Wednesday, February 28, 2018

My In-Depth Coco Blu-Ray Review

disney pixar coco in depth blu-ray review

Yesterday (February 27th) was a big day for Pixar and Coco fans! Not only was the film released on DVD/Blu-Ray and 4K Ultra HD, but it was also declared "Coco Day" in Los Angeles by L.A. City Council member Gil Cedillo. A celebration of the film and its home video release was held at the Los Angeles City Hall yesterday morning with some of the cast and filmmakers (which you can read about HERE). Today I'm giving you my full review of the Blu-Ray and what to expect from all the fabulous bonus content!

I know the digital release has been available to own since February 13th, but since I'm a Blu-Ray collector (yup, I still prefer discs—call me old school), I was fine with holding off and waiting the extra two weeks to get my physical copy. Today I'm diving into the standard DVD+ Blu-Ray+Digital HD Combo Pack (now called "Multi-Screen Edition"), which I pre-ordered at the Disney Store (and got a free lithograph set). I know there are other releases out there as well, such as the mentioned 4K release, the Target edition with included storybook and the Best Buy SteelBook edition, but all the special features are the same across the board this time around (which always makes things easier).

disney pixar coco in depth blu-ray review
disney pixar coco in depth blu-ray review

I'm not gonna waste any time here—Let's get right to it!

  •  Audio Commentary (running time 1:44:59 *length of film*)— Director Lee Unkrich, co-director Adrian Molina and producer Darla K. Anderson have an in depth discussion about the film! I haven't had time to listen to the entire commentary quite yet, but what I've heard is as interesting as ever (expect talk of Easter eggs ;). Audio commentaries are my favorite part of any Pixar home video release, so I was anticipating this one a ton.
  • Welcome to the Fiesta with optional audio commentary (2:19)—This was really cool to see included here since this clip was actually the very first test animation for Coco ever revealed to an audience outside of Pixar. They call it a diorama, which is essentially a proof of concept. It was basically them exploring what this world would look like, the tone of it and how the characters would look and move. It was originally shown during the 2015 D23 Expo's Animation Panel and I was lucky enough to have been there. I've had a memory of it over the last few years, but it was growing distant (since, in the moment, it came and went so fast). It was fun to watch it again now that I've seen the final film. 

  • Mi Familia (9:59)— This feature dives deep into the meaning of family, the importance of rules and traditions and how that all tied into the development of Miguel's family in Coco through the filmmakers' personal experiences and relationships. It's really sweet and insightful—it was especially fun to learn of some traditional aspects of Mexican families that were implemented into the film. 

  • Dante (6:15)—Here the crew of Coco discuses the unique Mexican breed of dog (Xoloitzcuintli, or “Xolo” dog) that inspired Dante. This one I was a little less interested in, but it's interesting stuff nonetheless and sheds some light on yet another Mexican tradition brought to life in Coco.

  • How to Draw a Skeleton (3:17)— This one was fun for me to watch since it features my good friend Danny Arriaga, who was the character art director on Coco. Watching this was like getting to hang out with him for a couple minutes again, so that was pretty special. Though I have no drawing abilities whatsoever, I might have to give drawing his style of skeleton a try now...

DIGITAL EXCLUSIVES (Access these features when you redeem the included digital copy of the film)-
  • "Remember Me" Music Video (2:51)— A nicely shot music video of the Coco end credits version of "Remember Me", preformed by Miguel and Natalia Lafourcade. This is the same video was officially uploaded on YouTube days before the film's theatrical release (seen HERE). 

  • The Characters of Coco (8:20)— Director Lee Unkrich, co-director Adrian Molina and producer Darla K. Anderson give you an exclusive peek at the Coco concept art gallery found on the second floor of the Steve Job's building at Pixar Studios. For me, this was surreal to watch since I was just there in that location getting a private tour of the same gallery back in November. It's still crazy to me that that experience actually happened! Here the filmmakers give you insights into the main characters and their development—including highlighting many of the voice actors (it's nice to able to put faces to names/voices). This is a must watch. 

  • The Music of Coco (13:12)—This is an amazing featurette on the importance of music in Coco and how the filmmaking team researched/gathered different styles of authentic Mexican music (plus the research that went into accurately animating it). I'll sum up this documentary with a quote from Camilo Lara (Cultural Music Consultant for Coco): "To try to define the heart of Mexican folk music is very tough. It must be as tough as saying why tacos taste so good in Mexico." Such a good one. 😂
  • The Real Guitar (3:06)—This is a nice little mini featurette (slow moving, but creatively shot/edited) showing the creation of Ernesto's iconic guitar in real life, as well as insights from one the designers.
  • A Thousand Pictures a Day (20:04)—This is the longest documentary (which I appreciated). Essentially a travelogue, this one covers the painstaking process of research done during the development of Coco in order to represent Mexican culture in the most authentic and respectable way possible. It's so touching to see the real life inspiration behind what you see in the final film (humble families of potters, shoemakers, etc. who have such a love for each other; plus seeing their villages, their ofrendas and more). One of my favorite parts was seeing the real artisans behind actual alebrijes and papel picado banners.
  • You Got the Part! (2:12)—A cute little clip of actor Anthony Gonzalez's reaction when it was announced to him that he officially got the part of Coco's lead character Miguel. What an amazing accomplishment! An opportunity of a lifetime.
  • How to Make a Papel Picado (2:18)—This is a very quick tutorial with Pixar Visual Development Artist Ana Ramirez (illustrator of the Coco inspired book Miguel and the Grand Harmony) on how to make a simple papel picado banner. I feel like after watching this though, mine would still not come out so good.
  • Paths to Pixar: Coco (11:44)—As part of the ongoing "Paths to Pixar" series (which dates back to The Incredibles home video release I believe), here the filmmakers (artists, animators, writers, producers, etc.) discus openly about their personal journeys to joining the Pixar family, as well as Mexican representation in film. As someone still trying to figure out where my life is headed career-wise, it's nice to be able to relate to other artists who have tried, failed and changed direction numerous times before finding their place. It's inspiring to hear each and every story and to see how each person's hard work and passion has paid off.
  • Fashion Through the Ages (8:37)—Another amazing short documentary, this time all about the fashion elements in the film; from designing the costumes to the animation/technical side of it. You don't even think about how much work goes into the costumes until you see this. It's mind boggling! We're talking costumes for both the land of the living and the land of the dead, not to mention all the different time periods represented. Just wow!
  • Land of Our Ancestors (6:17): This featurette takes us to the land of the dead as the filmmakers talk about creating this brand new, never before seen world (the rules, the design and more). Once again, there is some fascinating stuff here that is not to be missed. You will not look at the film in the same way after viewing this.
  • Un Poco “Coco” (3:05)—A montage of original animated pieces (known as "toolkits") used to promote the film. A feature like this is always found on on Pixar home releases and they are what they are. 

  • 7 Deleted Scenes with Introductions - Director Lee Unkrich and co-director Adrian Molina talk about the deleted scenes and the part they played in the development of Coco. I'm not going to detail each one, though I will say they're an interesting watch. None of them I thought "man I wish this was in the film." I think the correct choices were made and I feel like they nailed the direction they ended up taking! It's hard to picture the film any other way and I will honestly say I'm glad the "break out into song" style musical idea was scrapped.

  • o   Día de los Muertos (5:25)– In this musical extravaganza, the colors and excitement of Día de los Muertos come to life as we meet superstar Ernesto de la Cruz.

    o   The Way of the Riveras (5:55)– A musical number in which Abuelita and Miguel prepare their Día de los Muertos celebration while she teaches him Rivera family history and traditions.

    o   Celebrity Tour (5:09)– Héctor, a Land of the Dead tour bus guide, agrees to help Miguel, revealed to be a living boy, on his quest to find de la Cruz.

    o   The Bus Escape (4:38)– The Rivera family catches up to Miguel and Héctor and attempts to halt their mission to find de la Cruz. 

    o   Alebrije Attack (3:12)– Miguel and Héctor are interrupted on their journey to find de la Cruz by a fierce alebrije. 

    o   The Family Fix (4:31)– After de la Cruz reveals his true colors, the Rivera family puts their dismay aside and comes together to repair the smashed guitar needed to send Miguel home. 

    o   To the Bridge (3:08)– As the Land of the Dead counts down to the end of Día de los Muertos, Miguel and de la Cruz come head-to-head on the marigold bridge.

    And finally, as usual, there is a collection of five trailers (including Dante's Lunch), but those speak for themselves. 

    WOW. Well there we have it everyone! That only took... the entire day to get through. Phew! I think that covers just about everything though and I enjoyed it all so much. If you're still reading, thanks for sticking through my entire review! This is a great release and I feel very content with what we got here bonus feature-wise. This is a must own! Now excuse me while I go finish watching the film with the audio commentary... 

    FILM- 5 out of 5 stars
    BONUS CONTENT (excluding commentary)- 4.5 out of 5 stars
    IMAGE/SOUND QUALITY- 5 out of 5 stars

    What are some of your thoughts? Be sure to share in the comments below!

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Up: "A Life of Adventure" (Art by Jerrod Maruyama)—Deluxe Print!

disney pixar up art print "a life of adventure" by Jerrod Maruyama

As a huge fan of artist Jerrod Maruyama's work, I just about flip my lid each time he reveals a new Pixar inspired piece of his. This time was no exception. From the moment this art was officially revealed (back in early January), I knew it was a non-negotiable "must have" for me. Well, thanks to my parents (who were able to track this down for me during their visit to Walt Disney World last week), I'm now the proud owner of this brand new Up inspired "A Life of Adventure" print by the master of cute himself!

This beautiful piece just debuted at the Epcot International Festival of the Arts on February 9th and was available to purchase there during the following days. My parents were able to find it in/near the France pavilion, though I'm not sure if it's still available there now that the festival is over. One place it should be available at for sure is Disney's Wonderground Gallery in Disney Springs (WDW))/Downtown Disney (DL). If you can't make it there to either of those locations, keep in mind that art like this usually makes its way to the ShopDisneyParks app and/or the ShopDisney website at one point or another. Lastly, you can always call the Disney Parks Merchandise Guest Services/Mail Order Hotline at 877-560-6477 and see if they can have it sent to you.

disney pixar up art print "a life of adventure" by Jerrod Maruyama

Just like Jerrod's Cars Land print I posted on last Tuesday, this is a 14"x18" Deluxe size matted print. Retail price is $39.99. There is also a small 5"x7" postcard size version ($4.95) and a magnet you can find as well.

Note: I picked up a simple black 14"x18" frame at Michael's craft store and it works perfectly (will show off my final framing/mounting job here tomorrow). The size of the print without the matte is 11 2/5'' H x 9'' W.

disney pixar up art print "a life of adventure" by Jerrod Maruyama

Given that Up is one of Jerrod's absolute favorite Pixar films, I can imagine how much fun it was for him to work on this tribute. What a cool opportunity! As a fan myself, I really appreciate all the small details and the thought that was put into every aspect of this design. It's colorful, it's adorable and, like the film, has so much heart. I especially love the family photo wall gallery layout! What a cool idea. Jerrod's signature style truly shines here.

Up fans, you will love this print and I can't recommend it enough. Don't delay— pick it up soon while it's still available and be sure to let me know your thoughts/any questions you might have in the comments below! You can also reach out to Jerrod directly through his blog HERE or any of his social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Flickr & Dribbble).

Monday, February 26, 2018

LOU: Pixar Studio Store Exclusive Tee

pixar studios LOU short film t-shirt tee

If you've been following along with me on social media (and/or if you've read my glowing soundtrack review), you may already know that I adore Pixar's latest short film, LOU (directed by Dave Mullins), which premiered last summer in front of the theatrical release of Cars 3.

To my dismay (though expected), there has been no sign of any LOU merchandise—or at least any that's available to the general public. You can imagine how excited I was when I stumbled upon this amazing shirt featuring LOU himself while shopping at the Pixar Studio Store this past fall (a surreal experience)! This is an exclusive tee that can only be purchased there at the studios in Emeryville, CA.

pixar studios LOU short film t-shirt tee

I've loved the design of the title character LOU ever since the director teased his [then] upcoming short with this drawing HERE back in September 2016. The way he's made up of lost and found items (not to mention how he moves around the playground) is nothing short of brilliant. Having LOU's silly and lovable grin front and center on this shirt just makes me so happy! Here it's drawn by LOU's production designer Albert Lozano. I also love the film's charming logo printed there on the sleeve as well—as seen above.

And as usual with the Studio Store shirts, "Pixar Animation Studios Emeryville, CA" is printed on the back top near the neckline. That's always such a nice touch which makes the shirt feel extra special.

pixar studios LOU short film t-shirt tee
pixar studios LOU short film t-shirt tee

I know I've mentioned this countless times, but I consider anything from the Pixar Studio Store to be the "holy grail" of Pixar collecting. This is such a rare treat! If you're lucky enough to shop there at the Studio Store anytime soon (perhaps you've been invited by a family member or friend), definitely look out for this while you're there. If you loved this film as much as me, you'll certainly want to pick this shirt up. It's soft, nicely fitted and feels quality made overall—one of my new favorite shirts for sure. I'll be wearing it a lot.

Let me know your thoughts on this tee and/or the short film itself in the comment section below!

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Cars 3: Pushover

cars 3 pushover mattel diecast

Tonight I'm back for another quick Cars 3 Mattel 1:55 scale diecast review with one of my favorite demolition derby contenders...Pushover (No. 16)! This character is sponsored by "This-N-That Parts Boutique" and is, of course, seen in the Thunder Hollow Crazy 8 sequence in the film (as shown in the screen shot above). He was released late last summer, though he didn't show up in my area until closer to the holiday season. I was able to pick this one up at Target right around Christmas.

The design of this car is just so out of control and so unique in the best of ways. Plus orange is my favorite color (the car I own is actually orange), so this color scheme is a real stand out for me as well.

cars 3 pushover mattel diecast

This car has everything going for it. Its details are spot on, it's got a nice weight to it, it's colorful and feels quality made overall. This was one I was super excited to add to my collection after seeing him in the film. Though his appearance is brief, his look really stood out to me. 

cars 3 pushover mattel diecast

Other than this single release, Pushover was also available last year in a 2-pack with Blind Spot (seen HERE). I never found that pack, but luckily Blind Spot is being released as a single this year as part of the new 2018 collection. I only have a few more to go before having diecasts of all the demolition derby racers!

The chances of finding Pushover in your area at this point are pretty slim, so be sure to check out current eBay listings HERE or Amazon using the link below—if you're still trying to find this one for your collection.

Happy hunting! Leave your thoughts or any questions you might have in the comments below. 

Friday, February 23, 2018

Toy Story: Pizza Planet Men's PJs (BoxLunch Gifts)

toy story pizza planet pajamas sleep pants

Ready for the coolest pair of pajamas I own? Check out this Toy Story Pizza Planet inspired men's sleep pant set from BoxLunch Gifts! The PJs look awesome, fit great and are super soft and cozy—but I have to say, the coolest part about them might be the box they come in! It's a legit small replica of what an actual cardboard Pizza Planet pizza box would look like. Total perfection.

As far as the pajamas themselves, you can expect a drawstring waist, single button closure, and pockets. Fabrics are listed as 60% cotton; 40% polyester. I'm telling you—they are ultra comfortable. Plus they're covered in the iconic Pizza Planet logo which is totally classic!  

toy story pizza planet pajamas sleep pants

The box is 8"x 8" and features the Toy Story logo printed on the back. These are officially licensed.

toy story pizza planet pajamas sleep pants

Check 'em out!

toy story pizza planet pajamas sleep pants
toy story pizza planet pajamas sleep pants

Every year since, well my whole life, it's been a tradition to get a new pair of pajamas on Christmas Eve from my grandparents. This past Christmas, I knew exactly the pair I would ask for! ;) Below is a picture I snapped right after I received them. I was so excited! These were released at the perfect time.

toy story pizza planet pajamas sleep pants

There you go everyone! That's all I have for you for today. You can pick these up at your local BoxLunch Gifts store OR online HERE for $29.90. I cannot recommend them enough to all of you Toy Story fans out there! There's no way you will be disappointed.

Let me know your thoughts or any questions you might have in the comment section below!

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Cars 3: Herb Curbler (Faux Wheel Drive)

Cars 3: Herb Curbler (Faux Wheel Drive)

What's up Cars fans!? Tonight I'm posting a quick look at yet another sweet Cars 3 1:55 scale diecast from Mattel...this time it's Herb Curbler (No. 54), the "next-gen" racer for Faux Wheel Drive. Herb is the third Faux Wheel Drive sponsored racer we've seen in the films, superseding Johnny Blamer (original Cars) and Tommy Highbanks (stock car racer seen early on in Cars 3).

As shown in the screen shot above, Herb can prominently be seen during the climactic Florida 500 race!

Cars 3: Herb Curbler (Faux Wheel Drive)

Like all the other next-gen racers, this is one cool looking car. LOVE the colors. Really nice detailing. Not too much to report on here.

Cars 3: Herb Curbler (Faux Wheel Drive)

You might be able to still find Herb in stores now. Though this is a late 2017 release, he's still popping up here and there across in US (I found him only a couple of weeks ago at Walmart). There is also a version out there from a different case that comes with a collector card, so look out for that one as well.

Happy hunting! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Cars 3: Wind-Up Assortment (by Thinkway Toys)

pixar cars 3 wind-up toys thinkway

While I enjoy seeing new technology implemented into the latest toys these days, there's just nothing like keeping it simple sometimes. To quote The Incredibles, "there's no school like the old school." I love wind-up toys and find them fascinating; did you know that mechanical wind-up toys were the first automated toys designed (along with air and steam pressure) and that their origins can be traced all the way back to Greece in 400 BC? Yah, that's pretty neat. To this day, many toy companies are still using wind-up technology, finding new and creative ways to have fun with it. With that said, you know I had to pick up this Cars 3 wind-up assortment by Thinkway Toys!

I grabbed these last spring at Toys R Us (in fact, they're still available there on the shelf to this day—unfortunately it seems this line didn't do too well), so this post has been a long time coming. I'm excited to finally share my thoughts!

pixar cars 3 wind-up toys thinkway

There are four characters included in this lineup: Dinoco Cruz Ramirez, Lightning McQueen, Jackson Storm and Mater. As seen on the back of the package below (and in THIS official Thinkway Toys product summery), there was suppose to be six, but it appears two have been cancelled or delayed: Smokey and Miss Fritter. What a shame! I kept waiting for them to come out, but at this point I've lost hope.

Lightning McQueen, Jackson Storm and Mater can all be purchased individually. Cruz was suppose to be available as a single (seen HERE), but that never happened. So, as of right now, the best way to go about collecting these (if you want them all) is to get this "Wind-Up Buddy Pack" (which includes Cruz, Lightning and Jackson) and then Mater as a single.

The Buddy 3-Pack retails for $24.99 and the singles can be purchased for $9.99 each.

pixar cars 3 wind-up toys thinkway

These are pretty small (each car is about 3" in size), but they pack a lot of cute. I love the way they are stylized! The best part is that each character has movements/action specific to their personality.

pixar cars 3 wind-up toys thinkway
pixar cars 3 wind-up toys thinkway

Here are some loose shots and a description of each character's unique movements....

Dinoco Cruz Ramirez 
While Cruz doesn't move fast when wound up, her feature is pretty cool. Place her on top of a table or any flat surface and she will sense the edges and not fall off! I tested this out and it works perfectly.

pixar cars 3 wind-up toys thinkway

Lightning McQueen 
When Lightning McQueen is wound up, he moves forward pretty fast, pops a side wheelie, turns and zooms forward again—all while his eyes move up and down! 

pixar cars 3 wind-up toys thinkway

Jackson Storm
Jackson Storm is the fastest of the bunch (which makes sense). When wound, he races forward, then takes a sharp 90 degree spin and continues straight again.

pixar cars 3 wind-up toys thinkway

Mater's feature is pretty unique since he moves forward by essentially "walking" instead of driving!  Picture his front left and right tires moving up and down like feet, while is back tires move him slowly forward. It's too cute!

pixar cars 3 wind-up toys thinkway

You can see all these in action (as well as the cancelled Miss Fritter and Smokey cars), in THIS OFFICIAL Thinkway Toys YouTube video! I've tested them all out and their actions all work flawlessly. My only real complaint is the price; these things should NOT be $10 each (they're more like a $4.99 range toy). Luckily I got these as a gift, or else I would have been hesitant to even pick them up. I believe they're on sale though currently at Toys R Us, so now might be a good time to snag them if you haven't already. They can purchased in stores or on the Toys R Us website HERE.

Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below!