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When Disney took a long look at the DisneyToon studios film Planes, which acts as a spin-off from Pixar’s Cars films, the decision was made to give it a theatrical run of its own. Once intended as a direct-to-disc moneymaker, the movie once knocked as a cash-in knockoff of Pixar’s work hit the big time.

That probably won’t happen with Wings. This release from LionsGate’s home department appears to be a gloriously egregious example of exploitation of a young audience’s interest in anything that looks like Pixar. (And of course kids can tell the difference; it’s the distracted adult that might be fooled for a moment.)

While some advance word on Planes says that it is actually fairly decent, Wings looks like what The Asylum would make if it used Pixar movies as a jumping-off point. Watch the trailer below.  Read More »

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For all the hate, garbage and stupidity the Internet brings us on a daily basis, every once in a while it provides a global platform for something awesome. In this case, Jon Negroni‘s Pixar Theory. Negroni wrote a post that has been circulating since last week which goes through every single Pixar movie since Toy Story and surmises they’re all set in the same universe.

So, for example, the theory states Brave sets a precedent for why animals can interact with humans, which explains a lot of Ratatouille, which maybe inspired the characters in Up to invent tech to communicate with their animals, which possibly inspired the beginnings of Buy-N-Large from Wall-E, and so on and so on. It’s obviously much more detailed than that and I totally don’t believe it’s “real,” from Pixar’s perspective, but it’s a fun read that does make some sense.

Below, we’ll link to the original post and even show you a video that details it. Read More »

Cars Short Bugged

Among Pixar and Disney fans, many regard the Cars movies with a certain degree of apathy. Generally, the sense is that the first movie is okay, the second movie is slightly less okay, and neither ranks anywhere near the best Disney or Pixar has done. However, we also know how much money the franchise makes for the company, thanks to its younger fans and merchandising. We know movies like Cars allow Disney and Pixar to make riskier, interesting films.

I’ll tell you, though. If you’ve been to Disneyland in the last year and visited their latest area, Cars Land, it’ll make you appreciate the movie on a whole new level. In the park, fans are transported to the center of Radiator Springs complete with all the characters and you gain a whole new level respect for the work John Lasseter and his crew put into Cars and Cars 2.

While we have yet to hear any rumblings of a Cars 3, Disney does continue to make short films in the franchise and three new Tales From Radiator Springs have just been released. Directed by Jeremy Lasky, one features Lightning McQueen getting Hiccups, the next is about the fire engine Red getting Bugged and the third shows Guido with a Spinning sign. Check them out below. Read More »

Pixar’s ‘Brave’ Easter Eggs Revealed

We love discovering the hidden easter eggs that Pixar hides within their movies. We’ve been collecting the easter eggs for some time now, having extensive write-ups of all the hidden secrets in Ratatouille, WALL-EUpToy Story 3, Cars 2, and even the short film Day & Night. When it was announced that Pixar would be released a film set in the highlands of 10th century Scotland, many fans wondered how they’d be able to sneak in some of the contemporary staples like the Pizza Planet truck or a character from their next film (in this case, Monsters University). But early on, director Mark Andrews assured us that all the fun easter eggs would be included one way or another. Where is the Pizza Planet Truck? Find out for yourself, after the jump.

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Ranking the Best & Worst Pixar Movies

How is it that a movie studio that produces kid’s films can be responsible for so many of the best films in cinema?

Twenty years ago, that question would be directed at Disney. Now it’s more likely to refer to Pixar, Studio Ghibli, or even Dreamworks of late. What is it about children’s entertainment that has, time and time again, managed to capture the hearts and minds of adults as much as it has their offspring?

Perhaps it’s a result of these films rekindling our lost sense of childlike wonder and naively adventurous spirit. Perhaps it’s their universally accessible narrative simplicity, always ready to charm away our worries with the awe-inspiring visual splendor through which these tales are so often told.

Whatever the case may be, with thirteen films under their belt, the Pixar formula is one that’s proven itself to leave a lasting impression, transporting us to spectacular, gorgeously rendered and thoughtfully defined worlds — second only to the passionately heartfelt and funny stories of family and friendship embedded within.

What’s more, Pixar is able to achieve this mixture while emboldening children to think for themselves; to challenge the status quo; to recognize their true potential, as well as their limitations. As fun and charming and pretty as Pixar’s films are, it’s the complex ideas and emotions they explore that makes them truly special, affording youths the opportunity to confront the realities of the world around them in a way they can understand and cope with. While everyone else is content to pander to kids, Pixar knows that the best way to communicate with children is to treat them as equals.

But equality is not a trait shared by the current roster of Pixar films. Despite the technical virtuosity on full display with every production, it takes a lot more than stunning animation to make a film great, and that’s not a balance that Pixar always strikes — at least not recently. At one point it may have seemed like the studio could do no wrong, but that was a short-lived romantic notion, and hardly one that merits much deliberation. No, far more instructive would be to scrutinize their missteps in conjunction with their successes, and try to determine what exactly it is that makes any one of their works richer than the other. After all, what better way to understand what makes a story great than to study the best? Read More »

Save for a few of the original directors, few people can give you a better snapshot of what’s going on at Pixar than Katherine Sarafian. The production coordinator turned director of marketing and now producer has been with the company since 1994 and their first film, Toy Story. For the past five plus years, she’s been working on Brave, Pixar’s upcoming feature about a wild Scottish princess whose fate is tied to the family kingdom. Sarafian has been with the production from its inception and has intimate knowledge on the controversial directional change, massive story rewrites, cast changes and more.

Recently, I was at Pixar to see the gorgeous first thirty minutes of the film (read about that here) and spoke to Sarafian not only about those things, but the surprising power of being a producer at Pixar, the marketing of the film (including when we might see a new trailer) as well as the company’s feeling facing their first critical disappointment: Cars 2. Check out the interview below. Read More »

The two Cars films may be Pixar’s worst-reviewed films to date, but the scorn of critics certainly doesn’t stop kids from loving the hell out of Lightning McQueen, Mater, and company. There are Cars-themed lunchboxes, t-shirts, games, even beds — and starting in June, there’ll be a Cars Land as well. Disney has just announced the opening date for the 12-acre attraction, an expansion of Disney California Adventure in Anaheim. Hit the jump for details on the grand opening, as well as pictures and video offering glimpses of the new Cars Land.

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Whether you’re a Disney superfan like our own Peter Sciretta or more a casual admirer like myself, it’s hard not to get extremely excited when a whole new world is opening up at one of their theme parks. The next one up is Cars Land, based on the popular Pixar films, which is scheduled to open this June at Disney California Adventure. Though plenty of information has been released about some of the rides and other attractions, a video has now come online featuring Disney Imagineers discussing the creation of this whole new world.

After the jump with a 12-minute making of video for Cars Land. Read More »

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