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D23Expo: Art and Imagination: Animation at The Walt Disney Studios

Daniella Cuencas ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Editor

This was by far the most exiting expo that was featured at the convention if you’re a huge animation fan. All three studios from Pixar, Walt Disney Animation, to Disneytoon were featured here. Bob Iger started off the presentation with some fond memories about Disney and what it’s meant to him, which brought up animation and the introduction of the amazing John Lasseter. For the difference sections of the animation section of Disney he changed his shirt. Beginning with a Monsters University themed shirt, he started talking about the upcoming Pixar projects. There were so many great clips and movies that came up.

Photo Courtesy of pixarne.ws.
Photo Courtesy of pixarne.ws.

The Good Dinosaur seems to be the next animated Pixar movie in theatres. Bill Hader, Lucas Neff (Raising Hope) and Judy Greer (13 Going on 30), these three sibling dinosaurs encounter the first human. In this movie the dinosaurs can talk but the human cannot, which is an interesting switch. All three actors were brought out on stage and judging from the way they acted around each other, they had great chemistry together. The director of this movie also helped to make Up, which is one of the best Pixar movies with great use of emotion.

The next film was known as Inside Out. The title doesn’t give too much away but it’s about a girl moving from Minnesota to San Francisco. In this change, the story focuses on the emotions in her brain. Characters like Anger, Sadness, Disgust, and Joy are all apart of the cast. .Amy Poehler as Joy, Bill Hader as Fear, and Phyllis Smith as Sadness will be featured in this film. Pixar tries to give a fantastical and unbelievably amazing image of what the human brain looks like and works like. In the film stills, there were things like an actual train, which represented a train of thought, and a big projector that represented the main characters eyes.

©2013 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.
©2013 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Another really big one that only had concept drawings was Finding Dory. There wasn’t too much given away about this movie except for a simple plot. The movie will take place one year after Nemo was found. Dory is living with her friends on the reef, but forgets things a lot, obviously. Her short-term memory loss starts to take a toll on the people she cares about, and her homing signal turns on at the same time. After an incident, she leaves on a search to find her family. Al Brooks, who voices Marlin, will be a returning cast member along with some new ones such as Dory’s parents, Jenny (Diane Keaton) and Charles (Eugene Levy).

Last but not least, Pixar will be making another Tory Story movie. This one will be made for TV and aired as a Halloween special. Lasseter featured a ten minute preview of the film and it was honestly a little scary. It’s definitely worth the watch. It had suspense and mystery all wrapped up in just those ten minutes. It will feature the toys going on a trip, with Bonnie. The car they are traveling in gets a flat tire and the characters have to stop at a Motel for the night. Of course, the horror ensues once Mr. Potato Head goes off by himself to check out the motel. As he is lost, the characters including Woody, Buzz, Jessie, Rex, Mr. Pricklepants, and Trixie all go to look for him. All of a sudden the characters get picked off one by one until Jessie is the only one left to find the rest of her friends.

©2013 Disney. All rights resvered.
Tom Hiddleston. ©2013 Disney. All rights resvered.

DisneyToon animation is having a very different animation season. Two fair movies featuring Tinkerbell and her friends will be making their out of this department. The most intriguing of the two was the story of a pirate fairy that has a cabin boy named James. He might seem ordinary and nice, but it turns out he is none other than Captain Hook. His beginnings with two hands, will be apart of this movie and played by Tom Hiddleston. Christina Hendrix will play opposite him as the fairy. In case any one was wondering Tom Hiddleston can sing. He belted out “Bare Necesities” on stage, which was great! The other fairy movie is about Tinkerbell and her friends going out of their comfort zone, forgetting their fear, and befriending someone that they always thought to be a monster. The pirate fairy tale also known as The Pirate Fairy and Legend of the Never Beast are both apart of the Disneytoon lineup.

There will also be a Planes sequel called Planes: Fire and Rescue. The reason I think this movie will be great is because it is dedicated to all of the firefighters out there who risk their lives to keep people safe, and just as the animators did in Planes, the scenery is absolutely stunning in this movie.

Photo Courtesy of www.fanpop.com.
Photo Courtesy of www.fanpop.com.

Finally there is Walt Disney Animation. This studio definitely has some amazing things in store for the upcoming years. Starting with Frozen, this film stars Idina Menzel as Elsa, the snow queen, and Kristen Bell as Anna, her ordinary sister. Judging by the song “Let It Go” sung by Idina Menzel, this movie is going to be an emotional roller coaster with really deep and flushed out characters. The princess Anna will be a lot of fun. After watching a clip, she seems like the best awkward and definitely real to life princess I’ve seen. She bumbles, rants, and says things that she shouldn’t. Yet this sounded so realistic and I enjoyed the fact that even though this isn’t set in modern times, the characters have features that we can all relate to. Josh Gad also acts in this film as a fun and happy snowman who dreams of summer, but doesn’t realize what will happen to him if he ever actually lived through the season. His comic relief is adorable and helps to lighten up the movie.

What happens when Disney mixes Japanese comic book with Marvel? You get Big Hero Six. This movie has a definite Japanese flair to it after seeing some of the animated stills from the film. The main character, Hiro, is smart and creates micro robots. This seemingly small invention ends up in the wrong hands and he has to enlist the help of several unlikely candidates to help him fix the problem, one of them including his nurse robot turned fighter robot. The creaters of this film actually visited MIT, Harvard, and other engineering schools in order to find a real life robot inspiration for the nurse robot. This isn’t an ordinary robot, it actually helps the main character heal after he loses his brother, in circumstance not divulged. Their bond is the focus of the film, and will be interesting to see how that as well as the superhero plot will mesh together.

The last movie presentation, in my opinion one of the most interesting projects, was Zootopia. The presenters Byron Howard, director, and Jared Bush, writer, showed images of this film set to debut 2016. The concept behind this film is what if the world was entirely full of animals. In this world no humans exists, which means everything from the construction, amenities, and neighborhoods were built by and for animals. This makes for some strange and beautifully imaginative ideas about what the world would be like if polar bears wanted an apartment. The plot of this film is centered on a fox, with a slightly less then perfect reputation, who finds himself in a friendship with a rabbit. These animals are predator and prey in the wild. The animators that worked on this film tried to use nature and keep the storyline as true to actuality when considering animal behavior and habitat as much as possible. 

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