It was a good day for animation fans on Day 2 of Comic-Con, as John Lasseter hosted Disney-Pixar's animation panel, which included some of the giants in the field along with some incredible clips from a few upcoming, guaranteed mega-hits.
First up was the studio's return to their animated Toy Story, with the double feature of Toy Story 1 and 2, now converted to glorious 3D, landing in theaters for a limited two week run starting Oct. 2. The first few minutes of Toy Story 2 were shown, which looked just the way you remember them, except thoroughly enhanced for depth perception in its 3D format. Fans of the series should definitely keep an eye out for the movies, and especially for Toy Story 3 in 3D, next year's Pixar hit of the summer.
In case you're wondering, too, the filmmakers explained the storyline of Toy Story 3 involves the day Andy leaves for college, and leaves his friends behind, so expect a few well-placed Pixar tears to accompany the laughs we've come to expect from Woody, Buzz and company.
Also looking thorougly a-mazing in 3D was the upcoming Beauty and the Beast in 3D, opening appropriately enough on Valentine's Day 2010. Even more so than the CGI 3D toons, the hand drawn animation in 3D rendering gave an even greater impression of animation you can literally step into. The clip played was Belle and the town singing "Bon Jour."
Little Mermaid creators John Musker and Ron Clemens previewed eight minutes of footage for this holiday season's traditionally animated tale, The Princess and The Frog. New characters such as Louis the jazz-singing alligator and Raymond the Cajun firefly fit perfectly in with the rest of Disney's colorful sidekicks, and the jazzy New Orleans setting gives the project a whole new feel for the genre.
Last but definitely not least of the highlights was Lasseter's heartfelt introduction of his idol, animation genius/auteur Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle, Princess Mononoke). Miyazaki's latest bit of brilliance is Ponyo, which will arrive in theaters August 14. The Con featured an incredible sequence of a little girl running on top of wave after wave of living water, transformed here into a thousand blue fish. Lasseter rightly commented, "Whenever you see a Miyazaki film, you're bound to see five things you had never imagined."
During the panel, both the Pixar-Disney chief creative officer and the legendary Japanese filmmaker were awarded the Con's coveted top prize - the Ink Pot Award.
Related Comic-Con '09 Links:
Comic-Con Central - Exclusive Video Interviews, Comprehensive Coverage and More!
Comic-Con 2009 Photo Feature - All the Stars, Costumes and Everything Else Worth Seeing from the Con