Third time's the charm.
I managed to see both the previous installments of this movie series in theaters (Rise in 2011 and Dawn in 2014). Despite the fact that I went in intending to review these movies for Flayrah when both of them came out, I didn't.
The truth of the matter is that I got bored, and just couldn't be bothered to write anything.
So, I really should have reviewed those other two movies. But it helps that this is the first movie in the series I actually liked, though.
Rise and Dawn are not bad movies; they have a lot of positive qualities to them, but I never really liked them.
This review's lyrical headline comes from the Beatles' "A Day in the Life", and, yes, I'm making that a "thing"..
GKIDS, an American distributor of foreign animated films, has gained release rights for The Big Bad Fox & Other Tales. The film is co-directed by Benjamin Renner and Patrick Imbert, based on a graphic novel created by Renner. The movie does not yet have an English language trailer, but a French trailer with English subtitles has been released.
The movie tells three different connected stories; the titular story features a fox who tries to raise chickens in order to eat them, while other stories include a rabbit trying to deliver a baby, stork-style, and various animals playing Santa Clause. GKIDS has traditionally created an English language version of the movies they distribute, though no announcements of possible English voice actors have been made (or even planned at this early stage).
The classic Nickelodeon slice-of-life cartoon of a wallaby and his friends returns in 2018 to Nickelodeon with an animated movie. This trailer debuted at the San Diego Comic-Con, and promises to bring the characters from the 1990s into the more modern modern era.
Starting with Old Yeller and continuing with films like the less iconic Marley & Me, American cinema has a simple trick for an instant tearjerker: give us a boy-and-his-dog story, then kill the dog. A Dog's Purpose ornaments this formula with an existential theme strung across many lifetimes, all from the view of a hungry, mischievous pooch.
Finding Bailey's purpose
What is the meaning of life? Are we here for a reason? These are heavy questions, but they're the first thoughts voiced by the feral pup who will become Bailey, our main character. When his first life is cut short by animal control, he realizes just playing and eating all day hadn't added up to much, and in his next life, his determination to find his real purpose leads him into the home of Ethan, a young boy with a troubled home life.
Through Bailey's perspective, we watch Ethan's father try to improve in his career, Ethan's burgeoning football successes, and his blossoming relationship with a girl named Hannah. But because Bailey doesn't understand many human words, and is more concerned with food and playful antics, it's hard to care when the father descends into alcoholism and abuse, Ethan loses his dreams of pro football when a housefire incident fractures his leg, and he pushes Hannah away in bitterness.
Bailey only seems to somber up when Ethan goes off to college and Bailey dies of loneliness—sorry, I meant kidney failure—and his "boy" rushes to his side just in time to say goodbye.
The 2016 Ursa Major Awards have been announced on Friday afternoon, June 30th at the Anthrocon convention in Pittsburgh. The Ursa Major Awards, for the best anthropomorphic fiction of the past calendar year, are presented in twelve categories by the Anthropomorphic Literature and Arts Association (ALAA), and are voted upon by the public on the Ursa Major Awards website.
Previously on Flayrah's My Little Pony movie trailer coverage, we noted a distinct lack of actual ponies in the pony movie advertised. But not this time. They're bringing pony back.
Meh, needs more Applejack.
So, anyway, it’s June 2017, which is a great time to talk about the movies of 2016.
I’ve done this five times before, the ground rules should be clear, but a quick reminder for the uninformed: all movies are my choices, not Flayrah’s, choices are not necessarily furry, movies came out theatrically in 2016 and that’s about it. Usually I do a list of preliminaries, but I’ll save that for Twitter; I don’t remember how to code the boxes, and I’ve changed accounts so I can’t just copy and paste the code, anyway.
Now, without further ado, let the bodies hit the floor!
The DVD and Blu-ray came out in late March of 2017. It's a straightforward comedy with light story arcs and anthropomorphic animals, in which a koala named Buster Moon organizes a singing competition to save his financially-failing theater. By mistake, the publicity leaflets say the prize money is $100,000 instead of $1,000. For the rest of the film, things gradually spiral out of control, as he selects and deals with the five acts who will eventually take the stage at the end.
I enjoyed it! Although it didn't perform as well as The Secret Life of Pets at the box office, I liked it more. Partially because of the wider range of species - plus it didn't plug the Minions franchise as much - but mostly because it felt fun, didn't get bogged down in itself, and I liked the music.
This movie had just the worst timing.
Is it fair to review a movie that came out half a year ago now, just because I was Making A Point about … something or other … when that half a year ago came and went? I don’t know, but if the review had come out then, it would have been a thumbs up. Now, this is a negative review, by the way.
Sing’s well out of the theaters and available to rent or own, and it’s nominated for an Ursa Major award. Maybe it’ll win it, for all we know. Everybody could have just gotten tired of the at this point assumed and basically all but destined winner; of course, 2016 was not a great year for presumed and basically all but destined winners. If you voted for Sing, however, I don’t blame you; it’s still okay. There is a difference between a pan and savaging, and, honestly, this barely rates pan. I used to like it, after all. Still kind of do. Just not as much anymore.
Part of the reason for this downturn in my affections is due to another movie; yes, there’s an elephant in the room we’re going to need to talk about, and I’m obviously not talking about the characters in the movie. Actually, there are a lot of elephants I’m planning on discussing, but set that aside right now because, when I rented Sing recently and rewatched it, I realized I liked Rock Dog better. So, there’s that.
Since Dronon recently posted the trailer for “Bigfoot Junior” on Newsbytes, it seems like a good time to take a deeper look into nWave Pictures. Their main animation studio is located in Brussels, Belgium, while their regional office in Burbank, California has been working diligently to get its pictures distributed theatrically in English in North America for the past decade. They do get theatrical releases in much of the rest of the world-- but usually have to settle for them going direct-to-DVD as "kid’s cartoons" in the United States. Despite being “family” movies, they’re good ones, and they do feature talking animals. Let's take a look at their history in the animated featured film business to date.
nWave was founded by director Ben Stassen in 1994. Its first animation projects were for amusement park attractions and video games. Their first theatrical feature, “Fly Me to the Moon”, which was about housefly astronauts, was released in January 2008.
Wes Anderson, the writer/director best known in the furry fandom for his 2009 movie Fantastic Mr. Fox, will be returning to the stop-motion talking animal genre for his next movie Isle of Dogs, whose poster and release date (of April 20, 2018) was announced via Twitter on April 25.
The bare bones premise announced so far is that the movie will feature a Japanese boy searching for his lost dog. Though this premise isn't necessarily anthropomorphic, an earlier video posted by Anderson confirmed the dogs will have speaking roles. Though hard to make out, it has also been pointed out that some of the dog characters on the poster also appear to be wearing clothes.
The cast for the movie, listed on the poster, has been previously confirmed. It includes many recurring actors in Anderson's movies. Newcomers include Bryan Cranston and Scarlett Johansson, as well as multiple Japanese actors, including Yoko Ono.
Isle of Dogs will be Anderson's ninth feature, and only his second animated feature, after Fantastic Mr. Fox, which was nominated for an Ursa Major award as well as an Oscar for Best Animated Feature. In addition to the Best Animated Feature Oscar nomination, Anderson has been personally nominated three times for Best Original Screenplay and once for Best Director at the Oscars. All but the latest of his movies have also been added to the prestigious Criterion Collection, and his film Rushmore was added to the National Film Registry last year.
If you were around in 1961, you may have seen an obscure animated feature titled Alakazam the Great, about three friendly monsters – Son Goku (monkey), Sir Quigley Brokenbottom (Pigsy), and Sandy – escorting Prince Amat from China to India.
This was part of the first wave of Japanese animated films, known as anime, to enter the United States. The other two features in that wave were Panda and the Magic Serpent and Magic Boy. They were box-office failures at the time, and because of this the anime film genre is still fighting to enter the American theatrical market.
Alakazam the Great was also America’s first cinematic introduction to the ancient Chinese story Journey to the West or Monkey King, as it is better know in America. This legend is over a thousand years old in the oral form. It was written into a novel, probably by the scholar Wu Cheng’en in the 16th century. The first Oriental animated feature, the Chinese Princess Iron Fan (1940), is an adaptation of part of Journey to the West. Alakazam the Great, more specifically, is a movie adaptation of Osamu Tezuka’s 1952-59 My Son Goku manga version of Journey to the West.
We covered animated feature The Nut Job thoroughly upon its release in January 2014. If you enjoyed it, I have good news: a sequel is coming August 18, entitled The Nut Job 2: Nutty By Nature.
The Nut Job was about a group of anthropomorphized city wildlife led by Surly Squirrel raiding an out-of-business nut shop while a gang of bank robbers are using it as a cover for their heist. The movie is semi-famous for having been almost universally reviled by the critics before its release – it got a 12% rating on Rotten Tomatoes – then getting a very favorable audience when it came out.
It was produced by ToonBox Entertainment in Toronto, and mostly financed by South Korean investors. The Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism of the Republic of Korea got a credit. They even threw some love by having the animal cast plus an animated Psy, the popular South Korean singer-dancer, break into “Gangnam Style” over the closing credits.
From January 12 to February 28, 2017, it's time to nominate your favorite furry creations for the 2016 Ursa Major Awards!
Is there a furry comic, story, movie, video, podcast, or anything else with furry content that brightened your day last year? Nominate it – don't put it off until the last minute!
You can nominate up to five things in each of twelve categories. If you're unsure what to nominate, check out the 2016 Recommendations… and you can nominate titles that aren't on that list! It's there to give ideas, to help you find furry stuff that you might not have heard of.
Sometimes, a Nomination or a Recommendation feels like it fits into more than one category. You can browse previous years (like the 2015 Recommendations) to see where something should go. As of 2016 there's a new category: Best Anthropomorphic Non-Fiction Work.