As a writer, producer, screenwriter and actor, Brad Bird has many strings to his bow. He began his career as an animator and was mentored by Milt Kahl, one of Disney’s legendary Nine Old Men, and was part of one of the earliest graduating classes of the infamous California Institute of the Arts alongside the likes of Tim Burton and John Lasseter. With a strong animation background, he served as creative consultant on The Simpsons during its first eight seasons and is credited for helping to develop the show’s notorious animation style.
To celebrate the release of Tomorrowland: A World Beyond (available on Disney Blu-ray TM & DVD 5th October), we take a look at the directing career of two time Academy Award winner Brad Bird.
Tomorrowland: A World Beyond (2015)
Bound by a shared destiny, former boy-genius Frank (George Clooney), jaded by disillusionment, and Casey (Britt Robertson) a bright, optimistic teen bursting with scientific curiosity, embark on a danger-filled mission to unearth the secrets of an enigmatic place somewhere in time and space known only as “Tomorrowland.” What they must do there changes the world—and them—forever. Tomorrowland: A World Beyond promises to take audiences on a thrill ride of nonstop adventures through new dimensions that have only been dreamed of.
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)
Considered one of the most popular action franchises of all time, Bird was bought on board to direct the fourth instalment of the Mission: Impossible series. Tom Cruise returns as protagonist Ethan Hunt, with a new team by his side for a cat and mouse chase to track down terrorist Hendricks. Hendricks has gained access to Russian nuclear codes and is planning a deadly strike on the US. An attempt by Hunt and his team to put a stop to Hendricks ends in disaster and forces them from Dubai to Mumbai with a series of spectacular action sequences along the way as they aim to destroy the terrorist once and for all. The movie was Bird’s first live action film and became the highest- grossing Mission: Impossible.
Winner of Best Animated Feature Film of the Year at the 2008 Academy Awards, Pixar’s Ratatouille, is a firm family favourite. It follows the story of Remy a street rat who dreams of becoming a great French chef. Remy doesn’t have luck on his side, his family don’t believe he can make it as a chef, and there’s the obvious problem of being a rat in a distinctly rodent-phobic profession. But Remy’s luck looks like it’s about to change when he finds himself situated in the Parisian sewers beneath the restaurant of his hero, Chef Auguste Gusteau. Cue lots of laugher as Remy sets about a hilarious rat race that turns the culinary world of Paris upside down.
The Incredibles (2004)
Another Pixar classic, The Incredibles picked up two Academy Awards at the 2005 ceremony including a gong for Best Animated Feature Film of the Year. Featuring the voices of Craig T. Nelson, Samuel L. Jackson and Holly Hunter, the film follows husband and wife duo, Bob and Helen. Under their code names of Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl, they were the world’s greatest crime-fighting superheroes, always saving lives and battling evil. Fast forward fifteen years and the Parr’s have been forced to live regular lives in the suburbs alongside their three children. Itching to revert back to their superhero days, Bob receives a mysterious message summoning him and his family to a remote island for one last assignment.
The Iron Giant (1999)
Featuring the voices of Eli Marienthal, Harry Connick Jr and Jennifer Aniston, animated film The Iron Giant was Bird’s first feature film post The Simpsons. The film follows nine-year old Hogarth Hughes who makes friends with a giant alien robot from outer space, voiced by Vin Diesel. When paranoid U.S Government agent Kent Mansley gets wind of his existence he becomes hell bent on destroying the giant at all costs. It’s down to Hogarth to protect his new friend as he enlists the help of Dean McCoppin who must keep the giant safe in his junkyard.
Tomorrowland: A World Beyond is available on Disney Blu-ray TM & DVD 5th October. Keep up with the latest genre news with the new issue of SciFiNow.