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'Rio 2' first trailer revealed

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Animation Scoop has the first trailer for Blue Sky StudiosRio 2, out next April. It’s anthro birds, birds, birds!

I just got through reviewing the coffee-table The Art of 'Epic' for Animation World Network. (My review should be posted in the next day or two.) In it, director Chris Wedge says that a major reason for Blue Sky to have made Epic is to evolve the studio away from hard-edged, bright computer graphics like in the Ice Age movies, Robots, and Rio. and develop a softer, more dense look, such as that needed for the realistic forest in Epic. It sure hasn’t taken them long to get back to the brightly-colored Rio!

2012 Ursa Major Awards voting now closed

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Ursa Major Awards banner by EosFoxxThe voting for the 2012 Ursa Major Awards, for the best anthropomorphic literature and art of the calendar year 2012, is now closed. Voting took place from March 15 to May 15. 1,696 registrations were received, but only 1,113 people actually voted.

The winners will be announced at a presentation ceremony at Anthrocon 2013, held July 4–7, 2013 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The placing of the voting will be released at this time.

Registrations were received from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Finland, France, Germany, Grenada, Greece, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK, the U.S.A., Ukraine, Uruguay, Venezuela, and Vietnam. This includes the large number of registrants who did not in fact vote.

Announcement: 'Foodfight!' is a direct-to-DVD release

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Animation Scoop’s Greg Ehrbar reports that Foodfight!, the coming-soon CGI theatrical feature announced ever since 2004, has finally come out – as a direct-to-DVD release, on May 7.

This is definitely one for Crossaffliction’s proposed MST3K for bad anthropomorphic movies. Ehrbar reviews Foodfight! as, “It is truly one of the worst animated films ever made.” That is evident from the 1’44” trailer alone, which is included in the AS review.

One week left to vote for the 2012 Ursa Major Awards; 2013 Recommended Anthropomorphic List now open

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Voting for the 2012 Ursa Major Awards, for the best anthropomorphic literature and art of the calendar year 2012 in eleven categories, closes on May 15. If you have not voted yet, you have a week left to do so on the Ursa Major Awards website.

In addition, the Anthropomorphic Literature and Arts Association has closed the 2012 Recommended Anthropomorphic Reading List. Recommendations for the 2013 Reading List are now being accepted.

All fans are invited to recommend worthwhile anthropomorphic works in eleven categories (motion pictures, short fiction, dramatic short films or broadcasts, novels, other literary works, magazines, graphic stories, comic strips, published illustrations, games, and websites) first published during 2013, plus miscellaneous items. This List is often used by fans to nominate in the next year's Awards.

The Ursa Major Award finalists for 2012 are . . .

Animation: 'The Painting' is coming

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Animation Scoop has the new American trailer and poster for the 2011 French animated feature Le Tableau (The Painting), due for May 24 release.

Review: 'A Monster in Paris'

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A Monster in ParisRecently released on DVD in North America, A Monster in Paris (trailer) is a CGI-animated kids' film that originally came out in France in October 2011 as Un monstre à Paris.

Taking place during the Parisian flood of 1910, the two main characters are Emile, a shy film projectionist and amateur cinematographer, and his friend Raoul, a tinkerer who likes to invent gadgets and operates a delivery service out of the back of his truck. During a late-night delivery to an absent scientist's laboratory, Raoul plays with chemicals, unaware that his tampering accidentally creates a giant flea with a beautiful singing voice.

The "monster" is quickly targeted by Maynot, the Commissioner of police, who becomes obsessed with capturing and killing it as part of his campaign to become mayor. He's also taken an interest in a cabaret singer named Lucille, who disguises and hides the flea after recognizing its musical talents.

Raoul is an old friend/enemy of Lucille's, and soon he and Emile are in on her secret, trying to find a way to protect the flea from the Commissioner.

Ratchet & Clank: The Movie

After a wildly successful run of Ratchet & Clank releases for the Sony Playstation, Insomniac Games have announced they are teaming up with Sony Computer Entertainment, Rainmaker Entertainment, and Blockade Entertainment to bring the planet-hopping lombax and his little robot companion to the big screen in a brand-new CGI animated film — set to be released in 2015.  According to an article in Forbes, Insomniac’s own TJ Fixman will be lead writer on the film, and voice talent will feature James A. Taylor as Ratchet, David Kaye as Clank, and Jim Ward as the lumbering human Qwark — all of whom are well-known from the game series. The article on-line also features a new teaser-trailer for the upcoming film.


image c. 2013 Insomniac Games

Shaun the Sheep to get big-screen movie

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Shaun the SheepShaun the Sheep, the ovine character created by Aardman Animations, is set to get his own movie.

Shaun first appeared as a supporting character in Aardman's 1995 A Close Shave, and later got his own children's television series. Now, Aardman is to join with film-TV group Studiocanal to make Shaun's full-length claymation film.

Aardman will produce the film, written and directed by Richard Starzak and Mark Burton. The plot concerns Shaun's mischief inadvertently causing his Farmer to leave Mossybottom Farm. Shaun, Blitzer the sheepdog, and the rest of the flock must go to the big city to rescue him.

'Free Birds', first Reel FX CGI feature, due in theaters November 1

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The Cartoon Brew has photos of the first advertising for Reel FX studio’s first CGI feature, Free Birds, due November 1. The advertising, at CinemaCon at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas on April 15-18, included this 3D printed display.

Free Birds, previously announced under the working title of Turkeys, is about Reggie (voice of Owen Wilson) and Jake (Woody Harrelson), two odd-buddy turkeys who time-travel back to Pilgrim days to eliminate the present-day turkey-eating Thanksgiving feast.

Review: 'A Town Called Panic'

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A Town Called PanicAs the Franco-Belgian animated film Ernest & Celestine should soon be released on DVD, I thought this would be a good time to review A Town Called Panic (trailer), a movie produced by some of the same animators in 2009.

Actually, let's go further back to 2002, when Belgian animators Vincent Patar and Stéphane Aubier created a series of twenty shorts for TV called Panique au village (Panic in the village). Each was about five minutes long, and like Robot Chicken (2005), employed stop-motion animation with plastic figurines, clay and other objects.

Otherwise the two shows are pretty different. Robot Chicken enjoys mangling pop culture and doing random sketches; while Panique au village focuses on the bizarre daily adventures of a small, constant cast of characters. Something they both have in common is a joy of the absurd, and Panique is often more manic in this respect.

Meet Rocket Raccoon of Marvel’s ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’

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Rocket RaccoonFans of the last year’s The Avengers (like this article’s author) who were willing to pay at least US$150 (unlike this article’s author) for the ”Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase 1: Avengers Assembled” Blu-Ray six movie combo pack were given a glimpse at Marvel’s “Phase 2” of movies, including next year’s Guardians of the Galaxy, featuring Rocket Raccoon. Most of the revealed content for the upcoming movie was available online fairly soon afterwards, including this concept artwork for Rocket Raccoon.

It’s pretty cool.

Animation: Pixar to follow 'Finding Nemo' with 'Finding Dory'

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DoryThe Cartoon Brew reports that Ellen DeGeneres, who voiced Dory, the regal blue tang fish with short-term memory loss in Pixar’s 2003 Finding Nemo, has announced that Pixar has asked her to reprise her role in the forthcoming sequel, Finding Dory. It will also be directed by Andrew Stanton, who directed Finding Nemo. Its tentative release date is November 25, 2015.

Finding Nemo is Pixar’s #2 grosser, behind only Toy Story 3.

Furry Movie Award Watch: March 2013

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After last month’s setback wherein I failed to predict the Academy would prefer a not very good movie over a movie that Skrillex contributed to the soundtrack (obvious in hindsight), I feel a little better this month when the Ursa Major nominees matched my predicted list perfectly for the second year in a row. A little better, because, seriously, what else were we going to nominate?

Animation: Yes! 'The Croods' is anthropomorphic, after all

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Belt, from 'The Croods'Well, minimally. I saw it yesterday with my sister, and we loved it. More importantly for Flayrah, we saw that, although it is 92% non-anthropomorphic, there is one definite if non-talking anthropomorphic character in it: the little sloth, Belt, who serves as Guy’s belt. His body language makes him a fully intelligent character through pantomime.

The blue-furred, long-armed Punch Monkeys confronted by Grug are also screamingly anthropomorphic in their actions.

The Croods, by DreamWorks Animation, was released on March 22. It is a bit late to introduce a story about it now (we covered an art print released at Comic-Con), but there should be someplace on Flayrah to discuss the movie.

Movie review: 'The Wolf Children Ame and Yuki'

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The Wolf Children Ame and YukiThe Wolf Children Ame and Yuki (trailer 1 - 2) is a 2012 anime film directed by Mamoru Hosoda. Unlike his 2009 Summer Wars, this movie is very slow, introspective, and somewhat tragic. It might appeal to a small subset of furries, but its furry elements are underplayed and it may not have enough animal content to hook us as viewers.

Talking about this movie without spoiling it impossible because the story has no complexity. Basically, a single mom moves to the country and struggles to raise two werewolf kids; one embraces their wolf heritage, the other rejects it, and the family moves apart. That's it. (See Wikipedia for a more complete summary.)