And now a rather different take on Dreamworks’ How To Train Your Dragon universe, this time in a new Netflix TV series for young viewers. Animation World Network gave us the scoop: “DreamWorks Animation has just unveiled the high-flying trailer and cast of its new animated preschool series, Dragons Rescue Riders. This all-new chapter in the Oscar-nominated How to Train Your Dragon franchise follows the adventures of twins, Dak and Leyla, raised by dragons, who share a unique ability to communicate with them. The brother and sister lead a team of five young dragons, Aggro, Winger, Summer, Cutter, and Burple, with whom they spend their days rescuing other dragons and helping people in their adopted town of Huttsgalor. All 14 episodes of the new series debut September 27 exclusively on Netflix.” Check out the preview trailer as well.
How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (2019) is the latest film in the HTTYD series, the first of which came out in 2010 and was followed by a second film in 2014. Now, after a four-and-a-half-year gap, we have a third one, presumably (?) the last, but even if DreamWorks decides to keep the film franchise going, The Hidden World feels like the completion of a trilogy, all of which have involved Dean DeBlois as screenwriter and director.
I'm going to try and avoid major spoilers, so I'll summarize the plot points introduced in the early part of the film. I won't be linking to trailers, because they give away some of the locations and scene gags that are better kept a surprise. I watched a 2D screening, and I haven't kept up with any of the franchise spinoffs or shorts. I'm not a fan of most of the dragon designs or of several secondary characters, but regardless, I've happily enjoyed Hiccup and Toothless' adventures together.
2016 is shaping up to be a benchmark year for furry movies. Though movies featuring talking or otherwise anthropomorphic animals are hardly uncommon, this year looks to be exceptionally full, and many of the movies coming out have impressive pedigrees. It should also be noted that there is a ridiculously high number of foxes featured, for those of us who find that important.
Cartoon Brew has a list of 47 animated movies planned to be released next year, where most of these movies are drawn from; not all of them contain furry characters, but many do. There are also a few live action titles that can be counted on to be furry. Notably, 2016 release Zootopia's first trailer provided a list of unique features it contained, including bipedal, tech-using, clothed talking animals in a human free world; though these attributes are uncommon, if not actually original, 2016 will contain six movies that meet these requirements (Kung Fu Panda 3, Rock Dog, Sing, Sly Cooper, Spark and Zootopia).
The following list is mostly aimed towards an audience living in the United States of America; release dates listed are American. Some of the movies listed do not have solid release dates, and may fail to be shown; others may have had release dates outside the U.S. earlier this year. Also, movies listed contain only anthropomorphic animal movies; movies featuring anthropomorphic characters not based on specific animals are not listed.
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 (6/19): An official English trailer appears, and it is hilarious.
Dreamworks Animation have released the first preview of their new How To Train Your Dragon tie-in TV series, Dragons: Race to the Edge. It’s coming to Netflix on June 26th. Interestingly, it’s all coming on that date: All 13 episodes will be available at once. In this latest iteration, “Hiccup and Toothless lead the Dragon Riders as they soar beyond the borders of Berk and discover the mysterious Dragon Eye — an ancient artifact filled with secrets that will lead them to new lands filled with undiscovered dragons. But the heroes find themselves pursued by marauding dragon hunters, who will stop at nothing to seize the power of the Dragon Eye.” Check it out over at Comingsoon.net. Meanwhile, just today came another Dreamworks announcement: Kung Fu Panda 3’s release date has been moved. Again. This time they’ve moved it up from March 18th to January 29th. We still gotta wait until 2016, but at least it’s coming sooner!
Cartoon Brew has an article about the first teaser trailer for the new CGI (of course) feature film version of Blinky Bill. Wot, ye’ve not ‘eard o’ Blinky Bill? He’s one of Australia’s most famous animated animals: A young koala with an adventurous attitude and a strong environmental heart. “Blinky Bill first rose to fame in the 1930s in a series of lavishly illustrated and conservation-themed books by Dorothy Wall. A new generation of children… was introduced to Blinky through the classic 1990s animated series The Adventures of Blinky Bill.” The new CGI film features Ryan Kwanten (True Blood) as Blinky Bill himself, while other Australian voices include Toni Collette and Barry Humphries (“Dame Edna”). The film is directed by Deane Taylor, who previously was art director on The Nightmare Before Christmas.
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.
As you may have heard floating through the air in Hollywood lately, Dreamworks Animation has been worrying a lot of people lately(notably investors) with a lack of hit movies. Several of the studio’s offerings over the last two years have not performed as hoped or expected at the box office — and now, Penguins of Madagascar is not exactly on track to set any new records either. Even How to Train Your Dragon 2, which was a blockbuster earlier this year by most standards, was not as much of one as many had expected. All of this seems to have made Dreamworks rather skittish about their upcoming slate of films — especially when it comes to the competition. To that end the studio recently announced that Kung Fu Panda 3, originally slated for release in December of 2015, has been pushed back four months to March of 2016 — presumably to keep out of the way of Star Wars VII, or at least that’s the buzz around town. Interestingly, that move puts the new date for Kung Fu Panda 3 just two weeks after Disney is scheduled to release Zootopia. It seems like 2016 just got a little more interesting — and 2015, perhaps less so.
I had a friend in high school whose name began with an “S”. This friend, as it may not surprise readers to find out, was more than a bit geeky and nerdy. His name was not Sherman, but my dad once admitted to often forgetting his real name and replacing it in his mind with Sherman. He was reminded of the character from the old The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show segment “Mr. Peabody’s Improbable History”.
I never really cared much for that old show, and I don’t know if dad was actually a fan of it, or just found it unavoidable during his own childhood and adolescence. I doubt he’d admit to being a fan even if he was. That’s just the way my dad is. He is not, thank you very much, likely to be described as geeky or nerdy; so, his apparent remembrance of this show, and a strange fondness for the Vger twist from the first Star Trek movie are the only hints that there might be that side to his personality, so I was mildly excited about this movie for that reason, as well as the fact that Robert Minkoff, one of the co-directors of The Lion King, was helming it.
But, at the end of the day, this movie was just okay. I don’t regret seeing it, but I don’t have any especial need to see it again. It’s just an okay movie; nothing more, nothing less.
Jerry Beck’s Animation Scoop has the first trailer for DreamWorks Animation’s The Penguins of Madagascar feature, now scheduled for release on November 26, 2014; trading places with DreamWorks’ Home, which is now coming on March 27, 2015.
Does this look funny to you? It certainly is furry. The four Penguins of Madagascar are back: Skipper (Tom McGrath), Kowalski (Chris Miller), Rico (John DiMaggio), and Private (Christopher Knights), adding to the cast the rival North Wind, a task force of an anthropomorphic wolf (Classified, the leader - Benedict Cumberbatch), snow owl (Eva, intelligence analyst - Annet Mahendru), seal pup (Short Fuse, explosives expert - Ken Jeong), and polar bear (Corporal - Peter Stomare). Their motto: "Nobody breaks the North Wind" -- a fart joke; ho-ho! They are all fighting Dave, a.k.a Dr. Octavius Brine, an evil octopus (John Malkovich) who is out to kill all penguins on his way to taking over the world. Who will win? Who do you think?
Word has gotten around that Dreamworks Animation has pulled a switch: The aliens-land-on-Earth comedy Home, originally scheduled for release this winter, has been pushed back to 2015, while the Penguins of Madagascar movie has been moved up to this coming November. To that end Dreamworks has just released the first trailer for the penguin movie. It seems that our military-style black and white team meets up with a secret agency known as The North Wind, a collective of high-tech armed animals from the arctic. The film is directed by Eric Darnell, who of course directed all three of the Madagascar movies. Fine, fine, but what we wanna know is: Will Marlene the otter be in the movie too??
This year Dreamworks is celebrating 20 years of animation on TV and the big screen. Among the signs of the celebration is The Art of Dreamworks Animation, a new hardcover book edited by Ramin Zahed. It’s available later this month from Abrams Publishing. “Brimming with concept art, preproduction designs, and character sketches, DreamWorks Animation marks the studio’s 20th anniversary and offers unprecedented behind-the-scenes access into its archives. An introduction by DreamWorks cofounder Jeffrey Katzenberg provides insider perspective on the studio’s most popular films, as does running commentary from artists and directors on all of DreamWorks’ 30 films to date.” By which they mean films like Kung Fu Panda, Madagascar, and How to Train Your Dragon. Order it now at Amazon.
More from the folks at Cartoon Brew: Dreamworks Animation have announced three new CGI animated series they will be producing as part of their mega-distribution-deal with Netflix — and guess what? All three of them are anthropomorphic, in one way or another. King Julian of course follows the adventures of the crazy lemur from the Madagascar movies and the Penguins of Madagascar TV series; Puss in Boots, who needs no introduction; and Veggie Tales in the House, a new iteration of the well-known faith-based animated TV show. All of this follows the 2D animated series Turbo F.A.S.T., which Dreamworks premiered on Netflix last December. The three new series will be available before the end of 2014.
At the moment, this story just repeats information already in last year’s “Animated Anthropomorphic Features in 2013” story and its followup comments. But it is time for Mr. Peabody and Sherman, the DreamWorks Animation feature directed by Rob Minkoff, based on the TV feature by Jay Ward, now due for a March 7, 2014 release, to have its own story.
The first theatrical teaser trailer was released on October 25. DreamWorks has also released a Russian trailer that is totally different. Too bad it is only available in Russian. [YouTube's attempt at English translation of the automatic captions is, however, hilarious.]