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.
Those attending Anthrocon this year that have an interest in non-fiction works about our little fandom will not want to miss the session I am hosting on Sunday, July 2nd to preview my book looking at the history of furries, Furry Nation. The book gives this "greymuzzle" freelance writer's perspective, having been in the fandom since 1988; a journey which all began with a surprise invitation in the mail to something called a 'furry party' being held at a Philadelphia Sci-Fi convention.
Furry Nation tells the story of the fandom’s birth and growth, from the earliest “funny animal” comic book fans and convention organizers to the worldwide fandom it is today. Artists, fursuit builders, and fans of all stripes are profiled, and of course our rocky relationship with the Hollywood animation community is also examined. In the book’s final chapter a genetic scientist discusses the possibility that genetic therapy will someday transform humans into actual anthropomorphic animals. Furry has indeed transformed many lives, including my own in ways I never expected— personal experiences that became a part of Furry Nation.
Legend is a graphic novel by Samuel Sattin and Chris Koehler. It combines the popular post-apocalyptic story setting with talking animals - giving it furry appeal - and wonders how domesticated animals would survive after humanity is wiped out in a biological attack. To be fair, not all the humans are dead, but the only ones that we encounter have been turned into flesh-hungry zombies.
The first volume of Legend begins after humanity has already fallen. We meet a pack of dogs living in The Grounds, an open patch of a land next to a city. They need to choose a new leader as their previous one has just been killed by a mysterious creature in the ruins of the city. Vowing revenge, the new leader of the pack, Legend, begins a journey which leads him to ally with a clowder of cats and traverse a dangerous world which is undergoing dramatic changes.
Much of the comic is dedicated to setting up the world, introducing us to its cast of characters, the land they inhabit, and the back stories that underlie their motivations and mythology. This is all done well. Volume 1 contains the first five chapters of Legend and at the beginning of each chapter is a map. Chapter-by-chapter more of the “fog of war” gradually disappears as we learn the surrounding geography. The flashbacks, too, are entertaining and each one is visually distinct; based on the emotions of the character. It is only in one happy flashback that we ever see the world brightly lit and in full colour.
Throughout the entire comic, the artwork is excellent and does a good job of conveying the tone of the story. The majority of the scenes are highlighted in specific colours to convey mood and were a deliberate choice by the artist to limit his palette to better reflect the dogs’ limited colour range. However, the dark tone that falls over most of the story also makes it challenging at times to make out what is happening.
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!
On June 6th, 2017, on a bridge in Charleston, South Carolina a furry who went by the fursona name Xzavior Wolf died during a car accident. After the initial crash, he had left the car and as a result was crushed between vehicles due to another vehicle hitting the current wreckage.
The incident is a stark reminder of the fragility of life, and that it can be taken in an instant. It is usually during these times that we reflect upon their life, and celebrate what they brought to the table. However, this is where things get a bit awkward and complicated. For the one who had lost their life that night happened to be a part of an infamous organization within the fandom that had ties with the closure of a convention a few months prior and reworked Nazi symbology.
Xzavior, was indeed, a member of the Furry Raiders. And so when the news of their death was confirmed by the group on Twitter, the reactions were as divided and controversial as the organization in which he was affiliated.
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.
With $40 that I sent to a collector, I dove into the interesting pool of furry fanzines. Anyone can publish furry art and comics online these days, but back when the Internet was more BBS than WWW, it seems like any artist who wanted to get their name out there did a fanzine. There are an incredible number of them, and that's why in my opinion it's impossible to list them all. I know some have tried and failed.
"Bestiary", "Scrap", "Karno's Klassics", "Furplay" and "PentMouse" are just a very small number of what was out there. The quality of the art ranges widely, and so far I've come across more than one comic that makes absolutely no sense at all. But those are exceptions; most of what I've seen has been quite good.
For the most part, furry fanzines were published with anywhere between 8 to 50 pages. They're a really interesting view of the early days of the fandom. One thing I noticed - the style of art hasn't changed that much. But what has definitely changed is how furry fans have viewed their fandom.
Symbol of a Nation is an all-original anthology of 11 short stories and novelettes featuring the anthropomorphized official animal (or bird) symbols of nations. This is designed to appeal to both s-f & fantasy fans, and fans of political science.
Below are the list of countries and animals that will be included in this set:
Belgium – lion
Chile – Andean condor
Denmark – mute swan
Italy – wolf
Malaysia – tiger
Mauritius – dodo (extinct)
Namibia - oryx
Romania - lynx
Singapore - lion
Spain - bull
U.S.A. – bald eagle
Vietnam – water buffalo
The 2016 Cóyotl Awards have been announced at the Furlandia convention in Portland. The Cóyotl Awards, for the best anthropomorphic fiction of the past calendar year, are presented by the Furry Writers' Guild, and are voted upon by the 150+ members of the FWG.
Below are listed the winners and nominees of the 2016 Cóyotl Awards.
• The Digital Coyote by Kris Schnee
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.