Wednesday, November 25, 2015

'The Good Dinosaur' Is Now Playing!

After a troubled production that involved a director swap, a full-on revision of the voice cast, and an 18-month delay on the original release date, Pixar's sixteenth feature The Good Dinosaur finally stomps into theaters today.

Concept art first spotted in 2009

The film's production can be traced back as far as 2009, when a behind-the-scenes video for Up offered a glimpse at some concept art featuring a dinosaur and a human boy. For two years fans wondered whether Pixar was hard at work on a dinosaur-centric movie, until the film was officially unveiled at 2011's D23 Expo as "The Untitled Pixar Movie About Dinosaurs". The film was to be directed by studio veteran Bob Peterson, who came up with the idea of a story set in an alternate reality where dinosaurs never went extinct himself. Peterson was eventually removed from the director's chair when problems with the story arose and was replaced by co-director Peter Sohn (Partly Cloudy). From there, the film was entirely reworked and given an entirely new cast, with the exception of Frances McDormand, who is the sole remaining cast member from the original cast, which included Neil Patrick Harris and John Lithgow.

Though reviews for The Good Dinosaur so far have not been quite as enthusiastic as those for the studio's smash summer hit Inside Out, the film is still being received positively and is said to be charming and visually sutnning. It currently holds an 85% "fresh" critic score on Rotten Tomatoes

Unfortunately I will not be able to see the film until the weekend, but after following its progress for so many years I am incredibly excited to finally see the finished product.

Accompanying the film is Pixar's latest short Sanjay's Super Team, directed by Sanjay Patel, who drew inspiration from his childhood for the film. From what I've heard, the short is an absolute delight and yet another unique entry in the Pixar short film canon.

Will you be seeing Pixar's latest offerings this weekend? Have you already seen them? Share your thoughts in the comments!

The Good Dinosaur and Sanjay's Super Team are in theaters now!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

First Teaser Trailer and Poster for 'Finding Dory' Debut

Anticipation for Pixar's upcoming Finding Nemo sequel, Finding Dory, has been growing ever since the voice of Dory, Ellen DeGeneres, announced the film on her talk show two years ago. Few are more excited for the film than Ellen herself (she famously begged and pleaded for a sequel to Nemo for years), so naturally she was given the honor of debuting the first teaser trailer for the film Tuesday morning on her show and social media, following the reveal of the official teaser poster (above). Watch the teaser below:

Like most Pixar teaser trailers, it's brief and to the point, but wets your appetite and builds excitement for the film. The opening with the sentimental Thomas Newman score paired with the stunning and familiar underwater visuals is sure to strike a soft spot with fans of the original film. Watching it, I felt like it was 2003 again. The trailer goes on to establish the film's basic premise, throwing in a bit of classic Dory humor; she is still the forgetful but lovable regal blue tang you remember. In terms of plot, the trailer tells us what we already know; Dory suddenly remembers her family and sets off to find them, with Nemo and Marlin joining her on the way.

This also marks our first time hearing newcomer Hayden Rolence as the voice Nemo. Rolence takes over for Alexander Gould, who voiced the young clownfish in the original film but is now too old to play the part. From the sound of it, though, Rolence perfectly captures the essence of the character. Albert Brooks reprises his role as Nemo's paranoid father Marlin, and of course, Ellen DeGeneres is finally granted her wish of being able to voice Dory again. Though he doesn't appear in the trailer, Willem Dafoe will also return as Gill.

Ultimately, it's just a sheer delight to see these beloved characters again after more than a decade. It's also refreshing to see that the film will not be a rehash of the original, but will tell a new story and continue to flesh out the characters we know and love, as all good sequels do.

Andrew Stanton returns to helm this second venture into the vivid undersea world from Pixar's 2003 hit, with Angus MacLane (Toy Story of Terror) co-directing. Finding Dory swims into theaters June 17, 2016.