Taking place during the Parisian flood of 1910, the two main characters are Emile, a shy film projectionist and amateur cinematographer, and his friend Raoul, a tinkerer who likes to invent gadgets and operates a delivery service out of the back of his truck. During a late-night delivery to an absent scientist's laboratory, Raoul plays with chemicals, unaware that his tampering accidentally creates a giant flea with a beautiful singing voice.
The "monster" is quickly targeted by Maynot, the Commissioner of police, who becomes obsessed with capturing and killing it as part of his campaign to become mayor. He's also taken an interest in a cabaret singer named Lucille, who disguises and hides the flea after recognizing its musical talents.
Raoul is an old friend/enemy of Lucille's, and soon he and Emile are in on her secret, trying to find a way to protect the flea from the Commissioner.
The Cartoon Brew presents the 4'11" “Shave It”, from the Buenos Aires CGI 3dar Studios, directed by Fernando Maldonado and Jorge Tereso.
A monkey whose jungle home is destroyed by humans, shaves his fur off, puts on clothes, and passes as human in the big city. He rises to the corporate top, and then takes his environmentalist revenge. The brightly-colored, ultra-stylistic design makes this a humorous cautionary parable rather than a horror story.
Cartoon Brew reports that, “Now that Disney’s Oz The Great and Powerful is a box office hit, let the Wizard of Oz remakes commence.” CB goes on to report via Variety that, “Clarius Entertainment will theatrically release the 3-D CGI pic Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return in the first quarter of 2014. We posted the film’s trailer last fall, back when the film was called Dorothy of Oz, and the reaction was tepid.”
Flayrah announced Dorothy of Oz too last September, and it did get 13 comments. The link to the trailer still works. See Tugg the talking tree, Wiser the owl, the marshmellow soldier, and the new anthropomorphic characters in addition to the familiar Cowardly Lion, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, the flying monkeys, and all of the beloved others.
Sorry to interrupt fun stories about comics and cartoons, but the Anthropomorphic Research Project story suggests some want to know what furryness means. Let me throw in a topic sharing an abstract concept with the fandom.
Anthropomorphism is often imagined from our human point of view (attaching human characteristics to something non-human). But the concept can exist apart from ourselves, when animals see themselves in objects. The way it works for them can reveal more about us.
Harry Harlow was a psychologist who experimented with monkeys. In the 1950's and 60's, he gave his subjects "surrogate" mothers built from different objects, to see how they would behave, and learn about care-giving and companionship in social and cognitive development. PBS says about his famous experiment:
He took infant monkeys away from their real mothers, giving them instead two artificial mothers, one model made of wire and the other made of cloth. The wire model was outfitted with a bottle to feed the baby monkey. But the babies rarely stayed with the wire model longer than it took to get the necessary food. They clearly preferred cuddling with the softer cloth model, especially if they were scared. (When the cloth model had the bottle, they didn't go to the wire model at all.)
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.
Animation Xpress #415, January 7, 2013, has the first trailer for Indian studio Green Gold Pictures’ second Chhota Bheem animated CGI children's feature, Chhota Bheem and the Throne of Bali, following the smash success (in India, in Hindi) of last year’s Chhota Bheem and the Curse of Damyaan. As before, the movie is not really anthropomorphic, but it does have Bheem’s talking monkey friend Jaggu (“Jaggu is surprisingly kickass”), and the trailer shows lots of evil Rangda’s anthropomorphized monsters. Out May 3, 2013 in India, in Hindi.
The Cartoon Brew has a preview list of animated features due out in 2013; at least those announced so far – some with trailers.
This year’s 12th Waterloo Festival for Animated Cinema, on November 15–18, 2012 at The Crysalids Theatre, 137 Ontario Street North, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, will include Mamoru Hosoda’s The Wolf Children, along with more than eleven other animated features unreleased in North America.
The list includes the 2012 Danish Marco Macaco (trailer) by director Jan Rahbek, featuring a tropical island full of anthropomorphic monkeys, a monkey policeman, monkey pirates, and a monkey Giant Robot.
Animation Xpress, vol. 10 #371 for October 4 reports that Delhi Safari, the CGI animated feature about an angry monkey, a laid-back bear, a scheming parrot, a mother leopard, and her cute cub trekking across India to the human city of Delhi to protest the strip-mining of their forest, will release on around 300 screens across India on October 18. The Hindi-language feature has a strong Bollywood voice cast.
Animation Xpress has a long interview with Krayon Pictures’ Nishith Takia that shows its poster and new promotional art. “Our film has got screened at Annecy International Film Festival and has also won the best Animated Feature Film at FICCI FRAMES in India, has boosted our confidence in the way the film has come out.” The film has a positive School Contact program at over 3,000 schools across India because of its strong pro-ecology message.
Delhi Safari has been dubbed into English with an all-star cast (Jason Alexander, Cary Elwes, Christopher Lloyd, etc.) for an American release sometime during 2013. Its English-language trailer was shown on Flayrah last May.
And speaking of animal “companions”, try this far-out adventure for size: “From the outer reaches of space, the Space Hustlers kidnap, blow-up, extort, or just give well-deserved noogies to those who stand in their way! Joined by a Confucius alien kung-fu monkey and a semi-conscious robot, street knowledge clashes with ancient philosophy as the Space Hustlers accomplish any mision, just so long as they don’t kill each other first!” Steve Owen, writer and illustrator, presents the Space Hustlers graphic novel in trade paperback. It’s coming this November in black & white from Hey Drude Productions. Check it out at Westfield Comics too.
On Wednesday, October 17, there will be a rare screening by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences in the Linwood Dunn Theatre, 1313 Vine Street in Hollywood, of the 1961/1965 Chinese feature Uproar in Heaven (also translated as Havoc in Heaven), directed by Wan Lai-Ming and Tang Cheng at the Shanghai Animation Film Studio.
This film is considered the culmination of classic Chinese animation, and was completed and won several international awards just before the Cultural Revolution tore the Shanghai studio and the entire Chinese animation industry apart.
How many Oz movies have there been? The Wizard of Oz (1939), of course. Return to Oz (1985). Dorothy in the Land of Oz (1980). Dorothy and the Scarecrow in Oz (1910), The Land of Oz (1910), His Majesty, the Scarecrow of Oz (1914), and The Patchwork Girl of Oz (1914), all co-written or directed by Frank Baum himself. The Wiz (1978). The Wizard of Oz (1925), the silent version with Oliver Hardy as the Tin “Woodsman”. The Witches of Oz (2011). It’s not a movie, but the Broadway musical Wicked (2003). Does Zardoz (1974) count? Well … LOTS!
Now there is Dorothy of Oz (2013?), produced by Prana Studios in Los Angeles and Mumbai with a pretty impressive voice cast.
What exactly is a “cinema novel”? Animation Xpress #317 (26 June 2012), reports that Hyderabad-based BTales (the B is for Bharavi) will publish Maharaja in July, the “first ever cinema novel in English”, for “worldwide release”. Maharaja is:
[a 175-page] authentic screenplay written by Bhargava, who is also famous as the creator of Kittu, an animation feature film made in Telugu. Till date (sic.), Bhargava has produced five feature films under his banner Bhargava Pictures.
The story circles around the adventures of a young dynamic, bold, helpful, intelligent, honest & smart monkey, Nandu, who dreams to become king of the jungle by changing the forest laws. Nandu stands up for the new generation and hints that its time to change the rules and take charge.
First off, Happy Mother’s Day to you and yours!
Suddenly there is much ado about Hero Petz, written by Dale Mettam and illustrated by Juan Fleites. First off, a quick recap from the original series: “Even as the evil Itachi Clan of ninja weasels tightens its grasp on Peludo City, six heroes — okay, five heroes and a crazy Monkey — stand ready to defend the innocent and fight for justice. El Conejito the Rabbit; Wonder Squirrel; Steel Shell the Turtle; Sensei Penguin-San; Kapitan Brüllaffe the Monkey; and Golden Hamster are the Hero Petz! Together, they take it upon themselves to keep watch over the city and protect the innocent!” First off, this June Stan Lee’s Kids Universe is re-releasing the original 80-page graphic novel (from 1821 Comics) in trade paperback. Also, there’s a video trailer for a new Hero Petz video game — as well as several fan reviews — up on YouTube.