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Briefly: What’s the best way to get attention for your company? When all else fails, sue another major company, claiming said entity stole your creation. That’s what’s happening with Disney and the New Jersey company Diece-Lisa Industries, which says that the Toy Story 3 character Lotso “illegally copies its patented snuggling stuffed animals.” Which sounds ridiculous, but a patent is a patent, I suppose. 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 »

The latest All-Dwarf poster for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey seems to confirm a new Hollywood movie poster design trend — filling a one-sheet with an overcrowded gathering of characters. From what I can tell, the new trend started with the final Toy Story 3 poster, which was created by BLT Communications — a marketing department Disney regularly employs. The design was pretty great, and almost everyone who wrote about it online loved it. So its no surprise that the design was copied by a few international marketing agencies over the past year. The design concept was reused by BLT for The Muppets campaign. And this week Warner Bros has released the all-dwarf Hobbit poster created by marketing company Ignition Print. See them all compared after the jump.

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Note: This post contains major spoilers for Toy Story 3. Be aware if you haven’t seen the movie.

This is incredibly mean. And I love it. One of the most emotional scenes in Toy Story 3 is when the toys accept their fate in the junkyard and it looks like they’re going to die. Then, at the very last minute, the aliens save them with the claw and the film continues. However, the first time you see it, you couple actually think  - for a second – the toys may die.

YouTube user Justin Walin decided to take that feeling a bit further. He re-edited the film to make it end with Woody, Buzz and the gang accepting their fate in the junkyard. He showed his version to his mother and videotaped her reaction. Yes it’s mean, but oh boy is it funny. Check out the video below. Read More »

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 »

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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:

1. WALL-E
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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How much do you know about Circle 7 Animation? Depending upon your level of interest in Disney projects that never were, the answer may be ‘nothing.’ Circle 7 was an animation house set up in 2005 with the intent to create one sequel per year for Pixar-created films that were owned by Disney, but the studio only existed for a year.

Toy Story 3 was to be the first project, and Monsters, Inc. 2 would have been the second. We’ve covered the latter film before; it had the working title Lost in Scaradise, and you can see concept art above. Neither of those films happened — not in their Circle 7 incarnations, anyway — because the mid-aughts rift between Disney and Pixar, created by then-Disney CEO Michael Eisner, was bridged. Eisner stepped down earlier than planned, Bob Iger became Disney CEO in his wake, and Iger set up a deal to buy Pixar. Two months later, in March 2006, Circle 7 was closed without ever finishing a film.

Bob Hilgenberg and Rob Muir, known colloquially as Bob & Rob, pitched a script for the Circle 7 version of Toy Story 3, and were hired to write the Circle 7 Monsters, Inc. sequel. They turned in a very well-liked script, which got them a gig working on the early, never-produced Toy Story 3 after all. Now Bob & Rob have consented to an interview in which they detail the history of Circle 7. Read More »

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The /Filmcast: After Dark is a recording of what happens right after The /Filmcast is over, when the kids have gone to bed and the guys feel free to speak whatever is on their minds. In other words, it’s the leftover and disorganized ramblings, mindfarts, and brain diarrhea from The /Filmcast, all in one convenient audio file. In this episode, David Chen, Devindra Hardawar, and Adam Quigley chat with film critic Armond White about this year’s New York Film Critics Circle controversy, the online reaction to his persona, his thoughts on Toy Story 3, and the state of film criticism in general. You can find Armond’s reviews at CityArts.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. We’ll be back on Slashfilm’s live page on Sunday (10/23) at 9 PM EST / 6 PM PST to hear us discuss Paranormal Activity 3.

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