Disney’s D23 Expo 2013: The Movies!

By Chris Jalufka | 08.12.2013

Disney’s third D23 Expo has shuttered its doors until the next event in 2015. Disney’s fan convention, the D23 Expo, first came to life in 2009 as the ultimate fan experience for the latest news from the world of Disney.

The expo only happens every other year so there’s plenty of news and excitement to satisfy the extreme fan culture that surrounds Disney.

This year fans were treated to sneak peeks of upcoming films from Disney and Pixar, video games, toys, clothing, and television shows.

No photographing or recording was allowed in the panels, but here’s a brief rundown of two of my favorite upcoming films from Disney / Pixar.

 

FROZEN – November 2013 starring Kristen Bell, Alan Tudyk, Josh Gad, Jonathon Groff, and Idina Menzel

'Frozen' featured on the cover of the D23 magazine

‘Frozen’ featured on the cover of the D23 magazine

 

In ‘The Art of Frozen‘ panel for Disney’s upcoming feature length animated film ‘Frozen‘ fans were shown the inspiration for the visual elements of the film. ‘Frozen’ is an adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson’s ‘The Snow Queen‘ brought to life by the folks behind ‘Tangled‘, ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ and other Disney films.

 

Anna and Elsa from Disney's 'Frozen'

Anna and Elsa from Disney’s ‘Frozen’

 

I’m a huge fan of ‘Tangled’ and ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ and from what we were shown of ‘Frozen’ it’s going to be of that caliber or better. The humor is great, not forced but natural. The story has a true heart in the sisters Anna and Elsa, one cursed with a power that leaves her secluded, unable to be close to those she cares about.

 

Frozen

 

A quick bit about panels — When I visit Comic Con I always avoid panels. I used to do them but all you get is to see the trailer and then the stars get trotted out to say a few brief words and that’s it. It could be fun, but for the time you spend waiting in line it’s just not worth the effort.

What’s so great about the panels at the D23 Expo is you get the directors, writers, and animators on stage actually discussing the details that went into the film.

No offense to celebrities, but what would the film’s star have to say that would be more interesting than the writer, director, or animator that has spent the last five years of their lives focusing on this one THING?

 

(Here’s the Japenese trailer for the film. For some reason it’s better than the one released in the U.S.)

 

 

For ‘Frozen’ we were shown photos of the animation department’s trip to Norway as they traveled to fjords and churches to fully understand the size and texture of the mountains and calm waters. We saw concept drawings for the characters and how the developed and grew into fully realized people.

 

Reindeer Sven and the snowman Olaf, voiced by Josh Gad.

Reindeer Sven and the snowman Olaf, voiced by Josh Gad.

 

The audience was shown two of the songs written by the awesome Tony award winning duo behind ‘The Book of Mormon’ and ‘Avenue Q’, and if you know their music you know how strong their songs are. ‘Book of Mormon’ star Josh Gad voices the snowman Olaf, and we saw the song he sings when we first meet him. It was funny and endearing, a smartly written voicing of a character’s goal, right up there with ‘I Have a Dream’ from ‘Tangled.’

 

THE GOOD DINOSAUR – 2014. Lucas Neff, Judy Greer, and Bill Hader

The Good Dinosaur

 

At ‘The Art of The Good Dinosaur‘ panel we weren’t given a lot in the way of details for Pixar’s upcoming ‘The Good Dinosaur‘, but they did a great presentation on how they formed the visual style of the film. There was a lot of effort into the look of the dinosaurs — the goal was to make them appear huggable. Soft.

 

THE GOOD DINOSAUR

 

The film’s main concept is this — what if the asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs missed? 

We see the dinosaurs and the wildlife evolve, grow into larger beings, with the dinosaurs discovering how to cultivate the land and become farmers. There are no carnivores from what we were shown, so the farmland is all vegetation. The main dinosaur Arlo, (probably ‘the good dinosaur’ the title refers to) somehow leaves the farm and takes off for the wild lands. There’s a young boy named Spot, an orphan out in the world, alone. We weren’t shown how he fits into the story, but I guess we’ll find out.

 

A first look at Spot from Pixar's 'The Good Dinosaur'

A first look at Spot from Pixar’s ‘The Good Dinosaur’

 

D23 EXPO - ART AND IMAGINATION: ANIMATION AT THE WALT DISNEY STUDIOS - Anaheim, California (August 9, 2013) - John Lasseter takes guests on a journey through The Walt Disney Studios' slate of upcoming animated features, including Walt Disney Animation Studios' "Frozen" and Pixar Animation Studios' "The Good Dinosaur." (D23 EXPO/Richard Harbaugh) LUCAS NEFF, JUDY GREER, BILL HADER, PETER SOHN, DENISE REAM

D23 EXPO – ART AND IMAGINATION: ANIMATION AT THE WALT DISNEY STUDIOS – Anaheim, California (August 9, 2013) – John Lasseter takes guests on a journey through The Walt Disney Studios’ slate of upcoming animated features, including Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Frozen” and Pixar Animation Studios’ “The Good Dinosaur.” (D23 EXPO/Richard Harbaugh)
LUCAS NEFF, JUDY GREER, BILL HADER, PETER SOHN, DENISE REAM

 

There were a few other films presented as well — ‘Maleficent’ and ‘Saving Mr. Banks,’ were shown at the live action panel, but the big news was Pixar’s ‘Inside Out,’ the animated film directed by Pete Docter (Monsters Inc.)

 

Pixar's 'Inside Out"

Pixar’s ‘Inside Out’

 

From the press release —

“Pixar takes audiences on incredible journeys into extraordinary worlds: from the darkest depths of the ocean to the top of the tepui mountains in South America; from the fictional metropolis of Monstropolis to a futuristic fantasy of outer space. From director Pete Docter (‘Up’, ‘Monsters, Inc.’) and producer Jonas Rivera (‘Up’), the inventive new film will take you to a place that everyone knows, but no one has ever seen: the world inside the human mind.” 

 

InsideOut_D23_Lineup.pub16.1_610x392

 

I missed the ‘Inside Out’ presentation and that’s the difficult part about something like the D23 Expo — there’s so much to do and you have to choose not what to see but what to miss.

 

NEXT ON ETDC! – Disney’s D23 Expo: The Art!

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