Making its premier at WonderCon this year (in Anaheim, California, of course!) was Termites, a new animated film concept by Matthew G. Hill, Barrett Kime, Tighe Damron, Melanie Makaiwi, and Tom Wentworth. The crew have started up a Kickstarter campaign to finance their project. Simply put: What would happen if a colony of termites in a fancy home got wind (sorry, sorry…) that the house is about to be fumigated? “Through the eyes of young Termite hero, Larkin, we dive into both the fascinating narrative world (4 arms, anybody?), the exquisite landscape of artistic possibility, and the raw emotion of a tragic, yet inspiring story”. The campaign is running on Kickstarter until May 17th.
Funny Animals and More: From Anime to Zoomorphics, based on Fred Patten’s weekly columns from Jerry Beck’s Cartoon Research animation website, was published March 26 by Theme Park Press. It is available in paperback and digital formats, and on Amazon.com.
The book is about animation and comic books rather than specifically anthropomorphic animals, but cartoon and CGI funny animals are a major theme. Topics include anime cat girls; Pokémon and Monster Rancher; Astro Boy and Atomcat; how a popular 1970s anime TV series led to the import of thousands of baby North American raccoons into Japan as pets, whose descendants are ruining thousand-year-old Buddhist and Shinto shrines today; animated Summer Olympics mascots like Misha the bear cub, Sam the eagle, Hodori the tiger, and Cobi the sheepdog, from 1972 to 2012; Patten’s favorite childhood comic-book funny animals like Amster the Hamster, Doodles Duck and his nephew Lemuel, Nutsy Squirrel, Dunbar Dodo, and SuperKatt, and how he would still like to see them animated; Crusader Rabbit; rats in animation; Reynard the Fox in animation; and Disney’s forthcoming 2016 Zootopia.
The movie, scheduled for release on November 6, 2015, is being made by 20th Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios. The writer is Brian Schulz (the grandson of Charles), and the producer is Charles Schulz's son Craig. Craig Schulz is keeping details a secret, saying only "it's about a round-headed kid and his dog, and that's about as far as I'm willing to go".
Here’s another movie with furry aspects for 2014 to add to the addendum to the addendum to the addendum; The Voices, a movie that Wikipedia helpfully describes as a “comedy crime horror thriller film”. It features Ryan Reynolds hearing voices from his pets, notably a dog who acts as his conscience, and a cat who would prefer he just kill people.
Korean cinema: Toilet-paper Merlin turns pianist into cow, who's saved from incinerator by com-sat in robot girl formPosted by Fred on Thu 27 Mar 2014 - 16:59
Korean animation looks enough like Japanese animation that it is usually lumped together as anime. But I don’t think that even the Japanese have made an animated feature like The Satellite Girl and Milk Cow, directed by Jang Hyung-yun and released in February in Seoul.
Jerry Beck’s Animation Scoop announces this South Korean release about a pianist (male), transformed into a cow (female) by Merlin the Magician in the form of an anthropomorphic roll of toilet paper, and pursued by a villainous incinerator that wants to incinerate him/her; while a communication satellite falls from space, becomes an Astro Boy-like robot girl, and saves the cow from the incinerator and its secret agents. It falls into the you-have-to-see-it-to-believe-it category -- and Jerry has the trailer, so you can see 1'22" of it.
Read more: Review at TwitchFilm.com
Not content to have the (as should be expected) “art of Rio 2“, Blue Sky Studios instead brings us The Art of Rio: Featuring a Carnival of Art from Rio and Rio 2. My, now that’s a title! “From 20th Century Fox Animation and Blue Sky Studios, the creators of Ice Age and Horton Hears a Who!, the musical adventure comedy Rio told the story of how rare Blue Macaws Blu and Jewel met and fell in love in Rio de Janeiro during Carnival. In Rio 2, the pair journey with their 3 chicks to the amazon jungle in search of their wild roots. With over 300 pieces of concept art, character sketches, storyboards and digital paintings, along with interviews with the key animation talent, this book reveals the artistry behind the 2 colorful movies.” It’s put together by Tara Bennett (who’s written and edited several movie tie-in books of the sort), with an introduction by Carlos Saldanha (the director of both films). Look for it at Amazon, where it’s available now in hardcover.
They're making these sequels fast; I think they've been working on them the past three years, ever since the first movie came out. Check out the trailer. [TheChriZ1995] The movie is in stores March 25; the Blu-ray & DVD edition is exclusive to Walmart and is currently offered for $18.96; it'll also be on iTunes for $14.99/$9.99 HD/SD.
While Alpha and Omega 2 had a very low quality, with a lack of shading and choppy animation, at least they tried to work on the issues for this one. It's a huge graphics upgrade from the second movie. Sadly the animation still needs work to be smooth like the first Alpha and Omega movie (review). Yet while the quality may not match up to the original, at least they are trying - I think it looks reasonable for what is essentially an extended TV show. For a company that isn't Pixar, they're doing a fairly good job at the moment.
I have a feeling some people on here may not like it, but this is for those who might want it, even if they never heard of it. It's great to have the fandom for this, though.
More from the folks at Cartoon Brew: Dreamworks Animation have announced three new CGI animated series they will be producing as part of their mega-distribution-deal with Netflix — and guess what? All three of them are anthropomorphic, in one way or another. King Julian of course follows the adventures of the crazy lemur from the Madagascar movies and the Penguins of Madagascar TV series; Puss in Boots, who needs no introduction; and Veggie Tales in the House, a new iteration of the well-known faith-based animated TV show. All of this follows the 2D animated series Turbo F.A.S.T., which Dreamworks premiered on Netflix last December. The three new series will be available before the end of 2014.
Looks like we have an addendum to the addendum; but since this movie comes out next week (and our own beloved editor is apparently clueless about its existence), now is a good time to share the trailer for Muppets Most Wanted.
Muppets Most Wanted stars (besides the Muppets, obviously) Tina Fey, Ricky Gervais and Ty Burrell and is directed by James Bobin. It hits American theaters on March 21.
Here is the final ballot for the 2013 Ursa Major Awards. The voting is among the five titles in each category getting the most nominations. In several categories, there are six finalists because of ties for fifth place. In the Best Short Fiction category, only four finalists are listed because of too many ties for fifth place.
Voting is now open. Due to a technical issue, nominators will need to acquire a new key. The deadline is April 30.
As is not unusual, there were so many nominations for the fourth, fifth, and sixth place nominees in most categories that one more nomination could have made the difference between a title’s getting on the final ballot or not. Please nominate next year.
The 2013 Ursa Major Awards will be announced and presented at a ceremony at the CaliFur X convention, May 30-June 1, 2014, at the Irvine Marriott Hotel, 18000 Von Karman Avenue, Irvine, CA 92612.
Over at Cartoon Brew they recently put up an article about a new CGI animated feature film conceived and created by Kirby Atkins (who previously worked on Jimmy Newtron: Boy Genius). It’s called Beast of Burden, and it’s currently in production at Huhu Productions in New Zealand. Not to be confused with the Dark Horse comic Beasts of Burden by Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson, though: That’s being developed for animation by Reel FX. Mr. Kirby’s project involves an endangered farm-labor animal called a thoriphant — who discovers that there may just be more to their species than anyone has imagined before. To secure financing, the creator and his crew put together a proof-of-concept animated short — you can watch it over on Vimeo. Now, with the backing taken care of, they’re shopping the project around for distribution.
Head out to the movies lately and you’re likely to see the teaser trailer for the new live-action film Paddington — featuring a world-famous little bear in a blue overcoat and a floppy brown hat. For those not familiar with the star of Michael Bond’s beloved series of children’s books (started in 1958), Paddington is a small, human-speaking bear who travels from the wilds of Peru to England — where he hooks up with a nurturing human family, who name him after the train station where they found him. Paddington has appeared in TV series before (both animated and puppetry), but this is his first feature film. It’s produced by David Heyman (who produced all eight Harry Potter films), and written and directed by Paul King, best known for Britain’s The Mighty Boosh (which, you may recall, had its own fair share of furry content). The movie adaptation stars the Colin Firth as the voice of the CGI little ursine star. Check out the article at Yahoo Movies to find out more — and see the trailer. The film comes to theaters in North America this December.
Recently on Animation Scoop came the announcement of a new feature-length 2-D animation project called Unstable, which is being developed by “the star studded animation team of Jeff ‘Swampy’ Marsh (Phineas & Ferb), David Freedman (Groove High) and top BBC Comedy Producer, Gareth Edwards (Mitchell & Webb). The three have been looking for the right project to collaborate on since they all worked on the adult animated animated series The Mr. Hell Show (BBC2 and Showtime) back in 2000. ” Unstable tells the story of a police horse who is accused of a crime he did not commit (“un-stable”, get it?), and of the little girl whom he turns to for help. One of the producers describes the film as “Witness meets Oceans 11 bumps into Madagascar“. The film is being brought to the screen by Peafur Productions.
On January 24, my sister Sherry took me in my wheelchair to see The Nut Job at the Pacific Theatres 18-Plex at the Glendale Americana at Brand “shopping community”.
The movie was released on January 17, and for over a week I had been reading reviews on animation-community websites that were uniformly negative. They did not just pan it, they hysterically reviled it. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 12% favorable professional rating:
Hampered by an unlikable central character and source material stretched too thin to cover its brief running time, The Nut Job will provoke an allergic reaction in all but the least demanding moviegoers. (RT critic consensus)
“Anyone who doubts the truth of the bromide that January is the time studios trot out films that would otherwise be unreleasable should take a look at The Nut Job, a CG feature that has all the originality and individuality of a Dixie Cup,” begins Charles Solomon’s review on Animation Scoop. “[…] Numerous, predictable contretemps ensue […] the storytelling is simply inept […] The animation is unimpressive at best. […] The Nut Job was made in Canada and Korea, reportedly in association with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the Republic of Korea - probably because sitting through the film makes the 12-hour flying time between Los Angeles and Seoul seem brief.”
Conversely, the box office of The Nut Job has been good – fortunately, or I would have wondered whether the critics were talking about the same feature that I saw.
Nominations for the 2013 Ursa Major Awards, for the best anthropomorphic movies, novels, comic strips, games, etc., will close on February 28. Voting for the winner will begin on March 15th and will close on April 30. The awards will be presented at CaliFur X on May 30 to June 1, at the Irvine Marriott Hotel, Irvine, California.
If you have not nominated yet, you have only a few more days to do so. All titles first published or released during the 2013 calendar year are eligible. The awards are given in eleven categories: Motion Picture, Dramatic Short Work or Series, Novel, Short Fiction, Other Literary Work, Graphic Novel, Comic Strip, Magazine, Published Illustration, Website, and Game. The final ballot includes the top five titles nominated in each category.