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 »


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Grownup fans will argue til the cows come home about which Pixar movie is the best (it’s Ratatouille, FYI), but when it comes to the studio’s worst film, there’s a strong consensus that Cars 2 is the studio’s low point. Even the original Cars was beloved more by kids than their parents, and the sequel has the dubious distinction of being the first Pixar movie to ever get a “Rotten” critical score.

Nevertheless, the franchise’s success with the under-12 set can’t be ignored, and so Disney announced a few years ago that a spinoff titled Planes was in the works. (Yes, I mean Disney, not Pixar.) The feature was originally slated to go straight to DVD in the fall of 2013, but now the studio’s changing course with a planned theatrical release next summer. More after the jump.

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LucasFilm and Disney have long had a very symbiotic relationship. It began when Star Tours first hit Disney parks in 1987 and ever since, Disney characters have dressed up as Star Wars characters, Star Wars actors have done events at Disney, Disney sells tons of Star Wars merchandise, you catch the drift. The latest collaboration between the two brands is a little more surprising however.

Star Wars Celebration VI is currently taking place in Orlando, Florida and at The Disney Collectors Panel it was revealed that the characters from Cars would soon be reimagined as Star Wars characters. Mater as Darth Vader. Lightning as Luke Skywalker, and so on. After the jump, check out a bunch of photos of the characters and discuss this financially sound, but creatively crazy idea. Read More »

Pixar films ranked

The release of Inside Out is an invitation to revisit all the films from Pixar, going back to the studio’s 1995 debut Toy Story. That movie changed the landscape of feature animation with stunning immediacy; after Pixar hit the scene nothing was the same. The twenty years since have given us a total of fifteen animated films from the studio, and we can’t resist the urge to do a little comparison between them. Read our own Pixar ranking, below.
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Brave Logo Art

This weekend saw the release of Pixar’s latest film, Brave, a movie that easily won the weekend, garnering an overall “A” CinemaScore from appreciative audiences. Still, at only 74 percent on RottenTomatoes (Pixar’s second worst), and a 7 out of 10 from Germain Lussier, it is clear there is a bit of room for dissent.

Out there in audience-land, did you notice something a little “off” about Brave? Perhaps there are lessons that can be learned, or conversations to engage in?

To provide some context, and on the off chance we have completely different taste, here are my top five Pixar efforts:

2. Up
3. Toy Story
4. Finding Nemo
5. Monsters, Inc.

Until now, the only Pixar film I flat out didn’t enjoy was Ratatouille, though I admit to only having seen it once, and folks say I’d like it much more if I were to re-visit. Even Cars 2 had redeeming qualities. I can truly say I’ve never found a Pixar film entirely lacking, and that statement includes Brave. There’s no question the film had amazing visuals, setting a new standard for excellence within the animation genre. Unfortunately, the story lacked a bit of … what’s the word I’m looking for? Ooomph. As such, I’m compelled to break down where I feel the problems were, if only to restore everyone’s favorite animation house to the glory they so richly deserve.

One final note, just to head off the obligatory “comparing Brave to the rest of Pixar’s work isn’t entirely fair” argument, we’re in complete agreement there. It’s not fair, and in many ways Pixar’s own ambition and commitment to excellence have raised the bar for all movies. So no, Brave isn’t a bad movie on merit, it’s merely an average one, which animation houses make all the time without compelling anyone to write a 3,000 word article on the subject. But within the greater context of Pixar’s previous work, Brave does come up short, and I think we’ve got a bead on the reasons why.

Note: Massive SPOILERS follow, naturally.

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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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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

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 »

VOTD: ‘[the films of] Pixar Animation Studios’

For the past seven months, Kees van Dijkhuizen‘s been releasing tribute videos for his yearlong “[the films of]” project, each showcasing the work of a different director via a montage, and we at /Film have been with him since the beginning. For his newest installment, however, van Dijkhuizen chose to go a slightly different route: Rather than select one auteur to focus on, he’s chosen an entire company. Watch “[the films of] Pixar Animation Studios” after the jump.

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Cars 2 may not have been anyone’s favorite Pixar flick, but even the critics who were disappointed at its lack of heart had to admit it at least looked gorgeous. On a visual level, the characters and their colorful universe were as dazzlingly, distinctly Pixar-ian as any in the studio’s history. Using their signature style — rich colors, clean lines, big friendly eyes — the animators brought a wide variety of vehicles to life. From beat-up tow trucks to Japanese racecars to rugged military Jeeps, cars of all stripes were given lives and personalities.

Now, a bevy of famed cinematic cars have received the (totally unofficial) Pixar treatment as well. Old Red Jalopy isn’t actually associated with the studio, but their reimaginings of notable movie vehicles look so good, we’re almost fooled. Check out the gallery after the jump.

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