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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.
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.
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 ...
... "Meet the Robinsons" design team filled the future with these sleek, rounded shapes that were loaded with warm colors. Like the train below ...
... 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?
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.
Or -- better yet -- the future (as "Meet the Robinsons" sees it, anyway)'s main mode of transportation ...
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 ...
... 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 ...
... And Joyce's quirky sense of humor also permeates the project.
"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?
"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"?
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