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... before looking ahead to Disney Feature Animation's next big project, "Meet the Robinsons

... before looking ahead to Disney Feature Animation's next big project, "Meet the Robinsons

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"Let go of the past and embrace the future."

That's not just the mantra of Disney Feature Animation now that John Lasseter and Ed Catmull are calling the shots. No, it's also the underlying theme of WDFA's next big release, "Meet the Robinsons."

But how do you get a message like that across to modern movie-goers? It's simple, really. You just let the art direction of your motion picture do most of the heavy lifting for you.

Take -- for example -- this concept painting for "Meet the Robinsons." Please notice all the muted colors, all the sharp angles.


Copyright 2006 Disney Enterprises

This was a deliberate choice by "Meet the Robinsons" art director, Robh Ruppel. He wanted to give audiences a feel of how boxed-in Lewis (I.E. The main character of this Steve Anderson film) was by his life in the present day. Notice how even the entrance to this orphan's school is made up of squares & rectangles.


Copyright 2006 Disney Enterprises

Please note that even the school's science fair (Which is where -- in theory -- this would-be inventor should finally have a chance to shine) is dominated by straight lines & squared-off shapes.


Copyright 2006 Disney Enterprises

So -- if the past / present day is a boxy environment loaded with muted colors -- how do you make the future seem that much more appealing? Well, taking their inspiration from travel posters from the 1930s ...


Copyright 2006 Disney Enterprises

... "Meet the Robinsons" design team filled the future with these sleek, rounded shapes that were loaded with warm colors. Like the train below ...


Copyright 2006 Disney Enterprises

... and this futuristic cityscape. Doesn't that look a whole lot more fun and inviting than the dark, sharp present-day city at the top of this article?


Copyright 2006 Disney Enterprises

To make the future seem as fun & as hopeful as possible, Ruppel and his designers loaded this part of "Meet the Robinsons" with dozens of whimsical ideas. Like Insta-buildings. Skyscrapers that inflate almost instantly and then majestically join the city's skyline.


Copyright 2006 Disney Enterprises

Or -- better yet -- the future (as "Meet the Robinsons" sees it, anyway)'s main mode of transportation ...


Copyright 2006 Disney Enterprises

Bubbles!


Copyright 2006 Disney Enterprises

How does it work, exactly? Well, when you finally get where you need to go ... A Rube Goldberg-like device first bursts your bubble, then sends you careening down the right pipe ...


Copyright 2006 Disney Enterprises

... Which seems like a pretty fun way to travel, don't you think?

Of course, Ruppel's art direction for "Meet the Robinsons" is heavily influenced by the style that author / illustrator William Joyce used in the original "A Day with Wilbur Robinson" book. You can see the obvious Joyce influences in the lab below ...


Copyright 2006 Disney Enterprises

... And Joyce's quirky sense of humor also permeates the project.


Copyright 2006 Disney Enterprises

"But if the future's so hopeful," you ask. "Then where's the drama? Where's the conflict in this Steve Anderson film?" Well ... What if something were to happen that actually changed  the future? If some unforseen event were to occur that changed "MTR" 's bright, optimistic world into something that looked more like this?


Copyright 2006 Disney Enterprises

"And what event might that be?," you query ... Sorry, folks. It's not good to know too much about the future. To get the answer to that particular question, you're going to have to go to a movie theater next spring and actually see "Meet the Robinsons."

So what do you think of the concept art for this upcoming WDFA release? Does it make you any more anxious to see this Steve Anderson film once it hits your local multiplex in March of 2007? Or are you still somewhat undecided about whether or not you actually want to "Meet the Robinsons"?

Your thoughts?

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  • "What could change the future"?...Hmm, could it have something to do with whoever built that BOWLER HAT-shaped device?   :)

    Seriously, looks like the earlier articles were right, and Lasseter's story instincts have finally managed to harness the original hyperactive "Chicken"-era sitcom story to useful purposes--Still doesn't resemble the Joyce book, but sure seems to have fallen into a lot more organization than it had earlier:
    The one thing we learned from the Pixar movies that do have villains (Randall, Syndrome) is that a "cutesy" villain can be a lot -less- cutesy and more of an involving story device once he poses an actual emotional threat...Are you taking notes, Mr. Stainton?
  • I know that Lasseter helps out these days on the WDFA movies...I just don't like how DerekJ brought Pixar into this...MTR is all Disney, not Pixar.  Hopefully there will be a difference.
    As for the pictures, they're great!  I read Joyce's book, and the pictures are very stylized.  I think this will be a fun movie.  That picture of the futuristic train screams "toy train set" to me...I wonder what kind of merchandise this film will inspire.  I'm excited to see this movie in the spring.  That bubble idea seems cool...thanks for the pics/article, Jim!
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  • I haven't been very excited to "Meet the Robinsons" ever since I saw the teaser trailer and was disturbed by the manner in which the humor was presented (very fast-paced and in your face like "Chicken Little"), but after reading about how Lasseter and his team have made some helpful suggestions and the movie's original team is cleaning things up, and after reading this article about the beautiful, inventive, and festive art design, the future is indeed looking more promising. I still have my doubts about "Meet the Robinsons," because I don't think it's going to be the smash-hit Disney is looking for these days, but I am now willing to give it a chance and a theater viewing. Thanks for the article. :)
  • These pictures look great. I was always excited for this movie (especially Bowler Hat Guy), and these pictures just confirm that excitement for me. That last picture looks like if you mixed the machines from War of the Worlds, a giant bowler hat and a whole lot of cool. And I love the whole design of the animation I don't think I've seen in any other CGI movie. And I get the chills everytime I see the trailer (during the "Walt Disney Pictures Presents..." part), so I really hope this will be a good/classic movie.

    "MTR is all Disney, not Pixar.  Hopefully there will be a difference."
    Exactly... Pixar movies are nice imo, but they just aren't Disney movies, especially when it comes to villains. In my opinion, no Pixar villain comes anywhere near the greats of Jafar, Frollo, Scar, Hades, Gaston, Maleficent, Ursula, The Queen and the rest. Even the less popular villains (Ratcliffe, Clayton, etc) I think are better than any Pixar villain.
  • Wow!
    I was mildly interested in this film before. I liked the "Todayland" gag in particular as i love seeing park/ride references in the films. But seeing these new shots... WOW! I can't quite put my finger on it, but this "looks" like a Disney movie in a way that Chicken Little did not. I can easily see those shapes and colors being integrated into Tommorowland at some point, there's just something that says "Imagineering" in this visual style. I'll definitely be lining up next spring.
  • Honestly, little interest.  Lasseter came on too late in development to truly manage this project.  Chicken Little was a disaster--in terms of story, character development, character design, and animation.  Hopefully this is better.  But I'm not holding my breath.  (But the concept art does look far more interesting than the teaser trailer that was posted four months ago.  Too bad the final design strayed so far from it.)

    Just curious, is Disney feeling the heat created from all of the CGI pictures that failed this summer?
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  • I think it looks great.  I will there to see it on opening weekend.  I think Chicken Little was great.  I am pretty easy to please.  The only Disney movies that have disappointed when I saw them in the theater were The Wild and Valiant which really aren't Disney movies anyhow.
  • Great Story idea!  I loved it when it was Back to the Future Part 2!

    Actually this looks wonderful!  I hope it is a fun ride.  Speaking of which - wouldn't a bubble ride be fun at Disneyland? I would love to convert innoventions/carousel theatre into the city of the future if this was successful.  The bubbles could be the ride to get inside!
  • The newly reformed Disney Feature Animation studio's first project called Meet The Robinsons is already reaping the know-how of its new head, Pixar's John Lasseter. The project began before the merger but already, Lasseter wants to make sure the...
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  • PingBack from http://anima2.wordpress.com/2006/09/13/artwork-de-meet-the-robinsons/
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