Wednesday 31 October 2012

The Art of Rise of the Guardians Review - Making the Children of the World Believe... in Great Art Books!


DreamWorks are definitely in their golden age right now. The studio once derided as a cheap Pixar-wannabe has output hit after hit in recent years, with two of their latest films (How to Train Your Dragon and Kung Fu Panda 2) holding their own against Pixar's offerings each year; with the latter actually besting the Toy Story studio! With their latest film though, Rise of the Guardians, - based on the Guardians of Childhood book series by William Joyce (The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore) - DreamWorks look set to reach new heights in terms of sophistication, scale and visual splendour. So, I've been greatly anticipating the film, and - because of the previously mentioned visual splendour - the accompanying 'Art of' book!

Happy Halloween from A113Animation!


Boo! Happy Halloween! Yes, All Hallows' Eve is upon us again, and we here at A113Animation hope you have a spooktacular day. Fortunately for us animation fans, there's plenty of animated Halloween stimulus, so enjoy two quintessential pieces of Halloween animation, from Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas, and from the charming and endearing Peanuts special, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

Tuesday 30 October 2012

Bob Iger, George Lucas and Kathleen Kennedy Discuss Disney-Lucasfilm Acquisition


Coming off the most exciting news of the decade, Disney and Lucasfilm's head-honchos have weighed in on the gigantic $4 billion purchase that means we'll be seeing a new Star Wars film by 2015.

Breaking: Disney Buys Lucasfilm, Star Wars, Indiana Jones for $4.05 Billion

The Walt Disney Co. CEO and Chairman Bob Iger with former Lucasfilm owner George Lucas.

Yes, you did read that right: The Walt Disney Company just announced that they've acquired Lucasfilm for $4 billion! Included in that acquisition are the Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises, special effects house ILM (who debuted their feature animation efforts with last year's Rango) and Skywalker Sound, all for $4.05 billion. Sufficed to say, Twitter practically exploded.

Monday 29 October 2012

Sony to Release Hotel Transylvania Short Goodnight, Mr. Foot


Genndy Tartakovsky had some downtime between wrapping on Hotel Transylvania and starting on Popeye, and he used it to return (briefly) to hand-drawn animation. Because Sony are releasing a traditionally animated, Hotel Transylvania-based, short film, called Goodnight, Mr. Foot.

The short is showing in front of Hotel Transylvania right now - but only in Regal Entertainment Group Cinemas. The short film is directed by the 13-time Emmy nominee Tartakovsky, who also animated every single key-frame in the short. Check out a snippet from Sony's press release about the film, and some stills from it, below:


Entitled “Goodnight, Mr. Foot,” the short stars none other than the legendary monster Bigfoot, and follows his adventure as he, too, checks in to Dracula’s five-stake resort in search of a little R-and-R, only to find himself faced with an enthusiastic witch-maid, eager to make Mr. Foot’s stay a memorable one.

Genndy Tartakovsky commented, “After we finished HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA I got an itch to animate! Taking inspiration from my favorite directors Bob Clampett, Tex Avery, and Chuck Jones I animated a short cartoon in the traditional 2D style. It was difficult and exhilarating all at once and I hope people will enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it.”


Head on over to Collider to check out the full press release, which also touts "a specially-created promo video popping up some time around October 31". Exciting news - I assume the short will then find its way onto the Hotel T DVD and Blu-ray release, and we're very eager to see it!

And be sure to check out our review of Hotel Transylvania here!

Via Cartoon Brew.


UPDATED - 22:45 (GMT)

Head over to Entertainment Weekly to check out a great little clip from the short, which segues into the image you see directly above. The visual style is great, and I really like the music used too.

Sunday 28 October 2012

Hotel Transylvania Review - Frightfully Frivolous But Fairly Fun


Hotel Transylvania, the latest animated feature film from Sony Pictures Animation (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, The Smurfs), has received a lukewarm response from critics, but a very enthusiastic one from fans; so I walked into the cinema on Wednesday not quite knowing what to expect. I walked out none the wiser: simultaneously, impressed and underwhelmed. But the main vibe I got from Hotel Transylvania was fun, and it's a film that's not ashamed to wear its relative one-dimensionality on its vampiric sleeve.

New Monsters University CG Character Art


Upcoming Pixar has some exclusive CG character art from Pixar's upcoming, highly anticipated, prequel, Monsters University. A few weeks ago Pixar rolled out their viral website for the film, and we can surely expect the second trailer for it with Disney's Wreck-It Ralph this coming Friday - or soon thereafter.


Check out the great CG renders of the characters - including Mike and Sulley, and new characters Don, Squishy, Squishy's Mom, Art and Terry & Terri - via Upcoming Pixar's Flickr page. Monsters U looks set to have just as lively a cast of characters as the original Monsters, Inc. did 11 years ago - and they're sure as hell going to sell a lot of Monsters plush toys!


Monsters University is directed by Dan Scanlon, and produced by Kori Rae, and arrives in cinemas next year, on 21st June (US) and 12th July (UK) - and the original Monsters, Inc. is re-released in 3D on 19th December (US) and 18th January, 2013 (UK)

Saturday 27 October 2012

DreamWorks Release Two New Rise of the Guardians TV Spots



DreamWorks have been on a major roll since Kung Fu Panda in 2008, outputting a series of great films, and reaching particular highs over the last two years with How to Train Your Dragon and Kung Fu Panda 2. But with their latest film, - the last under their current distribution deal with Paramount - Rise of the Guardians, they seem to have made their best film yet.

Today, DreamWorks released two new TV spots for the film, which you can view above and below. The spots showcase the epic, Avengers-like, team that the Guardians form, as well as the gorgeous visual style, and trademark humour, of the film. I love the balance of intensity and comedy - I laughed particularly hard at the "knock him out" bit in the "Secrets" video.



The animation, the colours, the worlds - the entire visual style is stunning, and the film looks, definitely, to be one of 2012's best animated films. To see more of the gorgeous style of the film, check out The Art of Rise of the Guardians, out now - or better yet, enter our competition to win a free copy!

Rise of the Guardians, directed by Peter Ramsey from the books by William Joyce, hits US cinemas on 21st November, and UK ones on 30th.

Animation Essays - Disney at War, and the Importance of Cinderella


At the start of the year, I said that we were going to diversify here at A113Animation, namely, through more features. We've launched our Bitesized Biographies and Classic Cartoons features, and post the odd Editorial too (free time permitting of course), but as of late I've had an itching to try something else as well. Animation history being a paramount passion of mine, I thought it may be prudent to launch this intended-as-occasional feature: Animation Essays. Check out our first one - about Disney during and immediately after World War II, and the effect Cinderella had on, effectively, saving the, once-fledgling, now dominant, company - below!

More Wreck-It Ralph Clips and Featurettes!



With a week to go until the US release of their 52nd animated film, Disney aren't letting up with the marketing for Wreck-It Ralph, and today we get a couple of great clips, and a funny viral video ad.

Thursday 25 October 2012

New Wreck-It Ralph TV Spots as the Release Draws Closer!


As the US release of Wreck-It Ralph (2nd November) draws ever closer, the advertising is reaching frenzy levels, as Disney are going all out on promoting what promises to be a big hit for the Mouse House.


Wednesday 24 October 2012

A113Animation Competition - Win a Copy of The Art of Rise of the Guardians!


DreamWorks' latest feature film, Rise of the Guardians, is out soon, and it looks awesome! As per for an animated release, there's an accompanying 'Art of' book, and my review copy of it arrived today, courtesy of Titan Books. But this time we asked Titan for an extra copy - and they kindly obliged - so now we're giving you the chance to win a copy of The Art of Rise of the Guardians!

This is thanks, in part, for all of your great participation in our "A113 Ten Years" polls, and for visiting A113Animation. Plus, it's a really great book; I've only given it a quick glance so far (full review to follow), but so far I'm tempted to say this is the best 'Art of' book of the year!

What do you have to do to win? Well that's quite simple: you need to either Tweet us (@A113Animation), post on our wall on Facebook (facebook.com/a113animation) or email us (contact@a113animation.com), saying "I'd like to win The Art of Rise of the Guardians", or words to that effect. You can do all three if you like, so you can enter up to three times, and you have two weeks tomorrow, until 8th November, to do so. So get started, and good luck!

If you just can't risk not winning, then you can order the book via our Amazon Associates link below.

The Art of Rise of the Guardians, by Ramin Zahed, Titan Books (UK); Insight Editions (US). [16th October 2012, £24.99 (UK); 22nd October 2012, $40.00 (US)].


Monday 22 October 2012

Classic Cartoons #11 - Gerald McBoing-Boing



Confession: I only saw my first UPA short a couple of days ago. Shameful, I know, for a self-professed animation nerd, but after one short, I had no doubts about why the company is so lauded, and how special their art style is. And the short that I started with was this one, Gerald McBoing-Boing.

UPA, United Productions of America, was a prolific animation studio in the 1940s and 50s, that pioneered the use of limited animation that would become a television stable through Hanna-Barbera's use of it. Known largely for their propaganda, industrial and training films, UPA's legacy is largely overshadowed by its rivals of the time, Disney and Warner Bros. But it's effect on animation - particularly on visual style, showing that animation didn't have to be the cutesie Disney style - is huge. Gerald McBoing-Boing is then arguably its greatest hour.

Directed by Robert Cannon and produced by John Hubley, from an original Dr. Seuss story, and distributed by Columbia Pictures in late 1950, the acclaimed short won the 1950 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, and in 1994 it was voted the 9th greatest cartoon ever by 1000 animation professionals. High praise indeed, watch today's Classic Cartoon and see why.

Sunday 21 October 2012

Best of the Last Ten Years A113Animation Awards Results!


A couple of months back, we announced two special, commemorative, A113Animation Awards: The Best of the Last Ten Years (2001 - 2011) Awards. We subsequently realised that that's actually 11 (whoops!), but the sentiment remains the same: to recognise and reward the best and brightest of animation over the last decade and a bit. And now we have our winner.

Saturday 20 October 2012

Buffy and Mad Men Writer-Producer Joins Pixar!


It was announced today, at the Austin Film Festival, that Marti Noxon, best known as a writer and executive producer on Joss Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer - as well as working as a writer and consulting producer on the second series of AMC's Mad Men - has joined Pixar to work on an unspecified project!

Pixar is a studio renowned for its exclusivity, in that all of its ideas come from within. Yet, in recent years, we've seen the Emeryville studio branching out: bringing in Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine) to script Toy Story 3, and Irene Mecchi (The Lion King) for Brave - in fact, Joss Whedon even co-wrote Toy Story! It's worked very well in the past, and Pixar are clearly hoping for a similar performance by Noxon - announced today, by Pixar senior development executive Mary Coleman, to be collaborating with the studio on an upcoming film.

It's a little late in production for Monsters University for writers to start being brought in, and Michael Arndt is already attached to Pete Docter's Untitled Mind Film - and Victoria Strouse to Finding Nemo 2 - so it seems likely that Noxon (who most recently helped write Glee series 3) will be contributing to Lee Unkrich's Untitled Día de los Muertos film.

We'll keep you updated as we learn more, but, for now, we're pretty excited by this!

Via Indiewire.

Andy Serkis to Direct Mo-Cap Version of Animal Farm

Serkis at the premiere of Rise of the Planet of the Apes.

The Hollywood Reporter today broke the exciting news that motion-capture actor extraordinaire, Andy Serkis, best known for his role as Gollum in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy (and subsequent The Hobbit trilogy - which he also acted as second-unit director on) is set to make his directorial debut on a motion-capture adaptation of George Orwell's Animal Farm!

Friday 19 October 2012

Cloudy 2 Gets a New Release Date


A few days ago, Disney dated their upcoming slate, announcing several new projects, and new dates for existing ones - including Saving Mr. Banks - and, yesterday, Sony dated one of their highly anticipated projects too.

Cloudy 2: Revenger of the Leftovers, Sony Pictures Animation's sequel to 2009's successful Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, is now due on 27th September, 2013, says Box Office Mojo. This is up several months from its previously planned 7th February, 2014 release date - and this new date puts it at almost exactly the same date that Hotel Transylvania opened at so successfully this year. UPDATE: 22:33 (GMT) - Kyle (Ostrumation92) commented that the subtitle has been dropped, and that the film is now just called Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, which does fit with the Box Office Mojo listing.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs was a hell of a let of fun, and its quirky comedy and lively charm made it one of 2009's best animated films, so Cloudy 2 is hotly anticipated here at A113Animation! Check out some plot details for the film over at Entertainment Weekly.

In the meantime, SPA's latest, Hotel Transylvania, is in cinemas; check out our interview with production designer Marcelo Vignali here!

Thursday 18 October 2012

Saving Mr. Banks: Tom Hanks on Walt Disney


Production is now underway on one of the most anticipated films of 2013, Saving Mr. Banks. The film focuses on the almost decade-and-a-half long struggle by Walt Disney to acquire the film rights to P.L. Travers' Mary Poppins book series.

Academy Award winner Tom Hanks, who already has a link to Disney, providing the voice of Woody in the Toy Story franchise, has the unenviable task of portraying the immortal Walt Disney on screen for the first time ever. Fellow Academy Award winner Emma Thompson will play Travers, with supporting roles being played by Colin Farrell, Ruth Wilson, with Jason Schwartzman and B.J. Novak as the musical Sherman brothers. John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side) is directing from a script by Kelly Marcel.

Hanks spoke briefly to The Hollywood Reporter about Walt Disney and his preparation for the role. Asked whether it would be a "warts and all" portrayal, the Forrest Gump star said:

“He wasn’t a warty guy. There was the labor issues that were in the forties and stuff like that. But by and large, no.” With THR adding 'A three-pack-a-day smoker, Disney died of lung cancer in 1966 and Hanks said he would chain smoke his way through the movie, but that’s about as close as the production will get to any controversy or conjecture surrounding the iconic animator.'

This is fast becoming one of my most anticipated films of 2013. Saving Mr. Banks arrives in cinemas on 20th December, 2013.

Wednesday 17 October 2012

For Your Consideration: Paperman


It should come as no great shocker that Disney are trying to give their latest short-film a head start in the awards race. The above "For Your Consideration" ads appeared on Cartoon Brew recently, promoting Paperman, the wave-making short film that will precede Wreck-It Ralph in cinemas.

Directed by former Pixar-animator John Kahrs, the short is the first to use Disney's groudbreaking new animation software, Meander. Meander creates CG models of the characters, and blocks out the movements, as with a computer animated film; a traditional hand-drawn animator then draws over the top, and Meander fuses the two together. The innovative technique leads to striking images like the one below, with the depth and immersion of CG, and the personality and heart of hand-drawn: this is the future of animation, folks.


It has a suitably warm sounding story too, with the synopsis reading:

Introducing a groundbreaking technique that seamlessly merges computer-generated and hand-drawn animation techniques, first-time director John Kahrs takes the art of animation in a bold new direction with “Paperman.” Using a minimalist black-and-white style, the short follows the story of a lonely young man in mid-century New York City, whose destiny takes an unexpected turn after a chance meeting with a beautiful woman on his morning commute. Convinced the girl of his dreams is gone forever, he gets a second chance when he spots her in a skyscraper window across the avenue from his office. With only his heart, imagination and a stack of papers to get her attention, his efforts are no match for what the fates have in store for him. Created by a small, innovative team working at Walt Disney Animation Studios, “Paperman” pushes the animation medium in an exciting new direction.

One can't help but think that Paperman has a pretty good chance of being successful at the Oscars. Check it out in cinemas with Wreck-It Ralph: 2nd November (US), 15th February (UK).

Monday 15 October 2012

Pixar Short Films: Volume 2 Trailer



Check out the great trailer for the Pixar Shrot Films Collection: Volume 2 DVD and Blu-ray. The trailer highlights the importance of shorts to Pixar's history, and the bonus features looking at pivotal Pixarians and how they got their starts in the business with short films.

I'm loving the focus on Presto and La Luna, my two favourite Pixar shorts, which are on complete opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of what they bring to the table - zany hilarity and quiet beauty; Pixar's a diversely talented place.

Be sure to get the collection when it's out on 13th November in the US, or 12th in the UK (I emailed HMV, and alas, that 15th October release date a while back was incorrect

Upcoming Disney Line-Up Dates Untitled Disney and Pixar Films; Phineas and Ferb and More!


Disney have revealed, through Box Office Mojo, their upcoming release date schedule, shedding light on when we can expect some of the company's most hotly anticipated films!

Starting from the start, Disney's highly anticipated chronicle of the acquisition of the film rights to Mary Poppins, Saving Mr. Banks is due on 20th December, 2013. The film, which will see Tom Hanks become the first man to ever portray the larger-than-life icon, Walt Disney, on-screen, and stars Emma Thompson as author P.L. Travers, is directed by John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side) and looks set to be one of the biggest films of next year!

New Wreck-It Ralph Featurette and Clip Showcase New Footage



IGN have brought us a brand new featurette featuring the voice cast, musical talent and filmmaking crew of Disney's Wreck-It Ralph. The featurette has words from the cast and crew - including John C. Reilly, Jane Lynch, Sarah Silverman and Jack McBrayer, director Rich Moore, Skrillex and Owl City!

It features a lot of new footage, - particularly of Felix and "Sugar Rush" - it's just another great entry into Ralph's great marketing campaign. Check it out above.



We also get a new clip from the Halo-themed world of "Hero's Duty" that Jane Lynch's Sergeant Calhoun inhabits. You can definitely here Skrillex's... well, very un-Disney, music coming across. Less funny, but it shows the breadth of diversity that Disney's latest is going to have.

Finally, check out another Wreck-It Ralph viral ad here - this time for "Sugar Rush" itself!

Wreck-It Ralph is released on 2nd November in the US, and 15th February in the UK.

Google Celebrates Winsor McCay with a Doodle


Google have had animation-themed Google Doodles before, but none quite as elaborate and impressive as this. To mark the 107th anniversary of the debut of Winsor McCay's Little Nemo comic strip, Google have launched an interactive HTML5 Doodle called "Little Nemo in Google-Land"!

McCay, a cartoonist and animator perhaps best-known for his acclaimed 1914 animated short film, Gertie the Dinosaur, is revered in the animation industry; often credited as the father of American animation, with even an Annie Award named after him.

Little Nemo in Slumberland, published by McCay under the pen name of Silas, debuted on this day in 1905. The comic follows the dreams of a young boy named Nemo, and captures the bright fantasy of child-like dreams. It's a fitting and wonderful tribute by Google, to such an influential and talented artist and animator.

Check out "Little Nemo in Google-Land" on Google's homepage right now!

Friday 12 October 2012

Interview: Marcelo Vignali, Production Designer on Hotel Transylvania

Marcelo with Hotel Transylvania's vocal lead, Adam Sandler.

Last Friday, I had the chance to speak to Marcelo Vignali, the production designer on Hotel Transylvania, the latest film from Sony Pictures Animation. The Genndy Tartakovsky directed film is getting a lukewarm critical response, but is going down a treat with audiences everywhere, who are very receptive to its fun, cartoony style. Hotel T is playing now in the US and Canada, and opened here in the UK today!

I'd like to thank Lauren Woosey at Titan Books for putting me in contact with Sony in the first place and her constant kindness; I'd also like to extend huge thanks to Olivier Mouroux and Kyle Rapone at the Sony Pictures Animation PR team for setting the whole thing up and being so accommodating and friendly.

Of course, I also want to thank Marcelo. One thing I've been astounded at when doing these interviews is how kind and down-to-earth everyone is. Marcelo made a point of asking me about my own life, and acted very modestly, while displaying huge enthusiasm for the film and his work. Not to mention he's a really talented guy! Topics covered in our exclusive interview include his role on Hotel T and thoughts on the film, working around the many directorial changes, working with Genndy Tartakovsky, the film's visual and animation styles, animation at Sony and the future.

Frankenweenie European Premiere Coverage



Frankenweenie is out in the US, and the countdown is now on to its UK release this coming Wednesday. So, a couple of days ago, the film had its European premiere at the 56th BFI London Film Festival, a star-studded event featuring appearances from director Tim Burton, wife Helena Bonham-Carter, producer Allison Abbate and more!

Wednesday 10 October 2012

Billy Crystal on Monsters U: Voicing Mike Again and the Ending


Billy Crystal has always been vocal in his love of Monsters, Inc., specifically his own character in the film, Mike Wazoswki. And in a recent interview with THR, the When Harry Met Sally... star gushed about being back in Monstropolis for the prequel, Monsters University.

"He’s my favorite character I’ve ever played" the co-vocal lead says of Mike, while also singing the praises of co-star, John Goodman, and the chemistry the two have created on-screen, saying:

"We do it together and he’s a genius. That’s why I think there’s a lot of affection between Mike and Sulley on the screen -- the relationship between the two of us is so real. We really love working with each other."

Crystal (pictured, top, with Monsters U director, Dan Scanlon) also speaks about the film's ending so avert your eyes now if you want to avoid spoilers - that said, it's pretty tame given that it's a prequel:

"The movie ends with us walking into Monsters, Inc. and working in the mail room."

Monsters University looks every bit as great as the original, and the anticipation only grows and grows with every detail we're drip-fed. The film will be released almost 12 years after the original, on 21st June, 2013 (US) and 12th July, 2013 (UK).


Watch: Partysaurus Rex


It recently showed before Finding Nemo 3D in the States (which is still to come for us UK Pixar fans), it has also premiered on Disney Channel and been released digitally on iTunes, and now Pixar's third Toy Story Toon, Partysaurus Rex, is available to watch online!



The HD Disney stream of the short is as of now only available in the US, but there's always a way to beat the system. Daily Motion user Dr. Malo has uploaded the wonderful short in glorious low-definition, check it out above!

Also be sure to check out our review of Partysaurus Rex and our interview with the short's wonderful director, Mark Walsh.

Tuesday 9 October 2012

Wreck-It Ralph Clip and Viral Ads


Disney's stellar advertising for their 52nd animated feature film continues inexorably towards its 2nd November US release date. Today, Yahoo! Movies bring us our first extended clip from Wreck-It Ralph, showing us a scene we've seen in previous trailers: Ralph's first meeting with Vanellope von Schweetz.

Yeah, she is kinda irritating... but the last few trailers and TV spots have showed a touching brother-sister dynamic between her and Ralph, so I'll happily wait until the film to judge.



Like Pixar did yesterday, Disney have also gone viral with their advertising, releasing retro-feel ads for Litwak's Arcade - the Arcade which houses the world of Wreck-It Ralph - check them out above and below.


I'm really getting a Toy Story vibe from Wreck-It Ralph - and that's definitely not a bad thing! Particularly with these viral ads, oddly reminiscent of Pizza Planet in Toy Story

Via Big Screen Animation and Buzz Feed.

Blue Sky Bringing Us a Peanuts Film in 2015!


Exciting news from Blue Sky Studios today. The studio who most recently brought us Ice Age 4: Continental Drift have just announced that they'll be bringing us a feature adaptation of Peanuts in November 2015!

The beloved creations of Charles Schulz, including Charlie Brown and Snoopy, were announced to be part of Blue Sky's line-up on Twitter today. The official press release (on Blue Sky's cool new website!) says that the "agreement is the culmination of over two years of discussions – focused on the film’s creative direction – between the Studio and members of the Schulz family."

Exciting news to say the least, and following the brilliant looking Epic next year (24th May), and the foreseeable Rio 2 in 2014 (11th April), the as of yet untitled Peanuts film will make a fine addition to Blue Sky's line-up - now that they're in friendly competition with fellow Fox-distributed animation juggernaut, DreamWorks. Although it does pose the question: will this be a CG film? Because Blue Sky have, up until now, only made CG animated features, but Peanuts would definitely look a bit weird not hand-drawn.

Fox will currently release the Peanuts film, directed by Steve Martino (Horton Hears a Who!, Ice Age 4) on 25th November, 2015 - to coincide with the 65th anniversary of the debut of the Peanuts comic strip, and the 50th anniversary of A Charlie Brown Christmas.

Monday 8 October 2012

Apply to Monsters University Now! No, Really.


Damn Pixar, you know how to market a film.

Pixar have gone viral with the marketing of their next feature film, the prequel to 2001's Monsters, Inc., Monsters University. The studio have launched a super clever, super cool and - oddly - super believable website for Monsters University - the place, not the film. It has an admissions page, a list of clubs, professors (that presumably will feature in the film), a map (below), a student portal and even a functioning MU store! Pixar have really gone the whole hog on this one!

Check out more awesomeness after the jump break!

Toy Story of Terror! TV Special Coming Next Year!


We heard a few months ago that - as well as working on new Toy Story Toons, one of which was just recently released - "two new 22-minute TV specials are in the works for October 2013 and Spring 2014." And now we know what the first of those will be about.

Animation World Network announced that next Halloween, Pixar will release a Toy Story holiday special: Toy Story of Terror! The synopsis AWN provides is:

What starts out as a fun road trip for the Toy Story gang takes an unexpected turn for the worse when the trip detours to a roadside motel. After one of the toys goes missing, the others find themselves caught up in a mysterious sequence of events that must be solved before they all suffer the same fate in this Toy Story of Terror.

Sounds great! After Partysaurus Rex, it's great to see Pixar going a slightly different route with the Toy Story gang going forwards. Bryko from Upcoming Pixar raises a good point too; given Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich's famous love of The Shining, and Toy Story of Terror!'s very Shining-esque sounding story, it seems very likely we'll see him involved with the project in some way.

It's only fitting, given that Toy Story started life itself as a holiday TV special (A Tin Toy Christmas), that things are coming full circle with these Toy Story specials. And I, for one, can't wait!

Sunday 7 October 2012

Genndy Tartakovsky Reddit Recap: Samurai Jack Movie, Hotel Transylvania and New Powerpuff Girls Series!


Genndy Tartakovsky is a busy man. He's just wrapped on Hotel Transylvania for Sony, which he's now hard at work promoting, he's also working on a CG Popeye film for them, trying to get his planned Samurai Jack film off the ground, and much more that we don't even know about yet! But he still found time to answer questions from rabid fans on Reddit on 27th September.

Questions answered by the very talented Mr. Tartakovsky encompassed everything from working on Hotel T, to his planned Samurai Jack movie, to, excitingly, even a new series of The Powerpuff Girls on the way! Check out our belated coverage of the event which happened the day before Hotel T came out, after the jump break.

Watch: Cartoon Network 20th Birthday - Music Video



The 1st October was the 20th Birthday of Cartoon Network. The home of some of my most loved show as a kid: Dexter's Lab, The Flintstones, Scooby Doo, Looney TunesEd, Edd n EddyKids Next Door, this was the channel for any cartoon loving kid - or teenager, or grown-up...

Check out this great music video made for the occasion (above) showering us with character after character. Say what you may about the channel's current output, but there are very few characters in this video that I don't love.

Saturday 6 October 2012

Guest Review: Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 [Blu-ray]


By Munir Abedrabbo

Overview

DC Entertainment has found a great niche in the home video market by producing animated films featuring their most famous and beloved characters. While their output has been hit (Batman: Under the Red Hood, Justice League: Doom) and miss (Batman: Year One), there is no denying that even their most uneven productions has something to offer to comic book, animation and film fans. This is a great way to see our favorite superheroes in new adventures or in adaptations of beloved graphic novels.

Friday 5 October 2012

One Year On: iMiss Steve


One year ago today, the world lost a truly special man. The man who helped create two of the biggest and most revered companies on the planet, the man without whom we wouldn't have Toy Story or the iPod, Steve Jobs truly was a genius.

Pixar existed (as the Lucasfilm Graphics Group) before Steve, but without his immense faith and funds, the studio would've gone under long before a deal was reached with Disney, in 1991, to make Toy Story. A man who saw what few else could, a visionary, and a man we all owe so much to. It's been a year since he tragically lost his battle to cancer at the unjustly young age of 56, but we're far from forgetting Steve Jobs. With two films about his life in the works, we're not done celebrating his achievements yet.

I'll leave you with Pixar CCO John Lasseter's comments from the tragic time last year:

"Steve Jobs was an extraordinary visionary, our very dear friend and the guiding light of the Pixar family. He saw the potential of what Pixar could be before the rest of us, and beyond what anyone ever imagined. Steve took a chance on us and believed in our crazy dream of making computer animated films; the one thing he always said was to simply 'make it great.' He is why Pixar turned out the way we did and his strength, integrity and love of life has made us all better people. He will forever be a part of Pixar’s DNA. Our hearts go out to his wife Laurene and their children during this incredibly difficult time."

RIP Steve, we still miss you, and we always will.

Thursday 4 October 2012

New International Wreck-It Ralph Trailer



Walt Disney Studios UK have released an international trailer for Disney's Wreck-It Ralph. Directed by Rich Moore (The Simpsons, Futurama), Wreck-It Ralph is set inside the world of arcade games, and is looking pretty good... Hell, who am I kidding? It's looking fantastic! A great film, with great marketing and another great trailer; Disney, you're doing it right.

The last few bits of advertising have really played up the relationship between Ralph (John C. Reilly) and Vanellope (Sarah Silverman), and it has grown on me. Good to see it's got heart behind that awesomeness! In fact, the only thing I don't like about the trailer is the line "This February"... Come on, Disney, it doesn't take 3 months to ship a film across the Atlantic!


But check out that awesome 8-bit Disney castle! This looks like it could be this generation's Toy Story! Well... I suppose Toy Story 3 is this generation's Toy Story, but you get my point. Be sure to check out the two previous trailers, and TV spot, too.

For US fans, Wreck-It Ralph hits cinemas on 2nd November, but us poor UK guys'll have to wait until 15th February, 2013.

Wednesday 3 October 2012

ParaNorman Blu-ray and DVD Release Date Announced (For the US)


Universal Studios Home Entertainment, who are in charge of the home media distribution of ParaNorman, have announced the (US) DVD and Blu-ray release date for Laika's second feature: 27th November.

The marvellous stop-motion film from the studio behind Coraline will be released with the following great bonus features (via redOrbit):
  • PRELIMINARY ANIMATIC SEQUENCES: With commentary from Director Sam Fell and Writer/Director Chris Butler.
  • PEERING THROUGH THE VEIL: A special behind-the-scenes glimpse into the creation of the weird and wonderful world of ParaNorman from building the characters to voicing them.
  • FEATURETTES: Seven short segments showcasing Norman and his extraordinarily unusual co-stars.
  • FEATURE COMMENTARY: With Director Sam Fell and Writer/Director Chris Butler.

Not an awful lot of bonus features, but it promises to be an enlightening look at the wonderful film anyway! However, the 27th November release date is for the US and Canada only, as for when the rest of the world can expect it, Laika/house's Twitter says "TBD." Although, that same Twitter feed also Tweeted this:


So, it sounds like we'll be able to nab it on iTunes on the 27th anyway! There's lots of great animated releases in November!

Be sure to check out our review of ParaNorman here.

Via THR.

Brand New Trailers: The Croods and The Lone Ranger


Yesterday we showed you some brand new images from Gore Verbinski's The Lone Ranger, and told you to expect the debut trailers for that and DreamWorks' The Croods today. They're online now, and they're fantastic - and you can check them out after the jump break!

Tuesday 2 October 2012

Poster for Sony's Popeye


With Hotel Transylvania now in cinemas in the US, and arriving in UK cinemas on the 12th, both director Genndy Tartakovsky and Sony Pictures Animation begin to look to the future, and that's this. Sony and the Dexter's Lab creator are working on a CG adaptation of Popeye!

The most well known version of the character being the Fleischers' shorts, Genndy and Sony are going to have an uphill battle adapting it for the big screen. But, given how wonderfully cartoony Hotel T looks, it might well be just the right pairing to make it happen.

Check out a poster that Cartoon Brew's Jerry Beck snapped at SPA's HQ last week. It's a good start! No release date as of yet.

Cool Mash-Up: Breaking Lab


Because even cartoons have Meth-heads apparently. Threadless, who've made some awesome Disney villain t-shirts, bring us this mash-up of Dexter's Laboratory and Breaking Bad. So if you ever wanted to combine the genius of Genndy Tartakovsky and Bryan Cranston in a hazmat suit (as you do), then here you are. Whoever knew Dexter would look like such a badass with a goatee?


The t-shirts are $20 each and come in a variety of sizes for both genders (link here).

Related news: What If: Fan-Made "Indiana Jones: The Animated Adventures" Artwork

Poster and Images for Disney and Gore Verbinski's The Lone Ranger


A glut of brand new shots, and a poster, from Gore Verbinski and Disney's adaptation of The Lone Ranger hit the web today! The super high-budget western epic stars Johnny Depp as Tonto and Armie Hammer (The Social Network) as the title character, and is directed by Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean 1 - 3, Rango) and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer (Pirates of the Caribbean, Top Gun).

Check out some brand new images after the jump break!

Monday 1 October 2012

What If: Fan-Made "Indiana Jones: The Animated Adventures" Artwork


Artist Patrick Schoenmaker ponders what if in some recent Deviant Art work. Particularly, what if Indiana Jones was remade as an animated TV series? That stimulus led Patrick to create these great and lively stills for what he imagines Indiana Jones: The Animated Adventures would look like!


A post on his blog even shows a snippet from some (very brief) animation he's done on the premise, so we might even see a couple of shorts - á la Robb Pratt's Superman Classic films. The artwork is so authentic looking, they looks like stills from a 90s/early-2000s Saturday morning cartoon! I particularly like the character models of Indy, his Dad, Short Round and Marcus - Patrick's captured the characters perfectly!



Hell, as First Showing points out, we got Back to the Future, Men in Black and Ghostbusters cartoon series, there's plenty for Star Wars, and with the Indiana Jones: Complete Adventures Blu Ray set making its rounds, what better time to start an Indy series? Check out the rest of the artwork here and on Patrick's Deviant Art page!

Brave Blu-ray and DVD Gets a UK Release Date


Wow, well this is much quicker than I'd imagined! Although Brave's still out in cinemas here in the UK, it'll arrive on home media formats on 26th November, only 13 days after the US release. I didn't think it'd arrive here until January at least, so this is pretty cool - that and getting Pixar Short Films Collection: Volume 2 this month almost makes up for the 2 month wait for Brave in cinemas over here... almost.

The release will include director's commentary, an alternate opening, La Luna, an all new short-film The Legend of Mor'du, the actual feature film and more! You'll need to check out the Blu-ray to get the bulk of the bonus features though - although you should be doing so anyway; imagine how fantastic Brave's going to look in HD!

Great Blu-ray and DVD release dates for UK animation fans to pen into their diaries include:
You can pre-order Pixar's latest from Amazon.co.uk below.