Contest: The Art of Monsters University Giveaway

Pixar News is back from vacation! In celebration of passing 1,113 followers on Twitter while on vacation, we are giving away a copy of The Art of Monsters University! The art of book is a must have for any Pixar fan, including colorscripts, concept art, and much more from Pixar’s latest animated feature.

8_ScareSchool_ColorExploration_DiceTsutsumi_Digital_2010The contest winner will be notified via email 48 hours after the end of the contest. The contest will be closed midnight on the night of the 22nd and is open to all countries aged 13 and over. Good luck and be sure to enter everyday for a more chances of winning!

Contest Closed

Out of the Office: Pixar News is on vacation until June 15th

Pixar News is headed to Italy! Well not the blog…just me. I am headed across the Atlantic to study abroad for a month in Venice. With internet access being very limited and a 9-5 class schedule, I have decided to take a month away from Pixar News.

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This comes at a bit of an inconvenient time as I will be gone in the month leading up to Monsters University, however I leave you in the capable hands of the bloggers in both the Pixar and animation worlds, and if you haven’t already, be sure to check out Pixar News’ review of Monsters University.

If you would like to follow me on my adventures in Venice, feel free to follow my personal Twitter account and/or my vacation Tumblr.

Monsters University in the Parks

With the release of Monsters University rapidly approaching, the marketing team at Disney•Pixar has been busy. MU is posed to be a summer hit, and the Disney Parks team has teamed up with Pixar to bring elements of Monsters University to life to promote the film.

Monstrous Monorails 

Theming monorails has become a common practice at both the Anaheim and Florida resorts, and while the monoral wraps have been overdone before (becoming more of a moving billboard), the MU wrap creatively integrates with the monorail.

Monsters-University-Disney-World-Monorail-Close-Up

See more pictures and video over at the Disney Parks Blog.

Mammoth Mike Wazowski Projection

Over in Epcot, the theme park press was treated to a massive projection of Mike Wazowski on Spaceship Earth to announce the return of One More Disney Day (rebranded as an ‘All-Nighter’), a special 24-hour celebration at Disneyland in Anaheim and Magic Kingdom in Florida.

Spaceship-Earth-Mike-Wazowski-2

The All-Nighter event marks the start of the ‘Monstrous Summer’ marketing campaign. Mike can break the details down for you:

More details from the Disney Parks Blog:

In Florida, Magic Kingdom Park will feature a “Monsters University” theme where Mike and Sulley will be the Grand Marshals of the “Celebrate a Dream Come True” day parade and make appearances in Tomorrowland. There will be extra entertainment throughout the day and night, including characters in their pajamas in Town Square during the late night and early morning, and late-night dance parties in and around the courtyard of Cinderella Castle.

In California, you’ll be able to party the night away at both parks with special entertainment including: a “Monsters University” “TLT Monstrous” Dance Club and Star Wars characters in Tomorrowland and late-night Character Pajama Party in Mickey’s ToonTown at Disneyland park. The new Fantasy Faire Royal Theatre at Disneyland park will become a Royal Dance Hall late at night with a live band and dancing; and guests of Disney California Adventure park will find Monstrous photo opportunities with new “Monsters University” “Dorms” in Hollywood Land and a new “Monsters University” float leading the Pixar Play Parade.

The folks over at Pixar Times put together a great piece about the collaboration between Pixar and Disney Parks.

New Concept Art

Monsters University has moved in to Disney’s Holywood Studios Magic of Disney Animation building, bringing to light new concept art.

Photo © Mousesteps

Photo © Mousesteps

Photo © Mousesteps

Photo © Mousesteps

These and a whole lot more over at Mousesteps.

Merida to be Crowned

Pixar made their foray into the royal theater with Brave and Princess Merida, the first Disney princess created in Emeryville. Up until recently it wasn’t clear whether or not she would join her fellow royal princesses, but nearly a year later, we have an answer as the announcement came not more than a week ago that Merida will become an official Disney Princess on May 11th.

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Stitch Kingdom is reporting that Merida is slated to become the 11th Disney Princess with the traditional coronation ceremony at Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World. Merida has already made her Disney Parks appearance on both sides of the US, bringing long lines to her meet and greets.

Review: Monsters University will have you Roaring with Laughter

Monsters University has started it’s run of advance screenings and I was lucky enough to be in one of the cities hosting a college student screening of Pixar’s 2013 feature film. MU is the first prequel for Pixar, putting it under a different heading than other Pixar films, but while you think you may know where our favorite scaring duo ends up, the folks up in Emeryville have created a humor-filled and emotion-packed story of how Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan came to be the top scarers at Monsters, Inc.

Monsters University Review

Toss on your favorite Randy Newman soundtrack, grab a pack of MU fruit snacks, and settle in for Pixar News’ review of Monsters University.

Setting the Stage

The theater was first greeted by a video of Director Dan Scanlon, who set the scene by giving a quick background on the film and asking that the audience refrain from giving spoilers. Don’t worry, this review is spoiler free. 

Director Dan Scanlon Monsters University Review

The Story

We are able to travel to a time where Mike and Sulley are just getting acquainted. And where better to make friends than at university? MU shows the scaring duo’s rocky road to friendship, with hilarious college hijinks mixed in between. Its underlying message is a powerful one which will resonate with all ages. Numerous twists and turns in the story keep you intrigued, with some very raw and emotional scenes in the third act. I went into the theater thinking that it would be a straightforward story, Mike hates Sulley, Sulley hates Mike, they learn to work together and they become best friends; but the amazing story line packs in so much more than that.

mike and sulley meet monsters university review

Humor

Think about the Pixar humor that we have come to know and magnify it one hundred times. From Animal House references to the college pranks, MU comes out kicking with joke after joke. The college setting makes for some very fun humor (the stereotypical orientation leader, club signups, etc) and the meticulously designed world is full of subtle and broad wit. The entire theater was laughing so hard at a few of the jokes that I even missed some of the succeeding dialogue!

Monsters University Review Mike Disco Ball

Characters

Speaking of humor, many of the characters provided comic relief. As the trailers have shown, Art is quite the character, you can rest assured that his humor goes far beyond the scenes in the trailer and his “I can’t go back to jail!” line. The conjoined Terri and Terry also have some quite hilarious moments and a couple of heartfelt ones as well. I personally enjoyed Squishy and Don Carlton the most. Don is one of the few minor characters with a touching story arc running the length of the film. Squishy along with his mom are just plain hilarious, both individually as well as within the mother-son dynamic.

MONSTERS UNIVERSITY Review characters

There was just enough of young Randall to make him a part of the story, while playing him down enough so as to not make this feel like Monsters, Inc. The casting of Hellen Mirren as the rather scary Dean Hardscrabble was perfect. The character design of Dean Hardscrabble is truly amazing and the stills really don’t do her justice, her centipede-like body in motion is truly astounding while at the same time making you cringe.

Soundtrack

Randy Newman returned to score Monsters University and he came up with a very fun theme that is used throughout the film (which can be found in the most recent trailer). Newman shifted from the polished jazz sound of Monsters, Inc. in favor of a pepband/brassband hybrid. Drumline cadences and grooves also made up a significant part of the soundtrack.

randy newman monsters university review

When Scanlon introduced the film, he noted that it was 99% complete with some soundtrack tweaks till needing to be made. I noticed 3 tracks which had themes from the Monsters, Inc. soundtrack, however I am not sure if this is the 1% that still needed work or if they were playing homage to Monsters, Inc.

All in all it is a very grooving soundtrack, and though it doesn’t compare to past Pixar greats such as Ratatouille or Up, it can definitely stand on its own.

Animation and Scenery

The settings were absolutely stunning. I was absolutely engrossed in the beautifully crafted campus; the meticulous attention to detail is superb. The lighting added so much to each scene, from the bright and radiant first day of school to the frat house parties. I am by no means an expert on animation, but just in comparing MU to Monsters, Inc. it is very easy to see that the quality and fluidity of animation has significantly improved. The fact that the animation didn’t stick out to me is also a good sign.

In Closing

The emotion in MU is very relatable and you are able to build a whole new set of emotional connections with Mike and Sulley. Though you may think you already have the story figured out, Monsters University is sure to surprise you with its many twists and turns. Echoing the intricate plot line of Toy Story 3, there are several point in MU where it seems like there is no where to go, but then another door opens up. The origin story of Mike and Sulley is quite incredible, and to quote Slashfilm, “You may know where Mike and Sully end up, but you’d never be able to guess the course of actions that brings them there.” 

Monsters University Review

Monsters University and The Blue Umbrella in theaters across the US on June 21st. Be sure to read Pixar News’ review The Blue Umbrella and order the MU soundtrack & ‘Art Of’ book.

Thomas Newman to score Finding Dory

stanton_dory

After Andrew Stanton’s major Twitter silence, he returned with trumpets, fanfare, and the news of Finding Dory. Everyone in the twittersphere was very glad to see him back, as he is one of the few directors at Pixar who has a very strong Twitter following and presence.

This morning, Stanton brought back his tradition of having question and answer sessions with his Twitter followers, along the way revealing that Thomas Newman will return to score Finding Dory.

 

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Newman is one of four composers who has worked for the Emeryville studio, the others being his cousin Randy Newman, Patrick Doyle, and Michael Giacchino. He previously composed the music for Wall•E and Finding Nemo (both directed by Andrew Stanton) and is set to score The Good Dinosaur.

Newman is the natural choice since he already has the beautiful Finding Nemo score under his belt. And with his impressive track record both at Pixar and other studios, he is sure to add that extra layer of wonder and emotion to Finding Dory in 2015.

Pete Docter’s film officially titled ‘Inside Out.’ Set to open June 19th of 2015

Initially announced as ‘The Untitled Film that Takes You Inside the Mind’ at the 2011 D23 Expo, Pete Docter’s 2015 film has an official name: ‘Inside Out.’ The film is set to open June 19th of 2015. John Lasseter described the film as “very, very clever and truly unlike anything you’ve ever seen.”

© ComingSoon

© ComingSoon

The official synopsis:

Pixar takes audiences on incredible journeys into extraordinary worlds: from the darkest depths of the ocean to the top of the tepui mountains in South America; from the fictional metropolis of Monstropolis to a futuristic fantasy of outer space. From director Pete Docter (UpMonsters, Inc.) and producer Jonas Rivera (Up), the inventive new film will take you to a place that everyone knows, but no one has ever seen: the world inside the human mind.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook for the latest on ‘Inside Out.’

Nathan Fillion, Bonnie Hunt, John Krasinski and More breath life into Monsters University Characters

Monsters University will bring back several beloved characters with voices to go along. We already know that Billy Crystal, John Goodman, and Steve Buscemi will reprise their voice roles, however there will be several new voices that are new to Pixar films (and a few who are more familiar).

Billy Crystal and John Goodman

Billy Crystal and John Goodman

Among the familiar are Bonnie Hunt who lent her voice to characters in A Bug’s LifeCarsToy Story 3, several shorts, and even Monsters, Inc. (though she will be playing a different character in MU). John Ratzenberger is also set to return, which isn’t surprising as he had become known as ‘Pixar’s Good Luck Charm.’

John Ratzenberger

John Ratzenberger

Several new voice actors have been announced in an exclusive article over at EW, including John Krasinski (The Office) who will be playing “Frightening” Frank McCay, a Scaring super star at Monsters, Inc. Bobby Moynihan (SNL) provides the voice of Chet Alexander, a yes-monster member of the Roar Omega Roar (ROR) fraternity. Julia Sweeney (The Goode Family) lends her voice to Ms. Squibbles, indulgent mother to Monsters University sophomore Scott “Squishy” Squibbles. Beth Behrs (2 Broke Girls) provides the voice of Carrie Williams, fearless leader of the Python Nu Kappa (PNK) sorority.

New to Pixar (but previously announced), include Sean P. Hayes (Will & Grace), Charlie Day (Horrible Bosses), Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation), Alfred Molina (Spider-Man 2), and Helen Mirren (The Queen).

Monsters University to open the 2013 Annecy International Animation Film Festival

Monsters University has been selected by Marcel Jean to open the 2013 Annecy International Animation Film Festival alongside The Blue Umbrella. The festival kicks off on the 10th of June.

Mike_Monsters_University_still_1

The Annecy International Animation Film Festival was created in 1960 and takes place at the beginning of June in the town of Annecy, France. It is one of the four international animated film festivals sponsored by the ASIFA, the International Animated Film Association. 

Video of the announcement and ticket info after the break.

Continue reading

Take a look at the Fraternities and Sororities of Monsters University

No big college experience is complete without the scores of frat guys and sorority girls and Monsters University is no exception. From Oozma Kappa (OK) to Python Nu Kappa (PNK), there is a fit for everyone in MU Greek Life.

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OOZMA KAPPA (OK)
A collection of wholesome, good-natured misfits, the adorable brothers of Oozma Kappa (OK) have bonded over their inability to make it through the Scaring Program. With only four bodies in the house, they don’t even have enough members to compete in the Scare Games. What they lack in Scariness and self-confidence, they make up for in heart. ©Disney Pixar

Yahoo Movies has posted several class photos of these various fraternities and sororities, featuring scores of new characters including the the President and Vice President of the Greek Council, voiced by Aubrey Plaza (from Parks and Recreation) and Tyler Labine. Be sure to check them out after the break. Continue reading

Gorgeous New Monsters University Concept Art

Though you’ll have to wait another couple of months for The Art of Monsters University, Disney has released a batch of beautiful concept art from Monsters University

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Monsters University college age Mike concept sketch, Ricky Nierva, marker, 2010
Courtesy of Pixar Animation Studios © 2013 Disney•Pixar.

With work from several artists including Dice Tsutsumi and Robert Kondo, the group of work provides a great range of concept art from early pencil sketches to digital paintings. Be sure to check them out after the break! Continue reading