Are All Right'
Geoffrey Rush, 'The King's Speech'

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Adams, 'The Fighter'
Helena Bonham Carter, 'The King's Speech'

Melissa Leo, 'The Fighter'
Hailee Steinfeld, 'True Grit'
Jacki Weaver, 'Animal Kingdom'

Best Animated Feature Film
'How to Train Your Dragon'
'Toy Story 3'

Best Foreign Film
Mexico - 'Biutiful'
Greece - 'Dogtooth'
Denmark - 'In a Better World'
Canada - 'Incendies'
Algeria - 'Outside the law'

Best Original Screenplay
'Another Year'
'The Fighter'
'The Kids Are All Right'
'The King's Speech'

Best Adapted Screenplay
'127 Hours'
'The Social Network'
'Toy Story 3'
'True Grit'
'Winter's Bone'

Best Art Direction
'Alice in Wonderland'
'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I'
'The King's Speech'
'True Grit'

Best Costume Design
'Alice in Wonderland'
'I Am Love'
'The King's Speech'
'The Tempest'
'True Grit'

Best Original Song
'Coming Home' - 'Country Strong'
'I See the Light' - 'Tangled'
'If I Rise' - '127 Hours'
'We Belong Together' - 'Toy Story 3'

Best Original Score
'How to Train Your Dragon' John Powell
'Inception' Hans Zimmer
'The King's Speech' Alexandre Desplat
'127 Hours' A.R. Rahman
'The Social Network' Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross

Best Documentary
'Exit Through the Gift Shop'

'Inside Job'
'Waste Land'

Best Film Editing
'Black Swan'
'The Fighter'
'The Kings Speech'
'127 Hours'
'The Social Network'

Best Makeup
'Barney's Version'
'The Way Back'
'The Wolfman'

Best Sound Editing
'Toy Story 3'
'TRON: Legacy'
'True Grit'

Best Sound Mixing
'The King's Speech'
'The Social Network'
'True Grit'

Best Visual Effects
'Alice in Wonderland'
'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1'
'Iron Man 2'

Best Documentary (Short Subject)
'Killing in the Name'
'Poster Girl'
'Strangers No More'
'Sun Comes Up'
'The Warriors of Qiugang'

Best Visual Short Film (Animated)
'Day & Night'
'The Gruffalo'
'Let's Pollute'
'The Lost Thing'
'Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary)'

Best Short Film (Live Action)
'The Confession'
'The Crush'
'God of Love'
'Na Wewe'
'Wish 143'

It's certainly a packed show this year, I'm personally predicting that the films that will pick up the most Oscars are The King's Speech, The Social Network, Toy Story 3 and Inception. I'm personally pulling for Toy Story 3 and Inception. Also... what?... no Best Director nomination for Christopher Nolan or Lee Unkrich, they better be saving Chris Nolan's nomination for the Dark Knight Rises! 

The awards are set to take place on February 27th.

Tuesday 25 January 2011

Carla Veloso Turntable


As announced previously, Disney and Pixar are unveiling new Cars 2 Characters on their official Cars 2 Facebook page, today Walt Disney Studios Italy have a turntable of one of these characters (that have since been removed from Facebok), Brazilian, Carla Veloso (above).

Also, we have the results of the poll to determine which animated film YOU think will make the biggest impact in 2011: in 1st place with 55% of the votes Cars 2, in second place with 44% Kung Fu Panda 2 and in third place with 38%, Rio. It seems we're going with the three biggest animation promotions, Pixar, DreamWorks and Blue Sky Studios and to be honest, I probably agree.

Now uploaded by Pixar, visible above in HD. Also check out my Cars 2 playlist on my YouTube channel for all of the tuntables and trailers.
We also now have a full description of the character:
World Grand Prix contender Carla Veloso hails from Rio de Janiero, Brazil. The sweet but powerful Latin diva can dance the night away at “Car-nival,” but spends most of her time on the racetrack.

After setting a new track record at the local Interlagos circuit, she was drafted to join the 24-hour endurance racing team in Europe, where she posted a consistent series of podium finishes.

In the World Grand Prix, the proud Brazilian Le Motor Prototype racer is the only female in the field, and Carla is ready to prove to the world that #8 is there to win for her home country.
Thanks to Stitch Kingdom for the high-res image of Carla (below).

Oscar Nominations Revealed: 5 Nominations for Toy Story 3, 2 for How to Train Your Dragon

Last night, the nominations for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards were revealed and it was a big night for animated films.

The nominations for Best Animated Feature Film (note. there are 3 this year, not 5) are:
  • How to Train Your Dragon - Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois
  • The Illusionist - Sylvain Chomet
  • Toy Story 3 - Lee Unkrich
Whilst I haven't seen the Illusionist, it is said to be fantastic and I know for a fact that Toy Story 3 and How to Train Your Dragon are. In light of this, How to Train Your Dragon was also nominated for Best Original Score, and Toy Story 3 was nominated for another 4 awards! These are:
  • Adapted Screenplay (Screenplay by Michael Arndt. Story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich)
  • Original Song ("We Belong Together"; music and lyrics by Randy Newman)
  • Sound Editing (Tom Myers and Michael Silvers)
And... Wait for it...
  • Best Picture - Darla K. Anderson
Needless to say, this is a fantastic achievement for the Pixar crew, not only being nominated, but being the second Pixar film in a row - and the third animated film ever, after Beauty and the Beast and Up - to be nominated for Best Picture. Congrats to the whole Pixar team on this monumental achievement and the best of luck.

Also of note, Teddy Newton's Toy Story 3 attached Short Film, Day & Night, is nominated for Best Animated Short Film.

Congrats to everyone nominated for all awards, best of luck to Toy Story 3 in the Best Picture category and stay tuned to see how things play out. The awards are on February, 27th.

Monday 24 January 2011

New Cars 2 Characters Unveiled

As The Pixar Times have previously reported, Disney and Pixar have added a Cars 2 Showcase Tab to the Cars 2 Facebook page listing and detailing all of the characters for Cars 2, with silhouettes for the yet to be unveiled ones.

Today, Disney and Pixar have revealed three new Cars 2 Characters (above) who will likely be competitors for Lightning McQueen in the World Grand Prix. These new characters are Brazilian, Carla Veloso, French, Raoul ÇaRoule and Japanese, Shu Todoroki.

No descriptions are yet provided but will likely be unveiled soon. I'm not personally a fan of Facebook and as such don't have an account and will likely miss updates on these characters, so I advise you to keep an eye on The Pixar Times, as they alerted me to this update.

Also, remember to vote in the poll to the right, as there isn't long left now.

Friday 21 January 2011

Holley Shiftwell Turntable

In the latest of the Cars 2 turntables, we are given a 360 degree look at the new female character Holley Shiftwell (voiced by Emily Mortimer).

After being treated to several turntables over the last few weeks, including Lightning, Mater and Finn McMissile (finally uploaded on Disney/Pixar's YouTube channel in HD), we get the fourth one and the first in depth look at what is understood to be a main character in Pixar's upcoing sequel.

You can view all of these turntable videos in HD on my YouTube Channel as well.

Wednesday 19 January 2011

BAFTA Nominations

The nominations for the 2011 BAFTA Awards were announced yesterday and the nominations for Best Animated Film are as follows:
  • Despicable Me - Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin
  • How to Train Your Dragon - Chris Sanders, Dean DeBlois
  • Toy Story 3 - Lee Unkrich
In addition, Toy Story 3 has been nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay and Special Visual Effects.

The awards are due to take place on February 13th at the Royal Opera House. You can view all nominees here.

Tuesday 18 January 2011

More Cars 2 Character Shots and Descriptions (again!!!!!!!)

The latest in the recent blitz of Cars 2 paraphernalia is character shots and descriptions for 2 of the new characters for Cars 2, Finn McMissile and Holley Shiftwell. Courtesy of HeyUGuys, you can view the images and read the descriptions below.
Finn McMissile is a master British spy. Though charming and eloquent, it’s his stealth maneuvering, intelligence and years in the field that enable him to thwart unexpected attacks from bad guys, making quick daredevil escapes.. Finn’s design is sleek and timeless, but he’s also prepared for any tricky situation with an arsenal of ultra-cool gadgets and weaponry, including front and rear grappling hooks, a missile launcher, deployable magnetic explosives and a holographic disguise emitter. As a seasoned professional in the game of international espionage, Finn believes there is a conspiracy brewing during the World Grand Prix. His clandestine work surrounding the global exhibition race puts him on a collision course with Mater, whom he mistakes for an undercover American agent with a genius disguise.
Holley Shiftwell is a beautiful young British desk agent, turned spy-in-training who’s stationed in Tokyo. Well-educated and sharp, she knows every trick in the book—or rather, she relies on every trick in the spy manual. She’s armed with the latest state-of-the-art spy equipment imaginable, from hidden cameras and concealed weapons to a telescoping utility arm and a holographic pop-up display. Holley is a highly motivated agent, but is fresh out of the academy, so her experience is based on lessons learned in school rather than real-life situations. When seasoned international spy Finn McMissile requires Holley’s technical expertise for his latest top-secret field operation, she finds herself pursuing a rendezvous with the most unlikely candidate—Mater, an innocent caught up in the intrigue, who is mesmerized by the beauty of his newest friend.

Thanks to HeyUGuys and The Pixar Times.

New Cars 2 Image

Mere hours after we were given a still from Cars 2, we were given another shot from Pixar's upcoming sequel. The image (above) shows Mater and new characters, Holley Shiftwell and Finn McMissile, in (what I assume) is a plane, which raises several questions: are the planes alive like the cars, I guess the film will answer all questions.

The image comes from the Australian Herald Sun and is accompanied by an article about Cars 2 and the new characters.

Monday 17 January 2011

Cars 2 Goes to Japan

Following on from their massive win at the Golden Globes yesterday, Disney and Pixar look ahead to June and to Cars 2 and continue their massive stream of Cars 2 updates with the above image.

The main and overriding thought when looking at this is awe, it is astonishing how much better the animation looks here than in Cars after just 5 years, it's breathtaking.

Thanks to The Pixar Times to alerting me to this.

Also, remember you only have a week left to vote in the poll to the right to determine what film YOU think will make the biggest impact in 2011.

Golden Globe Results

Last night was the 68th annual Golden Globe Awards and, similarly to the Critics' Choice Awards, Toy Story 3 overcame stiff competition to claim the award for Best Animated Motion Picture, the list of other nominees are below:

• Despicable Me
• How to Train Your Dragon
• The Illusionist
• Tangled

It's interesting to note that it seems that these 5 films are the ones that seem to be nominated for every animated award at every awards ceremony this year. Pixar won the prestigious award for the fourth consecutive year and Lee Unkrich was on hand to accept the award, you can view his (humorous) acceptance speech below.
You can view the full list of nominees and winners here. Congrats to the whole team at Pixar for yet another prestigious win for Toy Story 3.

Saturday 15 January 2011

Critics' Choice Awards

Yesterday was the 16th Annual Critics Choice Awards and it was a big night.

2010 was a great year for Animated films and every film nominated received significant critical acclaim, the nominations can be viewed below:

• Despicable Me
• How to Train Your Dragon
• The Illusionist
• Tangled
• Toy Story 3

The winner this year was...
Toy Story 3, Pixar's 11th feature film scooped up the prize for Best Animated Feature and director Lee Unkrich accepted the award in person.

However, it is worth noting that Toy Story 3 lost out in the other 4 categories it was nominated in, with The Social Network taking the top prize for Best Picture. Not long now to see which film takes home the Oscar.

You can read the full list of awards and nominees here.

Your thoughts?

Thursday 13 January 2011

Ermm... More Cars 2 Stuff

I'm running out of headlines for my frequent (getting more frequent all the time) updates on Cars 2. Nonetheles, similarly to the previous character images and descriptions released last week, Disney have just released character images for the rest of the gang from the first film (such as Flo, Ramone and - of course - Mater) and character descriptions. Courtesy of HeyUGuys. Warning As with previous releases, the details seems to contain some spoilers.

In the now popular tourist destination of Radiator Springs, the rusty old tow truck Mater has a number of roles, including proprietor of Tow Mater Towing and Salvage, grand storyteller and the heart and soul of the town. But Mater’s favorite title is best friend to Lightning McQueen. Mater values each and every dent he’s earned on his escapades with Lightning over the years, and anxiously awaits further fun with his friend when Lightning returns with his latest Piston Cup.
Cheerful, honest and loyal to a fault, Mater rushes to his best friend’s defense, which ultimately lands the off-duty Lightning in an international racing exhibition: the World Grand Prix. When Lightning invites Mater to come along as a member of his pit crew, Mater leaves Carburetor County for the first time ever.
Not long after their arrival in Tokyo, Mater learns that the world outside of Radiator Springs is decidedly different and its newfangled ways may take some getting used to.  But when he’s mistaken for an American secret agent, he falls into an intriguing adventure of his own. Caught between supporting his best friend on a globe-trotting racing competition and his new role in international espionage, Mater ends up in an explosive chase through the streets of Tokyo and Europe alongside a team of British spies and international bad guys.

Sally, a baby blue Porsche 911 Carrera, is the proprietor of Radiator Springs’ Cozy Cone and Wheel Wagon Motels and the apple of Lightning McQueen’s eye. Longing for Lightning’s return from his latest Piston Cup race season, Sally is looking forward to a long drive with “Stickers,” as she affectionately calls Lightning.
When Lightning commits to racing in the World Grand Prix the same night of his return, Sally remains steadfastly supportive of her star racecar. She even convinces Lightning to take his best friend Mater along for the ride of a lifetime. Though Sally stays behind in Radiator Springs, even she lights up for the open-wheeled racing cars from Europe – but only Lightning truly makes her motor purr.

Ramone owns and operates Ramone’s House of Body Art, Radiator Springs’ custom body and paint shop. Ramone is an artist — a true magician with paint and metal.  There was a time when his only canvas was himself, so he repainted himself daily.  But since Lightning McQueen helped put Radiator Springs back on the map, Ramone has had his share of customers—including the star race car himself. Before heading off to the World Grand Prix, Lightning stops by Ramone’s for a new paint job…and Ramone does him up gooood.

Flo is a sassy, no-nonsense lady with the biggest heart in Radiator Springs. She runs the local diner, Flo’s V-8 Café, the only gas station for miles around, where she still serves the “finest fuel in 50 states.” Flo is Ramone’s main squeeze. As a touring Motorama girl in the 1950s, Flo was passing through Radiator Springs and when she met Ramone, she was hooked.

Sheriff is the local law enforcement and the keeper of the peace in Radiator Springs. He takes his job very seriously. Sheriff enjoys telling stories and taking the occasional nap behind the Radiator Springs billboard. That’s where he was when Lightning McQueen first zoomed into town years ago, which led to a messy car chase that didn’t end well.  These days, Sheriff welcomes the hotshot racer Lightning home to Radiator Springs with all four tires.

Lizzie is a Radiator Springs original. She’s a little old lady, but still an active businesswoman who uses her moxie to sell bumper stickers, mud flaps and other Route 66 memorabilia from her curio shop. She’s as feisty as she is brash. Lizzie’s unswerving frankness and offbeat comments keep the townsfolk and tourists on their toes, even though she has no idea what she’s just said.

Furthermore, we have been treated to yet another Showroom Turntable, following on from the ones for Lightning McQueen and Finn McMissile, you can wacth the video below. Thanks to The Pixar Times for this story.

Yet More Cars 2 Information

Over the past few weeks and months, we have received absolutely hordes of information regarding Pixar's next release, Cars 2. Last week we were treated to character shots and bios, a foreign poster and a Lightning McQueen Showroom Turntable, this week we got yet more information regarding the high octane sequel. We got another character turntable (above) for the 007 style Aston Martin, Finn McMissile - one of the coolest looking characters I've seen out of Pixar in a few years -, McMissile is to be voiced by British legend Michael Caine, you can watch the above video with the 007 theme music over the top (made by me) here or here in HD

We also got information on a new character (or CARacter - tehe), called Francesco Bernoulli (above), an Italian F1 Character. Whilst we've never heard of Francesco before, we have seen him before, in the first piece of Cars 2 concept art (below) with Lightning McQueen. It's been reported that the picture is artwork for some upcoming merchandise by Stitch Kingdom, so he is presumably quite an important character.

Finally, Pixar News Australia posted this new Cars 2 poster, a variant of the previous one featuring some of the main characters. It looks pretty awesome.

I'm really revved up (man, I'm hilarious today) for Cars 2 and super hyped for June (well... July here in the U.K.). Thanks to Pixar News Australia and The Pixar Times.

Tuesday 11 January 2011

Toy Story 3, 2 More For Your Consideration Ads

Merely weeks after Disney and Pixar rolled out a gargantuan 12 new For Your Consideration ads for Pixar's Blockbuster of the Summer, Toy Story 3, we get 2 more For Your Consideration Ads for its Best Picture push.

The first (above) is the latest in the series of "Not Since..." ads spoofing previous best picture winners, this one parodies Midnight Cowboy. The second ad (below) promotes Lee Unkrich as Best Director and gives some of the countless achievements and awards heaped on Toy Story 3 (I notice they didn't include my award) and is one of my favourite ads to date.

There's not long left until nominations are announced, I hope Toy Story 3 can do it, but I guess only time will tell. Stay tuned.

Sunday 9 January 2011

Pooh Poster

Earlier in the year, we were treated to the first trailer for Disney's upcoming Winnie the Pooh film, as I said at the time, the film looks terrific and brilliantly nostalgic.

A couple of days ago, we were given the films first official poster for the film (above). Whilst it is certainly minimalistic, it simply - and effectively - hyped me up for the film. So keep a keen eye on Pooh this year.

Also, as Blue Sky Disney points out, it will be Disney's last animated film until 2013, so make the most of the next trip to the Hundred Acre Woods, it'll have to suffice as for at least an extra 2 years.

Pixar Wars

Whilst trawling through the Internet, I found some super awesome artwork from an artist and sculptor called Sillof, this artwork combined characters from Star Wars and characters from Pixar to awesome effect. I encourage you to check out Sillof's full range, however you can see all of his Pixar Wars artwork here.

Below you will find some of my favourite character shots. Enjoy.

Saturday 8 January 2011

The Incredibles Blu Ray Release Date, Cars Re-Release

Earlier in the year, the first trailer for the Blu Ray release of the Incredibles made its way online, and yesterday we got yet more information regarding this release. We have been given an April 12th release date for the long awaited BD release of Brad Bird's 2004 action masterpiece, also have given us our first look at the artwork for the Blu Ray release, as well as an updated list of new bonus features, in addition to the ones from the 2004 DVD:

The Incredibles Revisited (Filmmaker’s Roundtable)
• Paths to Pixar: Story Artist
• Studio Stories: Gary’s Birthday
• Ending With a Bang: Making the End Credits
• Interactive "New Nomanisan Island" Top Secret Redevelopment Plan

Could the "New Nomanisan Island" Top Secret Redevelopment Plan be a lead in to, or build up for, the long anticipated sequel? is now taking pre-orders for the 4 disc (Blu Ray, DVD and Digitial Copy) of the Incredibles.

On a side note, Cars is set to be re-released on Blu Ray, with the above artwork, on the same day, presumably to build hype for Cars 2. Also, both releases come with an admission ticket for the release of Cars 2.

New Cars 2 Information

Russian film blog,, brings us the new foreign Cars 2 film poster (above), that highlights the World Grand Prix aspect of the film.

Furthermore, Empire Online has a veritable plethora of Cars 2 goodies; they have been treated to lots of character shots from the film, updated bios for the characters and a 360 degree video (below) look at Lightning McQueen. Warning. The bios may contain some spoilers.

Lightning McQueen (aka Lightning)
Number 95 Lightning McQueen is still a hotshot racecar, but his rookie days are past him. Now a permanent resident of Radiator Springs, Lightning has become a bona fide worldwide celebrity as winner of four Piston Cups.
After his latest win, Lightning returns home to enjoy life in the slow lane for a while with sweetheart Sally, best friend Mater and the rest of his Radiator Springs family. His off-season is unexpectedly cut short when Mater inadvertently prompts Lightning to enter the World Grand Prix, a high profile, three-part exhibition race that will take him around the globe.
With a fresh custom paint job and real, working headlights, Lightning sets off to Japan, Italy and England with Mater in tow for the adventure of a lifetime. But competing against the fastest cars in the world tests more than his racing skills when Lightning realizes his wide-eyed best friend may not be the pit chief nor ambassador he needs to navigate the unfamiliar international terrain.

Radiator Springs resident Luigi is a big-hearted, gregarious and excitable Italian Fiat 500. A tire virtuoso and owner of Luigi’s Casa Della Tires, he and his sidekick Guido join Lightning and Mater as members of Team Lightning McQueen for the World Grand Prix. Luigi is also an aficionado and fanatic for all things Italian, and is particularly enchanted with Ferrari race cars. When the competition takes the team to his hometown of Porto Corsa, Italy, Luigi is over the moon to introduce the Radiator Springs crew to his charming village and the wonderful ways of Italy. His family welcomes the gang from Radiator Springs in a big, passionate Italian way: Amore!
Guido, the little Italian forklift, is the backbone of Casa Della Tires. He’s Luigi’s assistant and best friend, and together they are the biggest Ferrari racing fans in Carburetor County. A car of few English words other than “pit stop,” Guido is a force to be reckoned with when he’s changing tires in the pits during a race. Joining Team Lightning McQueen for the World Grand Prix, Guido will get to show off his turbo-charged, pedal-to-the-metal pit stops on the global stage…and maybe, just maybe, he’ll see some Ferraris!

Radiator Springs’ resident hippie Fillmore is an easy-going, peace-loving 1960s Volkswagen van. And as his friend and neighbor Sarge likes to say, “once a hippie, always a hippie.” At his popular shop Fillmore’s Organic Fuel, Fillmore brews his own fuel, which he sells with Bohemian accessories like tie-dyed mud flaps. But when he learns that the World Grand Prix will be run exclusively on the alternative fuel Allinol, Fillmore closes up shop and signs on as the fuel expert for Team Lightning McQueen.

Green Army Jeep Sarge is a patriotic veteran who runs the Radiator Springs Army surplus store, Sarge’s Surplus Hut. Sarge’s no-nonsense attitude often leads to bickering with his hippie friend, neighbor and polar opposite, Fillmore. Despite their differences, the two are almost inseparable – even throughout their world travels. A security specialist with military connections around the globe, Sarge joins Lightning and Mater at the World Grand Prix as a member of Team Lightning McQueen.

Mack is Lightning McQueen’s trusted long-haul driver, crisscrossing the country from race to race, always with a smile on his grill. After dropping Lightning off in Radiator Springs with his fourth Piston Cup championship trophy, Mack sets off with the rest of the pit crew for a well-deserved vacation. Who knew that Lightning would end up jetting off to a race around the globe in the World Grand Prix?

Thanks to Upcoming Pixar for alerting me to this.

Tuesday 4 January 2011

Pixar: 25 Magic Moments

Just thought it would be a good idea to share my thoughts on a recent show I watched, Pixar: 25 Magic Moments that showed yesterday on BBC Three. The documentray was brilliant, really fascinating, interesting and funny. Whilst a lot of the clips and interviews (specifically the ones with John Lasseter) were just the ones from The Pixar Story, it featured lots of new information (including an interview with Emily Mortimer - who voices Holley Shiftwell in the upcoming Cars 2), and some great interviews with Pete Docter, Andrew Stanton, Randy Newman, Michael Giacchino and Billy Crystal, among others. I really reccomend watching it, you can check it out on BBC iPlayer for a limited time.

Also as requested by a blog reader, here is the U.K. WALL E Trailer. Enjoy it Tom.
Also, time for yet another poll. The poll, which you will find to the right, is to determine which animated film, or films, you think will make the biggst impact this year, 2011.

Monsters, Inc. 2, A Prequel?

Is the upcoming 2012 Pixar sequel, Monsters, Inc. 2, in fact a prequel? Dutch animation blog Animatie says that it may well be. The rumours (and we have to assume they are such until an official announcement tells us otherwise) aparently stem from a 2011-2012 catalogue from Walt Disney Pictures. The catalogue aparently claims that the film will follow Mike and Sulley back when they were both studying at the Monstropolis University of Fear, and that they were indeed rivals.

Whilst I was really looking forward to a Monsters, Inc. sequel, to see where it would take the story and how emotional it would be - playing off the nostalgia factor, like Toy Story 3, a prequel sounds like a really original and interesting concept.

Also of note is the fact that Monsters, Inc. 2 is now scheduled to be released on 2nd November, 2012, exactly 11 years after the original film.

Monday 3 January 2011

The Ones That Got Away

Over the years, the big animation companies in the business have had story staff, animator and director losses left, right and centre, some of them more devastating than others. Here is a breakdown of some of the big losses, for the big companies:

The Big Blue Losses
Perhaps no company has suffered bigger losses than Blue Sky Studios, it recently lost a large amount of important staff members:
  • Chris Meledandri, perhaps the biggest hit to Blue Sky Studios, one of their former big players decided to take a page out of Jeffrey Katzenberg's book and set up shop for himself, with the help of Universal Studios Meledandri went on to form Illumination Entertainment. The company behind Despicable Me really made a mark for themselves on the box office and audiences alike, Illumination Entertainment and Chris Meledandri could really make BSS pay and knock them off their 3rd place spot and close on Pixar and DreamWorks.
  • Chris Renaud, another big loss, the acclaimed director of short film No Time For Nuts and a story artist on Robots, Ice Age 3 and Horton Hears a Who, Renaud went on to direct Illumination Entertainment's debut film, Despicable Me, another shot to BSS.
  • Daisuke "Dice" Tsutsumi, formerly a colour key artist and animator at Blue Sky, Dice moved to Pixar in 2007 and made a big impact as the art director on Toy Story 3, helping to infuse a lot of the film's heart, warmth and charm.
The Cheese That Evaded the Mouse
Disney, perhaps the best known animation company of all time, has not been without losses, one of these some of the most devastating we've ever seen for a company:
  • Jeffrey Katzenberg, the big one, a former Disney head honcho, left Disney on quite bad terms and decided to try his own hand at running an animation company, out of that desire DreamWorks Animation was born. Katzenberg deserves a lot of credit for creating an animation company out of nothing, that has been huge competition for Disney and Pixar for the last 15 years. Whilst I don't always agree with Katzenberg and his insistence on innuendo, pop culture jokes and sequel after sequel, DreamWorks has made some amazing animated films - Shrek, Shrek 2, Kung Fu Panda and How to Train Your Dragon - and that's a big feat. However, he's also created a lot of poor filler (*ahem* Bee Movie *ahem* Shrek the Third), regardless DreamWorks great commercial success shows that Disney's letting go of JK may have been a crucial loss.
  • Chris Sanders, another big loss, the co-writer and co-director of Disney's Lilo & Stitch also left the Mouse House on bad terms after being relieved of his position on Bolt (then American Dog) by the Lasseter Disney regime due to an alleged inability to listen to the Pixar Brain Trust. However, Sanders went on to DreamWorks and made a huge splash co-directing the fantastic How to Train Your Dragon, stiff competition for Toy Story 3.
The Bulbs that Broke the Lamp's Shine
Arguably the biggest animation company in the game today is Pixar, the studio that delivers hit after hit has suffered very few setbacks over the years, however there are two staff losses that really stand out:
  • Doug Sweetland, a massive player at Pixar over the years, an animator on every Pixar film up until Cars, he then directed the fantastic Presto short film (my second favourite Pixar short), however he decided he wanted to be a bigger player. As such, Sweetland left Pixar and went off to Sony Pictures Animation - the studio behind the great Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs - to direct his own feature film, the Familiars, based on the book series by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson. Not a devastating loss, but a pretty big one all the same.
  • Rodrigo Blaas, a former Pixar animator who up and left the Toy Story studio to move to DreamWorks Animation and direct his own film. Blaas is to direct Alma, a film based on his independently created and eerie short film, whilst this doesn't sound too bad, factor in that movie legend Guillermo Del Toro is set to produce, and you have a potential pay-day for DreamWorks and stiff competition for Disney and Pixar
Only Once in a Full Moon
Over the years, DreamWorks haven't had that many losses in terms of staff, however they have had one big loss in terms of creativity:
  • Aardman Animations, the company collaborated with DreamWorks on many films over the years, Chicken Run, Wallace and Gromit and Flushed Away, all great films, however they didn't make quite as much money at the Box Office as DreamWorks would've hoped, that and Aardman weren't happy with the credit DreamWorks took for their films. However Aardman have gone on to other partners, Sony Pictures Animation to be precise, and Arthur Christmas (their first collaborative film) looks great, so DreamWorks may rue the day they let Aardman slip away.
I've no doubt that there will be lots of losses on every front to come, however only time will tell what repercussions will come as a result of this.

Scrat's Continental Crack-Up

Recently, the video embedded above made its way online. The video is believed to be a trailer for the upcoming Blue Sky Studios short film, Scrat's Continental Crack-Up, however many claim it is a teaser trailer for the upcoming 2012 feature film, Ice Age: Continental Drift (or Ice Age 4). However, it may well be both...

A short, starring Scrat (a staple of the Ice Age movies), this far into work on Ice Age 4, and concerning continental plates moving, like the film, is surely linked to it.

Regardless of the mystery and speculation, the clip looks great (I am still concerned about the film as a whole though after the cringe fest that was Ice Age 3), however we also have this screenshot of the film to fuel the fire that this is indeed a trailer, as both debuted within weeks of each other.

Don't forget Blue Sky Studios' next feature film, Rio, out next year, you can watch the trailer here.