In the came-from-out-of-nowhere division: Animation Scoop has a review of a new DVD release, Wolfy, The Incredible Secret from France. Random Media (in partnership with Cinedigm) have now released it with an English soundtrack. “A story of political machinations, anamorphic animal hierarchy and gypsy fantasy – traditionally hand-drawn with a look that leans far away from photorealism. The convoluted English title (French title: Loulou, l’incroyable secret) actually refers to quite a few secrets, which unravel as Wolfy, an easygoing wolf, and Tom, his neurotic bunny pal, travel to Wolfenberg to find Wolfy’s mother. A gypsy has told them that she is the true princess as well as the leader of a rebellion against an evil usurper—a manipulative wolf named Lou Andréa.” Take a look at the trailer linked to the article. It won’t make much more sense, but it’ll give you an overall idea of the movie’s look and feel.
The last episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic debuted May 10 of last year. The latest, fifth season of the show won’t arrive until next month, April 4, narrowly avoiding a year gap between seasons.
This will be the first season since the show’s home channel, The Hub, was rebranded as Discovery Family after Hasbro relinquished its controlling stake of the channel to Discovery Communications. The Hub just never made its presence felt against its cartoon/family channel competitors as much as they wanted; the fact that the channel was owned by a toy company meant that toy advertising was curtailed as rival toy companies spent their money elsewhere. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic could be considered the biggest hit of the original content produced for the channel, though most of Hasbro’s original content will remain on the rebranded Discovery Family channel. The restructuring of the channel and its ownership almost certainly was responsible for the longer than usual gap between seasons.
Avoid the Read More button if you consider episode synopses spoilers.
If you haven’t caught it yet, word is spreading fast that Disney TV Animation plans to bring back 90’s cartoon favorite Duck Tales in a whole new series on Disney XD, starting in 2017. We first heard about it over at Oh My Disney: “When Marc Buhaj—Senior Vice President, Programming and General Manager, Disney XD—made the announcement, he said, ‘DuckTales has a special place in Disney’s TV animation history, it drew its inspiration from Disney Legend Carl Barks’ comic books and through its storytelling and artistic showmanship, set an enduring standard for animated entertainment that connects with both kids and adults. Our new series will bring that same energy and adventurous spirit to a new generation.’ The new series will star the same beloved characters as the old: Scrooge McDuck, Huey, Dewey, Louie, Launchpad McQuack, Donald Duck, Duckworth, Gyro Gearloose, Flintheart Glomgold, Magica DeSpell, Poe, Ma Beagle, the Beagle Boys, Mrs. Beakley, and Webbigail Vanderquack.” Nothing more precise from Disney regarding a premier date yet, but Disney XD is starting to sound more and more interesting for animation.
Making quite a buzz at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was a series of animated shorts made for television and the web, of all things. Animals is a black & white, minimally-animated series which “follows various New York City creatures as they get into awkward (and sometimes deadly) encounters with one another.” The series was created by Phil Matarese and Mike Luciano, two employees at a commercial production house who took some time off to make little animals talk to each other. Check out the Animals web site to see what the fuss is about.
It is with great sadness that I must report on the passing of one of the giants of the voice-acting world.
Christine Cavanaugh passed away on December 22, 2014 at the young age of 51. She is perhaps best-remembered as the voice actress of (in no particular order) Babe, Dexter (Dexter's Lab), Bunnie Rabbot (Sonic the Hedgehog), Chuckie Finster (Rugrats), Oblina (Aaahh!!! Real Monsters) and Goslyn Mallard (Darkwing Duck, Raw Toonage).
While her voiceography is not as long as other veteran voice actors and actresses, she more than made up for it with quality acting and defining fan-favourite characters, bringing them memorable personalities that lasted long after their shows completed their runs.
There’s an article over at ComingSoon.net about about a new feature animation project starting up. “RoboDog is said to be a classic, heart-warming adventure story about an unlikely duo who couldn’t be more different. KC (‘Kinetic Canine’) is a bright, energetic but overzealous robotic dog, while Marshall is an old, curmudgeonly ‘real’ dog, set in his ways and has little patience for anything new. This canine odd couple embarks on the adventure of a lifetime where each will learn the true nature of friendship, and not to judge a book by its cover.” The film stars the voices of Chris Colfer (Glee) as KC and Ron Perlman (Beauty & The Beast, Hellboy) as Marshall. The CGI project is being directed by Henry F. Anderson III (Gnomeo & Juliet, Stuart Little) for Marza Animation Planet, a new production house. No word yet on a planned release date.
When I finally saw the plot synopsis and the box art for Alpha and Omega: The Legend of the Saw Tooth Cave, I was actually pretty upset. I feared that they just no longer care for the original characters of the very first movie.
The box art only featured the wolf puppies and I kept thinking negative things like: "Are they heading in a direction that I don't want them to go?"
I was scared about this movie. I just didn't bother posting a preview here, probably because of that. But you know what? My fears weren't completely true. They actually shown Kate and Humphrey and they had real roles. However, the focus was still often on the pups. There was also a white wolf called Daria often along with the pup Runt. These two were the main focus.
Some amount of spoiler is to be expected!
Quick on the bouncing furry heels of All Hail King Julien, Dreamworks Animation presents the premier of The Adventures of Puss in Boots — coming to Netflix later this month. “The Adventures of Puss in Boots finds the world’s most famous feline fortune-hunter in the hidden city of San Lorenzo, a mythical land that is invisible to the outside world thanks to a magical spell that protects its quirky inhabitants — not to mention its wondrous treasure. When Puss in Boots accidentally breaks the spell, he must do more than fight off an endless legion of invaders and marauders — he must become a legend.” According to an article over at Animation World Network, five episodes will premier on the 16th with more to follow. Soon, the tide of original Dreamworks programming for Netflix will include new episodes of Dreamworks Dragons and the new series Dinotrux.
First off: Happy New Year! Welcome to 2015. We’re happy to be here with you.
Something cool slipped by us in 2014. Doraemon: New Nobita’s Great Demon—Peko and the Exploration Party of Five (whew what a title!) is the latest anime feature starring Doraemon — a robotic cat from the 22nd century who travels back in time to assist a young boy named Nobita Nobi. Since he premiered in 1969, Doraemon has become one of the most popular anime and manga stars in Japanese history — so much so that the Japanese government tagged him as Japan’s “animation ambassador”. In this latest feature, “While out playing, Nobita meets a dog prince who has become separated from his people. Thankfully Doraemon and his magical powers are close at hand so the gang set out on an adventure to return the prince to a mysterious land known as the Bow-Wow Dog Kingdom.” Evidently this new film is a remake of the 1982 feature Doraemon: Nobita and the Haunts of Evil. Really now. Here’s hoping that someone in the vast anime import industry might see fit to distribute this new film in North America. For now, check out the trailer over on YouTube.
In an interesting article over at Cartoon Brew, writer Scott Thill discusses a notable animated cartoon short — which is celebrating its 75th anniversary. The amazing thing is that it was made at all. Peace on Earth was created at MGM Animation (the home of Tom & Jerry) and directed by Hugh Harman. Despite the objections of MGM executive Fred Quimby, the film was finished: And for a cartoon finished right before the outbreak of World War II, it’s quite surprising. An elderly squirrel (voiced by an un-credited Mel Blanc) tells his young grand-kids the story of the end of human-kind in a terrible war… and how the animals, directed by the Bible, re-built the world and declared an end to conflicts and fighting of all kinds. An end which they celebrate and renew every year at Christmas. Seriously, go check it out at the bottom of the article. This film is very hard to find — but likely, it should be seen a lot more.
Ivette and Marilu Molina are real-life sisters who both work in animation as storyboard and character design artists. Over on their tumblr page they have a section following the development of their personal project called Sabertooth California. “Welcome to sabertooth cub adventures. Join twin saber cubs Sunny and Sky on an adventure of a lifetime.” They’ve already created test animation even as they’re busy working out the plot!
At the recent Comic Con Experience in Brazil, Pixar president Jim Morris chatted up the crowd about Finding Dory, Pixar’s upcoming CGI film scheduled for release in June of 2016. Besides showing them lots of preliminary artwork and other goodies, he also gave the world the first inklings of the new film’s plot. Following the adventures of Finding Nemo (of course), this new film follows Dori (the royal blue tang who suffers from short term memory loss) as she journeys across the ocean in search of the marine research facility where she was born — and where her parents still live. Once again Dori will be voiced by Ellen DeGeneres, and her friend Marlin the clownfish (Nemo’s father) will again be voiced by Albert Brooks. No word yet if popular characters like Bruce the vegetarian-wannabe shark or Crash the oh-so-radical sea turtle dude will also make an appearance. But check out the article at Animation Xpress to find out what we do know now.
[Thanks to Fred Patten for the heads up on this article]
In 2010 Russia’s Centre of National Film gave the world Space Dogs, a CGI animated feature that celebrated the memory of Strelka and Belka (the first animals ever to survive a trip rocketing into orbit) by re-imagining them in a science fiction adventure. Now one of the same directors (Inna Evlannikova) has returned to bring us their further adventures in Space Dogs 2, also known as Space Dog: Adventure to the Moon. Epic Pictures has picked up international distribution rights for the film. According to their web site, the plot goes like this: “When the world’s most precious monuments disappear before everyone’s eyes, an unlikely team of two legendary Russian canine astronauts named Belka and Strelka, a heroic American monkey named Bonnie, and Belka’s brave teenage son Pushok jet off to the dark side of the moon to investigate the mystery.” The site also has a link to the trailer. Here’s another Russian film that is slowly making its way around North America in specialty screenings, so look for it. (It’s also available on DVD at least some places, apparently.)
Here’s something for Thanksgiving: More birds! Now it’s Quackers, a new CGI animated film on its way from Russia’s Rome Animation and Film Studio. (Rome or not, it’s from Russia.) “A conflict flares up between local Mandarin Ducks and the Military Mallards who land on the Chinese island, mistaking it for Hawaii. While the fathers fight and argue, Longway, the Emperor’s son, and Erica, the commander’s daughter, meet and become friends. The kids must ally all the ducks to battle their foe, the daunting Ms. Knout, who seeks to destroy the Sun.” Got all that? Directed by Viktor Lakisov and due in 2016, Quackers has its own official web site, as well as a preview video up on Vimeo.
From Variety: “Wrekin Hill Entertainment has acquired all North American rights to Christian De Vita’s 3D animated feature Yellowbird from TeamTO and Haut & Court. The film… is written by Antoine Barraud and Guilhem Lesaffre with Cory Edwards and based on artwork by Benjamin Renner (Ernest and Celestine).” Seth Green (Greg the Bunny, Robot Chicken) stars as the voice of Yellowbird, “…a teenage bird so scared to venture out into the world that he nearly misses the fun of discovering who he really is.” Other voices include Dakota Fanning (Charlotte’s Web), Danny Glover, Elliott Gould, Jim Rash, and Christine Baranski. The distributors have been slowly trickling the film out to North American theaters, so take a look around for it — or else visit the Yellowbird Facebook page. Meanwhile, the English trailer is up on YouTube.