Tag Archives: Pixar

Film Studio: Pixar

All of Pixar's films are among the top 50 highest-grossing animated movies of all time - and Toy Story 3 is number one. Uploaded by moviemobsters.com.

Hard to imagine how many films 20th Century Fox has made. Or MGM. Or Universal, Columbia, Paramount. But we know how many Pixar has made. Eleven. Eleven of the smartest, most charming, and most profitable films you’ll ever want to see.

The studio began as The Graphics Group, a part of Lucasfilms. True to his reputation as a visionary, Steve Jobs purchased the group. Disney saw how Pixar’s software could help its traditionally animated movies, as well as its potential making its own computerized animation films, and bought it. Jobs bought it for $5 million; when Disney purchased it, its value was $7.4 billion. Nice going, Stevie boy.

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Here’s a complete list of the Pixar catalog:

  • Toy Story (1995)
  • A Bug’s Life (1998)
  • Toy Story 2 (1999)
  • Monsters, Inc. (2001)
  • Finding Nemo (2003)
  • The Incredibles (2004)
  • Cars (2006)
  • Ratatouille (2007)
  • WALL-E (2008)
  • Up (2009)
  • Toy Story 3 (2010)

All these movies are among the top 50 highest-grossing animated movies of all time, and Toy Story 3 is number one. Altogether, Pixar films have won 26 Academy Awards and seven Golden Globes. Not to mention the hearts of millions of fans all around the world.

Film: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

 

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs featured a lot of firsts: first American full-length animated film, first in Technicolor, first to have a soundtrack recording, first to have merchandising. Uploaded by images2.fanpop.com.

Computer animation can be a marvelous thing, and studios such as Pixar have taken it to a new level of excellence. So it’s hard to imagine what a marvel Snow White was when it was released in 1937. It was the first American full-length animated feature, and the first ever produced by the master himself, Walt Disney (Great American Things, April 14, 2009). It’s the first to have a soundtrack released, and the first to have merchandising support.

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Also hard to believe today is that most of those closest to Walt Disney tried to talk him out of making the film, including his brother Roy and his wife. “No one’s going to pay a dime to see a dwarf picture,” she said.  Walt thought it would cost $250,000 to produce, and ended up as a then unheard of $1.5 million. Disney had to mortgage his home to get the picture finished. The industry called it “Walt Disney’s Folly.”

But audiences loved it. It became the highest-grossing film of all time, a distinction it held for one year (Gone With the Wind). The movie earned Disney an honorary Academy Award “as a significant screen innovation which has charmed millions and pioneered a great new entertainment field.” The American Film Institute has named it number 34 in its 100 Years…100 Movies series, and the number one animated film of all time.

Film: The Lion King

Disney's animation has gone downhill since The Lion King - witness Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules. Thank goodness for Pixar. Uploaded by blog.sanriotown.com.

Walt Disney Studios was on quite a roll, with each feature becoming more sophisticated in its animation, themes, and music. The Little Mermaid began this renaissance, followed by Beauty and the Beast, then Aladdin. Then in 1995, The Lion King debuted and proved itself as the finest example of the Disney ideal in the modern era.

Virtually the entire film features classic animation techniques without the aid of computers. The exception is the stampede of the wildebeests, a two-and-a-half-minute sequence that took five animators more than two years to complete.

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While I love the wonderful humor that Howard Ashman and Alan Menken brought to the songs in Mermaid and Beauty, there’s no question that the music written by Tim Rice and Elton John for The Lion King raised the film to a higher level. “The Circle of Life” was absolutely perfect as an accompaniment to the wonderful animation of the opening scene, while “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” and “Hakuna Matata” were witty and memorable.

The Lion King achieved that elusive goal that animated movies strive for – to be entertaining to children and adults on their own levels. The box office is proof of that success. During its initial release it grossed $783 million worldwide, making it the most successful film released in 1995. Also proof are its two Academy Awards (out of four nominations) and the Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.

Film: Toy Story

Woody and Buzz Lightyear are rivals and partners. And great foils for each other in both films. Uploaded by thecia.com.au.

This post honors Toy Story (1995) and Toy Story 2 (1999), both of which are among the best animated features of all time. In the original, Woody is Andy’s favorite toy until he’s challenged by the new toy – Buzz Lightyear. And in the sequel, Woody is taken to be part of the highly collectible Woody’s Roundup set, and his toy friends come to help him get back to Andy’s house.

The wonderful Pixar people created these films, and they possess the magical ability to make movies that can be enjoyed by all perspectives, from preschool to adult. What appeals to kids is obvious, but adults appreciate seeing the toys of their childhood brought to life in a smart, witty, and visually enchanting manner.

Part of the films’ success comes from the excellent voice characterizations provided by the likes of Tom Hanks (Woody), Tim Allen (Buzz), Don Rickles (Mr. Potato Head), John Ratzenberger (Hamm the Piggy Bank), and Wallace Shawn (Rex the Dinosaur). They obviously love their roles, and their enthusiasm is easily conveyed to the audience.

Technology advanced so much between 1995 and 1999 that the sequel’s animation is visibly more fluid, and the animators took advantage to create a bigger world for the characters. Toy Story 2 became the first movie in history to be entirely created, mastered, and exhibited digitally.

Coming in June 2010 will be Toy Story 3, in which Woody, Buzz and friends are dumped in a daycare center when Andy goes off to college. Among the stars voicing parts in this new film are Robin Williams, Michael Keaton, Whoopi Goldberg, Bonnie Hunt, and Ned Beatty. I don’t think Pixar will let us down, do you?

Here’s the haunting “When Somebody Loved Me” from Toy Story 2…and the trailer for Toy Story 3: