Summertime is so close I can feel it, and this season brings more than sunny days and vacations: it's also one of the best times of the year for movies. This Summer is no exception: there are eagerly anticipated sequels, big-budget action movies, and comedies galore. There are even a few under-the-radar gems, but we're here to put those — along with the other big titles — on your radar. Without further ado, here's your Summer movie preview for May and June.
Pixar's first feature film with a female lead, Brave, took top honors at last night's Oscars, snagging the award for Best Animated Feature. While the story itself of a Scottish princess defying tradition of picking a suitor, searching instead for her destiny was award-worthy in itself, the artistic and technical feats — remember Merida's perfectly created curls and the Scottish countryside? — were captivating.
We spoke with one of the behind-the-scenes wizards on the film, Shading Art Director Tia Kratter, on how the crew and artists at Pixar turned the story of a girl in ancient Scotland into a technically and artistically jaw-dropping legend.
GeekSugar: What are your duties as shading director?
Tia Kratter: My job is to figure out the colors and the textures of everything that is modeled in the film so that when it's modeled in the computer, it has beautiful shape and detail. I figure out how to color it or texture it to make it look believable. If it's a leaf, say, I have to figure out if it's a fresh leaf, one that's dried out in the Fall, or if it's just the vein work [of the leaf]. The same goes with characters — what are they wearing, what's the fabric like, what's Merida's hair like? What color is it? How does it behave?
GS: What sort of research is needed to make the clothing and all visual details of a mythical ancient Scotland accurate?
TK: I went back to London, to the Victoria and Albert Museum where they have old tapestries and a great library of information. We usually start out by doing that, trying to find out what happened in reality [in ancient Scotland], and once we feel comfortable in that world, we feel OK to leave it and add the fantasy back.
Keep reading for Tia's take on the technical feats mastered during Brave's production and her previous work on Monsters, Inc.
This year's Oscar buzz has largely centered around big names like Lincoln and Argo, but impressive animated films are worth noting too. "Best animated feature film" only became an Oscar category in 2002, but since then, and even before that, kid-friendly films have blown us away with their award-worthy story lines and animations. Check out some of the top Oscar-nominated animated films, from this year's Brave to the beloved classic Beauty and the Beast, and let us know — what are your family's favorites?
From wild, red-haired, arrow-shooting princesses to tree-protecting mythical creatures, many endearing characters were introduced to our children on the big screen. Both zoo and prehistoric animals, pirates, video-game heroes, and even Jack Frost got in on the animated action this year, which was a great one for kids' movies. They taught our littlest ones important lessons about self-confidence and environmental responsibility, and, of course, made them laugh out loud over and over again. So what was your favorite animated film of 2012? Weigh in below!
When movies and good food go together, it's like having, well, the best turkey and stuffing combo ever. In that spirit, we've rounded up some of the best films that showcase chefs, bakers, food scenes, and everything in between, just in time for Thanksgiving. Have a look, and satisfy your cinematic cravings!
Merida is making her DVD debut on Brave's Blu-ray Collector's Edition today, and it goes without saying that we're enamored with the first leading lady of Pixar. Actually, we're pretty smitten with Pixar in general. Aside from the fact that it's an animation studio filled with geeks we love, classic hits like Toy Story, Finding Nemo, Up, and Monsters, Inc. are definitely on our all-time best movies list (but we're not picking any favorites).
Adulthood probably didn't stop the Pixar-lover in your life from enjoying full-length animated feature films, either, so we've mustered up 13 Pixar-themed gift ideas for grown-up geeks just like us.
Majell del Castillo designs absolutely beautiful events, but we were blown away (up, up, and away, that is) when we spotted the Up-inspired birthday bash she recently created. "We were mostly inspired by vintage details from the first 15 minutes of the movie," Majell says. "The props were mostly DIY projects that were on the vintage side, from globes to grape soda and 'Ellie badges.'" But our favorite details have to be the balloon-inspired sweets, including an awesome house with macaron balloons and the cutest cupcakes around. Keep reading to check out how Majell went above and beyond with this bash.
Source: Majell del Castillo Events
Pixar hopes it will hit a bull's-eye with Brave and its bow and arrow toting heroine, Merida. The Pixar film, out this weekend, is the first with a female lead, and unlike other Disney princesses, Merida has no interest in a prince charming. I went to Scotland to interview the cast and filmmakers behind the project, including studio head John Lasseter. Lasseter explained that as the chief creative officer, he's been waiting for the directors "to come up with the right story with the right characters" before the studio launched its first heroine.
As for the message of the film, actors Kevin McKidd and Kelly Macdonald, who lent their voices to Brave, found it to be relatable and empowering. But don't take it from me. Find out what Brave means to the people behind it with a look at the best quotes from my interviews.
If your weekend plans include a family outing to see Brave, then you're in luck. We've rounded up 20 great ways to get your kids inspired and excited about Disney Pixar's latest film. From freebie printables to full-on dress-up gear, check out these toys, games, and more to prepare your lil ones for their trip to the theater.
Pixar chose ancient Scotland as the setting of its new movie Brave, the studio's first feature to star a female lead. I was lucky enough to travel to modern Edinburgh, Scotland, to see the film and interview the stars and filmmakers this month. Brave is about Merida, a young princess who resents her mother's misguided attempts to marry her off to one of three chosen suitors. But as a headstrong teenager, Merida acts rashly to contradict her mother's wishes and puts her mom — the queen — and the kingdom at risk.
While in Scotland, I learned a bit about Scottish traditions, like clan fighting, and even got to test my skills at archery, a sport Princess Merida excels at in the film. The heritage of Merida's homeland is a crucial part of the redheaded heroine's story, and being in Scotland made me more connected to the character's independence and authenticity. Pixar's animators expertly capture the luscious and rolling countryside of Scotland, which I got to see in person. And as she rides alone on her horse, Merida's wild, fiery mane contrasts beautifully against the many shades of green. We get the picture that she's not afraid to stand out.
Before Brave hits theaters on Friday, take a look at my snapshots from the press trip to Scotland.