Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Animation Studios are once again teaming up to bring a jam-packed weekend of announcements, presentations, displays, and giveaways to this year’s D23 Expo in Anaheim, California. On the show floor, the two studios join forces for a must-see animation experience at D23 Expo. Artist demonstrations, autograph signings with top filmmakers, fan giveaways, and interactive displays featuring the latest films, including Cars 3, Coco, Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, and Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2, make this booth one to visit over and over again.
The lineup of presentations begins with an Expo tradition no animation fan should miss:
FRIDAY, JULY 14, 2:30 P.M. – HALL D23
Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios: The Upcoming Films, Hosted by John Lasseter
Were you there in 2015 when Ellen DeGeneres and Dwayne Johnson wowed the crowds? When Zootopia’s sloth scene screened for the very first time? And when Randy Newman, Buzz Lightyear, and Woody celebrated the 20th anniversary of Toy Story? Then you know the Animation presentation at Hall D23 is a MUST. Join host John Lasseter, chief creative officer of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, as he presents Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios: The Upcoming Films. Never-before-seen footage from Pixar’s upcoming feature Coco and Disney Animation’s Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 will be unveiled, as well as surprise announcements, musical performances, and appearances by star voice talent. Cell phones, cameras, and all recording devices will be checked for this presentation.
Additional animation-focused panels include:
SATURDAY, JULY 15, 10:30 A.M. – STAGE 28
The Power of the Princess
Walt Disney Animation Studios invites you to The Power of the Princess, featuring Jodi Benson (Ariel), Ming-Na Wen (Mulan), Anika Noni Rose (Tiana), and Auli‘i Cravalho (Moana)—the talented actresses who brought these iconic characters to life—as they share
stories of making their films and the impact of their characters on people around the world. Hosted by Walt Disney Animation Studios animators Amy Smeed and Kira Lehtomaki.
SATURDAY, JULY 15, 12:15 P.M. – STAGE 28
Creating the Worlds in Pixar’s Universe
Pixar’s films are filled with beloved characters living in relatable yet previously unimagined worlds. Join Pixar production designers and artists who have created the mountain tops, oceans, and “monstropolises” in which your favorite characters live. These artists create the setting and cultivate the mood of every scene using extensive research, incredible imagination, and each individual director’s vision, giving life to the amazing worlds in Pixar’s movies.
SATURDAY, JULY 15, 2:30 P.M. – STAGE 28
Olaf’s Frozen Adventure: A Sneak Peek at the New Frozen Short Film
Be among the first to see both exclusive and behind-the-scenes footage from Walt Disney Animation Studios’ newest Frozen holiday short film event, the highly anticipated Olaf’s Frozen Adventure. The film, which features the talents of the original Frozen cast, as well as brandnew songs, is directed by the Emmy®-winning team Stevie Wermers-Skelton and Kevin Deters (Prep & Landing) and produced by Oscar®-winning producer Roy Conli (Big Hero 6, Tangled). SATURDAY, JULY 15, 6 P.M. – STAGE 28
The Evolution of Pixar’s Characters
From the waves in their hair to the shoes on their feet, Pixar characters are designed to be full of personality and to tell a story. Hear from the legendary Pixar artists who have created the most memorable characters in Pixar’s history. These are the visionaries who start with an initial doodle and see the evolution of a character through to final animation—the people who let technology influence the art and make the impossible, possible.
SUNDAY, JULY 16, 11:30 A.M. – WALT DISNEY ARCHIVES STAGE
Bambi’s 75th Anniversary
Join us as we commemorate the 75th anniversary and Walt Disney Signature Collection release of Bambi, the endearing, timeless tale of a wide-eyed fawn that has touched generations. Audiences can look forward to hearing personal stories from the voice cast, anecdotes behind the making of this film and its exquisite hand-drawn artwork, and much, much more. It’s groundbreaking animated classics like Bambi that were created or inspired by the imagination and legacy of Walt Disney and still influence many great visionaries and animators today.
Tickets for D23 Expo 2017 are available for $81 for one-day adult admission and $59 for children 3–9. Members of D23: The Official Disney Fan Club can purchase tickets for $72 for a one-day adult admission and $53 for children 3–9. Multi-day tickets are also available. For more information on tickets and D23 Expo 2017, visit D23Expo.com.
No Question Mark Box Here; Super Mario Delivers a 1-Up in Theaters
If you were born in the ’80s, ’90s, or literally ANY decade after those, you know about Super Mario. A cultural phenomenon was brought to life on the big screen this last weekend. One that has not only stood the test of time but reinvented itself time and time again. This wasn’t even the first time it’s been made into a movie but, well, let’s be honest.. some of us choose not to acknowledge the LIVE action adaptation of the beloved game from 30 years ago.
It was pretty bad… But this was animation. ILLUMINATION animation at that. The Universal company that brought us Gru and his Minions, showed us the Secret Life of Pets, and gave us a reason to SING! Still, I had my reservations and even some concerns, especially when the casting was announced.
Eyebrows were raised. As big of stars as they were on paper, could they really deliver on voicing characters from a staple of our childhood? They did.
Chris Pratt and Charlie Day may not be Italian, and Jack Black may not be a King or Turtle creature from the Mushroom Kingdom, but they make the characters their own all while paying homage to the lore of a video game.
From the jump, the story reintroduces us to the brothers that just want to save Brooklyn one clogged sink at a time. We feel an instant connection and relate to these “underdogs of the plumbing world”. The movie is riddled with easter eggs, each of which tugs on the heartstrings of every generation of Mario fandom. And the soundtrack was beautifully put together to not only make us feel like we’re taking a walkthrough of the game but like an experience all its own with some familiar favorites thrown in.
Every word in the movie is pure eye candy for both those that are casual fans, and those analyzing every frame to see what they’ll catch next. Bowser’s ship, the Mushroom Kingdom, Kong’s arena, and the Rainbow Road.. They’re all meant to give us just enough of a “new” look at these amazing worlds, but stay true to how we remember them.
The movie itself moves along at the perfect pace. Although, if you don’t really know ANYTHING about the Super Mario Bros, you may have gotten a little lost and felt left behind in the green tunnel. But that’s ok! It’s an adventure of the imagination and a classic story of a boy that meets a girl and tries to save the world from a monster that wants to destroy it.
What’s funny is that you could easily say this is a story about two characters who couldn’t be more opposite if they tried, battling to win the heart of a princess. Who would’ve thought that the King of the Koopas was just trying to impress his crush?
And that song? Ohhh THAT song! It’s my new ringtone and deserves the Oscar for Best Original Song.
Back to the movie.
Universal and Illumination clearly understood the assignment. Is it missing some things or could things have been done differently or even better? Absolutely! We’re the worst critics of the things we hold nearest and dearest to our hearts. But if you’re up for going on a 90-minute adventure through amazing worlds, with awesome music, and characters that’ll make you smile and laugh, then this is the perfect movie to spring you into that warm summer feeling.
Plus there’s the whole part with karts and shells, and banana peels and oh my goodness how amazing was that?? It’s enough to make you want to stand up and cheer, then go home and destroy your friends and family on your favorite track haha.
The bottom line, it pays homage in all the right ways to the little guy with the mustache, while giving us something new and exciting. Take the kids and go see Super Mario Bros. You’ll be glad you did!
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023
Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Opening Act Saturday, March 25 at 1:30 p.m. on North 200A. Talent confirmed so far to participate in the post-screening panel is Natalie Alyn Lind (Big Sky, The Goldbergs, Gotham) as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince and longtime RWBY cast member Lindsay Jones (Camp Camp) as Ruby, Kara Eberle ( RWBY: Ice Queendom) as Weiss, Arryn Zech (Detective Now Dead) as Blake and Barbara Dunkelman (Blood Fest) as Yang – along with Jeannie Tirado (Soul, Saints Row) as Green Lantern and Tru Valentino (The Rookie, The Cuphead Show!) as a cyborg. Also attending the panel will be producer/director Kerry Shawcross (series RWBY) and writer Meghan Fitzmartin (Supernatural, Justice Society: World War II).
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023 with the big screen debut from DC Animated Films: highlights this year include the world premieres of the highly anticipated Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham and Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Part One the weekend of March 24-26 in Anaheim, California. Both screenings will be followed by panel discussions with actors and creators. Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham premieres at The Arena on Friday, March 24 at 6 p.m. Tati Gabrielle (Kaleidoscope, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Uncharted) as Kai Li Cain, Christopher Gorham (The Lincoln Lawyer, Insatiable) as Oliver Queen, David Dastmalchian (Dune, Suicide Squad, Ant-Man) as Grendon, producer/co-director Sam Liu (The Death and the Return of Superman), co-director Christopher Berkeley (Young Justice) and screenwriter Jase Ricci (Teen Titans Go! and DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem Across the Multiverse).
Both films will have encore screenings in the Arena on Sunday, March 26. Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part One will screen at 12:15pm, followed by Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham at 2:00pm