Yesterday, CBS News aired a segment on an “ongoing blogger debate” over the representation of black people and negative stereotypes in Disney’s The Princess and the Frog. Of course, after previous and longer segments on the failing economy and Air France, even the way in which Katie Couric mentioned “bloggers” carried a decidedly trivial tone connoting birds-on-a-wire. Snob. However, given that hardly anyone has seen a near-complete version of the fourth-quarter film, I have to agree that any “chirped” anger, feigned or genuine, is premature. Also: the world is mad, get over it.
But heated discussions about Disney’s movies, especially in this case, do have precedent: clips from the studio’s infamous 1946 film, Song of the South, are forever available to support and fan the issues of political correctness. Moreover, theories about sociological, hidden and subliminal messages in Disney films and characters are so prevailing that I have enjoyed intriguing classes on the very subject in junior high (for free) and at university (for a repossessed Porsche).
Which brings me to Disney’s Pixar, where animated films are made to awe kids and—and arguably more-so—adults. Feted, beloved, and at times “progressive” as it may be, Pixar is not immune to similarly “bloggy” issues regarding political correctness; a debate over the absence of female lead characters in their films began earlier this year and remains a valid and popular talking point.
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Want to see 30 seconds of Pixar’s next movie? I’m not talking about Up, I’m talking about the short film (which will be attached to Up), titled Partly Cloudy. The directorial debut of storyboard artist and animator Peter Sohn (he also provided the voice of Emile in Ratatouille) tells the story of where babies come from.
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In March we posted the first photo from Pixar’s newest short animated film Partly Cloudy. But to be honest, the first photo was a wide shot, and you really couldn’t see the characters that well. Pixar has released a new photo on AICN (click on over to see the image in high res). I wonder if the short film will also be projected in digital disney 3D. The directorial debut of storyboard artist and animator Peter Sohn (he also provided the voice of Emile in Ratatouille) tells the story of where babies come from. Read the official plot synopsis after the jump.
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Pixar has sent us the official plot synopsis for Pixar’s next short film, Partly Cloudy, the directorial debut of storyboard artist and animator Peter Sohn (he also provided the voice of Emile in Ratatouille). Also, AWN has gotten their hands on the first official photo from the short, which can be seen above. And I must say, it looks quite beautiful.
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In February, we told you about Pixar’s next short film, Partly Cloudy, the directorial debut of storyboard artist and animator Peter Sohn (he also provided the voice of Emile in Ratatouille). And by “told you about”, I mean, we told you that it was being developed, and nothing more — be cause we knew nothing more than the title and director. But now The Pixar Blog have gotten their hands on possible plot details.
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The good people of Upcoming Pixar have been searching the Disney A-Z (and it’s appendix) and therein discovered the first information on the short cartoon set to precede Pixar‘s Up when it hits theatres in May. Don’t get overly excited because the information is pretty thin.
First of all, we know who is directing the short. This will be the directorial debut of Peter Sohn, storyboard artist and animator. He also provided the voice of Emile, Remy’s gluttonous brother in Ratatouille.
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An exhibition/auction is being held to support the non-profit organization, “Totoro No Furusato National Fund”, which was established by Oscar winning filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki.The benefit auction, which will be held at the Pixar Animation Studios campus in Emeryville, CA on September 6th 2008, will feature more than 200 pieces of original art from some really incredible arts from the worlds of Animation comic books, illustration and the fine arts. The art from the show will be published in a book which will also be available on September 6th. You can check out some of the art now on totoroforestproject.org. Tickets to the event start at $100, 40% of which is tax deductible.
The above piece is by Pete Docter, director of Monsters Inc and Up. The piece below is by Peter Sohn, a Pixar animator who provided the voice of Emile in Ratatouille.
“Anime is one of the most influential forms of contemporary art today. Among Japanese masters of animation, Hayao Miyazaki is undoubtedly the most popular and respected. The storytelling, visual approach and philosophical depth of his films have made a massive impact in the world of filmmaking Today. Many prominent animation and illustration artists in the world proudly recognize Miyazaki’s strong influence and inspiration on their own work.This project gives the opportunity to the artists involved to voice their appreciation for master filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki and the inspiration he has given them through the years.“
The above piece is by Paul Topolos, a concept artist known for his work in Ratatouille, The Incredibles, Star Wars: Episode II, and a bunch of the Star Wars video games of the late 1990’s. Below is an acrylic and paper collage by Pixar production artist Nate Wragg (remember the end title sequence on Ratatouille? That was Wragg).
“Hayao Miyazaki has been actively pursuing the preservation of Sayama Forest for more than ten years. This 8750 acre park in the outskirts of Tokyo is also known as Totoro Forest. It’s in these woods in fact that the concept for the film “My Neighbor Totoro” was born. In the past few decades, the forest has been subject to urban development. Only continued support to the Totoro Trust Fund can help preserve this much needed island of green in the midst of Tokyo’s urban sprawl. We intend to donate the entire proceeds of the project to this worthy cause. This event can also be a symbolic gesture, sending a strong message to the world in terms of environmental and social awareness. Imagine artists from all over the world coming together to donate artwork to help conserve a forest they have never seen.”
Also, a selection of the auction’s artwork will be featured as a special exhibition at the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco running from September 20th to December 7th 2008. And finally, below is a pencil drawing be Mike Lee, an animator at Disney television animation.
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The upcoming DVD release of Disney/Pixar’s Ratatouille will include the first hand-drawn animated 2-D short film in Pixar history. Yes, you did just read that correctly – good ol’ fashion 2D animation from the studio that innovated computer rendered 3D animation. The 11-minute film is also the longest short film in Pixar history.
“Your Friend the Rat” directed by Jim Capobianco was inspired by the research the filmmakers did into rat behavior and history, much of which never made it into the final film. The movie follows Remy the rat (voiced again by Patton Oswalt), and his brother, Emile (Peter Sohn), who talk about the “history and behavior of rats in an effort to persuade human viewers not to kill the ubiquitous rodents.” The result Capobianco claims is reminiscent of 1960s-era educational films, old UPA shorts and classic Ward Kimball animation from Disney.
The short isn’t actually all 2D animation however. It features a mix of 3D computer animation, 2D line animation, live-action filmed segments and even a little stop-motion animation (yes, also a Pixar first).
Ratatouille hits DVD and Blu-Ray on November 6th 2007.
Disney has released a bunch of new character stills from Pixar’s presentation of Ratatouille. Check them out below:
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