Wednesday 27 July 2011

Rio Coming to DVD and Blu Ray

Blue Sky Studios have just uploaded the official trailer for the DVD and Blu Ray release of their latest film Rio.

The film was fantastic, certainly one of Blue Sky Studios' best films (my review's here) and if you didn't get the chance to see it in cinemas, I'd certainly suggest that you buy it when it's released on DVD and Blu Ray on August 2.

Friday 22 July 2011

Kevin Lima On Board to Direct Monkeys of Mumbai

News broke over the last couple of days that Kevin Lima, who formerly worked at Disney, directing Tarzan and Enchanted and acting as a Story Editor on Aladdin, is set to direct Monkeys of Mumbai for DreamWorks Animation. The film, which was billed as "the studio's first-ever Bollywood-style animated musical adventure" in a press release on Wednesday, has no announced release date yet but sounds, just going off the working title, pretty fun.

Lima, who is married to former Brave director, Brenda Chapman, is surely going to be a great addition to the DreamWorks team, as only the latest of a long string of Disney staff to flock over to the company behind Shrek.

Kelly Macdonald on Brave

Kelly Macdonald, voice of Merida in the upcoming Pixar film Brave, has been making her round recently, doing interviews concerning her role in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 as Helena Ravenclaw and has broached the subject of her role in Brave as well. Describing her utter elation at working with the animation giants to NBC Connecticut. Macdonald, a star of Boardwalk Empire, said the following of Pixar and Brave:
“I really, really can’t contain myself about ‘Brave,’” she says of playing the adventurous, rebellious archer Merida, the first central female character in a Pixar film. “It was something completely new. I’m not finished yet. I still have some things to do, but it’s just such a different thing, and I didn’t really have very much to go on. They had some animation to show me. I know what she looks like, but it’s nowhere near completion. The animators have been working for years and years on this thing. With all the actors that they’ve brought onboard, that means it’s nearing it’s (sic) vision. I’m just so impressed that I’m getting to work with people who are brilliant. Pixar is the best company, I think.”
Good to see that Macdonald is passionate about the work and I can't wait to see the performance she turns in come 2012.

Courtesy of The Pixar Times

Cars 2 Review - It's Got a Lot More "Vroom" to it Than Most Reviews Say

Cars 2, the latest release from famed Pixar Animation Studios and the follow up to the 2006 original, has been received by very mixed reviews, which, for a Pixar film, is an incredibly negative response. If fans thought that the reviews of Cars 1 were below the usual lofty heights of Pixar films, reviews of Cars 2 have surely been shocking. Many critics cited that the spy theme was too complex, that the refocusing on the sidekick of Cars 1, Mater, was a mistake, even that he is Pixar's Jar Jar Binks, and that it is Pixar's first bad film - or certainly the closest thing from Pixar to being bad -, the box office run for Cars 2 seems to reflect these mixed reviews, certainly looking like it's on track to be one one Pixar's weaker films commercially. However, believe me, after just seeing the film which opened here in the UK today, all of these criticisms are unfounded, Cars 2 is not only NOT a bad film, it's a very good one!

Wednesday 20 July 2011

New Disney Universe Pictures

IGN have just uploaded a lot of new pictures from the upcoming Disney game, Disney Universe. In addition to the characters we have already seen, today we get a whole cast of characters from Pixar's WALL E, including WALL E himself (above) and EVE, BURN E, MO and WALL E's pet cockroach (below), as well as seeing Celia from Monsters, Inc. and Donald Duck.


I must admit, this game looks really good.

Tuesday 19 July 2011

Pixar at IGN

The film, game and more, news and reviews website, IGN, has posted a couple of interviews with Cars 2 director, John Lasseter. The animation pioneer shares details about the hidden details of Pixar films (above), such as the Pizza Planet Truck and A113 (which this blog is named after) and tells you what you should keep your eyes out for in Cars 2 (which opens here in the UK on Friday).

Secondly, Lasseter shares details about the progress of the film (below) and how it became a spy film in the first place (based on a scrapped drive-in movie scene from Cars 1), as well as the huge scope and scale of the film.

Both of these interviews are very interesting and are getting me incredibly hyped for the film's UK debut on Friday, keep your eyes out for my review shortly thereafter.

Monday 18 July 2011

Lasseter Hints at Toy Story 4

The growing mountain of speculation grows, insisting that we will be seeing a Toy Story 4. Today, the hints come from the pioneer of Toy Story, John Lasseter.

Lasseter was on BBC Breakfast this morning (watch the snippet here), promoting the release of Cars 2 in the UK (it opens this Friday), the presenters then broached the subject of Toy Story 4. Namely, they asked about Tom Hanks' comments on the show last month.

Rather than flatly denying the rumours (fuelled this past week by IMDB), Lasseter merely said "yeah, I found that really interesting too", followed by a sly smile, some nodding and "we haven't announced anything", before switching the subject back to Cars 2.

If previous hints were easily dismissible as just rumours, this seems a lot more substantial.

I'm beginning to warm to the idea of a Toy Story 4, but only if I have to, I'd rather they leave it as it is, as the best trilogy of all time! I've no doubt Pixar would make a great film, but why bother? The third film tied everything off with a poignant, emotional and pitch perfect bow. Why risk ruining it?

I guess only time will tell.

Sunday 17 July 2011

The Pixar Process

The work that goes into making even one shot or scene of a Pixar movie takes years and is a phenomenal undertaking, one that can't be easily articulated, it is a journey that takes, usually, over 4 years. However, three Pixarians, Michael B. Johnson, Ricky Nierva and Soctt Clark appeared at the EG Conference that happened back in April, to give an insight into the huge workload in a Pixar movie, in particular Up (video above).

As well as seeing some of storyboarding on The Incredibles, we get an in depth look at the deep thought put into the production design of Up and its characters, namely the symbolism of the squares and circles of Carl, Russell and other characters, all the way through to blocking and to final animation. The painstaking attention to detail and to comedic and emotional timing is outstanding and reinforces why Pixar is atop the Computer Animation world.

Courtesy of The Pixar Times.

Saturday 16 July 2011

More on Toy Story 4

Uh oh!

Following on from Tom Hanks' worrying interviews last month, where he said that Pixar is currently making Toy Story 4, we now get more to fuel the fire and the speculation. IMDB is listing Toy Story 4 for a 2015 release date.

This doesn't mean that it is definitely going to happen, however, in addition to Hanks' comments, it's certainly a big hint. A big worrying hint.

Pixar has never let us down before, and people reacted in much the same way to the announcement of Toy Story 3, however, I believe we have cause to be worried. Pixar ended the trilogy perfectly with Toy Story 3, and I don't think they could reach the emotional poignancy and perfection of 3, so why try? They're getting dangerously close to Shrek territory.

I guess only time will tell, I know I'd certainly pay to see Toy Story 4, but I'm sceptical.

Friday 15 July 2011

New Arthur Christmas Trailer

Just as I finished posting about the trailer for Aardman's next stop motion film, The Pirates, I noticed that Aardman and Sony have released the trailer for the pair's next film before that, Arthur Christmas.

Although Aardman's main talent has always been stop motion animation, I must admit, this looks absolutely fantastic, the CGI is gorgeous, the polar bear bit in the trailer was hilarious. I just love the entire idea of the film, and Arthur hit the nail on the head, I am already looking forward to Christmas!

I'm loving the Aardman news rollout and can't wait for any of their releases.

The Pirates Trailer

Aardman and Sony Pictures Animation have finally released the trailer for The Pirates: In an Adventure with Scientists, the next stop motion film from the British film giants behind Wallace and Gromit is due in 2012 and this trailer is phenomenal.

I'm sure Arthur Christmas will be great, however, Aardman's true talent is stop motion, this shines through in this trailer; it's funny, action packed, clever, satirical and the music and visual style are both fantastic. As I've heard from various sources, the scale of this movie is huge, it certainly seems like an epic film.

Likewise, the voice cast (led by Hugh Grant) seems top notch. Roll on 2012 and The Pirates.

Thursday 14 July 2011

John Carter Teaser Trailer

The first teaser trailer for Pixar director, Andrew Stanton's first voyage into live-action, John Carter, has debuted online. The teaser is intense, fantastical and mysterious and I love the epic feel of it, it feels like a cross between Avatar and Prince of Persia, in the best possible sense.

John Carter is a Disney film, but is directed by Pixar brain trust member and WALL E director, Andrew Stanton. Stanton's feel for scope has clearly transferred from animation to Live Action very well, as the film has an epic, fantasy adventure feel to it. The music and the action all seem top notch, I'm sure we could have done without "Destiny" and "Fate" being slipped in there, they're so overused that they're not effective anymore, nonetheless, the trailer looks fantastic and I can't wait to see how Stanton transfers Edgar Rice Burrough's sci-fi book (which will be 100 next year, when the film comes out) onto the big screen.

The film debuts in American theatres on March 9, 2012 (not sure yet when it will debut here in the UK and elsewhere) and the trailer will be attached to showings of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2, which opens tonight!

Thanks to The Pixar Times for the trailer.

Prince of Persia meets Avatar

Tuesday 12 July 2011

A Day in the Life of John Lasseter

Disney have uploaded the above mini-documentary onto YouTube, detailing a day in the life of John Lasseter. The director of Cars 2 and creative head of Pixar, Disney Animation and Disney Imagineering has a very hectic schedule overseeing the aforementioned work and balancing it all with fun. The mini-documentary, lasting just over 25 minutes, provides an extremely interesting look into the life of the animation pioneer, even giving a look into his beautiful home and his extensive train, toy and Hawaiian shirt collections. It's utterly enthralling and makes you love the guy even more.

Monday 11 July 2011

Luke's Corner: Week 4

Hello, sorry for the hiccups due to my prior engagements and scheduling conflicts, but I am back and I promise that my punctuality will improve greatly.

So for Week 4 of Luke's Corner I will be talking about quite an old but a film that nobody could forget about. The one, the only, Finding Nemo!

Finding Nemo is truly inspiring, yet also funny, and a film that will entertain people of all ages for years to come. This film is probably the greatest film  set under the sea (which says a lot, considering that greatness of The Little Mermaid).

Basically the plot is about a clown fish, called Nemo, who, when on a school expedition gets captured by a diver who takes him to a dentist and his fish tank. His father, Marlin, has to go on a grueling search for his lost son and on the way he befriends a not so sharp fish, called Dory, who admits that she has short term memory loss. While on their hunt for his son, they come across a group of sharks who seem to be evil but really, in this case, they're harmless. I won't ruin the whole plot for people who haven't seen it but there is a lot to the film. Pixar are so very special, and they completely shatter any preconceptions people may have about fish and about people coming into this film.

Finding Nemo has some great moments in it that could keep you laughing for hours on end. For example there is a moment where Dory is trying to remember what the address was on the diver's goggles, it provides comic relief, but, more than that, is genuinely funny.

Overall I give it a 9/10 because it is an utterly great movie from Pixar, but there were some moments that dragged along a little bit.

Ups: Funny, Great Storyline, Amazing Animation

Downs: Some moments lasted too long

Hope you enjoyed week 4 of Luke's Corner,

Kung Fu Panda 2 DVD Trailer

DreamWorks today unveiled the trailer for the DVD release of Kung Fu Panda 2. As followers of the blog will know, I absolutely loved Kung Fu Panda 2, it was fantastic and my review reflected how much I loved it. However, I am not a fan of the DVD trailer.

The trailer seems to describe an entirely different film to the actual one, seemingly closer to what Kung Fu Panda 3 will be about. Not to mention that the content of the trailer, as well as not focusing on Lord Shen, pretty much ruins the end of the film.

Very peculiar advertising by DreamWorks indeed.

Sunday 10 July 2011


Disney, Pixar and all other subsidiaries and affiliates will not be appearing at this year's Comic-Con. Instead, the companies major announcements will be made at this year's D23 expo.

D23, "the ultimate Disney fan event", is scheduled to take place in Anaheim, California, running from August 19 to 21, 2011. Major announcements from Disney, Pixar and Marvel will be made at Disney's own event, therefore they have opted out of this year's Comic-Con.

A floor schedule was recently released for the event, highlights of which (concerning Disney and Pixar animation, as well as Marvel) are below:

Saturday, August 20:
  • The Walt Disney Studios —11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
    A fascinating behind-the-scenes glimpse at the exciting roster of projects on the horizon at The Walt Disney Studios. From exclusive video clips and live performances to filmmaker discussions and star appearances, this session will be hosted by Rich Ross, chairman, The Walt Disney Studios; Sean Bailey, president, Production, The Walt Disney Studios; John Lasseter, chief creative officer, Walt Disney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios; and Kevin Feige, president, Production, Marvel Studios.
  • The Lion King 3D Exclusive D23 Screening—6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.
    Disney fans will have access to an exclusive advance screening of The Lion King in Disney Digital 3D™, ahead of the film's highly anticipated theatrical and home entertainment releases. "The Circle of Life" takes on a new dimension as Simba, Mufasa, Nala, Timon, and Pumbaa grace the screen once again, this time in breathtaking 3D.
Sunday, August 21:
  • Marvel Comics —10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
    An exclusive and unprecedented experience that will take you through the evolution of Marvel from its first comic book in 1939 to its current position as one of the most important creative forces in the world. During this presentation, which will include interactive Q&A segments, you will not only get an inside glimpse of the history of Marvel and its iconic Super Heroes but also discover why Marvel truly is the House of Ideas. This session will be hosted by Joe Quesada, Marvel's chief creative officer and one of the most respected and sought after writers and artists in the entertainment industry.
The event promises to be amazing, highlights will surely be getting a glimpse at Disney and Pixar's upcoming animation slate (including the unknown 2013 Pixar project and Disney's Wreck-It Ralph), as well as an exclusive screening of the 3D conversion of The Lion King. You can apply for tickets on the D23 website.

Tuesday 5 July 2011

Interview: Tyler Garland of The Road to Pixar Team

In yet another interview, I'm interviewing Tyler Garland, Online Quality Controller, of the 'Road to Pixar' team:

A113Animation: Firstly, for those of us that may not know what 'The Road to Pixar' is about, tell us a little bit:
Tyler Garland: The Road to Pixar is a documentary that will follow the Pizza Planet delivery truck on it's incredible journey up to Northern California.

A113: When did the project start; when is it expected to run until?
TG: About a year ago. We hope to have it up and running by the end of summer!

A113: The ultimate goal is Pixar, obviously, what are your thoughts about Pixar?
TG: Pixar is incredible! From story lines, to characters they really set the bar for animated films in my eyes. Not to mention everything they do is so visually stunning.

A113: What is your favourite Pixar film; why?
TG: For sure Toy Story. Such a groundbreaking film in so many ways, with some great acting talents as well. Can't beat it. A Bug's Life comes in at a close second, though.

A113: Who is your favourite Pixar character; why?
TG: I'd have to say RC. That was always my favorite as a kid, and I never outgrew it. I actually had a real RC remote control car like in the movie at one point.

A113: What was the inspiration for the project?
TG: The love for Pixar, and the love for filmmaking. I think that says it all.

A113: You're launching an online campaign I believe, tell us a little about that:
TG: The campaign is going to be shedding some light on the project and also hopefully creating a fan base!

A113: Will you be making a stop on the journey to see Cars 2; what do you make of the idea of Pixar making a sequel to arguably their weakest film?
TG: I think that Cars 2 is going to make a lot of fans happy, although it may not be groundbreaking in any way, it will still please the kids, and that is important. 

A113: Anything else we should know?
TG: This will be a really fun journey to follow. Don't be left behind!

Once again, remember to keep your eyes peeled for more and check out their website.

Monday 4 July 2011

Interview: Sean Beamon of The Road to Pixar Team

In the latest of my series of interviews with members of the 'Road to Pixar' team, I'm interviewing Production Coordinator, Sean Beamon:

A113Animation: Firstly, for those of us that may not know what 'The Road to Pixar' is about, tell us a little bit:
Sean Beamon: We are going to deliver a pizza to the sensational people of Pixar... in the truck from a planet made of pizza.... at least that's what the group told me.

A113: The ultimate goal is Pixar, obviously, what are your thoughts about Pixar?
SB: I find Pixar to be a creative giant that grasped an idea and ran with it.  They seem to have the winning formula with animated movies and they sure do a good job of replicating it

A113: What is your favourite Pixar film; why?
SB: I mean the Toy Story trilogy is fantastic but honestly my favorite Pixar moment is probably the chess game known as "Geri's Game" it was so clever for when it came out and developed the character so well without dialogue! It really was Pixar showing off their animators.

A113: Who is your favourite Pixar character; why?
SB: TWO WORDS. JOHN. RATZENBERGER. The man is awesome in every flick, from Hamm dropping his cork to yellow snowcones with the Abominable Snowman

A113: What was the inspiration for the project?
SB: OK so me and Andy.... yeah we're the same person, and that goes for my whole generation that grew up relating to the kid.

A113: You're launching an online campaign I believe, tell us a little about that:
SB: Well we're really looking for support anyway we can have it. We wanna have as many people behind us as possible so as to express how many people Pixar truly has touched. We are looking for donations to help fund the trip, for we are paying out of pocket, but we are also looking for reasons to make more videos, so of course if you donate and would like a viral video we do have plenty of ideas that could help to get your businesses name out there.

A113: Will you be making a stop on the journey to see Cars 2; what do you make of the idea of Pixar making a sequel to arguably their weakest film?
SB: I don't think we'll be ready by then, but I found the Cars franchise to be pretty fun for all the gearheads out there.

A113: Anything else we should know?
SB: I don't like pickles.

Remember to check out the 'Road to Pixar' website for more updates.

Sunday 3 July 2011

Interview: Mo Alcaraz of The Road to Pixar Team

Yesterday, I published my interview with Marco Bongiorno of the 'Road to Pixar' team, who are planning a trip to Pixar in a life-sized replica of the famed Pizza Planet Truck. The team have some big stuff coming on the Fourth of July, so today, to build to that, I'm publishing another interview, with Mo Alcaraz, who answers much the same questions in some very different ways:

A113Animation: Firstly, for those of us that may not know what 'The Road to Pixar' is about, tell us a little bit:
Mo Alcaraz: We feel that movies inspire us and stick with us through the course of most (if not all) of our lives, and Pixar movies are no different. We also like the disruptive nature of injecting pop culture into a living breathing society, hoping to engage people's curious nature. By building the Pizza Planet truck from the Pixar films and driving across California, we hope to blend the two.

A113: The ultimate goal is Pixar, obviously, what are your thoughts about Pixar?
MA: To me, Pixar embodies the perfection combination of storytelling, technology, and art. What I hope are primary ingredients in my life's work.

A113: What is your favourite Pixar film; why?

MA: Toy Story 3. Although all Toy Story films have themes which are reflected in us, the third installment has the most diverse and powerful themes of relationships, attachment, growing up, finding love, losing/gaining hope, and home.

A113: Who is your favourite Pixar character; why?
MA: Eve - "Wall-E", she is strong, flies, and has integrated weapons.

A113: When can we expect the next big update?

MA: Tomorrow

A113: Will you be making a stop on the journey to see Cars 2; what do you make of the idea of Pixar making a sequel to arguably their weakest film?

MA: I think it helps promote their new expansion of Disney's California Adventure, by bringing added awareness. Will it be the "redeeming" film? I don't know.

Keep you eyes peeled tomorrow for updates on their website and another interview here.

Saturday 2 July 2011

Brave Updates

Yesterday, we got another stunning image from Pixar's next feature film, Brave. The image (above), shows Merida and the Bear, there is a shocking level of detail on both, and the little nuances are fantastically animated. This certainly looks set to be a visually stunning film.

Secondly, we get some insight into the bear in Brave (which was formerly titled The Bear and The Bow); director, Mark Andrews, spoke with the Scottish newspaper, The Daily Record, about the upcoming film and shared some intricate plot points from the film. Be warned, they contain some spoilers:

"It’s all about the relationship between a mother and daughter, and how this young woman has problems with her mother. When she has a problem with her mother over marriage, she gets a magic spell to try to stop her mother bothering her with the suitor business. But it actually changes her mother into a bear."
Andrews seems enthralled by the beauty of Scotland (when it's not raining ALL the time), saying:

"To set it in Scotland was a no-brainer. It's a place full of stories and full of powerful myths and magic, so what better place to set our story? I love the place. My family came over from Scotland about five centuries ago and my wife and I honeymooned in Scotland."

The record, likewise, seemed impressed with the film, and with Pixar.

I honestly can't wait to see Brave, it sounds fantastic.

Interview: Marco Bongiorno of The Road to Pixar Team

I had a chance recently to ask Marco from The Road of Pixar Team a few questions, I'm very grateful to Marco for the interview. I encourage you all to pay the blog a visit:

A113Animation: Firstly, for those of us that may not know what 'The Road to Pixar' is about, tell us a little bit about it:
Marco Bongiorno: The Road to Pixar is a full length documentary that will follow our crew as we go about building a full sized functioning replica of the Pizza Planet Truck. Originally we just wanted to build the truck to see how people would react when they saw it passing them on the road and whatnot. After a while it evolved into the project it is today, documenting the hilarity that goes along with driving around in the Pizza Planet Truck, while interviewing those who want to talk about how Pixar Films (specifically the Toy Story Trilogy) have effected their lives through anecdotes and comedic recreations.

A113: When did the project start; when is it expected to run until?
MB: The concept for the project came about around a year ago, however school and a few other smaller projects have prevented us from giving it our full attention. We are planning on finishing the build over summer and having the truck ready to go for the holidays but things could always change.

A113: The ultimate goal is Pixar, obviously, what are your thoughts about Pixar?
MB: I think the team that has assembled at Pixar are some of the more creative individuals working in film today. This is a much played down version of my usual spiel, but to sum it up in as few words as possible I'd say that I think Pixar is causing the viewing public to rethink the boundaries of animation and realize that it is just another form of film. I could go on for hours about this.

Friday 1 July 2011

Thotful Spots - Winnie the Pooh

Despite the fact that it was out way back in April here in the UK, Winnie the Pooh is still not out in America. The very touching film is due out two weeks from today, on July 15, in America, trust me, it will be worth the wait. To build interest in the film, Disney have created many 'Thotful Spots', lovely, touching 20+ second clips. They are all uploaded to Disney's YouTube page, however, you can see 4 of my favourites scattered around this post. They really are fantastic, wonderfully innocent and heart warming, A. A. Milne was, simply put, a genius and Disney have done a great job of continuing his work with this film.

Alan Menken Medley

WaltDisneyStudiosUK have just uploaded the above video onto their YouTube page. The video is a medley, from Alan Menken, legendary Disney composer, of some of his greatest Disney hits. The video really brings back all of the magic of these famed Dinsey Renaissance films. Say what you like about musicals, but they really are very magical. I particularly liked the snippets from Colours of the Wind (Pocahontas), Beauty and the Beast and A Whole New World (Aladdin), although I loved all of them.

Menken certainly is a fantastic composer.

Cars 2: The App Review - A High Speed, High Octane Blast

Cars 2, Pixar's latest feature film, has been received to very mixed reviews from critics, however, it's holding it's own on the Box Office front. Cars merchandise has always sold like wildfire, as such games dedicated to it are inevitable, however, film tie-in games are notoriously shoddy and poor quality. However, Cars 2 - The App, released by Disney Mobile, is a surprisingly good and fun game.