One year ago, Zootopia, a story about anthropomorphic animals in a modern setting dealing with the issue of prejudices in society, hit theaters. It was the most highly anticipated film for furries in the last decade, some having even rented out theaters for personal furry gatherings. In the days following Flayrah had a reviewing bonanza in which multiple prominent article writers gave their own reviews of the piece.
Heck, the Fur Affinity banner changed to a Zootopia theme when the movie came out and hasn’t changed since.
But on February 27th, the love for the film was continued to be shown well beyond the borders of furry fandom, as the academy elected it to receive the Oscar for Best Animated feature. It beat out nominees Moana, My Life as a Zucchini, The Red Turtle, and the one that most had thought could take it away from Disney, Kubo and the Two Strings.
The new Chinese 100-minute animated feature Big Fish & Begonia now has a music video as well as a trailer for promotion. Directed by Liang Xuan and Zhang Chun, and produced by their B&T Studio, the hand-drawn/CG hybrid feature will be released July 8 throughout China. No word on a U.S. release yet.
Let us not forget, Disney is a corporation. To a certain extent, we hold the 55 (and counting) full length animated movies produced by the Disney Animation Studios to a different standard than, say, the 32 (and counting) full length animated movies produced by DreamWorks Animation, or even the 16 (and counting) full length animated movies produced by Pixar, despite the fact that there really isn't much reason to, at this point. Just the fact that the brand is much older maybe should count for something, but, let's face it, just because it is so old, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs has less in common with Zootopia than Kung Fu Panda 3 does (even when factoring out the furry aspects and the use of CGI).
We still treat many of those early animated Disney movies almost like sacred texts, despite the fact that Disney never has. Disney has always treated them like what they are; products to be sold. So, you've got annual theatrical re-releases for most of last century, a practice that only died when home video became a thing. To combat that, they introduced the "Disney Vault", which basically extended the "re-release" strategy indefinitely even with home video. Then came the direct-to-video sequels; finally, when those became a bit too damaging to the brand, the live action adaptations began. And the most recent movie to get that treatment is Jungle Book.
Whine all you like about originality and creativity, but Disney's got a business to run. This strategy is pretty much a brand-strengthening exercise, but at least part of the branding is based on "quality," so at least they're going to try and do right by the old movie (if not exactly Rupyard Kipling). And, hey, most of the older Disney movie's are based on properties that are public domain; if Disney doesn't do it, someone else will (and in fact, Warner Bros. has its own Jungle Book movie planned). And its not like Disney hasn't done this before (or, for that matter, that they were even the first movie studio to adapt The Jungle Book). If you want originality from Disney, go watch Zootopia again.
If you want to watch a good movie, well, actually, watching Zootopia again is okay, but do take some time to watch this version of The Jungle Book. It's actually really good.
So, anyway, earlier this year, a movie came out called Zootopia. We, uh, might have mentioned it. Despite being anticipated, or even known, by just about nobody who wasn't a furry or, perhaps, a major Disney fan, the movie managed to become a rare hit at both the box office and with professional critics (though gathering up Flayrah reviews, the consensus was more in line with Metacritic's "good, but whatever" score, because furries, am I right?).
One thing that was repeatedly and pointedly not mentioned by anyone involved with the movie was another movie a little over a decade old, called Chicken Little. Lots of interviews, and even a semi-independently produced 45-minute making of documentary, all went on at length at how this Disney's first fully anthropomorphic animal world since Robin Hood, and the first set in the furry equivalent of a modern world, despite the fact that it, well, wasn't. Chicken Little became the animated equivalent of a "disappeared non-person" in some sci-fi dystopia.
Which makes it incredibly interesting, in a weird kind of way; in a company that mines its past productions for nostalgia like there is no tomorrow (only yesterday, repeated), Disney has gone out of its way to avoid reminding anyone this movie exists. And this is actually a fairly important movie in the history of the company; it was the first full length computer animated feature by Disney (and not Pixar). So, is it really that bad?
Yes. Yes it is really that bad.
Brian Bedford, an English-born actor best known to furs as the voice of the titular character in Disney's Robin Hood, passed away January 13, 2016, due to cancer in Santa Barbera, California. He was 80.
Bedford was born in Morley, UK on February 16, 1935. Primarily a stage actor, known for his work on Broadway, he made his Broadway debut in 1959, in the play Five Finger Exercise, directed by John Gielgud. In 1971, he won a Tony Award for his role in The School for Wives. He would gain an additional six Tony nominations; the most recent coming for his last stage role, Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest. He also appeared in many TV and film roles, though his vocal role as the vulpine Robin Hood is his best known.
Bedford is survived by his husband, Tim MacDonald.
Disney Animation has officially released a new trailer for one of the most anticipated furry films of 2016 (or ever)!
The nearly 3 minute preview reveals much more about the Zootopia universe and its inhabitants than has been shared before, drawing from a rich diversity of species for clever puns and laughs. (The wolf segment at 1:45 is worth a playback alone.) There is also a stronger hint as to the plot details, which includes a shrewdly run polar bear crime mob.
Plenty to take in here, so enjoy! This could be as much preview content as we can expect from Disney before the big premiere (March 4th).
Pop star Shakira has put up a 30 second preview of "Try Everything," a song she is singing in character as Gazelle, a, well, gazelle pop star from the furry world of Zootopia (or Zootropolis to our non-American friends), Disney's forthcoming animated feature due March 4.
An ongoing New Years celebration (which of course is called "Zoo Year's Eve") will culminate with a new trailer (which is referred to as a "gnu" trailer, obviously) being released soon. The last trailer wasn't received particularly well by furries at first, but was met with near universal approval from non-furries when played in front of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Update 1/5/16: Sorry, folks, preview's over. Have a placeholder image for now.
2016 is shaping up to be a benchmark year for furry movies. Though movies featuring talking or otherwise anthropomorphic animals are hardly uncommon, this year looks to be exceptionally full, and many of the movies coming out have impressive pedigrees. It should also be noted that there is a ridiculously high number of foxes featured, for those of us who find that important.
Cartoon Brew has a list of 47 animated movies planned to be released next year, where most of these movies are drawn from; not all of them contain furry characters, but many do. There are also a few live action titles that can be counted on to be furry. Notably, 2016 release Zootopia's first trailer provided a list of unique features it contained, including bipedal, tech-using, clothed talking animals in a human free world; though these attributes are uncommon, if not actually original, 2016 will contain six movies that meet these requirements (Kung Fu Panda 3, Rock Dog, Sing, Sly Cooper, Spark and Zootopia).
The following list is mostly aimed towards an audience living in the United States of America; release dates listed are American. Some of the movies listed do not have solid release dates, and may fail to be shown; others may have had release dates outside the U.S. earlier this year. Also, movies listed contain only anthropomorphic animal movies; movies featuring anthropomorphic characters not based on specific animals are not listed.
YouTube has the first teaser trailer of the Disney studio’s April 15, 2016 “live-action” (heavily VFX) adaptation of The Jungle Book, directed by Jon Favreau, and it’s definitely full of anthropomorphic animals. The voice actors include Bill Murray as Baloo, Scarlett Johansson as Kaa, Idris Elba as Shere Khan, Ben Kingsley as Bagheera, Lupita N'yongo as Raksha, and Christopher Walken as King Louie.
As you can see, it will be a mixture of Rudyard Kipling’s 1894-‘95 literary classic and Disney’s own 1967 animated classic. A lot of this was revealed at Disney’s D23 Expo in August, but now you can see it for yourself.
Disney Infinity 3.0, the figure-based game featuring characters from most Disney properties, released August 30. The big news for most followers of video games and other such hobbyist pursuits is the addition of multiple characters from the Star Wars franchise, which follows version 2.0's inclusion of Marvel comics characters. For normal nerd and geek types, the thought of Luke Skywalker joining the Avengers is the kind of crossover normally reserved for fan-fiction, so the fact that this is really happening would be exciting, but we're furries. Our biggest hope for Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens is that an Amaran appears long enough onscreen to gain an action figure.
More exciting for fans of anthropomorphic animals is the pair of, well, anthropomorphic animals Nick and Judy from the upcoming movie Zootopia (you might have heard something about it) as playable characters/collectible figurines. As the movie doesn't come out until March next year, the figures were not available at launch; there isn't actually a release date for them yet. YouTube footage of Judy and Nick has surfaced; note that the channel these videos appear on do not seem to be official Disney channels, so they may not be available for long.
The release date of Disney’s forthcoming theatrical feature Zootopia (Zootropolis in the U.K., Portugal, Turkey and other countries; Zootropola in Croatia and Zwierzogród in Poland) is March 4, 2016. But on January 19, 2016, the Disney merchandising machine will release a slew of tie-in books, published by Disney print subsidiaries or licensed by it. Most, but not all of them, will be juvenile-oriented. Some of them, such as the Disney Zootopia Ultimate Sticker Book or Judy Hopps and the Missing Jumbo-Pop, will be little more than picture books featuring the leading characters. Others, such as the Zootopia Big Golden Book, will also be picture books but will show a condensation of the movie’s plot. And a few, such as Zootopia: The Official Handbook, Zootopia Junior Novelization and DK’s Disney Zootopia: The Essential Guide, will be of interest to the adult enthusiast. No lavish The Art of Zootopia coffee-table art book has been announced yet, but there will undoubtedly be one by next March – or sooner.
Whoa; we didn’t see this one coming -- so soon, anyway. Multiple sources (abc.news.go.com; Animation Scoop; ComingSoon.net; Variety; etc.) announced yesterday that the Disney Channel will present a brand-new Lion King direct-to-TV short movie in November: The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar. The movie will be a prelude to a new The Lion Guard TV series that the Disney Channel will present in early 2016.
The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar will be about the adult Simba and Nala’s juvenile son Kion, and his forming a new Lion Guard team – traditionally the pride’s bravest adult lions, to police the African savannah – with his own juvenile friends: Bunga, a honey badger; Ono, an egret; Fuli, a cheetah; and Beshte, a hippo. Their adversaries will include the juvenile sons of the evil hyenas in The Lion King; from the teaser, it’s obvious that the crazy hyena Ed has a son.
Further details are in the articles. More will be presented at Disney’s D23 expo in Anaheim on August 16.