Update: Added Up references at bottom. Originally posted 1/30/08.
Source articles include:
Have you ever wondered how often Pixar films cross-reference each other? Well...
"I have to admit that the guys up in Emeryville do delight in doing stuff like that. As in: Bringing characters from different Pixar projects together.
"Or -- for that matter -- making reference to earlier and/or upcoming productions in the most recent Pixar release. How many of you recall that the title of this animation studio's very first short (i.e. "The Adventures of André and Wally B") ...
... is the name inspiration for Wall-e and it wound up being printed on the spine of one of those storybooks that you saw behind Woody in "Toy Story"?
Tin Toy, Knick Knack, and Red's Dream are other Pixar shorts on the books above. (I also think it's interesting that the one on the far right is Grimm's Fairy Tales.)
Remember how the Lion King music played in the car near the end of Toy Story. Or the lamp from Luxo Jr. (You know? That 1980s-era lighting fixture that's featured so prominently in the Pixar logo?) ...
... The lamp also makes an appearance in that John Lasseter movie. Albeit with a bright red paint job.
Luxo Jr. Ball
Even the yellow ball from "Luxo Jr." (With its distinctive red star and blue stripe) ...
... turns up in "Toy Story." It's the ball that Buzz Lightyear bounces off of as he's trying to prove to all the other toys in Andy's room that he really can fly.
"So when did Pixar get started with making all of these in-jokes and/or self references to its own movies?," you ask. My understanding is that this practice actually dates back to 1987. Where -- as staffers at this animation studio were rushing to complete "Red's Dream," the short that they planned on placing in competition at that year's SIGGRAPH -- they realized that the circus center ring that plays such a prominent role in this film's dream sequence was a bit on the bland side.
Sooo ... Hoping to inject a little more color into "Red's Dream," Lasseter & Co. lifted the color, textures and designs featured on the rubber ball in "Luxo Jr." and then made that the floor of their circus's center ring.
As the story goes, a few folks at SIGGRAPH 1987 told John that they thought that it was really clever that "Red's Dream" had referenced Pixar's first SIGGRAPH submission, "Luxo Jr." Which suggested that there was some sort of connective tissue between these two animated shorts.
Which -- let's be honest here, folks -- was NOT what John Lasseter & his team of animators were trying to do when they were working on "Red's Dream." Truth be told, these guys were just looking for a quick-and-dirty way to add some additional color to that film's dream sequence. But given they seemed to get extra points with the people at SIGGRAPH for trying to be clever ... Well, in-jokes and self references then became a way of life at Pixar Animation Studios.
...Witness how the ball from "Luxo Jr." can be seen in the Parrs' living room during "Jack-Jack Attack" ...
1:07 - And there's the first true Pixar reference in Up, the Luxo Jr. ball!
In this image, the ball on the far right is from Luxo Jr, and the ball to the left is from Up:
The light shines on it just long enough for you to recongnize it. You can also find that ball pattern in Red's Dream (circus floor), the ball in Toy Story (Buzz bounces off it), in Incredibles' Jak Jak Attack (Jak Jak plays with it), and Monster's Inc (in Boo's room)!
Pixar pursued self-references whole heartedly, which is why the gas station that Andy's Mom pulls into in "Toy Story" ...
... then became the racing sponsor that Lightning McQueen was lusting after in Pixar's "Cars."
Check out how John Ratzenberger has made an appearance in every since Pixar movie to date. He’s considered the animation studio’s good luck charm. He appeared as Hamm in Toy Story and Toy Story 2, PT Flea in A Bug’s Life, the Abominable Snowman in Monsters, Inc, the Moonfish school in Finding Nemo, the Underminer in The Incredibles, Mack in Cars, Mustafa in Ratatouille, and John the human in Wall-E.
In Up he voices the construction worker from the first act of the film named Construction Foreman Tom.
What started as an inside joke of CalArts alumni (a reference to the classroom number that was used by Animation students, including John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton, Brad Bird, Pete Docter) has been present in not only every Pixar film, but Disney movies, Iron Giant, The Simpsons, Family Guy, American Dad, Powerpuffgirls and Tinytoon Adventures.
“A-113 is obvious in this film,” Stanton said. “It’s the most obvious we’ve ever made it.” In Wall-E, A-113 is actually part of Auto Pilot’s “directive” outlined by BuyNLarge CEO Shelby Forthright’s (Fred Willard) video recording. “Directive A-113” is also one of the tracks composed by Thomas Newman for the WALL-E soundtrack.
A113 is featured on the court room door in Up:
Pixar’s history with Apple is a long one. Steve Jobs, who co-founded Apple with Steve Wozniak, bought The Graphics Group (later renamed Pixar) from Lucasfilm’s computer graphics division in 1986, and served as CEO until Pixar was acquired by Disney in 2006. Apple has been featured in previous Pixar productions like on the hood of one of the race cars in Cars. There are several references to Apple in WALL-E, the most obvious is when WALL-E watches Hello Dolly on an older video iPod. Also, when WALL-E is done charging he makes the Mac startup chime.
WALL-E destroys a Macbook when he releases all the faulty robots.
Eve was actually designed by Apple’s behind-the-scenes design guru Johnny Ive, the guy responsible for the design of the iPod. Andrew Stanton told Fortune: “I wanted Eve to be high-end technology - no expense spared - and I wanted it to be seamless and for the technology to be sort of hidden and subcutaneous. The more I started describing it, the more I realized I was pretty much describing the Apple playbook for design.” Auto’s voice is the creation of MacTalk, Apple’s text-to-speach program. An old mac keyboard can also be found in WALL-E’s truck (photo below)
In Up, Carl's alarm clock uses the Chicago typeface (made by Apple).
Two other Mac references we found in Up take place during the credits.
A merit badge next to the Pixar Senior Staff credit seems to be a reference to the spinning beach ball icon on Mac operating systems. Thanks to Matt T for the photo.
During another credit sequence photo, Carl is seen investigating a Mac mouse in the end credits.
Pizza Planet Truck
There is one artifact that can be found in every Pixar film.
... Did you know that remote trailer with the deadly bug light in "A Bug's Life" ...
... is also where Randall winds up after he gets banished to the human world in "Monsters, Inc." ?
Or -- for that matter -- did you notice the Pizza Planet truck that was parked beside this trailer?
Believe it or not, this particular vehicle (which is modeled after the Toyota HiLux) has appeared in every single feature film that Pixar Animation Studios has produced to date. It's the truck that Woody & Buzz stow away in when they're trying to hitch a ride to Pizza Planet in the original "Toy Story."
The Pizza Planet Truck has appeared in every Pixar film so far. Disney has actually put real Pizza Planet restaurants at Walt Disney World’s Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disneyland Paris.
Toy Story 1:
This is also the vehicle that Buzz "borrows" in "Toy Story 2," when that space ranger is trying to prevent Buzz, Jessie and Bullseye from being sent to that toy museum in Japan.
Toy Story 2:
You can also catch a quick glimpse of the Pizza Planet truck as Gill is explaining his latest escape plan to the Tank Gang.
Which brings us to "The Incredibles." Brad Bird's very first feature for Pixar Animation Studios. Given that Brad was something of an outsider when he first arrived in Emeryville, he didn't automatically buy into all of Pixar's oddball traditions. Which is why -- when it came time to insert that obligatory Pizza Planet truck cameo into his picture -- Bird made it part of the Parrs' high speed return to the city aboard that badly battered RV ...
... Which is why all you really get to see of the Pizza Planet truck in "The Incredibles" is a pale blur.
The Pizza Planet truck also makes an appearance in the Piston Cup sequence of "Cars." You'll find him to the far left in the photo below, next to the RV that looks like Elvis Presley.
...by the time "Ratatouille" came out, Brad was finally a true believer in the Pixar way of doing things. Which is why he happily included the Pizza Planet truck among all of the other cars that were motoring around Paris.
Mind you, Bird still didn't make it all that easy for animation fans to spy this vehicle. Given that he had the Pizza Planet truck drive across a bridge that was 'way off in the background while Skinner was chasing Remy through the foreground while riding on that scooter.
In Up, it appears twice. Once when Carl’s house is first lifed into the air (photo above) and another time at the Ice Cream parking lot at the end of the movie. The first appearance is actually a different type of Pizza Planet car, not the usual truck featured in the other Pixar films.
Character and Brand Cross-References
First there are the just-plain-silly in-jokes. Like that moment in the "A Bug's Life" out-takes where it's revealed that Woody is working the clapboard on that particular Pixar production.
Or when Flik deliberately blows his own lines, using Buzz Lightyear's "To Infinity and Beyond" catchphrase rather than saying "For the Colony and oppressed bugs everywhere!"
Or how about that moment in the "Toy Story 2" out-takes, when Flik first tells Heimlich how happy he is to be working on "A Bug's Life 2" ...
... only to then discover -- just as Buzz Lightyear's machete comes crashing down on the branch that this ant & the caterpillar are standing on -- that the Pixar sequel that they're actually appearing in is "Toy Story 2."
Then notice how the crazy old man who's playing chess with himself in "Geri's Game" ...
... could wind up being the toy repair expert that Al calls in when Woody gets his arm torn off in "Toy Story 2." (He also has a chess piece in his toolbox.)
Perhaps the most famous set of self references to ever appear in a Pixar picture occurred in "Monsters, Inc." Where -- as Sulley finally returns Boo to the human world -- among the toys that we see scattered around this toddler's bedroom are the ball from "Luxo Jr." (You can see it in the photo below next to the easel) as well as a Jessie doll from "Toy Story 2" (On the white table to the left).
Here is yet another Pixar project that prominently features a baby, "Tin Toy."
As for Tinny himself, he actually make a quick cameo in a Pixar short, "Lifted." This tender-hearted wind-up toy is located under the bed during the attempted abduction sequence.
Mind you, some of these in-jokes go literally by in the blink of an eye. Take -- for example -- those itty-bitty birds that get their comeuppance in "For the Birds."
Did you catch their blink-and-you'll-miss-it appearance in "Cars" ?
If not ... Well, I can't say as I'm surprised. These birds-on-a-wiretap go by in a 10th of a second in that John Lasseter film. You can catch a brief glimpse of them as Mac rolls through the countryside in that movie's "Life is a Highway" musical montage sequence.
Also in Cars, as Mac and Lightning are traveling to California, as Lightning talks Mac out of pulling over at the rest stop, there is a shot of a number of parked "sleeping" trucks at the rest stop. One of them has Mr. Incredible's original logo on it (the blue/red/black one, not the red/black/yellow one). (Thanks to Bill Clare for finding this one.)
...Take -- for example -- how Linguini ...
... is also the unfortunate human who gets brutally bashed about while he's being abducted in Gary Rydstrom's "Lifted." (Ratatouille was released a year after Lifted.)
Speaking of strange things that you can spy... Did you see where Brad had Bomb Voyage (You know? The explosives-crazed criminal that Mr. Incredible discovers robbing a bank in the opening sequence of "The Incredibles" ?) ...
... also makes an appearance as a mime who's working in the streets of Paris in "Ratatouille" ?
Take -- for example -- what happens to the logo for this animation studio in the opening portion of "WALL-E" 's international trailer. Where first the light in the Luxo Jr. lamp blows out and then WALL-E rolls on-screen with a replacement bulb.
Copyright 2007 Disney / Pixar. All Rights Reserved
Check out Wall-E and the Luxo Jr. lamp together in the trailer.
Skinner’s Scooter: The scooter Skinner used in Ratatouille can be found in the trashpile early in Wall-E. See the photo:
Hidden Mickey: A subtle formation of a silhouette of the head of Mickey Mouse and his two ears can be found in many Disney films. In The Incredibles, when Mr. Incredible was launched off the airplane to the island, several trees on top of a hill form a hidden Mickey. In WALL-E, a hidden Mickey can be found in the background of a scene on earth (seen below on the upper left corner):
Here it is up close:
Crush the Turtle in Wall-E: Finding Nemo’s Crush the Turtle can be seen in the animated credit sequence at the end of Wall-E.
Incredible Humans in Wall-E?: During one of the introductions to the sedentary humans in Wall-E, there is a Sigurney Weaver voice-over detailing cool new fashions - where a quick shot of a billboard featuring three thin models in red jumpsuits appears. The models are uncannily done in a style similar to The Incredibles, with one of the models looking very much like Mr. Incredible.
Hammy: The character John Ratzenberger voiced in Toy Story appeats in WALL-E’s truck. See the photo below, Hammy can be found right to the left of EVE’s head. (Rex from Toy Story, the red unicycle from Red's Dream, and the mirror from Presto are also inside the truck.)
And what about the second trailer for Pixar's 2009 feature film, Up?
1:05 - Is that a hidden Mickey with the girl's hair or is it just a coincidence? =^)You've got to wonder if Pixar is throwing in Disney references along with all their usual Pixar references, now that Disney owns Pixar. They did that with their first movie, Toy Story, when Andy was listening to Lion King music in the car.
1:07 - And there's the first true Pixar reference in Up, the Luxo Jr. ball!
Carl’s court summons features the number 94070, which is the zip code for San Carlos, CA, a city in Northern California not far from Pixar. Bradford “Brad” Lewis who produced Pixar’s Ratatouille and is directing Cars 2, was a former mayor of the city. Check it out:
The short boss from The Incredibles stands at the end of the isle, near the witness stand in the courtroom as Carl enters for his hearing. Here's the boss character in The Incredibles:
Carl is watching television before Russell shows up to ruin his peace and quiet. Check out what is he watching in the clip below.
A famous Shop@home segment made famous by the internet because of the host’s spectacular fail. Watch the full clip below. You’ll hear the part from the Up scene above about 20 seconds in. Watch the original commercial clip:
If you look really hard at some of the construction equipment on the construction site surrounding Carl’s house, you might notice the Buy N Large logo, the fictional corporation from WALL-E. Also, the numbers on one of the machines reads L-R 1572, which is Up art director Lou Romano’s birthday (April 15, 1972). Look for the Buy N Large logo in this scene:
Carl wears a cap from a Grape Sode bottle. The same brand of soda was featured in Toy Story during the Buzz Lightyear commercial.
The Mermaid girl from the short film Knick Knack appears in Up on a brochure at the bottom right hand corner of the screen when Carl buys plane tickets. I don’t have a screen capture of this scene, and the art shown below doesn’t feature the character, but you get the idea.
Pete Docter’s real life daughter Elie (concept art left) is the voice of young Ellie in UP. She also drew some of the pictures in Ellie’s adventure book. The pencil and crayon drawing of Carl’s house on the right was done by Ellie Docter.
In Up, one of the specimens in the blimp is the large fish from finding nemo that has the glow bulb attatched to its head. You can see it when carl is first shown the room before having dinner in the blimp.
When first receiving Karl and Russell on the Spirit of Adventure, a dog brings a menu to Muntz, who glances at it and says "Surprise me". This is also a line and setup in a pivotal scene in Ratatouille.
When Carl first sets off, theres a shot of small birds fluttering across the screen. They're the same birds featured in the short, For The Birds
When Carl is talking to the construction foreman in front of his house, you can see the signage of a couple of stores across the street. One of them has the Harryhausen's logo from Monsters, Inc. in it (crossed chopsticks with an eyeball).
Here's the logo from Monster's Inc:
References to Future Films
They often like to include characters from their upcoming films in the backgrounds of the frame. For example, Boo’s fish toy in Monsters Inc ended up being the title character of Finding Nemo. A kid in the doctor’s office in Finding Nemo was reading a comic book of The Incredibles. WALL-E appeared in 2D on the Ratatouille DVD short film Your Friend the Rat. And Up’s Dug the dog appeared in silhouette in Brad Bird’s Ratatouille chasing Remy through the walls of a building.
In Monster's Inc Boo brings a toy to Sulley. And then -- as the icing on the cake -- this cute little girl hands her favorite squeaky toy over to that blue-haired beast. Which (not-so-co-incidentally) is shaped just like that cute little clown fish who'll play the title characters in Pixar's Summer 2003 release, "Finding Nemo." (Referencing a future Pixar movie.)
This particular in-joke launched a brand-new trend at that animation studio. Where the animators would then fold in a somewhat discreet reference to an upcoming Pixar production. Take -- for example -- that "Incredibles" manga that the little boy is reading at the dentist's office in "Finding Nemo."
Or -- better yet -- how about that cameo appearance that Stanley made in "Boundin'" ?
"And who exactly is Stanley?," you ask. Well, Stanley is the Stanley Steamer who founded Radiator Springs. It's his statue that Lightning McQueen winds up pulling off its pedestal when that race car accidentally winds up trashing that sleepy Southwestern town on his way to the Piston Cup.
Wall-E made his first appearance on the Pixar short that's included as an extra features on the "Ratatouille" DVD, "Your Friend the Rat."
"And where is WALL-E?," you ask. Well ... Toward the end of the short, Remy & Emile sing a song called "Plan B." And -- at one point in this musical fantasy sequence -- humans & rats are happily seated inside of this futuristic spacecraft, which is zooming along that planet's surface toward a launching pad.
If you take a close look at the driver of that craft, you'll see that it's a very stylized version of the star of Pixar's big release of the Summer of 2008, "WALL-E."
Up’s Dug the dog appeared in silhouette in Brad Bird’s Ratatouille, chasing Remy through the walls of a building.
And a new character (Lotso the bear) from Toy Story 3 is hidden in one of the scenes of Up.
The cute little pink teddy bear underneath the bed of sequence where Carl’s house floats by a child’s bedroom window. Up producer Jonas Rivera confirmed recently that “under her bed is one of the new stars of ‘Toy Story 3’.” RUMOR has it that the bear’s name is Lotso and that he will be one of the antagonists in Toy Story 3. If this is true, chances are he’ll be one of the toys at the day care center where Woody, Buzz and crew are relocated. No word on the character’s name just yet, or which actor or animator will be providing the bear’s voice.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
Update: Added Up references at bottom. Originally posted 1/30/08.
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