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Pokémon 2013 theatrical movie coming October 19 to Cartoon Network

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Pokémon: Genesect and the Legend Awakened poster Love it or hate it, you gotta admit that Pocket Monsters, a.k.a. Pokémon, are anthropomorphic. In Japan, “monsters” are any fantasy animals; “pocket monsters”, like Pikachu, are monsters small enough to fit into your pocket – although since they were introduced almost twenty years ago, there have been some giant Pokémon as well.

The annual Pokémon theatrical movies started in Japan 16 years ago and are still being churned out, but in America they have gone direct to TV for the last few years. This year’s, Pokémon the Movie: Genesect and the Legend Awakened (96 minutes), will premiere in English on the Cartoon Network on October 19, at 12:30 p.m., Eastern Standard Time. It will follow last year’s movie, Pokémon the Movie: Kyurem vs. the Sword of Justice at 11:00 a.m., if you haven’t seen that yet.

When big trouble threatens the big city, it’s up to Ash, Pikachu, and their friends to stop it!

He’s Getting Stuffed Again

Seth MacFarlane and Universal Pictures have announced that the sequel to the wildly popular 2012 movie Ted will be released to theaters on June 26th, 2015. It’s simply called Ted 2. Once again Seth MacFarlane will direct and star as the voice of Ted, the foul-mouthed talking teddy bear, and Mark Wahlberg will reprise his role as Ted’s grown-up childhood human friend. That’s about all we know about it so far — other than the fact that the sequel will also be R-Rated! The original Ted, of course, was nominated for an Ursa Major Award for Best Anthropomorphic Feature.

image c. 2013 Universal Pictures

A Wolf, His Mate, and Their Cubs

Turns out that the original Alpha and Omega (from 2010) was successful enough to “spawn” a sequel — at least a 44-minute direct-to-video sequel, Alpha and Omega 2: A Howl-iday Adventure. According to Cartoon Brew (never very kind to standard Hollywood fare), the sequel is again directed by Richard Rich. It was animated in India. In this new film, the wolves Humphrey and Kate strive to bring their cubs — Stinky, Claudette, and Runt — a happy season at Christmas time. The preview trailer is up now on YouTube. Look for the DVD from Lionsgate, coming to your local store on October 8th.

Image c. 2013 Lionsgate Pictures

Furry Movie Award Watch: August 2013

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Hey, it’s the two year anniversary edition of Furry Movie Award Watch!

However, I don’t feel much like celebrating; this wasn’t exactly a banner year for the column. Let’s see; I was late November, February, April and May. [This time, it was the editor's fault.] Oh, and there was the part where I only got one out of three awards I was supposed to guess right. And the movie that beat me was terrible; not even a fun terrible, like Avatar or Prometheus, but a boring terrible. I can’t even find myself really mad at the choice; I mean, it was a nice, safe pick, after all. Nothing interesting at all going on here.

So, anyway, no funny pictures of animals with party hats this year.

Animation: 'The Last Flight of the Champion'

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I don’t quite believe this… Amid Amidi reports on the Cartoon Brew website that in just two days, The Last Flight of the Champion, a CGI theatrical feature that nobody (including him) ever heard of, will be released – in fifteen theaters across America.

Produced by Omnipulse Entertainment (who?), the 2’15” theatrical trailer makes this look like an embarrassingly bad ripoff of Star Wars: A New Hope, with funny animals replacing the Rebel Alliance and an anthro cricket in the Luke Skywalker role, against Darth Vader – sorry, General Disdain – and his Storm, er, Shock Troopers.

Like they say, I couldn’t make up anything like this. This trailer deserves a special place among the ranks of awesomely bad animated movies. Will the feature be any good? (Don't answer that…)

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

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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'

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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…

New Disney Animals… with Clothes!

Still working our way through San Diego Comic Con discoveries, but now we have this BIG news from Disney’s D23 Expo to talk about. During the opening day presentation on upcoming animated movies (including Disney’s Frozen and Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur), Disney made an announcement about a new animated film called Zootopia, which is scheduled for release in 2016. Check out this summary from Slash Film: “Tangled director Byron Howard will direct the film from a script by Jared Bush. They’ve been working for the last year and a half on the project, spurred in in part by a love of the Disney Robin Hood feature. Howard wanted to do a film with animals in clothing. They hope to continue ‘Disney’s amazing legacy of animal-based animated films’… We’ve seen movies featuring animals in the natural world, and in the human world, but we’ve never seen animals in a modern world designed by animals. What would animals do differently than humans would? So the filmmakers talked to experts, from anthropologists to safari guides to imagineers as they began to design an animal civilization which is ‘distinctly animal’.” Are you excited yet? We are! Here’s the plot: “In the animal city of Zootopia, a fast-talking fox who’s trying to make it big goes on the run when he’s framed for a crime he didn’t commit.

Furry Movie Award Watch: July 2013

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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

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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.

'Calvin and Hobbes' documentary hits cinemas November 15

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Dear Mr. Watterson It's been seventeen and a half years since cartoonist Bill Watterson published the 3150th (and last) strip of Calvin and Hobbes, the comic about a six-year-old boy and his sardonic stuffed tiger.

Since then, film director Joel Allen Schroeder envisaged a documentary about Calvin and Hobbes, and in 2007 began filming interviews with fans. In 2009, Schroeder created a Kickstarter campaign to fund his project, which raised twice its initial goal of $12,000. A subsequent campaign raised $96,000. Now complete, the movie (Dear Mr. Watterson) has been picked up by a distributor and is scheduled to arrive in theatres November 15.

Rabbit Valley reveals new digital items, Dragon's Hoard titles

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2 the Ranting Gryphon: Just Who I AmRabbit Valley Comics has expanded its digital product offering to include short stories by Graveyard Greg, digital versions of 2 The Ranting Gryphon's stand up comedy videos, as well as audio collections by JackRabbit and 2.

Rabbit Valley launched the digital items store this February, with novels by Alflor Aalto and Wolf and a host of comic books, including Spooo Presents titles, Circles, Fast Boyz Delivery Service, and The Royal Tale.

Two new Dragon's Hoard titles are also available: NomNoms #2 and Runt #2, featuring art from Dark Natasha, Enderis, Jace, NecroDrone, SalerthS, Sidian, and Skulldog.

Say Hello to Toothless — Again

Recently on YouTube, Dreamworks Animation released the official trailer for How to Train Your Dragon 2, coming to theaters in June of 2014. Absolutely nothing about the plot is revealed, but it’s easy to see that both Toothless the night fury and his rider Hiccup have grown up considerably — and learned a lot about aerial acrobatics.  The new film is both written and directed by Dean Deblois, half of the team that directed the first film.

image c. 2013 Dreamworks Animation

Animation: 'The Boxtrolls'; are trolls anthropomorphic?

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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']

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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.