Can Illumination Entertainment produce anything besides more Despicable Me and Minions movies? The animation studio is aggressively proving that it can – with anthropomorphic animals. It has already announced The Secret Life of Pets for a July 8th, 2016 release. Now The Cartoon Brew website has announced that Illumination Entertainment will also release Sing on December 21st, just in time for Christmas.
Sing sounds roughly like a Muppet movie, or a cleaned-up Meet the Feebles, with an all-anthro animal cast. Buster Moon, a koala theatrical producer, is producing a vaudeville-style live show. The hopefuls trying to get a part include a mouse crooner, a timid elephant, a pig mother with too many piglet youngsters, a young gorilla trying to break free from his mob family, a punk-rock porcupine and more. The voice cast includes Matthew McConaughey, Seth MacFarlane, Tori Kelly, Reese Witherspoon, Taron Egerton, Scarlett Johanssen and John C. Reilly, among others.
Illumination promises that Sing will have 85 songs! Is that a record for any musical, much less a funny-animal one?
Look, there’s really no way we can explain it better: “Welcome to ‘the Blister’ — a bizarre other-world colonized by humans sometime in the 22nd century, which quickly became a hotly-contested source of fertile land and natural resources long ago exhausted on Earth. In this new frontier, a rogue gunslinger and his companion wander across a wilderness in the grips of a civil war, encountering lawlessness, natives, and perversions of civilization in a world at the crossroads between the past and the future. The fact that said gunslinger is a bio-surgically modified silverback gorilla toting a pair of enormous revolvers is neither here nor there.” That’s the story of Six Gun Gorilla from Boom! Studios, coming this June. It’s written by Simon Spurrier (X-Men: Legacy) with interior art by Jeff Stokely (Fraggle Rock, The Reason for Dragons) and featuring a cover by Eisner Award-winning artist Ramón Pérez (see below). The story behind the comic is even more interesting: It’s based on an obscure 1930′s comic which no one seems to know the source of. Major Spoiler’s write-up might make it all easier to follow. Or not.
If tasked with coming up with a reboot of Mystery Science Theater 3000 – first of all, I wouldn’t actually reboot it. I’d have Crow, Tom Servo and a new host back on the Satellite of Love with absolutely no explanation, because it’s the show with “repeat to yourself it’s just a show, you really should relax” in the theme song.
Second, I wouldn’t pitch it to Comedy Central or Syfy, but to a family oriented channel, because God knows there are enough lousy kid’s movies to go after; I’d first go after The Hub, because they seem to go after the cult, family appropriate shows, they already have a working relationship with Shout! Factory, the company that does the MST3K DVDs (and that would help get them rights to air older episodes, probably) and finally it would be about the only way to do My Little Pony: The Movie, which I’ve already laid the groundwork for. Use that for the series premiere; relatively high profile movie for the opener!
Finally, I’d pitch myself as the host – this is a fantasy that will eventually segue into a review of a bad movie, so you might as well go for it, right?
The True Story of Puss in Boots is a definite get. Hyenas might not work for the new direction of the show, but I have another movie in mind. It’s called Cinderella, and definitely falls into the fantasy MST3K reboot territory.
2011’s Planet of the Apes movie, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, is unusual in that it has no novelized tie-in. Instead, the movie release’s tie-in book is Conspiracy of the Planet of the Apes, an almost-coffee-table hardcover novel featuring an original “offstage” story by Andrew Gaska (from a plot by Gaska, Rich Handley, Christian Berntsen, and Erik Matthews) set during the events of the 1968 movie, imaginatively depicted by “over 50 illustrations from various top talents in the industry, including full-color paintings by Jim Steranko, Joe Jusko, Dave Dorman, Barron Storey, Sanjulian and Mark Texeira, starship design by Andrew Probert, character portraits by Matt Busch and more!” (publisher’s catalogue).
In the 1968 movie, four astronauts are sent in frozen hibernation on a 2,006-year mission to explore an extrasolar planet. One dies en route; the other three, Taylor, Landon, and Dodge, find a planet inhabited by intelligent apes and feral humans. The astronauts are separated, and the story follows Col. George Taylor (Charlton Heston) as he interacts with the gorillas, orangutans, and chimpanzees; discovers Landon lobotomized and Dodge’s body stuffed and mounted in a museum; and ultimately learns that this is not an alien planet, but Earth in the far future.
Los Angeles, Archaia Entertainment, August 2011, hardcover $24.95 (268 [+ 4] pages).
Who says there aren’t any original ideas anymore? Even if they involve combining other ideas, still: “In the wake of a zombie apocalypse, a small band of animals, led by a hyper-intelligent Golden Retriever named Rex, and accompanied by a baseball bat-wielding gorilla, begin their cross-country journey in the hope of finding safety…and a home.” It’s Rex: Zombie Killer, a brand new double-thick one-shot comic book that’s coming soon from Big Dog Ink. Written by Rob Anderson and illustrated in full color by Dafu Yu, it’s scheduled for release (escape?) in early April. Check out the Rex: Zombie Killer web site to meet all the characters and find out more about the comic.
Two quick stories from the BBC: A fire has destroyed a collection of snakes, spiders and scorpions at the Instituto Butantan in the Brazilian city of São Paulo:
"The entire collection was lost, the biggest collection of snakes in the world," curator Francisco Franco said. "It's a loss to humanity."
The BBC reports that like humans, gorillas play competitive games - even making the game fairer for those of lesser ability.
Created by Jamie Hewlett, illustrator of the virtual band Gorillaz and with music by Gorillaz creator Damon Albarn, the animation is based on Journey to the West; an ancient Chinese tale of pilgrimage to retrieve Buddhist scriptures which mixes adventure, allegory, and spiritual enlightenment. Both band members were born in the Year of the Monkey, and were fans of the British TV series Monkey.
Depicted in the animation are lead characters S?n Wùk?ng, the Monkey King, and his golden-banded staff; Xuánzàng the monk; Zh? B?jiè (or Pigsy), once field marshal of the Milky Way, wielding his rake; and Sh? Wùjìng (Sandy), an immortal banished from heaven for smashing a crystal goblet, with his monk's spade.
This is a $27.95 351-page comic-sized hardback from Tor Books, the country's leading science fiction publisher. I think it's their first graphic novel. It's a labor of love that took about ten years to finish, and I recommend it.
The back story is that some time ago, in the early 21st century, nasty aliens came out of nowhere and attacked Earth, killing two thirds of the population, and flew away satisfied. Then good aliens came along to help us recover and enlist us as allies against the bad ones. Because Earth was now underpopulated, they offered to uplift two other species to intelligence. The dolphins declined, the gorillas accepted. Here's the first bit of comic-book SF: even after getting smeared, humans outnumbered gorillas a million to one, so uplift wasn't going to help the population problem. Anyway, they should have also done chimpanzees, which are more numerous and much randier. Well, maybe they had ulterior motives, like leavening humans with a less aggressive species.
It's a very little thing, but that is what makes it such a big thing.
The humorous 2005 murder mystery Owls Well That Ends Well, by Donna Andrews, in her Meg Langslow series (Revenge of the Wrought-Iron Flamingos, etc.), is set at a gigantic yard sale. It is absolutely non-Furry, except for a throwaway reference on page 106 by a minor character that he is planning to break up with his girl friend because she has sold his gorilla suit without his knowledge. Meg Langslow, who overhears this, comments that this sounds like a wise move. She has never understood the appeal of going to a Furry convention dressed as an animal, but he obviously has been enjoying himself and it doesn't hurt anyone, so why spoil his fun?
I think that this is the first time I have seen a reference to Furry fandom in the popular media that has not made a big thing about how weird Fursuiters and the fandom are, but treats them as just a normal convention &/or social activity. This is what we need more of. (Andrews has previously presented a knowledgeable and sympathetic description of TV-program fan conventions in We'll Always Have Parrots.)
A stocky, knuckle-dragging 340-pound gorilla leaped across a 12-foot-wide moat and a wall that separated him from visitors at the Dallas Zoo.
13-year-old Jabari escaped and went on a 40-minute rampage in March, snatching up a toddler with his teeth and injuring three other people before being shot to death by officers.
A symbol of Barcelona and undoubtedly the most famous single animal in Spain (bulls notwithstanding) Snoflake, or Copito de Nieve, a unique albino gorilla, is dying from skin cancer. Lacking the dark skin pigment and fur of a regular gorilla, the Barcelona Zoo resident developed melanoma in 2001, but zoo vets say it's now past any stage on control and it's only a matter of months. Citizens file past to pay their respects to the 40 year old ape, who had only his usual distain for the human visitors.
"When Copito de Nieve is gone, an era of Barcelona will end."
The BBC is reporting good news about slowly increasing populations for mountain gorillas. It might not be much, but it's wonderful hearing some good news about the great apes for a change. It always seems like the news is dire...
The volcanic eruptions in the Congo are not only a threat to people, enviromentalists are worried that the two eruptions (with possibly more to come) may be the last blow to the wild population of moutain gorillas. Between refugee movement, lava flows and enviromental contamination, the mountain gorilla habitat might be damaged beyond the level needed to support the 650 or so remaining animals.