At the moment, this story just repeats information already in last year’s “Animated Anthropomorphic Features in 2013” story and its followup comments. But it is time for Mr. Peabody and Sherman, the DreamWorks Animation feature directed by Rob Minkoff, based on the TV feature by Jay Ward, now due for a March 7, 2014 release, to have its own story.
The first theatrical teaser trailer was released on October 25. DreamWorks has also released a Russian trailer that is totally different. Too bad it is only available in Russian. [YouTube's attempt at English translation of the automatic captions is, however, hilarious.]
Big news from our friends over at Cartoon Brew, especially if you’re a fan of traditional animation: “Indie animated feature distributor GKIDS has announced that the highly anticipated hand-drawn French film Ernest and Celestine will open in New York and Los Angeles on March 14, 2014. That will be followed by national expansion to all major US markets. GKIDS has qualified Ernest and Celestine for the Academy Awards this year in the film’s original French language with subtitles. The American release, however, will be dubbed with a voice cast that includes Forest Whitaker, Lauren Bacall, Paul Giamatti, William H. Macy, Megan Mullally, and Nick Offerman. The small New York-based distributor has experienced fantastic success at the Oscars during the past five years by countering the big studios with quieter, more personal hand-drawn fare. They have earned nominations for three of their features: The Secret of Kells, A Cat in Paris, and Chico & Rita.” Check it out next year.
The Anthropomorphic Literature and Arts Association, which administers the annual Ursa Major Awards, has updated the 2013 Anthropomorphic Reading List to include the titles recommended by furry fans through November 17. This list is often used by fans to nominate in the next year's Awards.
There are two months left to add your favorites of the year to the List. All fans are invited to recommend worthwhile anthropomorphic works in eleven categories (motion pictures, dramatic short films or broadcasts, novels, short fiction, other literary works, graphic stories, comic strips, magazines, published illustrations, websites, and games) first published during 2013, if they are not already on the list.
Send in your recommendations. Read the List to see what other fans have recommended. Have you seen all nine published illustrations, for example? What have you been missing?
How much do you think they spent on these trailers? $1.00? 50¢? 25¢?
I am not sure which is worse; the title pun, the music, or the animation.
See more (if you dare): The Making of Alpha and Omega 2 [Higgs Raccoon]
Straight from the folks at Animation Scoop: “Gnosis Moving Pictures CEO Darius A. Kamali and Whisper Pictures CEO George Merkert announced today that the companies are partnering on the animated feature film Tusk: Hannibal’s Favorite Elephant. The project, which was co-written and will be directed by Whisper Pictures’ Oscar-winning Chief Creative Officer Tim McGovern (Tron, Total Recall, As Good as it Gets and currently, Sin City 2), is a family-friendly epic adventure that tells the story of legendary military strategist Hannibal and his favorite elephant Surus, as they seek justice from the Romans. The project, set in 218 B.C., follows Surus and Hannibal as they lead an army of men and 37 African elephants over the Alps, and the deep connection that develops between a man and animal bound by shared hope and common loss. ” Really now. No word yet on a projected release date, but keep your ears spread.
Guskō Budori no Denki (The Life of Guskou Budori) is a 105-minute anime film released in 2012. The story had been previously adapted into anime in 1994, however the 2012 version did it with anthropomorphic cats - largely identical to the cats in the 1985 anime film Night on the Galactic Railroad. Not coincidentally, both films were directed by Gisaburo Sugii, and both were based on stories written by Japanese author Kenji Miyazawa, published in the 1930s.
The 2012 Life of Guskou Budori is visually rich, but has an incredibly dull narrative. Full spoilers ahead! Budori, his parents and his younger sister have an idyllic life in a forest by the mountains, but two years of sudden cold weather leads to the death of his parents and everyone leaving the local village. Oh, and his sister is taken away by a mysterious entity. To paraphrase:
Supernatural cat: I'm here to save you from famine. You're good kids, but that won't help you. Hey girl, if you stay here, you'll starve. Come with me.
(Budori's sister goes to him, seemingly in a trance.)
Supernatural cat: Well, bye! (vanishes)
Budori: ...Hey! You thief!
Dreamworks Animation released the first set of stills from their upcoming feature film Mr. Peabody & Sherman in a recent article in USA Today. Cartoon Brew reprinted the images as well. The film (about a time-traveling dog and his young human assistant) is of course based on the original series of short cartoons that was part of The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show. This new CGI version is directed by Rob Minkoff (he of The Lion King and the Stuart Little movies), and it’s set for release in March of 2014. There had been rumors going around for some time that the Mr. Peabody movie was going to be done live action, with a real kid playing Sherman and Mr. Peabody being a CGI-enhanced real dog. That idea did not go over very well with classic animation fans, but fortunately it turns out that Dreamworks is making it much more traditionally — just with a computer.
According to Animation Scoop, veteran director Bill Kopp (known for Eek! The Cat, Schnookums and Meat, Dan Vs., and more) has been tapped by Universal Pictures to revive none other than Woody Woodpecker — in his original manic glory. In the article Mr. Kopp says that currently an animated feature and a new short cartoon are in development. Long a mascot of Universal Pictures, Walter Lantz’ most famous creation originally appeared in cartoons from 1940 until 1972. According to Animation Scoop, “A new Woody Woodpecker feature was first announced two years ago by Illumination Entertainment, then developing the film with co-writers John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky – who were planning to ‘modernize the character for contemporary audiences’. ” That didn’t sit well with classic animation fans — including Bill Kopp, who has insisted that these new cartoons will feature Woody in his original silliness.
The Cartoon Brew has a critique by Amid Amidi of Sony Pictures Animation’s Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 hybrid CGI/cartoon 6’46” short, “Earl Scouts”, in which Barry the strawberry and one of the pickle foodimals humorously(?) try to kill each other.
Did you know that there were any Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 short cartoons? I didn’t, but the whole “Earl Scouts” is on YouTube. Seeing is believing … well, not that foodimals are real, but that “Earl Scouts” is. Officer Earl is at the beginning and the end, but most of the short features the two anthropomorphized foodimals. Does Sony Pictures Animation plan any more shorts like this?
Well, enough of the doom and gloom, it’s a brand-new, shiny awards season. This month, let’s look at how the race is shaping up at the Oscars. Maybe we’ll even spare a thought for the Annies.
Love it or hate it, you gotta admit that Pocket Monsters, a.k.a. Pokémon, are anthropomorphic. In Japan, “monsters” are any fantasy animals; “pocket monsters”, like Pikachu, are monsters small enough to fit into your pocket – although since they were introduced almost twenty years ago, there have been some giant Pokémon as well.
The annual Pokémon theatrical movies started in Japan 16 years ago and are still being churned out, but in America they have gone direct to TV for the last few years. This year’s, Pokémon the Movie: Genesect and the Legend Awakened (96 minutes), will premiere in English on the Cartoon Network on October 19, at 12:30 p.m., Eastern Standard Time. It will follow last year’s movie, Pokémon the Movie: Kyurem vs. the Sword of Justice at 11:00 a.m., if you haven’t seen that yet.
Seth MacFarlane and Universal Pictures have announced that the sequel to the wildly popular 2012 movie Ted will be released to theaters on June 26th, 2015. It’s simply called Ted 2. Once again Seth MacFarlane will direct and star as the voice of Ted, the foul-mouthed talking teddy bear, and Mark Wahlberg will reprise his role as Ted’s grown-up childhood human friend. That’s about all we know about it so far — other than the fact that the sequel will also be R-Rated! The original Ted, of course, was nominated for an Ursa Major Award for Best Anthropomorphic Feature.
Turns out that the original Alpha and Omega (from 2010) was successful enough to “spawn” a sequel — at least a 44-minute direct-to-video sequel, Alpha and Omega 2: A Howl-iday Adventure. According to Cartoon Brew (never very kind to standard Hollywood fare), the sequel is again directed by Richard Rich. It was animated in India. In this new film, the wolves Humphrey and Kate strive to bring their cubs — Stinky, Claudette, and Runt — a happy season at Christmas time. The preview trailer is up now on YouTube. Look for the DVD from Lionsgate, coming to your local store on October 8th.
However, I don’t feel much like celebrating; this wasn’t exactly a banner year for the column. Let’s see; I was late November, February, April and May. [This time, it was the editor's fault.] Oh, and there was the part where I only got one out of three awards I was supposed to guess right. And the movie that beat me was terrible; not even a fun terrible, like Avatar or Prometheus, but a boring terrible. I can’t even find myself really mad at the choice; I mean, it was a nice, safe pick, after all. Nothing interesting at all going on here.
I don’t quite believe this… Amid Amidi reports on the Cartoon Brew website that in just two days, The Last Flight of the Champion, a CGI theatrical feature that nobody (including him) ever heard of, will be released – in fifteen theaters across America.
Produced by Omnipulse Entertainment (who?), the 2’15” theatrical trailer makes this look like an embarrassingly bad ripoff of Star Wars: A New Hope, with funny animals replacing the Rebel Alliance and an anthro cricket in the Luke Skywalker role, against Darth Vader – sorry, General Disdain – and his Storm, er, Shock Troopers.
Like they say, I couldn’t make up anything like this. This trailer deserves a special place among the ranks of awesomely bad animated movies. Will the feature be any good? (Don't answer that…)