While Pixar's Cars 2 still managed to gross north of $500 million worldwide in theaters this past summer, fans of the animation studio (pretty much) unanimously agree: that sequel did not represent the studio at its finest. Hence the additional excitement for the company's next feature-length production, Brave, and newest Toy Story short, titled "Toy Story: Small Fry".
Today we have a few more images from Pixar's 'darker princess fairy tale' and an excerpt from "Small Fry". The latter of that pair will be shown in front of The Muppets later this month - in case you (for some reason) still needed more incentive to check out that Jim Henson puppet flick in theaters. Moving on...
Brave takes place in the ancient and mystical Highlands of Scotland, where the tenacious young Princess Merida (voiced by Boardwalk Empire's Kelly Macdonald) yearns to lead a life less ordinary. However, when the young lady inadvertently violates an ancient custom that endangers the entire kingdom, Merida must make things right again by setting out on an unexpected adventure - one that involves a crafty Wise Woman (Julie Walters), a journey through lush enchanted woods, and an encounter with the massive beast whose hide is "littered with the weapons of fallen warriors."
Additional characters include Merida's parents, Queen Elinor (Emma Thompson) and the one-legged King Fergus (Billy Connolly); her siblings, the infant triplets Prince Harris, Hubert and Hamish; and the three "uproarious lords of the land" - the enormous Lord MacGuffin (Kevin McKidd), bad-tempered Lord Dingwall (Robbie Coltrane), and the younger bad-tempered Lord Macintosh (Craig Ferguson).
Check out all those characters in the Brave images below:
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Pixar's approach to character design in Brave bears a resemblance to that employed in Tangled, but is a bit more exaggerated and less painterly; the former likewise boasts a comparatively subdued color palette and textual animation style, in comparison to Disney's most recent animated princess flick. The aesthetic in Brave also very much recalls that of How to Train Your Dragon, all things considered.
What brief bits of footage featured in the Brave teaser trailer suggested this new Pixar movie would indeed look and feel different than their most recent works (Up, Toy Story 3, and Cars 2, in particular) and these new stills likewise tease a film that's a bit more on the innovative and unusual side, visually-speaking.
Toy Story: Small Fry
Moviegoers of all ages love the Toy Story gang and were more than pleased to see Andy's old playthings back on the big screen this past summer in the short "Hawaiian Vacation", which screened in front of the Cars sequel. The news that Woody, Buzz Lightyear, & Co. will be back again in the aforementioned "Small Fry" short should be all the more welcome.
For an early peek at "Small Fry" - which involves Buzz getting left behind at a fast food joint and having to join forces with a pack of abandoned Happy Meal-style toys - check out the clip below:
Toy Story franchise alumni Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, John Ratzenberger, and Joan Cusack all lent their voices to "Small Fry", as did Glee's Jane Lynch, who voiced "Neptuna" in the above video. All things considered, this should be yet another example of simple-but-great storytelling and stellar animation from the minds over at Pixar.
Brave is slated for theatrical release in the U.S. on June 22nd, 2012.
You can see "Toy Story: Small Fry" on the big screen in front of The Muppets, which opens around the U.S. on November 23rd, 2011.
Source: Walt Disney Pictures (via Yahoo! Movies and Empire)