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Pixar Series | 07. Cars

Cars is the next film in my Pixar Series in which I discuss each of the 14 Pixar Animated Films. I had only ever seen Cars once before, upon its initial release. So I was happy to go back and watch it again.

disneypixarcarstil-1

Director: John Lasseter

Year: 2006

Background:

Cars is Pixar’s seventh animated feature film released in 2006. It is Pixar’s final, independently produced motion picture before its purchase by Disney. John Lasseter has said that the idea for Cars was born after he took a cross-country road trip with his wife and five sons in 2000. When he returned to the studio after vacation, he contacted Michael Wallis, a Route 66 historian. Wallis then led eleven Pixar animators in rented white Cadillacs on two different road trips across the route to research the film.

Plot:

Lightning McQueen is a hot-shot race car who is convinced he will win his first ever Piston cup. However, he comes in a three-way tie and when traveling to the rematch, goes missing and ends up in a town called Radiator Springs, a run down empty town which no cars ever pass through anymore due to the new motorway. When McQueen destroys the towns road, Doc Hudson demands he fix the road before he is allowed to leave. In doing so, he makes friends with a tow truck, and even falls for Sally Carrera, a Porsche. The question is, will McQueen make it back before the big race?

Cast:

  • Owen Wilson as Lightning McQueen
  • Paul Newman as Doc Hudson
  • Bonnie Hunt as Sally Carrera
  • Larry the Cable Guy as Mater
  • Michael Keaton as Chick Hicks
  • John Ratzenberger as Mack

Major Characters:

– Lightning McQueen

250px-LightningMcQueen

A very self-assured rookie race car driver.

 

 

– Mater 250px-MaterCars

A very lovable tow truck who has the best one liners of the film

 

-Doc

Doc_Hudson_Cars_jpeg

He seems like a grumpy old man…well car…but he’s not really…deep down…

 

 

– Sally Sally_Cars

McQueen’s love interest for the film

 

 

Music:

He’s back! Randy Newman that is. Nine songs from the soundtrack are from popular and contemporary artists. (Including a track from John Mayer) The remaining eleven pieces are orchestral scores composed and conducted by Randy Newman.

 

Favourite Character:

250px-MaterCars

It has to be Mater, I mean there really was no better character. Normally I am trying to decide between two characters as to which was my favourite but I knew this time around that it was Mater no doubts about it.

Mater is the lovable rusted old tow truck. He is a bit of a country hick and he has without a doubt the funniest lines in this movie. He really is the comic relief for the entire movie. I could go on about how cool Mater is but if you haven’t seen the movie then watch it and you will see for yourself and if you have seen the movie then you already know how cool Mater is.

 

Favourite Quote:

Without a shadow of a doubt my favourite quote of the whole movie comes from good old Mater…I’ll just let you watch. What’s funnier is little kiddies wouldn’t get the joke, thanks Pixar!

 

Favourite Scene:

Is it bad that my favourite scene was the end credits? Probably, but not for the reasons you may initially think!

The end credits for most Pixar films are pretty funny but I especially love this one. It takes classic Pixar characters and turns them into cars, watch for yourself…

The funniest part by far is John Ratzenberger!! And you will only get it if you are a true Pixar fan!

 

A113:

If you are unaware as to what A113 is, it is an Easter egg (inside joke) that is present in all 13 of the Pixar animated feature films.

A113 stands for the number of the classroom used for graphic design and character animation in the school used by John Lasseter and Brad Bird.

In Cars, it is the number on Trev Diesel, the freight train that Lightning McQueen out runs while he is first on his way to Radiator Springs. Trev Diesel was also made as a carrying case for the die-cast line and has A113 on it.

A113_Cars

 

Fun Facts:

  • This movie was originally titled “Route 66”. The name was changed to “Cars” so as not to imply a connection with the TV show Route 66
  • Instead of making the cars’ headlights the eyes, as is done on most cartoons, the Pixar artists decided to put the eyes up on the windshield, because that made the characters more expressive.
  • The film’s animators drew up over 43,000 sketches for designs of the cars.
  • Lightning McQueen’s original number was to be 57, director John Lasseter’s birth year. It was later changed to 95 to represent the year that Toy Story was released. The car in the final film who has the number 57 (who wins the race in the first teaser) vaguely resembles McQueen, and is probably an earlier production design for that character.
  • Sally the Porsche’s profession as an attorney is a reference to Portia, a nickname for female lawyers, named after the character in William Shakespeare’s “Merchant of Venice”.
  • The voice of Lightning McQueen’s agent Harv is provided by Jeremy Piven who also plays Vincent Chase’s agent in the TV-series Entourage. The UK release featured the outspoken Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson as the voice of Harv.
  • HIDDEN MICKEY: Briefly formed by the rotating sign on Flo’s V8 Cafe.
  • The Michael Schumacher Ferrari, voiced by Michael Schumacher, speaks Italian to Guido, saying, “Spero che il tuo amico si riprenda. Mi dicono che siete fantastici.” This translates to “I hope your friend recovers. I was told that you are fantastic.”
  • This was the last feature film for Paul Newman before his death of lung cancer in 2008. It also turned out to be the highest-grossing movie of his career
  • The last film worked on by Joe Ranft who ironically died in a car crash in 2005. The film is dedicated to his memory, as is Corpse Bride.
  • The longest Pixar movie to date.
  • Every now and then, Lightning McQueen’s tongue pops out when he’s thinking about something. This is actually a characteristic of director John Lasseter which his animators gleefully incorporated into the film.
  • The final Pixar film to be released on VHS, and the first to be released on Blu-Ray.

My Rating:

8/ 10

I am actually surprised with myself by how much I enjoyed this film. I did see it when it initially came out back in 2006, but I was only 14 then so I don’t think I appreciated Pixar as much as I do today. I was such a little tomboy growing up and I was big into my cars so this movie is kind of fun for me in that respect.

As far as storyline goes, it wasn’t all that predictable, as children’s film does always intend to be. The characters were great and really well established and it was actually way funnier than I remembered. I did find myself laughing quite a bit.

So if you have never seen this film because you don’t think you would like it because it’s about Cars (I have come across people who thought this before) then please go see it because I promise you, you will enjoy it. You may not love it but it really is a great film. I can see now why they made a sequel to it (which I still have not seen!)

– Bee

Next in this series: Ratatouille

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Pixar Series | 06. The Incredibles

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Time for another instalment of my Pixar series. This time with The Incredibles.

the incredibles

Director: Brad Bird

Year: 2004

Background:

The Incredibles was released in 2004 and is the sixth film produced by Pixar. This film marks the first Pixar film directed and written by Brad Bird. Bird developed the film as an extension of 1960s comic books and spy films from his boyhood and personal family life. He pitched the film to Pixar after the box office disappointment of his first feature, The Iron Giant (1999). The animation team were presented with a new task, which involved animating an all-human cast, which required creating new technology to animate detailed human anatomy, clothing and realistic skin and hair.

Plot:

Bob Parr (A.K.A. Mr. Incredible), and his wife Helen (A.K.A. Elastigirl), are the world’s greatest famous crime-fighting superheroes in Metroville. However this film takes place fifteen years after their glory days, having been forced to obtain normal civilian identities and become a suburban family with their three children Violet, Dash and Jack-Jack. However Bob is not satisfied with this suburban life, and when approached with an opportunity to reunite with his superhero past, he jumps on board, unaware that his decision to return to the superhero world will greatly impact the lives of his family. Together, they try to destroy Syndrome, the films antagonist who is determined to destroy ever superhero that ever existed so that he will have eternal glory.

Cast:

  • Craig T. Nelson as Bob Parr/Mr. Incredible
  • Holly Hunter as Helen Parr/Elastigirl
  • Jason Lee as Buddy Pine/Syndrome
  • Spencer Fox as Dash
  • Sarah Vowell as Violet Parr
  • Eli Fucile and Maeve Andrews as Jack-Jack
  • Samuel L. Jackson as Lucius Best/Frozone
  • Elizabeth Peña as Mirage
  • Brad Bird as Edna Mode

Major Characters:

– Bob Parr/ Mr. Incredible

1566298-mBob Parr, or Mr. Incredible to go by his superhero name, is the main protagonist of this film.

His superpower is strength.

– Helen Parr/ Elastigirl

elastigirl-incredibles

Helen is married to Bob Parr and is also a superhero named Elastigirl. As her name may suggest, her superpower is her flexibility and ability to stretch and use her body like rubber.

Violet

violet-parrQuite ironically, when I uploaded the photo, the photo was there but you could not see Violet!

Violet is the first-born child to the Parr family. She is quite shy and hides half her face behind her hair.

She also has the power to become invisible (hence the irony of the photo!) and can generate a protective force-field

– Dash dash_incredibles

Dash is the middle child of the family and this is evident through his use of his super-powers to act up in school.

His superpower is super speed, something which he is very proud of, and wants to use as often as he can for his advantage.

Jack-Jack

jack-jack-incrediblesJack-Jack is the baby of the family who does not possess any superpowers, or so his family thinks.

– Frozone 

mr__frozone_1947Frozone is Bob Parr’s best friend, and is also a superhero.

He has the ability to make ice from himself and the humidity in the air.

– Edna Mode

edna-modeEdna Mode is the sassy fashion designer for all superheroes.

She is responsible for the outfits for the Parr family.

 

-Syndrome/Buddy

150px-Syndrome

As a young boy, Buddy idolised Mr. Incredible, but when Mr. Incredible told Buddy to go home that he was no help to him, this was a turning point in the character and he turned evil, thus becoming the main antagonist of the film.

Syndrome, as he has nicknames himself, has no superpowers however has invented many different machines to simulate various superpowers for himself.

Music:

The Incredibles is the first Pixar film to be scored by Michael Giacchino. That’s right kids, not even a relative of Randy Newman composed the music on this film. Brad Bird is said to have wanted a specific sound to go with the feel of this movie.

John Barry was originally sought out for to compose the score of this film, however due to creative differences, the job was given to Giacchino instead.

The soundtrack of this film was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media.

Favourite Character:

This was difficult. Darn you Pixar, why do you have to create such amazing characters?!

dash

I think I have to pick two. Yes this is kind of cheating but hey who cares, right?

First off, Dash. Besides being a little cutie, Dash is actually a really funny character. He has some great one liners and is so enthused about everything, especially when it comes to his superpower – speed. I also love the way he ‘beats up the bad guys’ when they try to kill his sister. I mean I know if someone is trying to kill your sister, you are hardly going to stand by idly while she gets killed, but still, even though they fight all the time, he is still very protective of her which I thought was adorable.

ednamode

Next favourite character has to be Edna Mode. She is amazing, what’s not to love? She is blunt, sassy, and doesn’t give a damn. She is also very funny and to top it all off, writer/director Brad Bird actually provides the voice for her. Amazing.

Favourite Quote:

My favourite quote happens right after the jet that Helen Parr and her two children, Violet and Dash, are traveling on is destroyed and they are in the water and Dash says very over-dramatically “We’re dead! We’re dead! We survived but we’re dead!”

This just made me laugh, again probably because Dash is one of my favourite characters.

Favourite Scene:

Favourite scene is definitely when Edna Mode is showing Helen/Elastigirl the outfits she has designed for her family that enhance their superpowers even more.

A113:

If you are unaware as to what A113 is, it is an Easter egg (inside joke) that is present in all 13 of the Pixar animated feature films.

A113 stands for the number of the classroom used for graphic design and character animation in the school used by John Lasseter and Brad Bird.

I think Pixar tried to make the A113 slightly more hidden in this film. It features in the prison level where Mr. Incredible is held as “Level A1” in Cell #13: A1 & 13

A113Incredibles

Fun Facts:

  • In the original script, Syndrome only appeared in the opening scene. When the Pixar animators responded much more strongly to him than the main villain (originally named Xerek), he was moved to that role.
  • Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, two of Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men (his team of nine supervising master animators from the classic era of animation), provide voices for their own caricatures near the end of the film.
  • In order to give Dash a realistic out-of-breath voice, Brad Bird made Spencer Fox run laps around the studio.
  • Brad Bird’s son Nicholas Bird is the voice for the little boy on the tricycle. The little boy on the tricycle is named Rusty; this is revealed only in the film credits and in a comic published in Disney Adventures Magazine.
  • Syndrome’s facial features are based on those of the film’s director, Brad Bird.
  • In the beginning of the film, when a robber is going through a woman’s purse on the roof of a building, a Mr. Incredible Pez dispenser can be seen among the items scattered on the ground.
  • When Edna gives Helen the homing device for the first time in the laboratory, the GPS zooms into the San Francisco area, where the Pixar Animation Studios is located (Emeryville, California) and the old studio building in Point Richmond.
  • Most of the story takes place in a city called Metroville. It’s a combination of Metropolis and Smallville, which are, respectively, the cities where Superman lives and where he was raised.
  • Jason Lee (Buddy/Syndrome) recorded his vocals in four days, while Craig T. Nelson (Bob Parr/Mr. Incredible) recorded his vocals over the span of two years.
  • In the whole movie, you can see 35 explosions, 189 buttons being pressed, and approximately 640 gunshots.
  • When Buddy first meets Mr. Incredible, he has put on a hero mask and filled in the area around his eyes with a blue marker. A similar technique was used in all the Batman films to make the eyes of the actor more visible against the black mask.
  • The first Disney/Pixar film to receive PG rating.
  • The first Pixar film not to receive an Oscar nomination for its music.

My Rating:

8/ 10

Who doesn’t love a good superhero movie?! Add to that the fact it is a Pixar superhero movie? I’m sold!

Overall this was yet another fantastic movie from Pixar. The characters were really strong, and although they weren’t necessarily unique (the have often been compared to many avengers superhero’s, particularly the fantastic four), they still hold their own.

One thing I will say is perhaps the storyline could have been developed more. Perhaps slightly less predictable, or maybe even a sequel film. Out of all the Pixar films, I have always said that The Incredibles was the one that could definitely pull off a sequel. I mean, they have done sequels for Toy Story, Monster’s Inc, Cars, and soon Finding Nemo, why not The Incredibles?!

Other than that I love this film and it is well worth the watch if you have never seen it before!

– Bee

I shall leave you with this parting image…

funny-Incredibles-race-scene

Next in this series: Cars

Pixar Series | 05. Finding Nemo

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Greetings,

I am back with another instalment of my Pixar series, this time with what is possibly my favourite Pixar film ever…Finding Nemo.

Finding Nemo (2003) 4

Director: Andrew Stanton

Year: 2003

Background:

Finding Nemo is the fifth animated feature film from Pixar, which was released in 2003, and directed by Andrew Stanton. Can you believe this film is 10 years old?! This makes me feel really old. I remember getting the DVD as a present when I lost part of my hearing (temporarily) and I was playing is so loudly (cause I couldn’t hear it obviously) and it was the middle of the night. Needless to say my family weren’t too impressed. Anyways back to the point. This film actually has one of the most interesting backgrounds I have come across so far in this series. Director Andrew Stanton was inspired to create this film given his own life experiences. As a child, Stanton loved going to the dentist (crazy boy) to see the fish tank where he assumes the fish were from the ocean and wished to return home. In 1997, Stanton took his son for a walk in the park but felt that he was being over-protective which lead him to believe he has lost an opportunity to have any father-son experiences on that day. This obviously left a lasting mark on Stanton, and we see the relationship between Marilyn and Nemo stemming from his own experiences with his son.

Pre-production of the film began in 1997, and Stanton began working on the screenplay during post-production of A Bug’s Life.

Plot:

This film depicts the story of Marilyn, a clownfish, who is quite over-protective of his son Nemo. This is due to the fact that he lost his wife Coral, and several of their fish-egg children when a shark attacked their home. Nemo was the only offspring to survive, however he was left with him with a small right fin thus leaving him unable to swim as quickly and for as long as other fish. Nemo is ready and excited to begin his first day of school, despite a reluctant Marilyn wanting him to stay home for another year. At school, Nemo makes friends who decide to play a game of chicken to see who can swim closest to the boat (or ‘butt’ as they like to call it!). Although reluctant at first, Nemo decides to swim all the way to the boat in spite of his father who is over-protective of Nemo and worried about his injured fin. It is then Nemo is taken by a scuba diver and taken away in the boat. Marilyn frantically tries to chase after the boast in an attempt to save his son but it is of no use. However he is determined to follow the boat, asking as many fish as he can if they know where the boat went. Marilyn then meets a fish named Dory who says she knows where the boat went, so Marilyn, slightly relieved, follows Dory to the boat. What Marilyn does not know however, is that Dory has amnesia and therefore has no short-term memory. The story then follows Marilyn and Dory in their desperate attempt in finding Nemo.

Cast:

  • Albert Brooks as Marlin, a clownfish, Nemo’s father
  • Alexander Gould as Nemo, a juvenile clownfish, Marlin’s son
  • Ellen DeGeneres as Dory, a Pacific regal blue tang
  • Willem Dafoe as Gill, a moorish idol
  • Brad Garrett as Bloat, a porcupine fish
  • Allison Janney as Peach, an Ochre starfish
  • Stephen Root as Bubbles, a yellow tang
  • Vicki Lewis as Deb (and her sister, “Flo”, Deb’s reflection), a four-striped damselfish
  • Joe Ranft as Jacques, a French-speaking Pacific cleaner shrimp
  • Geoffrey Rush as Nigel, an Australian pelican
  • John Ratzenberger as the school of moonfish

Major Characters:

– Nemo

nemoNemo is a young clownfish, son of Marlin. He is very excited about his first day of school and doesn’t like when his dad tries to keep him from doing things. Having been attacked by a shark when he was still an egg, Nemo was born with a bad fin which is smaller than his other fin, making it more difficult to swim.

The majority of the film shows Nemo in a dentist’s fish tank, having been captured by a scuba-diver at the start of the film. Nemo fits in with the tank gang quite easily and quickly becomes Gill’s little sidekick.

Nemo is a very sweet character and is determined not to give up on being reunited with his dad.

– Marlin finding_nemo_marlin

Marlin is Nemo’s father and despite being a clownfish, he is the most serious character in all of the film. In fact there are many characters throughout the film who ask him to tell them a joke since as he is a clownfish, he must be funny.

However the reasoning behind this serious character is evident in the opening scene of this film, which shows his wife, Coral, and his hundreds of fish egg offspring being attacked and killed by a shark. Nemo is the only surviving fish egg, which explains why Marlin is so over-protective off him.

When Nemo is taken from the sea, and therefore from Marlin, he refuses to give up on finding his son.

Not only is Marlin loyal to his son, but he is also loyal to Dory, even though she is more of a hindrance than help in some parts of their journey to rescue Nemo.

Dory

DoryDory is an extremely lovable Pacific regal blue tang fish, best known for her short-term memory loss which provides, lets face it, the majority of the comic relief throughout this film.

Marlin meets Dory when he is looking for the boat that took his son, a boat which Dory says she has seen. Marlin then begins to follow Dory in the hopes that he will soon be reunited with his son, however after a few minutes of following her, Dory warns Marlin to stop following her. Why? Because she can’t remember meeting him – short-term memory loss runs in her family…at least I think it does…hmm…where are they?

Music:

Grab shell dudes, for Randy Newman was not responsible for the Finding Nemo soundtrack! Indeed, this was the first Pixar film not to feature the talents of Mr. Randy Newman. They did however keep it in the family as his cousin, Thomas Newman composed the entire soundtrack of this film (apart from ‘Beyond The Sea’ which was featured in the credits and performed by Robbie Williams).

The soundtrack was nominated for an Academy Award for Original Music Score, but lost out the Lord of the Rings.

Favourite Character:

So far, Finding Nemo has provided the best group of characters in all the Pixar films, so picking a favourite is quite difficult. I am therefore going to subdivide it into two categories; Favourite Major Character, and Favourite Minor Character.

Favourite Major Character:

It has to be Dory. I know she is everyone’s favourite character but hey, there’s a reason she is getting her own film guys.

Dory is truly a fantastic character. Her witty one-liners that are unintentionally funny are great for both little kiddies and for adults alike. And of course we must not forget the comedy genius and voice behind this fantastic character, Ellen Degeneres. Ellen never fails to make me laugh, and she brought so much to the character of Dory which I think nobody else would have been able to do.

Favourite Minor Character:

Tad. A lot of you are probably asking, who? But Tad is honestly my favourite minor character in this film.untitled

He is one of Nemo’s first friends and I think the only reason I like him so much is because of his great introduction to himself when he says “I’m obnoxious”. I quote that all the time, not too sure why myself, but safe to say some people probably give me funny looks!

Favourite Quote:

How does one pick a favourite quote from one of the most quotable films of all time?

Well it was not easy, and that is why I cheated and picked three…(even though if I really had my way I would probably just give you the script and say there, these are my favourite quotes, seriously the writers did an epic job on this film)

41592_116425008393597_4168483_nfinding,nemo,pixars,movie,quote-29328f47957ae5f5127fe3574b88fb55_h_large11131553_thumb

Favourite Scene:

Although there are many fantastic scenes in this film, I think my favourite scene is when Mr. Ray takes his students on a field trip and Nemo and his new friends, Tad, Pearl, and Sheldon break away from the group and come across a butt (that’s a boat to you and me). They then play chicken and see who can get the closest to the boat, when Marlin, Mr. Ray and the rest of the school of fish (see what I did there!) join in to see Nemo swim out to see to touch the boat. Cue two of my favourite quotes from the movie, “Oh my gosh! Nemo’s swimming out to sea!” and “He touched the butt”.

A113:

If you are unaware as to what A113 is, it is an Easter egg (inside joke) that is present in all 13 of the Pixar animated feature films.

A113 stands for the number of the classroom used for graphic design and character animation in the school used by John Lasseter and Brad Bird.

A113 is actually a little bit more difficult to spot in this film compared to previous Pixar films, however it can be seen in Finding Nemo on the scuba-diver’s camera.

Finding-Nemo-A113-21

Fun Facts:

  • Pixar’s characters are often planned years in advance. Nemo first appeared as a stuffed toy on a couch in Boo’s room in Monsters, Inc.. This movie introduces the main characters of post-2003 Pixar films. A boy in the dentist’s office is reading a “Mr. Incredible” comic book, anticipating The Incredibles. Luigi the car is driving by the dentist’s office, anticipating Cars.
  • The coloration of Gill’s face simulates the characteristic lines around the mouth of voice actor Willem Dafoe.
  • Had the biggest opening weekend for any animated film upon its US release (30 May 2003).
  • The waiting room in the dentist’s office was modeled after the waiting room in a real dentist’s office in Emeryville, California, where Pixar Animation Studios has its headquarters.
  • To see how realistic they could make it appear, the art team were asked to make exact copies of actual underwater and above-water shots. Ultimately the results were simply deemed “too realistic” for a cartoon.
  • In the tank gang in the dentist’s office, the germophobic purple and yellow fish is the only one never mentioned by name. His name was later revealed to be Gurgle.
  • Though never mentioned in the film, it is revealed by the directors in the commentary that Crush and his crew of thrill-seeking turtles are headed for Hawaii. Also mentioned in the commentary is that the young turtles’ shells are modeled after Hawaiian shirts.
  • Dory Lane and Marlin Drive are intersecting streets in the Bay Area suburb of Redwood City, just across the bay from Pixar’s home.
  • Director Andrew Stanton originally planned to reveal the fate of Marlin’s wife gradually through flashbacks seen periodically as the story unfolded. After a few early in-house screenings, he found that Marlin came off as too much of a worrywart, and decided to reveal the entire back-story up front, thus making Marlin more appealing by establishing the reason for his over-protectiveness.
  • The name of the fish that yells “Oh, my gosh! Nemo’s swimming out to sea!” is Kathy.
  • When Gil is thinking ahead about how he and the fish will escape, as the camera pans toward and out the window, the Pizza Planet truck from Toy Story can be seen on the outside.

My Rating:

10/ 10

I have loved this film since the very first time I saw it (which is 10 years ago!! Wow, that makes me feel old).

It is a classic, and I cannot think of anything that would improve it or make it better which is why I gave it a 10/10.

Before I started this Pixar series, I actually wrote down a list of what I thought would be my favourite to least favourite Pixar films, and Finding Nemo was at the top (as in favourite). When I have finished this series I am actually going to do a post of what I thought my favourites order would be compared to what my favourites order actually is.

Anyways, Finding Nemo is a classic, and one of the best animated films ever made. Yes, I said it. If you are crazy enough not to have seen this film yet, you need to get on that!

– Bee

Next in this series: The Incredibles

Pixar Series | 04. Monsters Inc

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Greetings,

apparently I have been a bit lack-sie-daisy on my Pixar series (which I will now have to change from Pixar’s 13 to Pixar’s 14 due to the impending release of Monsters University on July 12th woohoo!), but I assure you this wasn’t my fault! Well no technically it is my fault. I was just looking through to see what blog’s I had written and not yet posted and realised I never posted my Monsters Inc discussion (my bad, I really thought I had!). So here it is, hope you enjoy.

monsters_inc_ver1

Director: Pete Docter

Year: 2001

Background:

Monsters Inc is the fourth animated feature film from Pixar, which was released in 2001, and directed by Pete Docter. Docter began developing the film in 1996 and fellow Pixar director Andrew Stanton wrote the screenplay with screenwriter Daniel Gerson. The characters went through many incarnations over the film’s five-year production process.

Plot:

This film depicts the story of two monsters named Sulley and Mike Wazowski, who work for a company named Monsters, Inc. The monsters obtain power by scaring children which they do by entering their doors (via closet) in the middle of the night. However we learn that monsters are actually terrified of being contaminated by said children, so when a little girl, who is nicknamed Boo by Sulley, enters the monster’s world, Sulley and Mike go through desperate measures to try to return her home.

Cast:

John Goodman as James P. Sullivan aka Sulley

Billy Crystal as Mike Wazowski

Mary Gibbs as Boo

Steve Buscemi as Randall Boggs

Jennifer Tilly as Celia Mae

Major Characters:

 James P. Sullivan (aka Sulley)

889926-sulleySulley is a giant blue lovable monster. He is the top scarer at Monsters Inc., however he is also very kind-hearted as seen in his treatment of Boo.

I really love Sulley as a character, but then again who doesn’t?!

His relationship with Boo is just adorable and heartwarming. Definitely one of my favourite characters.

Mike Wasowski untitled

Mike Wasowski is also arguably a very lovable monster. He is essentially a green sphere with one eye, arms and legs. He works at Sulley’s station in Monsters Inc. and the two are also best friends.

Mike’s character spends a lot of his time in an anxious disposition which makes for great comic relief throughout the entire film.

He also has a love interest in the film, a monster named Celia Mae (who looks a lot like Medusa in monster-form).

Again Mike is an amazing character, what’s not to love?!

– Boo

83874-boo_monsters_inc Just look at that face.

Boo (which is a nickname given to her by Sulley) is an adorable 2-year-old human who escapes into the monster world when her door is left behind at a station.

Boo isn’t afraid of any of the monsters, that is except for Randall who is in charge of scaring Boo.

She also nicknames Sulley “Kitty”, how freaking adorable!!

– Randall randall

Randall is the main antagonist of this film as is voiced by Steve Buscemi (yes, crazy eyes (let me know if you know what film that is from!).

He has chameleon-esque qualities whereby he has the ability to transform his scales to match his surroundings thus acting as a camouflage.

Music:

Randy Newman strikes again! Indeed Mr. Newman returned to score yet another Pixar feature film. Newman wrote and composed all songs featured in the film.

The song featured in the end credits ‘If I Didn’t Have You’ is sung by John Goodman and Billy Crystal and actually won the Academy Award for Best Original Song.

Favourite Character:

This is actually quite tough because compared to Toy Story, there really isn’t a lot of major characters in this film.

It is definitely a toss-up between the three major character; Sulley, Mike, and Boo.

If it were for favourite relationship Sulley and Boo would win hands down. But overall if push came to shove, I would probably say Mike Wasowski is my favourite character from this film.

Overall he provides great comic relief throughout the film and is just a great character. Simple as!

Favourite Quote:

This is probably the most simple joke in the entire film, but it’s the one that made me laugh the most. It is within the first 10 minutes of the film where Sulley and Mike are on their way to work and they pass by a Blob monster who greets them and then falls through a grate, to which he retorts “Oh great!”…get it?…as in oh grate? Oh man, I laughed way more than I should have at that joke but when I was thinking of my favourite quote it is the only one I remember so it must have had an impact!

Oh great

Favourite Scene:

I spent a lot of time trying to decide my favourite scene of the entire movie. There were some great scenes such as; Sulley and Boo in the bathroom which is the scene where their relationship is really established, the scene in the restaurant with Mike where Boo is first unleashed, and the scene where Sulley and Mike try to rescue Boo from Randall.

However the scene which is my favourite is actually at the end of the movie where Boo and Sulley say goodbye. It is so full of emotion which I love seeing in an animated film because as an artist it is nice knowing that a drawing/animation can have such impact. Another reason I love this scene is because it gives a beautiful yet somewhat heart-wrenching end to Boo and Sulley’s relationship. Oh and also, almost all of Boo’s toys are from previous Pixar/Disney films! (Some not even previous, Boo even has a Nemo toy even though Finding Nemo was released 2 years after Monsters Inc!)

Does it not just break your heart when Sulley says “Kitty has to go”? 😥

Fun Facts:

  • Disney/Pixar prepared a special trailer for Monsters Inc. to show before Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Mike and Sulley play a game of charades in their apartment, with Sulley acting out “Harry Potter.” Mike has difficulty solving the puzzle, some of his guesses being Dirty Harry, “Harry Flowerpot” and “When Hairy met Sulley,” (a reference to Billy Crystal’s starring role in When Harry Met Sally). Eventually Sulley puts on round spectacles, sticks a paper lightning bolt to his forehead and sits on a broom with an owl on his arm, to which Mike ecstatically guesses The Sound of Music. Sully gives up and walks offscreen as Mike finally guesses “Harry Potter” and the cut away to title cards noting that “Monsters Inc.” is “Now showing at a theater near you. Really near you. Like, maybe, right next door.” At the end of the trailer, it is Mike’s turn to act out a part, with a very bored looking Sully guessing it is Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope within seconds, much to Mike’s dismay.
  • Boo’s real name is Mary, as shown briefly on one of the crayon drawings she shows to Sulley in the scene where Boo is going to sleep on Sulley’s bed. The actress who provided the voice of Boo is Mary Gibbs.
  • At Harryhausen’s Sushi Restaurant, employees shout, “Get a paper bag!” whenever somebody walks through the door. In Japan, it is customary for employees of any store to shout “irasshaimase!” (pronounced ee-rah-shai-mah-seh”). The monsters shouting, “Get a paper bag!” is a phonetic reference to this fact. There’s a similar Japanese reference in Toy Story 2.
  • John Goodman and Billy Crystal sometimes recorded their lines in the same room together, an unusual move for animated films, where actors more often work alone. Steve Buscemi and Frank Oz (Randall and his assistant Fungus) also recorded their lines together for the bathroom scene.
  • In early drafts, the character of Boo was written to be six years old. The writers decided to make Boo younger because it would make her more dependent on Sulley.
  • Sulley’s big armchair in his apartment has a hole in the back to let his tail through.
  • It normally took 11 to 12 hours to render a single frame of Sulley because of his 2.3 million individually animated hair strands (Total number of hairs: 2,320,413).
  • The animators considered giving Sulley tentacles instead of legs at one point, and glasses at another. However, they decided to use legs because they believed the audience would concentrate more on the tentacles than Sulley’s face. They also considered making Mike armless with only legs.
  • Mary Gibbs was so young that it proved difficult to get her to stand in the recording studio and act her lines. Instead, they simply followed her around with a microphone and cut Boo’s lines together from the things she said while she played.
  • Bob Peterson, the movie’s story supervisor, provided the temporary voice of Roz, the green secretary, during production. The nasal, sing-song voice proved to be such a success that they kept it in the final film.
  • Jennifer Tilly, who plays Celia Mae, was married to Sam Simon who was one of the creators of The Simpsons. She raved to the Pixar crew about a script she read written by a Simpsons director for an animated film. The Director was Brad Bird and the script was for The Incredibles which became a Pixar film 3 years later.
  • When Sully greets Ted (the monster so big we only see the lower half of his body), Ted was originally supposed to roar like Godzilla. The filmmakers asked permission from Toho (Godzilla’s film studio) to use a Godzilla roar, but Toho turned them down, so Ted responds with a chicken cluck instead.
  • After Sulley says goodbye to Boo, he closes the closet door. When Boo jumps out of bed, she has grown 7% by the time she reaches the door. The programmers had to do this as she was too short.

My Rating:

8/ 10

I really love Monsters Inc. I have since it first came out. It is very original and takes the classic story of monsters hiding in your closet and takes it to a whole new level. Overall the characters are really well-developed and unique.

I am really excited to see Monsters University to see which film I like better!

As my parting gift, I will leave you with this image…

– Bee

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Next in this series: Finding Nemo

Pixar Series| 03. Toy Story 2

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Greetings,

Alas I have not forgotten about my Pixar series! (Although it may have appeared that way). It’s back in full swing with Pixar’s 3rd feature film, Toy Story 2, huzzah!

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Background:

Toy Story 2 is the third animated feature film from Pixar, which was released in 1999, and directed by John Lasseter. Talks for a sequel to Toy Story began around one month after it’s release. At first it was unsure if a sequel would work due to whether or not Tom Hanks and Tim Allen would be available/affordable, what the story would entail, and whether it would be computer animated by Pixar, or traditionally animated by Disney.

Plot:

Toy Story 2, the sequel to Toy Story, yet again follows the adventures of Andy’s anthropomorphic toys. When Woody is stolen by a crazed toy collecter, Buzz and the rest of the toys devise a plan to get him back to Andy’s room. Whilst at Al, the toy collector’s apartment, Woody discovers that he is a collectable following the famous television series, Woody’s Roundup. This is where he also meets the toys from the television show, Jessie the cowgirl, Bullseye, Woodies horse, and Stinky Pete. Woody is now faced with a dilemma. Return to Andy’s room with the rest of the toys, or go to Japan to be a collectable with Jessie, Bullseye and Stinky Pete.

Cast:

Tom Hanks as Woody

Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear

Joan Cusack as Jessie

Kelsey Grammer as Stinky Pete

Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head

Jim Varney as Slinky Dog

Wallace Shawn as Rex

John Ratzenberger as Hamm

Estelle Harris as Mrs Potato Head

Wayne Knight as Al McWhiggin

Annie Potts as Bo Peep

John Morris as Andy Davis

Jodi Benson as Barbie (yes as in the voice of The Little Mermaid)

Major Characters:

Seeing as I already discussed some of the major characters in my first blog post about Toy Story, I will actually discuss the new character introduced in this film.

Jessie

toy_story_3_jessie_Jessie is the overly enthusiastic and excitable toy Woody meets when he arrives at Al’s apartment.

She is so excited when Woody arrives that the gang is complete, that she comes off as a little crazed.

She is quite hesitant and scared at the thoughts of joining Andy’s toys which we learn ala flashback sequence is due to her owner Emily who grew up and became less fond of Jessie eventually leading to her giving Jessie away.

I really love Jessie’s charatcer, and I love the fact that she is voiced by Joan Cusack who just simply brings her to life.

-Bullseye

Bullseye-toy-story-8037414-334-400Bullseye, like Jessie, was quite enthused to have Woody re-unite with them.

Bullseye is very loyal to Woody, which actually in turn prompts Woody’s desicion to have them return with him to Andy’s room.

Bullseye is quite clumsy which is probably why I like him so much. He is a very lovavle character.

– Stinky Pete

stinky peteIn Woody’s Roundup, Stinky Pete comes across as a very slow, dim-witted character, whereas the toy is actually quite intellectual and cunning.

At first Stinky Pete appears to be the grandfather/mentor figure in Al’s apartment, however he actually turns out to me one of the major villains of this film.

He manipulated Woody and Jessie and overall causes nothing but trouble for the toys.

-Mrs Potato Head

Toy-Story-3-Mrs_Potato-Head-WallpaperNow I know that Mrs Potato Head was first introduced at the end of the first film, however it is not until Toy Story 2 that we get to appreciate her character in its full glory.

Just like Mr Potato Head, her character provides alot of great one liners and comedy throughout this film.

Her characteristics are almost polar opposite to Mr Potato Head which makes their pairing so comical.

Music:

Once again, Pixar do not fail to deliver and Randy Newman returns to compose and wrote all of the songs featured in this film and its soundtrack.

Although ‘You’ve Got A Friend In Me’ was featured in the first film, it is still my favourite song from this soundtrack. As I said previously, it’s like the song of our childhood so how can you not love it, right?

Favourite Character:

Again it’s a toss-up between Rex and Mr. Potato Head! They are two classic characters that I just love from this film franchise.

Since I chose Mr. Potato Head last time, I’m going to be all diplomatic and choose Rex this time. But really what’s not to love about Rex?

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Favourite Quote:

I am starting to wish I had said favourite quotes, but then we’d be here all day because there are some really funny and witty one-liners in this film, as there was in Toy Story.

However, I think this one has to go to the classic Buzz and Zurg scene at the end of the film, “No Buzz, I am your father”. You see, Disney were giving nods to Star Wars even before they bought the rights!

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Favourite Scene:

The inner neat freak in me is showing…my favourite scene by far is when Woody is getting cleaned up for shipping to Japan. I know this is weird but even as a child I was obsessed with that scene. I loved his organiser and each little compartment for different things, okay okay you get the picture ha ha! Let’s watch it again…

A113:

If you are unaware as to what A113 is, it is an Easter egg (inside joke) that is present in all 13 of the Pixar animated feature films.

A113 stands for the number of the classroom used for graphic design and character animation in the school used by John Lasseter and Brad Bird.

A113 appears in all three Toy Story films on Andy’s mom’s car licence plate.

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It also appears in Toy Story 2 as an announcement at the airport for ‘LassetAir Flight A113’. This is also a nod to the films director, John Lassester.

Fun Facts:

  • There is a hidden Mickey Mouse on a wall clock in Andy’s room.
  • The dust in the scene where Woody meets Wheezy set a record for number of particles animated for a movie by computer.
  • When the toys are planning the rescue of Woody, Etch-a-Sketch shows a map to Al’s Toy Barn located at 1001 West Cutting Boulevard. This is the address of Pixar Animation Studios in Richmond, California.
  • When Al hangs up the phone with the Japanese investor, he says “Don’t touch my mustache.” This refers to an English mnemonic for the Japanese phrase meaning “You’re welcome”: “Dou itashimashite.”
  • The movie has several references to A Bug’s Life. There are so many that I won’t list them, but look out for them next time you see this film.
  • When the toys are playing cards during Woody’s nightmare after being “shelved”, all the cards are the ace of spades. In fortune telling, the ace of spades represents death.
  • Many of the ideas that were not used in Toy Story appear in this film: the Buzz Lightyear cartoon, the yard sale, and Woody’s nightmare
  • Many people think the Woody’s Roundup sequence was filmed with real puppets. But really they took the same CG models and made small changes to make them look like puppets. Then they animated the puppet versions of the characters in a CG black-and-white set. Then they used this technique called the kinescope effect, which adds scratches, hairs, and pieces of grain to the image to make it look old.
  • One of the items in Al’s Toy Barn behind Rex before he and Potato Head board Barbie’s car is a pink teddy bear which previously appeared as one of the silent toys on the shelf top during the staff meeting in Toy Story (that actually served as the basis for Lotso in Toy Story 3.

My Rating:

9 1/2 / 10

I loved this film. I actually prefer it to Toy Story which is very unusual, normally sequels aren’t as good as the orginial. Again, it’s a childhood classic so what’s not to love!

– Bee

Next in this series: Monster’s Inc.