It might seem like an age ago, but earlier this year the animated sensation of the moment was Rio 2. Now that we’ve moved on to the summer, Paperkutz have announced a new tie-in graphic novel, carrying on after the events of that film. “While recording bird calls, Linda loses her new digital recorder, but when Blu finds it, it’s full of strange and horrifying growls! Is some sort of new predator on the loose in the sanctuary? Before the gang can solve the mystery themselves, monster-hunters and reality shows invade, turning their quiet jungle home into pandemonium. ” Rio 2: The Creature from Blu’s Lagoon is written by Arie Kaplan and illustrated by James Silvani. The full-color trade paperback is available for pre-ordering; otherwise look for it in stores this fall.
Not content to have the (as should be expected) “art of Rio 2“, Blue Sky Studios instead brings us The Art of Rio: Featuring a Carnival of Art from Rio and Rio 2. My, now that’s a title! “From 20th Century Fox Animation and Blue Sky Studios, the creators of Ice Age and Horton Hears a Who!, the musical adventure comedy Rio told the story of how rare Blue Macaws Blu and Jewel met and fell in love in Rio de Janeiro during Carnival. In Rio 2, the pair journey with their 3 chicks to the amazon jungle in search of their wild roots. With over 300 pieces of concept art, character sketches, storyboards and digital paintings, along with interviews with the key animation talent, this book reveals the artistry behind the 2 colorful movies.” It’s put together by Tara Bennett (who’s written and edited several movie tie-in books of the sort), with an introduction by Carlos Saldanha (the director of both films). Look for it at Amazon, where it’s available now in hardcover.
In anticipation of the upcoming Rio 2 movie (coming to theaters this April), this month Papercutz Publishing begins a new series of Rio trade paperbacks, with Volume 1 filling in the gap between the first movie and this one. Rio: Snakes Alive is a 64-page full-color comic book written by Stefan Petrucha (Power Rangers) and illustrated by James Silvani (Darwing Duck). There’s a preview up at Bleeding Cool. “The first volume… catches up with Blu and Jewel, the last surviving Blue Spix Macaws, as they raise their kids in the Blu Bird Sanctuary near Rio de Janeiro. When the sanctuary is threatened by financial trouble, Blu and the gang embark on a quest deep into the jungle to find an ancient treasure that may save their home.”
There’s a new trailer making the rounds for Blue Sky’s Rio 2, coming this April to theaters everywhere. This time we get to see a lot more of the plot this time around: Our heroes Blue and Jewel (and their kids) discover that they are not in fact the only blue macaws around — there’s a whole flock of them living in the wilds of the Amazon jungle. Guess where our city-bred bird who just recently learned to fly is headed next? Meanwhile, the villainous cockatoo from the first film returns too, this time with a doting poisonous amphibian at his side. It’ll all make more sense (possibly) if you watch the trailer yourself on YouTube. This new animated sequel is once again directed by Carlos Saldanha.
Animation Scoop has the first trailer for Blue Sky Studios’ Rio 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!
The nominees for the Ursa Majors are here, and if you are reading this, I expect you to have already voted for at least the category this column is about. You really already should have seen at least four of the five movie nominees, as they are readily available from wherever you happen to rent movies, and most rentals nowadays cost fewer than two bucks, so seriously, what’s your excuse?
If you haven’t watched them yet, go. Watch them. Now. This article will be waiting for you when you return.
Your humble ed-otter was pleased and proud to attend the 2012 presentation of the Annie Awards for 2011, which took place at UCLA on Saturday the 4th. The Annie Awards are the “Oscars” of the animation industry, presented every year by the International Animated Film Society (ASIFA). It was a busy year for the awards, with many of the numerous categories having up to 10 nominees. And of course, entries with an interest for furry fans were well-represented. The big winner of the evening was clearly Rango, with five wins including the big one, Best Animated Feature. It also won for Writing, Character Design, and Editing, as well as the new Members’ Favorite category (the single category voted on by all ASIFA members, regardless of their professional or fan status).
Interestingly, it was not a complete Rango sweep, as Rio won for Character Animation (by Jeff Gabor) while Kung Fu Panda 2 won for Production Design, and Best Director (Jennifer Yuh Nelson). Secrets of the Masters, the back-up short included on the Kung Fu Panda 2 DVD, also won for Best Animated Special Production (which honors OVA’s and direct-to-DVD projects). Disney’s 2D Winnie the Pooh also racked up one win, for Feature Film Storyboards by Jeremy Spears. The winner of Animation in a Live Action Production (a new category that was just introduced last year) was Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Minkyu Lee won Best Animated Short Subject for his 17 minute 2D film Adam and Dog.
At the 39th Annual Annie Awards, movies featuring anthropomorphic animal characters took many top awards.
Rango was the big winner, with four awards, including Best Animated Feature. The movie with the most nominations, Kung Fu Panda 2, only won two, but one of them was Best Director for first time theatrical director Jennifer Yuh Nelson.
Other such movies with wins include Rise of the Planet of the Apes, winning Character Animation (in a Live Action Feature), Winnie the Pooh, which won Storyboarding, and Rio, for Character Animation (in an Animated Feature).
The Annies announced their nominees earlier this month, so for once that award will be first up in the rundown. The last month has also been full to the brim with critic’s awards, which can influence the Academy.
This is an opinion column, but this month I’m using that tag a bit more than usual, as I discuss the Academy’s bias against animated movies.
I’ll then tell you what’s wrong, not with the Ursa Majors, but with me covering them.
Lastly, I might actually have something to say about the Annies. Maybe.
September is an important month for next year’s awards. Major film festivals earlier in the month (which didn’t feature anything remotely furry, so this is their last mention), plus the beginning of screenings of studio hopefuls and even the first precursor award make September the unofficial beginning of “awards season” for movies.
Meanwhile, back in the furry fandom, a major player has had a setback, completely changing my Ursa Major predictions.
This year looks to be interesting in all three awards. With Pixar flopping and all sorts of new rules, the Best Animated Feature Oscar may be a surprise this year. The flop also affects the Annie Award for Best Animated Feature. Finally, the fandom’s own Ursa Majors’s Best Anthropomorphic Movie will see something entirely new; a movie made by the fandom.