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Disney promises "odd couple" furry flick 'Zootopia' in 2016

Your rating: None Average: 4.3 (6 votes)

Zootopia (working title). A Disney animated movie about talking animals. How original!

Zootopia promo image

Amid Amidi reports on his Cartoon Brew website about Disney’s plans to produce a 2016 animated feature about a fox and rabbit “odd couple” in a world of talking animals. Let’s hope this gets farther than Silly Hillbillies on Mars. (Hey, Disney, whatever happened to that?)

Disney still has to go some in the odd couple teamups to beat Roger Rabbit & Eddie Valliant. Ah, but "The twist is that the entire film is set in a world in which humans never existed (a la Pixar’s Cars) and animals have built everything." How original! Hmmm -- Robin Hood? The Lion King?

This could be interesting, depending on whether Disney does anything with the predator-prey situation as in Bill Holbrook’s Kevin & Kell setting. It’s too early to tell.

Animation: 'Planes' vs. 'Wings'

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (3 votes)

Dusty, from 'Planes'What is the difference between Planes and Wings? Quality.

On August 9, Planes hit the movie theaters, while Wings hit the Walmart video bins. Jerry Beck has the story and a trailer on his Animation Scoop website. YouTube has the complete Wings, but in the original Russian.

What is the similarity between them? They both feature anthropomorphized airplanes. What is the difference? Quality. This may seem like an ironic comment considering that most of the reviews of Planes criticize it for its lack of the quality of Pixar’s Cars (despite the Disney label, it was subcontracted to Prana Studios in Mumbai for production), but check out the Wings trailer for yourself. Wings is vastly inferior to Planes. Technically, anyhow. Plotwise? Ehhh…

Animation: Three out of four ain't bad

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C. Edwards reports on the Cartoon Brew website that Amazon Studios, which produces childrens’ animation for streaming on Amazon Prime Instant Video and the U.K.’s LOVEFiLM, has greenlit pilots for four new animated series to begin in fall 2013. Two of the four contain anthropomorphic characters, and a third has monsters and mutants, probably anthro.

Grid Smasher

Animation: More Smurfs already?

Your rating: None Average: 2 (8 votes)

When Peyo created them in Belgium in 1958, the Schtroumpfs would be considered as anthropomorphic non-humans; no question. Since their Americanization as the Smurfs in 1981, they have become such thinly-disguised humans that they hardly qualify as anthropomorphic any more.

Can the Smurfs return to their origins? That is what the makers of the 22-minute The Smurfs: The Legend of Smurfy Hollow are hoping. Jerry Beck of Animation Scoop has the details.

'The Smurfs: The Legend of Smurfy Hollow' promo

Is it just me, or does Sony’s enthusiastic promotion sound like they’re saying, “Forget that Smurfs 2 bomb. Here are the REAL Smurfs!” We’ll see …

Review: 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Rise of the Turtles' DVD

Your rating: None Average: 4 (4 votes)

TMNT Rise of thee Turtles DVD This is the first DVD release of the newest incarnation of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles; this CGI cartoon debuted last year on Nickelodeon, and has been well received by fans of the older versions of the Turtles, as well as a newer fanbase in its target audience.

This DVD contains the first five (or six, if you count the “Rise of the Turtles” as a two-parter) episodes of the series. It also contains a smattering of bonuses, which are a bit better than the bonuses of the other animated series I’ve reviewed DVDs for. Unlike that other show, the creators of this series have been a bit less willing to let everyone and their dog upload episodes to YouTube, so the DVDs are a bit more necessary (though of course you can still get the episodes legally online for about the same price as the DVD, or cheaper).

Animation: Beer labels in motion

Your rating: None Average: 3.5 (6 votes)

Some people have weird hobbies. Video editor Trevor Carmick’s is animating beer labels. The Cartoon Brew’s Chappell Ellison has an article on Carmick and his animated beer labels, including a link to them. Since the labels include anthropomorphic animals, real animals, and fantasy monsters, I am including it here.

Besides, I suspect that most Flayrah readers like beer, whether it is anthropomorphic or not.

Furry Movie Award Watch: July 2013

Your rating: None Average: 4 (2 votes)

Annie Award trophyI love you, Annies. Never change.

Well, now Generic Rebellious Princess Syndrome: The Movie has beaten me twice. Hey, at least it wasn’t the worst possible nominee this time. Way to represent, Rise of the Guardians! I guess Brave does have its positive qualities; it had really nice hair and … uh … yeah … well, it had really nice hair!

Anyway, read on for my tentative stabs at this year’s Ursa Major nominees, and another trip into an alternate dimension which always had an Oscar for Best Animated Feature.

Review: 'Turbo' goes nowhere, fast

Your rating: None Average: 5 (5 votes)

TurboTurbo is a movie about a snail who dreams of racing in the Indianapolis 500, and that totally works out for him.

Technically, there is not any rule that says a snail cannot race in the Indianapolis 500, just like there are, technically, no rules saying that a dog can’t play basketball, or that your sheepdog in the sheepdog competition has to be an actual dog (at least that one turned out pretty good), but there probably are rules stating that your race between race car drivers has to involve driving race cars. As the end of Talladega Nights pointed out, you can’t just run across the finish line and have that count; I’m sure this applies equally to whatever the technical term for snail locomotion is. [Adhesive locomotion, apparently.]

But, hey, a snail racing in the Indianapolis 500 is the premise, and this is an animated movie, so whatever. Unfortunately, the wonky premise is actually one of the better parts.

The Pitch Party 2013

Another San Diego Comic Con, and that means it’s time once again for Animation Magazine to hold their annual Pitch Party competition. For the past 12 years the Animation folks have asked would-be show-runners to purchase a 1/6-page ad in the magazine, wherein those creators can show off their idea for a new animated series as a one-panel poster. The ideas are judged by a panel of animation industry experts (including executives from The Hub, Cartoon Network, PBS, and more), as well as the Animation staff and the magazine’s readers, all of whom picked their favorites for a show to actually bring into development. As usual, there were several furry-themed titles among the entries, including: Mob Dogs by Paul Trineer, Across the Universe by Daron Orange, Master Karate Todd & the Power Squad (web site), Night Watch Dog by Chris Gruszka (web site), Fast Sloths by Stephanie Komure and Joseph Medina (web site), Shell & Paddy by Thomas Spettel (web site), and The Tinies of Raglan Shire by Michael Kushner (web site). So who won?

'Brain Divided' animates conflict between id, superego

Your rating: None Average: 2.7 (3 votes)

The Cartoon Brew website has announced the closing of its fourth annual Student Animation Festival. The Grand Prize winner is “Brain Divided”, a five-minute CGI film directed by Josiah Haworth, Joon Shik Song and Joon Soo Song at the Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida.

Can animators anthropomorphize the brain functions known as the id and the superego? Surely, going back to Disney’s Reason and Emotion (1943), probably most famous today for the animators’ caricature of fellow Disney animator Ward Kimball as the caveman Emotion. There is also the 1956 s-f feature Forbidden Planet with its “monsters from the id”, although the id there technically is not anthropomorphized; it’s just shown running amok. It’s not done often, thank Roscoe, or it would get old fast; but Haworth & Co. have done a fine job of it.

'Top Cat' theatrical feature coming August 2

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

Frame from 'Top Cat'Was Hanna-Barbera’s Top Cat ever one of your favorite TV cartoons? It wasn’t one of mine, even in its original broadcast fifty-plus years ago – and there wasn’t much competition at the time.

Yet I am looking on this new theatrical feature more favorably. Thank Roscoe it hasn’t been given the CGI makeover that Yogi Bear got! Or Rocky & Bullwinkle, or the live-action makeover of George of the Jungle or Dudley Do-Right. (Can you imagine a live-action Top Cat played by Brendan Fraser?)

Animation: 'The Boxtrolls'; are trolls anthropomorphic?

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (6 votes)

A stop-motion feature coming from Laika in Portland in September 2014. I dunno; they look more like really ugly men wearing cardboard boxes to me. But, just in case, here’s their first trailer, from Animation Scoop and Cartoon Brew (which also has the movie poster).

Review: 'Le jour des corneilles' ['The Day of the Crows']

Your rating: None Average: 3.3 (3 votes)

French DVD cover of 'The Day of the CrowsLe jour des corneilles (The Day of the Crows) is a 2012 French-language animated film for kids. While I was initially intrigued by the anthros at the end of its trailer, it turns out the furry content is marginal at best. Still a good film though!

The running time is about 94 minutes. It was co-produced in France, Belgium, Luxembourg and Canada, directed by Jean-Christophe Dessaint, written by Amandine Taffin, and was loosely inspired by a book written in 2004 by Jean-François Beauchemin.

Trailer: 'How to Train Your Dragon 2'

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It’s started! The How to Train Your Dragon 2 teaser trailer, on the Animation Scoop and Cartoon Brew websites.

Furry Movie Award Watch: June 2013

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Folks, it’s a slow month, so I put together a list of animated movies to be nominated for an Academy Award by cross referencing Jerry Beck’s animated feature list and the Oscar’s site.

First off, not all of these movies feature anthropomorphism or animals, much less anthropomorphic animals, but a vast majority do. Secondly, my definition of what constitutes an animated feature is stricter than Beck’s, so some movies that appear on his list and did gain nominations do not appear on mine. Thirdly, this is going to be a dry and boring read, but I promise it is full of facts. [And links!] I’ll be witty and insightful next month.

Update 3/9/2015: Now updated through 2014.