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animation

Movie review: 'Robot Dreams' (2023)

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (4 votes)

Movie poster, Dog and Robot walk hand in hand down a New York City street. Robot Dreams (trailer) is a 102-minute animated film released in December 2023, made by Arcadia, Lokiz and other studios. Based on a 2007 graphic novel (Amazon US - UK - Spanish edition) by Sara Varon, this Spanish-French production was written and directed by Pablo Berger, who had never worked in animation before, so he collaborated closely with art director José Luis Ágreda and storyboard artist Maca Gil for a year and a half to plan the project. It worked out really well!

Two neat things: it's a 2D film in an overbearingly 3D market, and there's no dialog. It takes place in a slightly alternative version of New York City in 1984, a funny-animal one. The main character, "Dog", lives in a Manhattan apartment. He's extremely lonely. One day he sees a TV ad for robot friends, so he orders one; after putting it together - he's not lonely anymore! Aside from this modern leap in artificial intelligence and robotics, the film is as early-80s as it gets: boomboxes, cassettes, VCRs, and Walkmen.

Digging Up Positivity - April 2024

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Welcome to the April episode of Digging Up Positivity! Spring is in the air and summer is just around the corner.

In this episode:

  • The April charities from the fandom
  • Even crocodiles need to go to the dentist
  • Animation news
  • A wonderful interview with one of the main forces behind AnthroIrish!

And much more.

Oh hey! Also, I am happy to say we are giving out item from my PAWS collection from my ArtworkTee store, more details at the end of this video.

Movie reviews: "The Tiger's Apprentice", "Heroes of the Golden Mask", "Rumble"

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (3 votes)

The Tiger's Apprentice posterLet's review some computer-animated films! Here are trailers for:

The Tiger's Apprentice,
Heroes of the Golden Mask,
and Rumble.

Short version: The Tiger's Apprentice, action, one character has a tiger form, lots of Chinese culture, story is nothing great. Heroes of the Golden Mask, terrible. Rumble, wrestling-sponsored sports comedy, very formula loser-wins story, maybe of interest to furry macro fans.

Review: 'Kung Fu Panda 4'

Your rating: None Average: 2.9 (7 votes)

'Kung Fu Panda 4' poster I've already seen this movie twice, paying full price both times. Kung Fu Panda 4 is the first movie I've watched multiple times in theaters since Zootopia. I liked it, is what I'm saying. It is part of the Kung Fu Panda series of movies, which would be important to furry movie fans even if they weren't very good. No other fully-anthropomorphic-animal-populated movie franchise out there has gotten to four movies. Fortunately, the series has consistently been one of the better animated franchises, furry or not.

In this fourth instalment, directed by Oklahoma's own Mike Mitchell (with co-director Stephanie Ma Stine), the titular Kung Fu Panda, Po (voiced by Jack Black), first Dragon Warrior of the Valley of Peace, is tasked with finding his replacement by Master Shifu (Dustin Hoffmann) – explicitly identified as a red panda for the first time in the series. Unwilling to accept giving up his role as protector of the Valley, he instead joins sneaky fox thief Zhen (voiced by Awkwafina, Zhen is not one of the "big three" fox species of red, Arctic and fennec, but a rarely-seen Corsac fox) on a quest to defeat the Chameleon (Viola Davis; no bonus points for guessing her species), an evil sorceress with the ability to shapeshift and steal kung fu powers, like a PG funny animal version of Mortal Kombat's Shang Tsung.

Trailer: DreamWorks Animation's 'The Wild Robot'

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (2 votes)

"Can a robot turn a canvas into a beautiful masterpiece?"
"Can you?"
-The one good part of I, Robot

Bogged down in all the recent controversy about "generative AI" is that one of the reasons the research began was, in creating a program that can "create" a painting, we are theoretically trying to answer the evergreen science fiction question of whether a machine can become, well, perhaps not "human". Maybe a better word would be "anthropomorphic".

DreamWorks Animation's The Wild Robot will be coming to theaters September 20 of this year. Pretentious preambles aside, this movie is not just of furry interest because it has a robot that can be described as anthropomorphic; the trailer reveals plenty of animal characters who can also be described as anthropomorphic.

You’re A Star!

Thanks to Cartoon Brew, we found out about several interesting new animated films coming soon to Netflix. Among them is Thelma the Unicorn. “Thelma is a small-time pony who dreams of becoming a glamorous music star. In a pink and glitter-filled moment of fate, Thelma is transformed into a unicorn and instantly rises to global stardom. But this new life of fame comes at a cost.” Don’t know much about this one otherwise, but it’s directed by Jared Hess (Napoleon Dynamite, Nacho Libre) and Lynn Wang (Unikitty!), and it’s due on May 17th.


image c. 2024 Netflix

Pink Passion

We stumbled across this announcement in Variety recently: “Germany’s Studio 100 Media and Spain’s 3Doubles Producciones have teamed to develop animated adventure comedy Flamingo Flamenco. The script has been written by Rob Sprackling, whose credits include Shaun the Sheep Movie, Gnomeo & Juliet, and The Queen’s Corgi. Flamingo Flamenco follows the journey of Rosie, a young and exuberant flamingo, as she navigates personal loss and seeks to rediscover the joy of dance. The action is set against the backdrop of the beautiful Fuente de Piedra lagoon in Andalucía, Spain… The family-friendly entertainment feature ‘promises an enchanting and passionate blend of adventure, comedy and heartwarming moments’, according to a statement from Studio 100 Film, adding that the film ‘…emphasizes the importance of perseverance, self-discovery and the power of determination’. ” No word yet about any possible distribution in North America, but the film’s not scheduled to be completed until the fall of 2026. In the meantime, check out that poster! (Girl!)


image 2024 Studio 100 Media

Fur your Consideration: 12 animation short reviews for 2023

Your rating: None Average: 3.8 (4 votes)

UMA recommended When writing this article for 2022's works, my thought was to help present short furry animations in a way that’d promote organic discussion. I enjoyed doing it, so will try to make it an annual tradition. As I was going through the Ursa Major recommended list, I found these entries had become a bit longer than last year; there were also more of them, so they took more time to review, but for most it was well worth the time.

These are the eleven I felt were most worth a view, plus a bonus, lightly-viewed short not on the Recommended list that I felt worth talking about.

Movie review: Three foreign animated films from 2017-2019

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

'The Angel in the Clock' poster Three foreign animated film reviews! Behold the trailers for:

The Angel in the Clock,
White Fang, and
The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily.

All of these films successfully blend 3D and 2D animation in their own different styles.

White Fang is the most 3D, applying a brush-like texture to characters to create a 2D, painted look. Angel's main characters are 2D, with 3D designs used for the settings. Bears uses 3D for almost everything, then alters its visuals to look as 2D as possible.

Trailer: 'Kung Fu Panda 4'

Your rating: None Average: 2.7 (6 votes)

After 16 years since his first movie and eight years since his last, in Kung Fu Panda 4, the titular panda Po will return March 8 of next year. He's been holding something back for a while now, and as this trailer shows, he's finally going to get it all out of his system. (People might have been expecting it to be bit bigger, actually.)

Review: 'The Boy and the Heron'

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (6 votes)

The Boy and the Heron The Boy and the Heron was released earlier in the year in Japan by Studio Ghibli, with no trailer and minimal advertising, the point being made that it is a movie by Hayao Miyazaki from Studio Ghibli. Like, if you know, you know, and if you don't, keep mum because the people who know will judge you. In America, GKIDS is the distributor, and they mostly kept to this same strategy, though as it had already been out in Japan over half the year and had it's Western debut at the Toronto International Film Festival, so they did eventually release a trailer. The film is available in Japanese with English subtitles, or English dubbing; both versions were available at my local cinema, so unless you're situated in a very rural area, it shouldn't be that hard to find your preference. This review is based on the English dubbed version; Ghibli films have traditionally had good English dubbing, and this film is no exception.

Digging up Positivity - November 2023

Your rating: None Average: 3 (2 votes)

Hello you! Welcome to the last Digging Up Positivity of the season and trust me, we are ending with a bang... or shall we say squeek? With the Mother of the Dutch Angel Dragons, the Matriarch herself: Telephone. And we also have more charity news, animation, creativity and much more. I just can’t wait to show you all the things! But first the charities.

Review: 'Captain Laserhawk: Blood Dragon Remix'

Your rating: None Average: 3.8 (5 votes)

Captain-Laserhawk-A-Blood-Dragon-Remix-Season-1-How-Many-Episodes.jpg

Captain Laserhawk: Blood Dragon Remix is a Netflix animated series from Ubisoft Film & Television. The executive producer, Adi Shankar, previously worked on Castlevania, another Netflix animated series. The show is loosely based off of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. In fact, this show references multiple Ubisoft franchises, which has led to the show gaining interest online. Most of the notoriety that this show has been gathering has been its depiction of Ubisoft's former mascot, Rayman. I know seeing Rayman swear like a sailor piqued my interest for the show. Luckily, the show is a lot more than just showing beloved gaming mascots swear.

Current and upcoming animated films (2023-2024)

Your rating: None Average: 4 (6 votes)

It's been 18 months since the previous list of current and upcoming animated films, so why not do an update? Last time, I thought I did a pretty good search, and then Mink found more.

What's become clear is that thanks to Covid, film distribution is a mess. Some animated films are endlessly delayed, some get shown early at film festivals before getting a limited release up to a year later in their home country, and some just... show up, and it's anyone's guess which streaming services will carry them, or for how long.

For many of the films below, I can't find streaming versions yet - this might be because I'm in Canada. If you find out they're available in your area, let us know in the comments. (Justwatch has been a great help.)

I'll provide ratings from IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes with [I=] and [RT=], if available. This list relied largely on Wikipedia. It's an okay source for older films, but isn't especially reliable for upcoming titles. So this is definitely an incomplete list. For babysitting films, Sturgeon's Law usually applies (90% of everything is crud). But perhaps there will be a few unexpected surprises - time will tell! So first, let's talk trends.

She’s Not From Kansas

Found this thanks to our friends at Animation World Network: “Jellyfish Pictures’ kids and family content division, Jellyfish Originals, has acquired rights to adapt Dermot O’Leary’s book series Toto the Ninja Cat into an animated series. The book series, illustrated by Nick East, is inspired by Dermot’s own cats. The show will be based on Toto, a partially sighted cat with razor-sharp senses, a nose for danger and a crime-busting spirit of adventure, incorporating themes of friendship, inclusivity, and winning in the face of adversity.” No word yet on when and where we’ll see it, as production has only just begun.


image c. 2023 Jellyfish Originals