Force of Nature: Mother Nature Furiously Spins the Earth
Italian sculptor Lorenzo Quinn sculpted his project Force of Nature I and II, after being a witness to the devastating destruction of hurricanes in Thailand and in the Southern United States. Constructed from bronze, stainless steel and aluminum, the work reflects nature’s perceived powerful energy, which is unpredictable, beautiful, yet dangerous. By omitting Mother Nature’s face, Quinn reminds us that there is no sense of security or protection from the Earth itself. We are not in control, sudden destruction awaits at any time.
What we learned about Disney/Pixar newest animated movies
The filmmakers went on a research trip through the American Northwest and created footage for the film that is so photorealistic that it would be hard to tell the difference from footage shot with a camera.
The film introduces audiences to Arlo, a sheltered Apatosaurus who finds himself far from home, and Spot, Arlo’s human friend. The story is a role reversal, in the sense that the boy is the dinosaur with the ability to talk, and the dog is the boy who is more animalistic and communicates by growling and grunting.
In one of the scenes we got to see, Arlo’s father (voiced by Jeffrey Wright) dies, early on in the story, and he gets unintentionally separated from his mother (voiced by Frances McDormand) and siblings when he is swept down the river, far from home, nearly dying on the intense trip. He finds himself lost and surrounded by the danger and beauty of nature, and comes across a caveboy who doesn’t have the same communication skills as Arlo.
On their epic journey that is a story of self-discovery and friendship, Arlo and Spot learn that they are more alike than they ever could have imagined. In another of the scenes that we got to see, we learn that while Arlo lost and misses his father, Spot was left without both of his parents. Like many Disney movies that pull on the heartstrings, the scene left the audience with tears in their eyes and sniffles that could be heard around the room
We also got to see a trio of T-Rexes, voiced by Sam Elliott, Anna Paquin andAJ Buckley, in action. This family of dinosaurs push Arlo to face his own personal features and teach him what he’s truly made of.
Because the best storytelling comes from great research, the filmmaking team started at Animal Kingdom at Disney World, and then went to Kenya. They wanted to recognize what makes each animal great and incorporate the walking, personality and behavior that makes them who they are. They also heavily researched animal fur.
The residents of Zootopia live in a city designed for animals by animals. It is made up of Sahara Square, Tundra Town, the Rainforest District and Bunny Burrow, and we were showed artwork of each of these locations, each with their own distinct look and feel that fits their name.
Ginnifer Goodwin voices the rookie rabbit officer Judy Hopps. As a life-long fan, Goodwin had always wanted to voice a character in an animated Disney feature, and this role has provided that opportunity. Hopps is the first bunny cop and her mantra is “anyone can be anything,” but it’s hard not to be a bit discouraged when she’s given parking duty. If the footage shown was any indication, that mantra will definitely be tested by another character she finds herself having to work with on a case.
Jason Bateman voices the con artist fox Nick Wilde. We got to see the see when Wilde and Hopps first meet, and their interaction shows how Hopps optimism allows her to be taken advantage of by Wilde’s more manipulative and sly personality.
The story becomes something of a buddy comedy, as the two find themselves in a circumstances that leads them to seek answers together in the case of a missing otter. During the investigation, Wilde begins to gain respect for Hopps as he sees her determination.
Another fun scene that we got to see was one in which Hopps and Wilde have to go to the DMV, which is run by sloths, to get help from a sloth who is so slow in his speech and movement, driving Hopps crazy as she is desperate for answers. What was most striking was how true to the animal’s behavior the animated sloths were.
International music superstar Shakira is lending her voice to Gazelle, the biggest pop star in Zootopia. She will also perform an all-new original song called “Try Everything,” that was written by singer/songwriter Sia and songwriting duo Stargate. Unable to be there in person, Shakira appeared via taped message where she gave attendees a sneak peak of the catchy track.
After basically reminding the filmmakers non-stop that she wanted to revisit her fan favorite fish, Ellen DeGeneres has returned to help bring the forgetful blue tang back to life. The movie reunites the overly-optimistic Dory with Nemo and Marlin (voice by Albert Brooks), on a search for answers about her past and where her parents are. Ultimately, it is a journey for Dory to learn to accept herself and her flaws.
The one emotionally open-ended issue that remained from the first movie is, where is Dory’s family, and will she ever be able to find them again with her short-term memory loss? Diane Keaton and Eugene Levy will be the voices of Dory’s parents.
Dory’s search for her family allowed the filmmakers the opportunity to travel to very different locations, on land and sea, and to bring a variety of new sea creatures that expand her world, including Hank, a cantankerous octopus (voiced by Ed O’Neill), Bailey, a misguided beluga whale (voiced by Ty Burrell) and Destiny, a kind-hearted whale shark (voiced by Kaitlin Olson).
Even though the story takes place only six months after Finding Nemoended, the film opened in theaters in 2003, so the voice of Nemo had to be recast, as the original actor is now 21.
As part of the presentation, we got to see a scene with Dory, Nemo and Marlin that revisits their friendship and love for each other, as Dory starts to remember things about her past and her family that she didn’t even know that she knew. We also got to see another scene with Dory having a rather hilarious interaction with Hank, who isn’t quite sure how to deal with Dory’s short-term memory loss. And along with those scene, we got to see some artwork of the new characters and what they’ll look like.
The filmmakers’ research took them deep into the South Pacific, where they met wonderful people and learned about their rich history and traditions, including the importance of music to their culture.
The story follows a spirited teenager who sails out on a daring mission to fulfill her ancestors’ unfinished quest and prove herself to be a master wayfinder. She meets the once-mighty demi-god Maui and together they traverse the open ocean on an action-packed voyage.
With a goal to be a part of the Disney family by voicing an animated character, Dwayne Johnson lends his voice to the mythical figure Maui. Covered in living tattoos, the strong, powerful and determined character was born human and raised by Gods, but stuck in the middle, and the clips of him in action showed that the personality of Johnson will most definitely shine through.
The test footage shown was by far the most dazzlingly beautiful of the day, with a true reverence paid to the land and culture of the story. After glimpsing underwater artwork and early renderings of the volcanic guardian on a living island, we got to see a scene of toddler Moana playing in the ocean while the ocean interacts with her and parts so that she can collect shells. We then see a teenage Moana staring out at that very same ocean. The footage showed just how important the ocean and the land will be to the world they’re creating.
The music of the film is being done by Tony-winner Lin-Manuel Miranda, Grammy-winning composer Mark Mancina and Opetaia Foa’i, founder and lead singer of the world music award-winning band Te Vaka. They will blend their diverse and dynamic sounds to help tell this very special tale. After a show-stopping performance by Foa’i and Te Vaka, illustrating the magic of the movie’s music, it was clear that this will be a soundtrack that is sure to be a classic.
They are hoping that this will become the definitive version of the Jack and the Beanstalk They are taking parts of the familiar story and adding their own twists and turns and emotion to it. There will also be endless possibilities for comedy.
Set in Spain during the Age of Exploration, the story follows adventure-seeker Jack as he climbs the beanstalk to discover a world of giants hidden within the clouds. While there, he meets Inma, a 60-foot-tall, 11-year-old girl with a fiery and fiesty personality, who thinks he’s a new little toy that she can play with, dress up, brush his hair and wash him.
The story also has villains, called the Storm Giants, that looked suitably scary in the early artwork.
The visual development piece put together for D23 started by asking, “How far would you go to follow your dream? What would you leave behind? How high would you climb?”
Sill early in the process of the songwriting, the duo has written a piano demo vocal of the first meeting between Jack and Inma that they debuted for the fans in attendance. The song was sweet, cute, funny and all of the things that not only every great Disney song has, but that we’ve also come to expect from the duo.
Shouts to the lovely Goapele showin’ love to DB in the limited edition “Honey Dips” tee. The tee was made in anticipation of her Milk & Honey LP that will be released this upcoming year. Make sure to check out my interview with her the new Passport 2 Global Sound: Episode South Africa.