Lego Disney Minifigures

An image was leaked the other day of a new set of collectable Lego minifigures. They are all based around Disney characters. It is common knowledge that Disney has had a link with Lego for years. So this new series makes perfect sense. I will go through the characters and discuss some others that I think we will see in future series.

Lego Disney Minifigures

The characters in the first series are:

Mickey Mouse

Minnie Mouse

Donald Duck

Daisy Duck

Peter Pan

Captain Hook

Dash

Syndrome

Aladdin

Genie

Buzz

Alien

Stitch

Ursula

Ariel

Maleficent

Alice

Cheshire Cat

I would say this is a great start to a series. We haven’t got all the famous characters out, so they have something to bring out in future lots. I also find it great to see some Pixar characters. I have not seen a single classic Disney film like Aladdin, Snow White, or The Little Mermaid, but I am a massive fan of everything Pixar. If I were to collect these I would probably try and “feel out” the Pixar characters and probably Mickey and Donald, while leaving all the other characters. I was a fan of some of the old Disney cartoons like Recess and Fillmore, so if they decided to bring out some figures from that I would also be interested. I know Stitch is probably a more popular character than those from Recess and certainly more popular than Fillmore, but you can’t blame a guy for dreaming. Who wouldn’t want a minifigure of TJ, Spinelli, Gretchen, Gus, Vince, or Mikey?

recess lego disney minifigures

Lego-Disney-Series-16-Collectible-Minifigure-Series

This image above has circulated a few sites recently. This is supposedly some of the figures we can expect from the new series. Some of them seem plausible as we have seven of the characters confirmed. The look slightly different in the real pictures, but the representation is pretty spot on. I don’t buy this image though. Six figures representing Kim Possible? I don’t think so. A Barbie and Ken figure? Unless Hasbro has done a licensing deal with Lego this is never going to happen. That is why I question the validity of the picture. You can believe, but unless most of the figures get made I won’t be.

In the confirmed image, the different properties featured are varied. We have the classic Disney characters like Mickey and Donald, the old cartoon characters, as well as the modern 3D characters. With some of the characters you can almost guess some other characters that will appear.

As we have Buzz and the Alien we can only assume we will have Woody too, maybe even Jessie. I can’t see them being the same as they appeared in the sets a few years ago. The alien still looks the same, but Buzz has lost his special moulded head and has a normal head with a decal. This is why I think Woody and Jessie would also have a normal head and probably have normal length legs too.

toy story lego disney minifigures

The inclusion of Dash and Syndrome can only mean Helen, Bob, and Violet are to come? I would like to think so. Why would Lego put in the two characters if they didn’t plan on adding the other three characters? I wouldn’t say Syndrome and Dash are the most popular characters. If they do make a figure of the rest of the family I will find it interesting to see how they make the figures portray their special powers. Will Helen and Violet be taller? Will Bob be a bigger figure?

incredibles lego disney minifigures

With it being the first series, it is obvious why they included the favourites of Donald, Mickey, and Minnie. These three characters are Disney personified and are the faces of the company. Putting these main characters in the first series is a good start and hopefully get people in the series. I am slightly bemused by the inclusion of Daisy though. Unless Daisy is more popular in the US than in the UK, I can’t see she has the same kind of pulling power as the other three, but maybe she is there as the “girlfriend” of Donald, like Mickey and Minnie.  These four main characters are good for a start, and it also leaves room for another lot of characters to be the linchpin of the other series. I would like to see Goofy and Pluto in the next series. Characters like Oswald the Unlucky Rabbit, Chip and Dale, and Scrooge McDuck will be some other well-known Disney characters that could be included.

The rest of the characters hint at some more characters we could be seeing. No Lilo with Stitch? No Tinkerbell with Peter Pan? We should be seeing the rest of the characters from the films represented. We will probably see all the Disney Princess represented in future series. I can see Tinkerbell, Lilo, Mad Hatter, Jasmine, and Snow White being made later on to fit in with the characters already here.

This leaves me to question what characters I think they should do. I think having a couple of Princesses in each series will really draw people in. Lego have already made the princesses in the Friends style. I also think a good spread of Pixar characters will see them right. They will probably continue with characters from old films too, like Dumbo, Pinocchio, and Winnie the Pooh.

Now onto the characters that I want to see.

As I have mentioned I would love to see some Recess characters. If they have done Lilo and Stitch they obviously don’t mind taking characters from Disney Toons.

I love the Pixar films so including a few main characters from every film would be great. I don’t think they will try to do any Cars or Finding Nemo characters, but I think they could mould some heads for Bugs Life, Monsters Inc, and Ratatouille characters.  If they could pull off some great likenesses of these characters I will be more than happy.

Now I like Pixar, but I also like some of the original Disney 3D films. Some figures representing this side of Disney would also be cool. I would love to see some Chicken Little, Wreck It Ralph, and Big Hero Six characters.

big hero six lego disney minifigures
What they could look like.

I love Phineas and Ferb too. So some figures of them would be nice. I do know Lego planned to use the two in a Lego game before so you never know!

lego phineas and ferb disney minifigures
Lego Phineas and Ferb Board Game

This has also got me thinking. Will Disney be taking any characters from Live action properties? Will we be seeing High School Musical, Suite Life, or National Treasure characters? I doubt it. What about Muppets?

muppets lego disney minifigures

I am excited about this development, and will certainly be buying some of the bags. I hope they include some great characters and both sides, Lego and Disney, do well enough from it that they carry it on until almost every Disney character has been done!

 

 

 

history of Pixar

Thirty years ago today, Feb 4, 1986, one of the greatest animation studios was founded. Known for brilliant storytelling, jaw-dropping scenery, and relateable characters this studio is of course Pixar! The history of Pixar is full of intrigue with each staff having their own story. In my opinion the founding of Pixar is down to 4 men, men who were each good in their own fields…

Ed Catmull (Technical Whizz)

Way back in 1974, Ed completed his doctorate in computer science to then be employed by a gentleman named Alexander Schure to help him with the new Computer Graphics Lab at the New York Institute of Technology. Ed had already been recognised as a leader in the industry by discovering and inventing various subtleties and techniques in computer graphics. His first bit of animation, which he made of his left hand, appeared in the film Futureword, making it the first computer generated graphics in a feature film. It was while at NYIT, that Ed created different bits of software to help people create computer animations. His most notable was simple named “Paint”; this eventually became the computer animation system CAPS that Disney would use for their 2D animation work. With his obvious expertise, Hollywood beckoned. And who could be more Hollywood than George Lucas? George hired Ed to work on a new computer graphics department of Lucasfilm in 1979, named Industrial Lights & Magic.In that same year he was made Vice President of the department. In 1986 Steve Jobs invested in ILM and turned it into Pixar. Ed then created Pixar’s landmark 3D animation software, Renderman. The same software they have made every film from since.

Ed Catmull Pixar History of Pixar

George Lucas (Visionary)

As a man who made money from creating live action films, it makes you wonder why George Lucas was so keen on computer animation. Before he set the Pixar ball rolling, he had already created Star Wars. Remember that the first Star Wars used old-school effects like stop motion and compositing. To Lucas, the initial outlay for computer graphics could make a lot more money in the long run. This is why in 1979, he hired Ed Catmull and John Lasseter to help him create 3D effects for films under the Industrial Lights & Magic department. Lucas could see the potential of 3D graphics and really wanted to make a full feature film, but as he was losing money from his divorce and the drop-off in Star Wars merchandise sales he had to sell up to Steve Jobs.

George Lucas Pixar History of Pixar

John Lasseter (Artist and Animator)

John had had a hard run while working for Disney as an animator. He was fed up with doing 2D animations and wanted to try out 3D. Him and some colleagues tried out a 3D short with a 2D animation over the top based on the book Where the Wild Thing Are. Pleased with the results, John wanted to create a full 3D feature film. He pitched idea of the Brave Little Toaster as a 3D film. Disney did not like the idea as they felt it would be too expensive, and sacked John from their animation department. This meant John was a free agent, and a perfect target for Ed Catmull. Industrial Lights & Magic needed an animator and John fit the bill. They couldn’t call him an animator as Ed was told he wasn’t to hire any. John worked freelance with Lucasfilm where he created the first ever fully 3D animated short, The Adventures of Andre and Wally B. After finding the funding for Brave Little Toaster was gone, he was offered a job by Ed and went to work full-time at ILM. This partnership between Ed and John eventually led to the creation of Toy Story.

John Lasseter Pixar History of Pixar
John Lasseter Pixar History of Pixar

Steve Jobs (Money and Direction)

In 1986 Pixar were a company mainly focused at selling computers and software while animating in their spare time. George Lucas didn’t want to run a computer business, and added to his personal finances, he decided to find investors. In walks Steve Jobs. After recently being fired from Apple, Steve needed something to work on. So in 1986 he bought the Pixar technology and Pixar company for $5 million each. The $5 million for the company was used as an investment in the company, while the other $5 mil was for the rights for the software. Steve knew the company needed money, and selling the computers was not going to pay the bills. Steve suggested doing animated adverts while they worked on the feature films.

Steve Jobs Pixar History of Pixar

These four men created one of the best animation studios that created some the most highly acclaimed films ever. Each man had a part to play, and had a piece to pplace in the Pixar jigsaw. They each had a skill they brought to the table. If you were to take out one of these men Pixar would not be the company it is today; financially or creatively. They are part of the history of Pixar. I can’t believe its been 30 years Pixar, here’s to another 30!

 

 

bug's life vs antz dreamworks vs pixar pixar week

It is no secret that Pixar and Dreamworks are against each other and always will be. They are the two powerhouses for 3D, CGI films, so it is obvious they will be at war. Standing from the sidelines the battle looks fairly mundane with both studios releasing films for the public to enjoy, each trying to create great films. The battle between Pixar and Dreamworks is way more than this; Pixar and Dreamworks have history…

It all starts with a man named Jeffery Katzenberg. Jeffery was brought into Disney by  CEO Michael Eisner in 1984. Eisner wanted him to look into the motion picture division of Disney. At this time Disney was one of the worst performing studios in regards to film making. Katzenberg was able to turn this around by creating some more adult orientated live action movies, as well as some of Disney’s best animated films. These animated films included Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and the Lion King. It was also Katzenberg who agreed the partnership deal between Disney and Pixar.

Jeffery Katzenberg at Disney Bug's Life vs Antz
Jeffery Katzenberg while at Disney

When Eisner’s second in command died in a helicopter crash, Katzenberg was not promoted to the free position of president. Katzenberg fell out with Eisner, and left Disney in 1994. He also even attempted to sue his old company for money he felt he was owed. This breakup inspired Katzenberg to seek revenge, eventually leading him to create Disney Pixar’s mortal enemy, Dreamworks.

Thus commences the biggest movie studio rivalry known in the business, and a fairly shady movie battle too…

Bug’s Life vs Antz

Backstory

Hyped up by the success of Toy Story, Pixar started work on its next film, A Bug’s Life. Remember that Katzenberg knew John Lasseter and Steve Jobs after Toy Story and Pixar’s collaboration with Disney. To be honest, Katzenberg hindered the process of Toy Story by wanting it edgier and appeal more to adults. It wasn’t until he left Pixar to it, when they were able to create the film they wanted. Katzenberg had already had a run in with the Pixar staff, so when Katzenberg invited John Lasseter and Andrew Stanton for a meeting after his founding of Dreamworks, they should have smelt a rat. Katzenberg was asking them a lot of questions about their “bug” film, and pointing out how close the release date was to Dreamwork’s Prince of Egypt. This meeting was in 1995.  John and the Pixar team started getting word that Dreamworks were also making a CGi film based around insects; this film became Antz. John phoned up Katzenberg who initially said it was a rumour, but later admitted it was true. Jeffrey told John that the Antz pitch had been given to him years before any news of A Bug’s Life. John obviously found this hard to believe and felt he was the cannon fodder between Disney and disgruntled Katzenberg. Katzenberg then phoned up Steve Jobs, and told them he could stop the production of Antz if Disney and Pixar moved the release date of Bug’s Life to avoid it colliding with Prince of Egypt’s date.  Jobs told him it was extortion and refused to move the date. Disney would not have let him anyway. Katzenberg then made the decision of moving Antz’s release date from Spring 1999 to October 1998, just to get an edge on Pixar’s Bug’s Life. The sad thing is that most of the Pixar crew knew and were friends with the PDI crew (PDI being the computer animation group Dreamworks bought and used), and would have supported their new film, had it not been in direct competition with theirs. John Lasseter has even said that he would have closed the studio for the day just to go and see PDI and Dreamwork’s first film. PDI and Pixar were on good terms after the whole debacle, but the competition between Dreamworks and Disney still whirred on.

katzenberg and lasseter together pixar vs dreamworks Bug's Life vs Antz
Katzenberg and Lasseter together at the Producers Guild Awards

Film’s Similarities and Differences

Similarities

  • Based on insects
  • Main character is a male worker ant that wants to get out of the colony
  • The worker ant falls in love with a princess
  • They both save the colony

Differences

  • In a Bug’s Life the colony is the safe place, while the big city is dangerous. In Antz the colony is bad and the place they try and find is good
  • Antz is not afraid with death with many characters dying, while Bug’s life shows little violence and no deaths
  • Bug’s life is family friendly, whereas Antz tried to be edgy, using satirical and rude humour and violence
  • Antz is the dark side of theme, while Bug’s Life is the light. Antz used darker colours, humour, and plot. Bug’s Life is colourful, juvenile, and much brighter.

Ratings

On Rotten Tomatoes:

a bug's life rotten tomatoes rating a bug's life vs antz Antz rotten tomatoes rating a bug's life vs antz

Metacritic:

A bug's life metacritic Rating dreamworks a bug's life vs antz

Antz metacritic Rating dreamworks a bug's life vs antz

and IMDB:

A bug's life IMDB Rating dreamworks a bug's life vs antz pixar

Antz IMDB Rating dreamworks a bug's life vs antz

As you can see from the ratings both films are highly acclaimed. They each win out in different areas on different websites. The reason Antz beats A Bug’s Life on some websites is due to the harder hitting story and better voice cast, while Bug’s Life wins for memorable characters and child friendly plot.

Even if their critical reception was similar, Katzenberg’s gamble with Antz beating Bug’s Life didn’t pay off at the box office.

Bug’s Life cleaned up with $363,398,565 in box office sales to Antz’s $171,757,863 worldwide sales. The fact that Antz lost out to Bug’s Life even though it came out earlier speaks kindly to the marketing Pixar did for the film, and the lack thereof from Dreamwork. It also shows that the fact Antz was rushed out into cinemas just to beat Pixar’s efforts was a stupid idea, and thus lacked any real traction in the theatres. Judging by the reviews Antz could have easily been stiff competition for Bug’s Life if it had been marketed better.

antz movie poster Bug's Life vs Antz
Antz Movie Poster
bugs life movie poster Bug's Life vs Antz
A Bug’s Life’s Movie Poster

Summary

In all credit to Katzenberg and Dreamworks, they did bring out a good film with good reviews. So you can only feel the cheap tactics and fired shots between the two studios only really harmed Antz. Had Katzenberg waited for Bug’s Life to come and really finish off the film, it may have beat Bug’s Life in the box office. After Jeffery had laid down the gauntlet there was no real going back; Dreamworks and Pixar were to be long time enemies. From similarities between Shark Tale and Finding Nemo, Ratatouille and Flush Away, and even Disney’s Emperor’s New Groove and The Road to Eldorado only strengthened the animosity between the two even if they were just “coincidences.” After Bug’s Life vs Antz, animation fans actually had two great films to watch and enjoy. So I suppose it wasn’t all bad.