Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Pixar's next three years: Bring it on

Although I would never admit it to my parents (who do read this, I know, so I guess I just did), I did actually think for just a second that it's a shame I will miss the opening of "Ratatouille" because I'm gonna be in South Africa for two weeks starting Saturday. Crazy, I know, but I quickly got over it.

I do, however, think "Ratatouille" will be the surprise big hit of this summer, and apparently there will be, according to Boxofficemojo, 800 advance screenings this weekend. That has to be about the world's most annoying Web site, so don't look to it to find out exactly where these screenings will occur, but definitely keep an eye on your local multiplexes.

In the meantime, the big news I missed yesterday, because I felt the need to instead rave about David Chase's fantastic "Sopranos" finale, was that Pixar has now set its slate for the next three years, with the big news being something called "Up" for 2009. Here's the rundown:

For 2008, first comes "Wall-E," written and directed by "Finding Nemo" director Andrew Stanton. Here, according to Jim Hill, is the beginning of the plot summary:

The year is 2700. Planet Earth is one giant trash heap, and an incompetent corporation called Buynlarge has the contract to clean up the mess. Buynlarge sent thousands of robots, called Waste Allocation Load Lifters - Earth Class, to do the job but unfortunately they all broke down over the past 700 years. Save for one.

The last robot has developed a few bugs of his own. This Wall-E became self-aware and curious about humans. He, along with his pet cockroach Spot, has amassed a bizarre collection of human artifacts including a VCR and a VHS tape of Hello Dolly!, which he watches incessantly. Wall-E toils away at his thankless (and endless) job until another robot, named Eve, suddenly arrives. Wall-E follows this new robot around like a little puppy and, when she finally leaves Earth, he finds a way to tag along. Which is where the real fun starts.

One other snippet from Hill: The first third of the movie will feature no dialogue, only beeps and bleeps between our hero and his new paramour. Can Stanton really pull it off? Stay tuned.

Next, for 2009, Pixar is finally going geriatric with "Up," about a 70-year-old man who just happens to fight beasts and villians. As someone who already enjoys eating dinner before 5 p.m., I can only say it's about damn time. "Monster's, Inc." director Pete Docter is in charge of this promising project.

And finally, in 2010, the studio returns to very firm ground with "Toy Story 3." All I know for sure about this one is that Tim Allen and Tom Hanks will be back, that Lee Unkrich, a co-director on "Toy Story 2," will be in charge, and that Michael Arndt (an Oscar winner for "Little Miss Sunshine") is writing the script. Wiki features a rumor that the story will be about what happens to the toys after Andy has grown up and abandoned them, but rumor is all that is.

R.I.P. Veronica Mars

The fact that I had little hope at all for the rather silly Mars bar campaign aimed at the CW doesn't make this news any easier. According to TV Guide's Michael Ausiello, via "Veronica" mastermind Rob Thomas, the show, in all its forms, is now officially dead.

Here's what Thomas had to say in an e-mail to Ausiello:

"I'm afraid I have to report that Veronica Mars is officially dead, at least in TV show form. There's really no way that it can happen now. I'm not sure the CW should've given the glimmer of hope. I think Dawn Ostroff genuinely would have liked to have continued on with a version of the show, but there was too much resistance around her. At the end of the day, it would've been kinder had the band aid simply been ripped off rather peeled away in than this agonizingly slow manner."

I can certainly sympathize with him there. This living-in-limbo has caused plenty of talented people to turn their back on TV, but according to AICN, Thomas may not be ready to give up just yet.

According to the site's Hercules, Thomas is rumored to have been approached to serve as showrunner of “Miss/Guided,” a midseason ABC series about a woman who returns to her alma mater as a high school guidance counselor starring the very funny Judy Greer, aka Kitty Sanchez on "Arrested Development."

As for "Veronica Mars," it does indeed now seem to be over for good, and there's absolutely nothing good I can say about that.

"Blindness" coming into clear view

OK, on to much better news. The next movie from easily one of my favorite directors in the world, Fernando Meirelles. is attracting a fantastic cast.

Already, Mark Ruffalo had stepped in to replace Daniel Craig (a definite upgrade in my book) to join Julianne Moore as the principal stars of "Blindness." The flick, to be based on Jose Saramango's novel about an epidemic of blindness that sweeps through a contemporary city and pushes society to the brink of breakdown, is scheduled to begin shooting in early July in Sao Paulo and Toronto.

Now comes news that three new names have been added to the cast, Gael Garcia Bernal, Danny Glover and Alice Braga.

Bernal will play the King of Ward 3, and Glover will narrate the story. Braga will portray the girl with the dark glasses. Having not read the book, I'm not sure exactly what all this will mean, but I can't wait to find out.

And, because beautiful women can only brighten up everyone's Tuesday, I've included a photo of the lovely Alica Braga, who you may remember from Meirelles' "City of God" (which, when pressed, I've been known to sometimes list as my favorite movie.) Peace out.


Mercurie said...

It looks like Pixar has a good plan for the next three years. As much as I love the Toy Story movies, I think I am really look forward to Up. Historically movies have had too few older heroes. And Pixar, having traditionally broken the Hollywood mould, is the one studio that could pull it off really well.

I really have to sympathise with Thomas as well. It's bad enough that the CW had to can Veronica Mars, but the way they chose to do it was just detestable.

Reel Fanatic said...

It really was pathetic, Mercurie ... From everything I've read, Dawn Ostroff was a sympathetic figure, but more and more seemingly incompetent executive ... If she really did want to keep this show alive, as she claims, someone in her position should have been able to accomplish at least that much

Marina said...

Blindness is really shaping up into a great little film. Each new announcement makes me a little more excited.

It can't come soon enough!

Lorraine said...

Sometimes I look at our movie collection for The Child, which is pretty extensive what with her now being 13 and sometimes I think about putting all those movies in a box for her to take with her when she moves out and then I think a) like she's going to want a bunch of kid movies when she's in college and 2) I'm not giving up those Pixar films...that's just crazy talk.

And the CW seems to be bent on one thing: self-destruction.

lylee said...

Just adding my voice to the chorus of outrage re: Veronica Mars...

A friend got me the first season for my birthday present, which I'm in the process of watching for the first time, and I have to say...DAMN.

I'm in agreement, though, that the CW's main fault was its wishy-washiness. It liked the show enough to try to keep it (even after 2 seasons of bad ratings) and to tease Rob Thomas into not writing a proper series finale, but not enough, in the end, to stand by it. Boo CW.

But yay Pixar. Those folks never rest on their laurels. I'm looking forward to "Ratatouille."

lylee said...

Oh, and have to say watching the first season of VM *after* having watched the third season is fascinating. It adds a whole layer of dramatic irony that I wouldn't otherwise have been privy to.

Reel Fanatic said...

The first season of "Veronica Mars," Lylee, is indeed a masterpiece ... It falters a bit in season 2, but really only a bit, making it still easily one of the two or three best things on TV at that point

Lorcy said...

Like the sound of Wall-E! have put up a blog post mentioning your good self
Jimmny H

Shorty said...

Blindness is a must read...It is one of the best books I've ever read...I bought the sequel Seeing, but haven't started it yet...still gotta finish up the latest from Cormac McCarthy...nice job!

Elton said...

That's it: I officially hate the CW! Way to cancel your best show! *shakes fist*