Thursday, 30 December 2010

Kung Fu Panda 2, New Teaser Trailer

Another teaser trailer for DreamWorks' upcoming film, Kung Fu Panda 2, made its way online today. Whilst shorter than the previous trailer, and whilst it shows nothing particularly new or detailed about the film, it looks - pardon the pun - awesome. :D

You can watch the trailer below.

A Collection of Things

Here's a few things relating to Animation in the past few days:
  • Toy Story 3 was recently named the best film of 2010 by review aggregater Rotten Tomatoes, topping great films this year like Inception, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World and Kick-Ass, TS3 was the best reviewed film of the year with 99%, 100% amongst Top Critics, you can read the full list here
  • The second trailer for Nickelodeon films' upcoming animation Rango, starring Johnny Depp, came online this past week. The trailer shows a lot more depth and emotion than the previous, more humour oriented one, did. You can watch it below.

More Toy Story 3, Circle 7 Version

In the previous few weeks details have come to light about the planned Circle 7 Animation version of Toy Story 3, back when it looked like Disney and Pixar were going to part ways in 2006. We saw several images and plot points on Bob & Rob's blog of the unfinished version of TS3 - here and here - and, whilst I don't think it would have been in the same league as Pixar's version, it certainly doesn't look like the Cheepquels they were described as.

This time, we are treated to a new piece of artwork (above), from Ric Sluiter, that showed Jessie wrangling an out of control vacuum cleaner, as well as an actual extract from the planned screenplay, which you can read here.

I encourage you to read their bog, it's really fun.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Red Carpet Time

It's awards season...

As such, today was the 1st Annual A113Animation Awards Ceremony. A wide range of awards covered all bases in terms of animated films for the past year, it has been a great year for animation, with many good films and a few great ones. However, ultimately, there can be only one winner of the biggest prize we have to offer...

The A113Animation Award for Best Animated Film of 2010 went to...

Toy Story 3!

This really shouldn't come as too big a surprise, Toy Story 3, was a fantastic film, topping nearly every other film this year in terms of depth, originality and genius. However, of note is the huge amount of rethinking that occurred as a result of How to Train Your Dragon; there have been a lot of good animated films this year, like Despicable Me and Megamind, however I was genuinely pleased to find another great film this year, in the form of HTTYD. I really believe that this is DreamWorks' strongest offering since Shrek and it joins Shrek and Kung Fu Panda, as DreamWorks' claim to creating some of the best animated films around. However, it just couldn't topple Toy Story 3, thusly it claims the Oh So Close Award. Pixar continue to impress year by year, but it is a good sign for DreamWorks that they are heading in the right direction - despite 13-18 announced sequels.

Also of note is that, in terms of the People's Choice Award, up until Christmas Eve, Despicable Me was winning. However Despicable Me claims several awards nevertheless: The Breakout Film award, as this film really put newbies Illumination Entertainment on the map, they also claim the Best New Side Character(s) award for the ever adorable Minions.

Here is a breakdown of the awards by film:
  • Toy Story 3 - 4
  • How to Train Your Dragon - 3
  • Despicable Me - 2
  • Megamind - 0
  • Shrek Forever After - 0
I encourage you to check out the full awards page and to leave your thoughts and personal picks in this posts' comment section. On a side note, my favourite non-animated film of the year was Inception.

DreamWorks Sequel Plan

In a press release on December 3rd, DreamWorks CEO, Jeffrey Katzenberg laid down DreamWorks' plan for sequels in the near future. DreamWorks, who in the past have never shied away from sequels, in the past making 4 Shreks - with a Puss in Boots spin-off out next year - and 2 Madagascar films, announced, that in the upcoming years, they will release far more.

The following have recently been announced:

  • Another 4 Kung Fu Panda films, in addition to next years Kung Fu Panda 2, bringing the total to 6
  • 2 more Madagascars, including the already announced Madagascar 3, bringing the total to 4
  •  Anywhere between 3 and 8 How to Train Your Dragon films

Monday, 27 December 2010

Toy Story 3, 12 New For Your Consideration Ads

Pictured above are 4 of the new 12 For Your Consideration Ads for the Toy Story 3 Best Picture Oscar Campaign, above is the Not Since... posters for Godfather Part II, Mutiny on the Bounty, Platoon and Silence of the Lambs. They are all, in my opinion, really appealing and good looking. You can check out all twelve on the Disney Awards Site in the campaign section of the photo tab.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

Christmas Thoughts

I hope everyone out there had a great, happy and caring Christmastime, and that you all got what you wanted for Christmas.
I just thought I'd share some thoughts on some animation related presents that I received:

I was given DreamWorks smash hit from earlier in the year, How to Train Your Dragon (above), on DVD, this was actually the first time I had seen this film. As such, I had heard and taken in all of the hype, I was expecting a good film, however I wasn't expecting anything spectacular. Sufficed to say, I was pleasantly surprised to find a genuinely, brilliant and touching gem of a film that can more than stack up to and hold its own against Toy Story 3. I loved all of the characters and the animation was beautiful, furthermore I found the relationship between Hiccup and Toothless genuinely moving, something lacking from a lot of animated films nowadays. This is going to make my choice for the A113Animation Awards all the more difficult.

I also received The Art of Toy Story 3 book (above), whilst I have loved all of Pixar's films, I have never got round to buying one of these books, so I was very happy to receive it. The book is extremely interesting and detailed, with beautiful concept art, sketches and developmental drawings. However, the reason I love the book so much, is that it isn't just The Art of Toy Story 3, it details the legacy and genesis of the entire Toy Story franchise, covering Toy Story and Toy Story 2 and gives a great insight into the progress since 1995.

I was overjoyed to receive these presents, I hope you all got great presents and had a wonderful time - feel free to comment below and let me know what you got for Christmas -, on a side note, here are a few pictures I wanted to show you all.

Above is the Christmas Card from Pixar Animation Studios this year, featured on Pixar animator Austin Madison's (who recently sat down, alongside Chris Chua, for an interview with Derrick Clements of the Pixar Podcast) blog. The card, that shows Finn McMissile, Tow Mater and Holley Shiftwell, from the upcoming Cars 2, was entitled Missile, Tow and Holley. Clever.

Finally, this picture was featured as fan art on HeyUGuys and shows Buzz Lightyear in the grid, a la Tron: Legacy. Once again, clever.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas from A113Animation

Just a quick blog to wish you all out there a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I hope you've all enjoyed the blog thus far and I plan to keep it up in the new year. So, enjoy yourselves this Christmastime and I hope you all get what you want for Christmas and have a very happy holiday season.

Merry Christmas from A113Animation!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Toy Story 3, New For Your Consideration Ad

Over the past few weeks as the Toy Story 3 Best Picture push gathered steam, we've seen several For Your Consideration Ads for Pixar's 11th feature - which you can see here, here and here - previous ads spoofed past winners such as Shakespeare in Love and Lord of the Rings: Return of the King. This new ad spoofs James Cameron's award winning and several billion dollar grossing Blockbuster Titanic.

The ad was originally seen in Variety on December 13th, and is now online (above).

Whilst I think the ad is really good and a great idea, I think the text colour - in this case - is quite poor and difficult to read. Nonetheless TS3 has my vote.

Thanks to The Pixar Blog for alerting me to this.

Despicable Me, Minion Mini-Movies

With the U.S. release of Despicable Me on DVD and Blu Ray this past week (yet not until February here in the U.K. *sigh*) came three new short films featuring the minions:
  • Home Makeover
  • Orientation Day
  • Banana
I loved Despicable Me, most of all the Minions - and Agnes - and as such loved these three shorts, all were funny, adorable and entertaining. I liked Home Makeover the best, yet all 3 were really good.

Embedded above is the trailer, from the official Despicable Me YouTube page, for the 3 Mini-Movies and below is the trailer for the DVD and Blu Ray.

Toy Story Hawaii Bound!

Notorious blabbermouth and Disney veteran Floyd Norman strikes again. Floyd is the former animator who, earlier this year, let it slip that Newt had been cancelled, three months before any official announcement, and he revealed on Twitter this past week that he had just seen "the Pixar "Hawaii" short. Cute."

Norman later ellaborated that "Ken and Barbie want to go to Hawaii. I don't know what it's gonna be attached to. Fun stuff, however."

Now, bearing in mind that earlier this year Upcoming Pixar forums were ablaze with rumours of a short entitiled Dream Vacation, and that, also earlier this year, Toy Story 3 Director, Lee Unkrich, confirmed that a Toy Story Toon would be attached to Cars 2, it's fairly safe to assume that Hawaii is that very Toon.

Only time will tell, but I personally would love to see a Toy Story Toon with Cars 2 - if I can wait that long.

Remember that there's only 3 days left to vote in the poll to the right to determine the People's Choice for the A113Animation Awards for Best Animated Film of 2010.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Tron: Progress

Having just been to see Tron: Legacy, the sequel to the 1982 cult classic, Tron, I wanted to show just how much computer animation has progressed in 28 years. Whilst not technically an animated film, Tron was a film (as is Tron: Legacy) that relies heavily on animation for its magic, also it is the film that put computer animation on the map - also Pixar and Disney CCO, John Lasseter, categorically stated that "without Tron, there would be no Pixar".
I thought Tron: Legacy was (in the same vein as the original) absolutely enthralling and fantastic, nonetheless Tron: Legacy is leaps and bounds better than Tron in terms of animation. Below you can see examples of the animation in both, I think it's fairly self explanatory, but the left pictures are from the original 1982 Tron, the right hand side pictures are from this year's Tron: Legacy.

The difference is both staggering and unbelievable at the same time, whilst I loved both films, Legacy just felt that bit better, however both were at the forefront of the craft, pushing bounds, Tron was in 1982 and Tron: Legacy is now, in 2010.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Golden Globe Nominations

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (or HFPA) has just announced their nominations for the Category of Best Animated Feature Film for the 68th Golden Globes Awards, due to take place on January 16th, 2011.
The nominations are pretty much as expected and are as follows:
  • Despicable Me - Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures
  • How to Train Your Dragon - DreamWorks Animation
  • The Illusionist - Django Films
  • Tangled - Walt Disney Animation Studios
  • Toy Story 3 - Disney/Pixar
You can read this on the HFPA website here.

On the subject of awards remember to keep an eye out for more information concerning the 1st Annual A113Animation Awards coming late December.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Upcoming Animated Films, 2011

There is a veritable plethora of varied and wonderful sounding animated films due for release in 2011, from all of the animation giants, all sounding great. Here is a list of all of the animated films, that I am aware of, due out next year. In no particular order:
Personally, I think that they all look good (except for maybe The Smurfs), which are you most looking forward to?
In terms of the end of this year and looking forward to the next, keep an eye on the blog because in the week following Christmas I will be posting the A113Animation Awards, rewarding the best animated films of the year, if you have any suggestions let me know. Also remember to vote in the poll to the right to see what the People's Choice is.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Rio Trailer 2 Flies Online

The second trailer for Blue Sky Studios next feature film, Rio, due out in April 2011, surfaced online this past week. The trailer reveals more intricate plot details and cast members the film looks really fun and beautifully animated.
Simultaneously, Blue Sky Disney posted an article, citing Rio as the reason that Pixar's Newt was cancelled, due to plot similarities. When you look at this trailer in particular, you can definitely see the similarities, whilst I would have paid to see both films, out of fear of competition and being branded as derivative, Pixar cancelled the film.
Nonetheless, Rio looks great and will be out next year.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Toy Story 3 Awards TIME

TIME have just released their Top 10 Everything of 2010 list, included in this was their Top 10 Movies of 2010, with Pixar's Toy Story 3 claiming the honour as Number 1.
TIME critic, Richard Corliss, says that "nobody these days makes better movies" than Pixar, needless to say this is a great honour for Pixar and a big deal going in to the Academy Awards.
Your thoughts?

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Prep & Landing: Operation Secret Santa

The sequel to last year's Disney half hour Christmas special, Prep & Landing, hit TV Screens yesterday, I've just saw it now and it was really good. I loved last year's short and thought it was outstanding, whilst this year's was a lot shorter (about 6 or 7 minutes) it was still really funny and original, one of Disney's best efforts in recent years.
The film revolves around the same set of characters from the last film, such as Wayne and Lanny, and introduces Betty White as Mrs. Claus.
You can see some trailers and featurettes on the short's official website.

Aardman News 3

I've just receieved the latest Aardman e-newsletter, which announced that the first trailer for Aardman and Sony Pictures Animation's upcomuing CGI film, Arthur Christmas, is online now. I've been looking forward to this film for a long time and I have to say it looks FANTASTIC.

You can watch the video (embedded above) and read the article about it on Aardman's website.
The film is set to hit cinemas in November 2011.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Toy Story 3, Comes Full Circle (7)

More details have emerged about Circle 7's planned version of Toy Story back in early 2006, the above picture surfaced on Bob & Rob's blog (2 screenwriters attached to the originally planned Toy Story 3). It actually looks really interesting. The first look at Circle 7's take on TS3 came online just over a week ago.

The article Bob & Rob write about their take on the film is really interesting, refuting Circle 7's nickname "Pixaren't" and shooting down the description of their films as "Cheepquels". The pair also go on to say that the producer on their version of the film was Roy Conli, recently the producer of Disney's Tangled.

DreamWorks Films

DreamWorks Animation have just uploaded a vast amount of videos to their YouTube page, showcasing their previous hits like Shrek, Madagascar and Kung Fu Panda. Whilst it is good to see the films getting some coverage, I was annoyed that DreamWorks are passing off Aardman films, like Chicken Run, Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were Rabbit (below)and Flushed Away as their own, without sufficient credit (if any) to Aardman.

Annie Nominations Revealed

The nominations have been revealed for the 38th annual Annie Awards, the nominations for Best Animated Feature are as follows:
  • Despicable Me – Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures
  • How to Train Your Dragon – DreamWorks Animation
  • Tangled – Disney
  • The Illusionist – Django Films
  • Toy Story 3 – Disney/Pixar
Notably, Toy Story 3 is nominated, despite the fact that earlier in the year Disney and Pixar publicly withdrew support for the awards, due to the inexplicable voting and judging methods. Presumably still annoyed that WALL E (the eventual 2008 Oscar winner) lost to DreamWorks' Kung Fu Panda, blaming the fact that DreamWorks buys each new employee an ASIFA-Holywood membership.

The nominations for Best Animated Short Subject are as follows:
  • Coyote Falls - Warner Bros. Animation
  • Day & Night – Pixar
  • Enrique Wrecks the World - House of Chai
  • The Cow Who Wanted To Be A Hamburger - Plymptoons Studio
  • The Renter - Jason Carpenter
The awards will take place on February 5th, 2010

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Megamind vs. Despicable Me

Having just been to see DreamWorks latest animation Megamind, I thought that given the glaring similarities between it and Illumination Entertainment's Despicable Me, it was a good idea to do a comparison.

*Warning* Spoiler Alert

If you're unfamiliar with the films, both Despicable Me and Megamind are films about Super-Villains, both of whom aren't the most successful villains in the world, that eventually, for the good of those they care about, see the light and become the "good guys", in the process defeating the greater evil.

In Despicable Me (the first feature from Chris Meledandri's Illumination Entertainment) the main character, Gru, changes his ways to become a father to 3 orphaned girls (not dissimilar to The Pacifier). Whereas, in Megamind, the main character (Megamind) falls in love with the stereotypical Lois Lane rip off, Roxanne Ritchie (even down to the alliterative name) and rises up against a super-powered monster, of his creation, becoming the good guy in the process.

Personally I prefer Despicable Me's reasoning, it's more emotional and just a bit deeper, whereas Megamind's story feels like it's been done before.

Another area of note is the voice acting, in Despicable Me, it's hard to tell who anyone is, Gru does not sound like Steve Carell, Dr. Nefario doesn't sound like Russell Brand and Vector doesn't sound like Jason Segel, the characters are interesting and original. However, in Megamind, whilst all of the characters are really funny (I particularly liked Minion), you can instantly tell who's who, Will Ferrell is instantly recognisable as Megamind etc..., however he still turns in a great performance.

But, overall, I preferred the characters in Despicable Me, they just felt more original, however the side characters in both films were some of their best qualities, the Minions in Despicable Me and Minion in Megamind (notice a similarity there?).

When I first heard about both of these films, I thought three simple words... Incredibles, Rip, Off... But I was really happy to be wrong; whilst neither film had the depth or originality of Pixar's 2004 classic, both were really entertaining and had far more depth than I expected. Both films, really brought something new to the table, both with a funny and interesting ensemble of characters.

All in all, I preferred Despicable Me for its originality and the extra subtlety it showed in its voice cast compared to Megamind, however I was really impressed with both films and enjoyed them both really much.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Toy Story 3 Awards

Toy Story 3 is starting off strong in its awards season, as well as all of Disney's Best Picture campaigning for the Academy Awards, today the National Board of Review announced their picks for 2010 and Pixar scooped up the Best Animated Feature prize for the 5th year in a row. It was also named as one of the top 10 films of the year, but it lost out to The Social Network.
Furthermore, the nominations for the 53rd annual Grammy Awards were announced, with Toy Story 3 and Randy Newman being recognised for Best Score Soundtrack Album. You can check out the full list of nominees here. The awards will take place on February 13th, 2011.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Shrek, The Whole Story

DreamWorks animation have recently uploaded the embedded trailer to their YouTube channel, the video advertises the upcoming Shrek The Whole Story Box Set, containing Shrek 1-4 and Donkey's new Christmas Special. Similarly to the recent Shrek Moments videos, the trailer shows little tidbits from all of the films. Despite how I feel Shrek 3 let the franchise down, it looks really fun.