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Trailer: 'The Secret Life of Pets'

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And we've just become furry Variety.

Illumination Entertainment has released a trailer for The Secret Life of Pets, due summer of 2016, "a comedy about the lives our pets lead after we leave for work or school each day," according to Illumination's own description.

Given how jam-packed 2016 is with fully anthropomorphic animal movies, the fact that this movie only features talking animals makes it feel like almost a footnote (Finding Dory is another 2016 movie with "only" talking animals that would in any other year be the upcoming furry movie, but is also dealt with as an after thought, if at all). That being said, at the very least skip to the pogoing poodle at the end of the trailer.

Doggy derring-do to get big-screen debut

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Adding to the list of upcoming anthropomorphic animal movies, a feature film version of 1980s cartoon Dogtanian and the Three Muskehounds was announced at the Annecy Film Festival on June 15.

dogtanian.jpg

As the title suggests, Dogtanian was an adaptation of The Three Musketeers, with dogs in the roles of d'Artagnan and his friends. Your humble reporter surely cannot have been the only nascent furry to be stirred by the portrayal of Aramis, one of literature's great lovers, as a Springer Spaniel.

'Kung Fu Panda 3' images begin to appear as well

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Father and Son

As if in response to Disney's Zootopia featuring the groan-worthy tagline "Like nothing you've seen be-fur," DreamWorks Animation has finally shed some light on its Kung Fu Panda 3 in an article from USA Today. Seeing as how Kung Fu Panda 3 is the third movie in a trilogy that comes out in January 2016 and Zootopia is a March 2016 movie, that makes the tagline wildly inaccurate as well as groan-worthy. Furries are looking forward to both, but, hey, it's a bad tagline.

Spoiler warning: The USA Today article linked may have bluntly spoiled a possible subplot, which is discussed below the break.

Update (6/13): A Chinese language trailer has apparently been leaked; it's since been taken down.

Update (6/19): An official English trailer appears, and it is hilarious.

First character images of 'Zootopia' revealed

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Nick and Judy

The first character images of the upcoming movie Zootopia have been revealed [Tip: GuilRosmer via Reddit]; meet the two main characters. Wunza a criminal fox (Nick Wilde, played by Jason Bateman). Wunza cop bunny (Judy Hopps, played by Ginnifer Goodwin). Together, they fight crime. Or something. Details on the actual plot are scarce at this point.

The movie will be co-directed by Disney veterans Rich Moore and Byron Howard, and the release date is currently scheduled for March of next year. This is one of four movies featuring complete casts of fully anthropomorphic animals planned for wide release in 2016; the others include Kung Fu Panda 3 in January, plus Sly Cooper and Spark, which currently don't have release dates.

Update (6/11): Now with a teaser trailer. (Tip: Mink)

The Wolf and Rabbit are Friends

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.

image c. 2015 Random Media

image c. 2015 Random Media

'My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic' season 5 finally gets an air date

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seasonfive.JPGThe 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.

Once Again, Life is Like a Hurricane

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.

Creatures of New York City

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.

image c. 2015 by Phil Matarese/Mike Luciano

image c. 2015 by Phil Matarese / Mike Luciano

Obituary: Remembering Christine Cavanaugh

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bunnie2_0.jpgIt 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.

Woof and Whirrrrr…

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.

image c. 2015 Marza Animation Planet

image c. 2015 Marza Animation Planet

Review: "Alpha and Omega: The Legend of the Saw Tooth Cave"

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (6 votes)

Alpha and Omega: The Legend of the Saw Tooth Cave 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!

Watch Him, If You Dare

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.

image c. 2015 Dreamworks Animation

image c. 2015 Dreamworks Animation

The Robot Cat and a Lot of Dogs

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.

Peace On Earth

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.

image c. 2014 Cartoon Brew

image c. 2014 Cartoon Brew

Two Little Deadly Cats

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!

image c. 2014 by Ivette & Marilu Molina

image c. 2014 by Ivette & Marilu Molina