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Animation and Anime

AICN EXCLUSIVE IMAGES! A Sneak Peek At Disney’s New 3D CARSToons!!

Hey, everyone. “Moriarty” here. Last week, Toshi and I finished lunch and hopped in my car for a quick drive over to Burbank. I didn’t tell him what we were going to do. I just knew that, as a huge fan of CARS, he might get a kick out of what I’d been invited to see. I respect CARS more than I like it. I respect the film’s perspective on a vanishing American highway subculture, the way people used to enjoy the drive across America and stop to see what they were driving past. It’s got a romantic, sad undercurrent that I can tell was very personal to John Lasseter, and I certainly can understand why he told the story he told. But I’m not a car freak, and that romantic view of Route 66 isn’t something I personally feel, so I never felt a connection to the film. As a parent, I also respect the fact that the film may not work for me, but it makes kids into rabid animals. It’s amazing how much power Tow Mater and Lightning McQueen have over kids. There’s a reason this continues to be one of the top-dollar merchandising draws for Disney year after year. It’s crack. The designs hit a home run for little kids, and watching Toshi absolutely lose his damn fool mind for all things related to CARS, I have to respect that the film exerts a powerful hold. When I was invited to see the first of the theatrical CARS Toons that are coming out in 3D at the Disney Studios in Burbank, I immediately said yes because (A) it’s the first thing John Lasseter has directed since 2006, (B) it’s the first piece of animation that’s been designed in 3D by Pixar and (C) the Pixar shorts are often the fall-down funniest things they do. We met a group of a few other online writers (and, yeah, I was the only one with a kid in tow, but I figured Toshi was going to be the ideal audience to see it with) and the guys from Disney, and we headed into the big Seven Dwarves building for a digital screening of the short. We ended up watching it twice back-to-back, just so we could soak up even more of the back-to-back-to-back visual gags and design details.

The CARS Toons are all basically tall tales told by Tow Mater, in which he fabricates elaborate stories from his past. In this one, “Tokyo Mater,” he talks about his days as a drift racer in Tokyo, and it’s just an excuse for a barrage of anime jokes, sight gag references to films like MONSTERS INC and WALL-E, insane visual puns about donuts, and ninjas. It’s a tsunami of eye candy, and the 3D is used to really pull you into the screen and make the race even more visceral. Toshi had to stand up because he was so engrossed in the race both times, and I noticed something... this is the first time he’s enjoyed something in 3D. When stuff comes flying out of the screen over and over, it’s too freaky for him. We had to leave the Muppetvision Theater at Disneyland because it weirded him out so much. But with this, he seemed really involved in the film. I thought it was as visually arresting as the first time I saw TRON... that sort of crazy neon beauty.

The short will start playing in theaters Dec. 12th in front of BOLT, and it’s a great reward for families who find themselves heading back to see that a second time during the holiday break. If you’re an animation fan in general, it’s worth the ticket price all by itself, and if you’ve got a CARS fanatic in your house like I do, you might even prepare yourself for a few trips to see it. As always, click the images above if you want giant crazy high-res versions. And thanks to the folks at Disney for the invite. Drew McWeeny, Los Angeles

Readers Talkback
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  • Dec. 9, 2008, 7 a.m. CST

    Damn You Michael Bay


    Damn You Michael Bay

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 7:01 a.m. CST

    Points for dedication

    by Shan

    You have to admire persistence.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 7:04 a.m. CST

    Yeah...3D is sure a wonderful invention.

    by DerLanghaarige

    If you have two working eyes and are able to enjoy it!!!

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 7:08 a.m. CST

    Who cares when AVATAR is fucking our eyeballs in 2009?

    by Motoko Kusanagi

    And seriously: who cares about 3D? It will always be nothing more but a nice gimmick.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 7:17 a.m. CST

    This series started on the UK Disney channel on Saturday!

    by wildphantom07

    I don't know whether its on the US Disney Channel but its definitely on the UK one. Think there's only a few of them - but they're repeating them constantly

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 7:19 a.m. CST

    Better than the movie


    These are being shown over here in the UK on the new Disney Cinemagic HD channel. Watched one yesterday in which Mater was a stunt truck. I have never been a massive fan of Cars, though these are great! Funny and fantastic looking, well worth checking out.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 7:19 a.m. CST


    by Boba Fat

    Try and get the same reaction from a kid to Chicken Little as you get from Cars and you'll see the difference. You think all your childhood favorites are only down to the fact that they were brightly coloured and moved?

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 7:20 a.m. CST

    Looks like Speed Racer with mouths

    by ricarleite

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 7:20 a.m. CST

    Yes, fuck 3D! I feel discriminated!

    by DerLanghaarige

    Fuck you James Cameron and Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson and Robert Zemeckis and every other Hollywood filmmaker who wants to make every fucking movie in 3D! Do you think it's fun to hear everybody in the audience go "Wow, that looks so three-dimensional", while I, who is pretty much blind on one eye, don't have the chance to witness this eyeball fucking experience? YOU JUST HATE PEOPLE WHO CAN'T SEE THE WORLD LIKE YOU "NORMAL" PEOPLE! Fucking Hollywood-bigots.<br> (Okay, it's not that it's really worth to complain about 3D, but can you imagine how difficult it is for a male white heterosexual German to find something, that gives him the right to feel discriminated? I got no idea if I will ever find anything else, so I guess I will walk the "Hollywood hates cyclops"-route for a while. Thank you very much.)

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 7:23 a.m. CST

    OK, so i'm wondering something...

    by cornponious

    and maybe I should just read about the technology somewhere on the interwebs, but i'm too lazy.<p> I was at my parents' house over the past weekend, and my mom was geeking out over her new copy of Journey to the Center of the Earth, and she was telling me all about how cool the 3D effect was. I told her that i saw it at the theater with my kids and the 3D was in fact pretty good. So, we all had to don the funky glasses and watch it. Hell, my dad was even lauding it.<p> So you will understand my confusion when I saw that the glasses were the typical old fashioned red and blue lens glasses. And when the movie started, when looking at it without the glasses, it was the typical old fashioned multicolor video. <p> "What is this?" I thought. "This isn't the way it was when i saw it on the BIG screen!", I continued to think.<p> So, I ask here, why? Why couldn't we watch it the same way it was displayed in theaters? The DVD is digital, the connection to the tv is HDMI. When i was watching it in the theater, i cheated and removed my glasses momentarily, and i didn't see anything happening on the screen that appeared very hi-tech or spectacular. Will we not get to view ANY new 3D movies at home the same way we can at the theater? And if not, I think that's a crock.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 7:26 a.m. CST

    Sounds wonderful

    by Brendon

    Hope it comes on Bolt "prints" in the UK from day 1. The sooner we stop the debate about the use and veracity of stereo cinema and then just get on with using the second eye as well as possible the better. This is the talkies all over again; a repeat of technicolour; more important than surround sound.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 7:28 a.m. CST


    by Brendon

    ...the cinema tech uses alternating frames of two different light polarities and glasses to filter that out. TV sets aren't built to work that way. Yet.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 7:32 a.m. CST

    Cars should have won the Oscar

    by GeorgieBoy

    Happy Feet was terrible. Luckily for us it's already been forgotten while Cars is still going strong. Bring on Cars 2 I say!

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 8:04 a.m. CST


    by BurgerTime

    The old way of doing 3D was what's known as the anaglyph method. The skewing of two colors (usually red and blue) were used within a single projected image to represent distances within the camera frame. The edges of an object would have red and blue fringes of varying widths, and the pronuncement of those fringes, when viewed through the traditional red and blue lenses, would trick your brain into seeing them appear at different 'distances' from the camera. <p> Today, as Brendon says, the cinemas use systems called Real-D, or Imax 3D, which instead of using colored lenses, use lenses with glass or plastic cast in two different light polarities. Two projectors throw two different images onto the screen, one taken with a camera for the left eye perspective and one taken by a camera for the right eye. perspective. The interesting thing is that the lenses of both the projectors are polarized to correspond with the polarity of the glasses. When the two images are projected together, then combined in your brain using the special lenses, you are tricked into percieving "depth" in the screen. <p> The problem with today's TV's is that they only project one frame at a time. They don't have the ability to display two simultaneous images, which essentially forces us to resort to the old method of creating a 3D effect on a flat surface using the red and blue technique. Which explains why Journey to the Center of the Earth and The Polar Express 3D both come with the silly glasses. <p> Viewing the true, modern 3D effect at home will be tricky for quite some time. Currently there are very few technologies on the market that facilitate 3D TV, and the ones that exist are sold at prices that put them beyond consumer applications like watching movies. But several major electronics firms are busy working on the next genreation of TV that will include the ability to project images in 3D both with and without the need for glasses. <p> As an interesting note, there is theoretically one TV technology that currently has the potential to simulate 3D. As I mentioned earlier, instead of using a cathode ray gun or liquid crystal, DLP uses mini LCD projectors to back-project images onto the viewing screen. If two projectors were to be employed instead of just one, each with lenses of different polarities, it might be possible to view 3D programming on future DLP screens using the same polarizing technology used in Real D today. Hope this explanation helps. <p> If you want more information on the processes, check out this site: <p>

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 8:25 a.m. CST

    Motoko Kusanagi:

    by Mr. Lahey

    Do you get paid by the post, or do you have a quota to meet? Do you work directly for 20th Century Fox, or is it some PR firm?

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 8:33 a.m. CST

    Actually polarized 3D was the method most often used in theaters

    by geekzapoppin

    3D has been around in one form or another since the beginning of cinema. Heck, the Lumiere brothers made some crude 3D films. Anaglyph 3D hasn't been used often at all because of its limitations compared with polarized 3D. The difference in modern digital 3D presentation has to do with high frame rate that almost eliminates flicker entirely and the use of circular polarized lenses that allow you to move your head and not lost the 3D effect. It is much easier on the eyes than previous methods. A list of all 3D films released is at . Films that were shown in Anaglyphic 3D are marked. You can see that very few of them were ever shown this way.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 8:35 a.m. CST

    I forgot.

    by geekzapoppin

    The JOURNEY 3D disc uses Anaglyphic 3D. However, the producers of the disc did such a fantastic job of calibrating the maroon/cyan of the picture with the filters in the glasses that the effect is, hands down, the best Anaglyphic presentation I've ever seen. Believe me, I've seen a lot. Love me some 3D.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 9:07 a.m. CST

    anthropomophic CARS? not funny.

    by FleshMachine

    bugs yeah, fish yeah, monsters? yeah..rat?..well no not very funny but thats not because he was a rat.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 9:20 a.m. CST

    kids are kind of hard to impress, actually

    by freydis

    depends on the age and maturity, of course, but for a young kid, there's no real reason to sit in relative silence in a dark room and stare at one wall for hours. you have to grab and keep their attention or else we all know what happens. so I appreciate that which keeps them occupied.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 9:29 a.m. CST

    Thanks Burgertime

    by cornponious

    That pretty much answers it for me. However, according to what i just read on the interwebs, realD doesn't use two projectors. It utilizes the alternating display of the left and right eye frames, and then circularly polarizes them. <p> So, if two projectors aren't needed, and the two frames are not projected or displayed at the same time, then again I ask why we can't have this at home now.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 9:48 a.m. CST

    To DerLanghaarige

    by sideshowrob

    No Fuck You, DerLanghaarige for slamming 3D just cuz you have a bad peeper. I have 2 stumps for arms but am still abke t0 reeplyi to schmuslkhs like u. yoeu dont seem me hatin on Arm Rests at mpoovie theaters for same reason due uu?

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 9:48 a.m. CST

    Dammit, I already saw "Bolt"...

    by Anna Valerious

    I think I'll wait until it hits or, I like anime jokes...

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 10:03 a.m. CST

    I like anime jokes too

    by The Amazing G

    this sounds interesting and I've still never seen the movie

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 10:41 a.m. CST

    The best use of REAL 3D I've seen was

    by The Reluctant Austinite

    James Cameron's Titanic documentary. That blew me away. And then "Deep Sea 3-D IMAX" also was impressive. The best narrative fiction film I've seen was "Beowulf." The 3-D in that film lifted an average film to an amazing experience. I saw "Bolt" in 3-D last week, which was the opposite experience. The movie is a lot of fun, but the 3-D was just "Meh." Why did they even bother? I barely noticed.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 10:47 a.m. CST

    3D alternative to red/blue

    by Stunt Vocalist 709

    Years ago, the Rolling Stones aired on broadcast TV a music video that incorporated a kind of 3D that was not red/blue. The lens on the glasses (still have them) looked a lot like the kind used now in the theatres, kinda like sunglasses. This allowed the colors in the video to really be clear, unlike the red/blue 3D. It worked very well. If they really can't do the current 3D on TV, why can't they do this version? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 10:52 a.m. CST

    The less kids are exposed to Larry The Cable Guy the better...

    by FilmCritic3000

    ...what a talentless ass.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 11:07 a.m. CST

    Anime jokes? I'm there!

    by Johnno

    As for 3D, I believe they're working on 3D-TVs at the moment. Panasonic is also seting up patents for the use of blu-ray for 3D films. But they're also working on 3DTVs where you get the depth perception without glasses! Don't ask me how that works but I've seen some crude attempts at it and from some press reports it sounds like in some instances they've actually managed to create impressive glasses-less 3DTVs, but I believe the content displayed on them is specially made. Anyway I don't expect 3D to become mainstream until all theatres utilize it without glasses and it eventually makes its way into our homes for us to play our video games on. If anyone has a PSP, grab a game called Metal Gear Ac!d^2 and once you complete it you unlock all kinds of 3D content that you can view with these special glasses. The screen is split in two showing two images for each eye and the glasses let you put them over the PSP and view them. There are scenes from Snake Eater in 3D (I believe you can also take pics with the camera from Subsistence on PS2 and transfer them to the PSP.) as well as scenes of all these hot asian bikini chicks. Anyway the most impressive one is the one after you complete that unlocks the first PS3 running trailer for MGS4 from TGS. Damn, what I'd give to be able to play a game entirely like that!

  • thats why it will never catch on like Hollywood wants/thinks. If Hollywood switches to 3D it loses 1/3 of its audience.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 11:48 a.m. CST

    Saw this recently...

    by Andyrooskie

    In 3D. I'm interning here at Pixar and they screened it in front of their in-house showing of Bolt. Y'know... I'm not a big fan of Cars, but this was actually pretty entertaining. The Cars univers is pretty bizarre anyways, and so applied to the tall-tale format is actually works pretty well. The 3D work done of the piece, however, is spectacular.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 12:45 p.m. CST

    So my people are discriminated by Hollywood...

    by DerLanghaarige

    ...AND Sideshowrob? I need to start a movement!

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 1:08 p.m. CST

    Let's go back to mono...

    by ChrisPC24

    I'm sorry that you guys can't see out of both eyes. My dad is deaf in one ear, maybe he should complain about movies being in 5.1.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 1:24 p.m. CST

    I hate Cars just like I hate Finding Nemo

    by disfigurehead

    Overrated and shoved down our throats.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 1:48 p.m. CST

    Andyrooskie, you have a great job.

    by Orbots Commander

    Any one of us here would surely give up a limb to be able to get a gig at a place like Pixar, surely one of the most creative places around. Enjoy every minute of it, dude.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 3 p.m. CST

    What's happened to your BENJAMIN BUTTON review??



  • Dec. 9, 2008, 3:04 p.m. CST

    Cars could have been cooler

    by Chuck_Chuckwalla

    All the interesting characters were left on the sidelines and the most boring character, Lightning McQueen was the star. It reminded me of that first season of Taxi. They had this character, John — a blond guy from the sticks who was the noob amongst all the interesting characters. They got rid of him after a few episodes because he was such a zero. My Cars movie would have been about the George Carlin van and the Cheech Marin low rider going across country à la Easy Rider.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 5:15 p.m. CST

    Cars may not be Pixars best film

    by Amy Chasing

    but it's still better than most other studios animated movies. Perhaps it's more relevant here in Australia too - we drive everywhere!

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 5:29 p.m. CST

    REAL D

    by BurgerTime

    True Cornponious, Real D does only use one projector, but it's still based on the principle of projecting two images simultaneously and isolating the corresponding image for each eye using polarized lenses. <p> I think if we had to project a few years down the road, it'll be the Real D technique or some derivitave of it that ends up becoming the basis for 3D TV. I too saw Bolt a couple weeks back, and although the director didn't go out of his way to create lots of eye-popping moments, I thought the depth perception was quite impressive. The only problem I could see was a little bit of strobing during the action sequences, but I'm pretty sure that'll get worked out in due time.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 5:36 p.m. CST

    CARS is weak as hell.

    by thebearovingian

    [Except for the 'Freebird' joke.] People who travel on the interstate are big a$$holes. Boohoohoohoo.

  • Dec. 9, 2008, 6:01 p.m. CST

    I'd choose Cars over...

    by Amy Chasing

    Surfs Up, Shrek 3, Dinosaur... the list goes on.

  • Dec. 11, 2008, 2:02 a.m. CST

    I don't thin "Cars" is overrated...

    by NC Blue

    ...because I can't seem to remember anyone bending over backwards to heap praise on it back when it came out. I think the general consensus was, and is, "not great, but pretty good, the cars in the movie are real shiny and nice to look at." It didn't even win Best Animated Feature Oscar, for what it's worth (although I can't really say that "Happy Feet" is the better film of the two...cuter, maybe, but meh.) I still enjoy "Cars", though, no big deal. Perhaps it will be more palatable to most people in short form. I really like the direction Pixar was going with "Presto", the short that ran before "WALL-E." We shall see.