April 13, 2011 3:49am PT by Borys Kit
Incredibles Blu-ray Bonus Shows Making the Movie Not Always Fun
Pixar likes to portray itself much in the same way as the old Walt Disney-led Disney animation studio: one big happy family.
In the new, and quite frankly, utterly great Blu-ray edition of The Incredibles which hit stores Tuesday, that’s certainly on display. The bonus feature Studio Stories: Gary’s Birthday visually shows how humorously the company dealt with too many staff birthday parties that were sucking up too much valuable time. Paths to Pixar shows story artists talking abouttheir work, giving advice to aspiring drawers, and how they got to Pixar.
There’s the Easter eggs that show artists mugging for the camera and animators run amok with animatics and renderings.
But it’s the 22-minute featurette The Incredibles Revisted that is the most insightful since it flirts, underneath plenty of laughs from Brad Bird, producer John Walker and other key personnel, with the revelatory concept that making these Pixar classics isn’t easy and that just because the animators work together doesn’t mean they always get along.
The roundtable discussion gets into it almost immediately with a story of how a high-level, but unnamed and no-longer-at-the-studio, exec (let the guessing begin) was against the project, didn’t think it should be animated, and was lecturing Bird on what was and wasn’t possible with animation.
Bird, known for being, um, passionate, suppressed every instinct to fight back, instead choosing to have John Lasseterpick up the mantle.
“I though I had the magic John Lasseter ticket and if ever there was a moment to press the Lasseter button” Bird recalls in the featurette. He also concedes Lasseter “had to do some behind-the-scenes stuff we’ll never know about."
The roundtable moves through several topics (including some early development ideas/sketches/storyboards that show not only how Incredibles was being worked on for 10 years before the movie came out but also tossed out concepts such as the entire family minus the dad being able to fly, and the dad sporting heat vision for one iteration) before touching on low morale and tough love from Bird.
Although the roundtable is filled with mirth as they look back on the movie, the animators talk about a “us versus them” mentality that hit the staff, while sketches of Bird reveal his image amongst the workers to be that of a grumpy or angry leader. There was even big staff meeting called by Bird that didn’t go well.
Designs and art goes through an approval process by the director and one of them recalls Bird going “I’m going to approve it but it doesn’t mean I like it."
And by end of the process, certain animators began wearing t-shirts featuring a tube of toothpaste with an Incredible logo that was squeezed out, in a move to show how depleted they were.
“I have never have trouble with people who are passionate. Even if it makes them a little bit more difficult to work with. I feel that for 'this' much difficult to work with, you’re getting 'THIS' much more for the film.”
It’s a line that Bird says regarding some of the people he worked with. But I’m sure that’s it’s how also many view Bird, who led Incredibles to a best animation Oscar win.