Friday 30 November 2012

Two Cool New Monsters University Posters

Brave's been and gone, and the big push for advertising Pixar's fourteenth animated feature film has begun. Today that manifests itself with two new posters for the Monsters, Inc. prequel, Monsters University!

We firstly get the above teaser poster, showing the film's leading duo, looking quite a bit younger, decked out in MU apparel. The minimalistic, white-background design definitely harkens back to the poster for the 2001 original.

Secondly, we get this awesome international poster for the film - titled Monsters Academy in France. I personally prefer this to the American one, it shows a little bit more from the film: some environments we can expect to see, the competitive relationship between Mike and Sulley, Little Mikey making a re/preappearance, and holy Easter Eggs, Batman, check out the time on that clock!

Monsters University is directed by Dan Scanlon and produced by Kori Rae, and hits cinemas on 21st June, 2013 (US) and 12th July, 2013 (UK).

With Monsters U on the horizon, be sure to check out Monsters, Inc. 3D in cinemas from 19th Decmber (US) and 18th January, 2013 (UK) - and have a read of our exclusive review of it here.

Thursday 29 November 2012

Teddy Newton Directing a Pixar Feature Film!

Pixarian Teddy Newton, who garnered particular attention in 2010, with his innovative Oscar nominated short film Day & Night which preceded Toy Story 3 (in which he voiced Chatter Telephone), is now developing a Pixar feature film!

Jennifer Lee to Co-Direct Disney's Frozen

Wreck-It Ralph co-writer Jennifer Lee has just been as the co-director for Disney's 53rd animated feature, Frozen. Lee joins Tarzan and Surf's Up director Chris Buck at the helm of the film, which is due for release on 27th November, 2013 in the US, and not too much later, on 20th December, 2013, in the UK!

Wednesday 28 November 2012

Classic Cartoons #12 - King-Size Canary

Today's Classic Cartoon is a classic of one of the all-time great American animators, Fred "Tex" Avery. Avery, best known as the genius behind Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny, also later developed Chilly Willy for the Walter Lantz studio. Some of Tex's best work, though, was for MGM's cartoon studio. At MGM, Avery created Droopy, as well as a stream of hilarious short films, including this one, King-Size Canary.

Cat and mouse, cat and bird, and cat and dog pairings are pretty common in animation, but this is something pretty special. The hilarious animation lends the short a sense of freedom that we rarely see in modern animation.

Avery's legacy is his zany, larger-than-life animation - animation we may be seeing a resurgence of, in CG; just look at Hotel Transylvania - and that animation is on full display in this critically acclaimed short from 1947.

Monday 26 November 2012

Brave Out Now on Blu-ray and DVD in the UK!

Fortunately, the wait for Pixar's thirteenth feature film to arrive on home video here in the UK hasn't been nearly as long as the wait we had for its arrival in cinemas, because Brave was released today on DVD and Blu-ray in the UK!

The film is available on DVD, Blu-ray, and Blu-ray 3D - I got the 3D package, despite not having a 3D Blu-ray player, because it includes the normal 2D Blu-ray disc, and an extra 2D Blu-ray bonus disc (as well as the 3D disc) for only an extra £5! We'll have a full review up of the Blu-ray package later in the week.

After the less than stellar array of extras on the Cars 2 release, Brave is packed full of everything from behind the scenes featurettes, an alternate opening, filmmakers' commentary and a brand new short, The Legend of Mor'du. Be sure to check it out, it's great!

Related posts: Pixar Short Films Collection: Volume 2 Blu-ray Review

Sunday 25 November 2012

Pixar Short Films Collection: Volume 2 Blu-ray Review

Pixar have a long and storied tradition with short films. As with their parent company, Disney, before them, the studio got their start with short films - films like The Adventures of André and Wally B., Luxo Jr. and Tin Toy. But while Disney has largely moved away from shorts (although seem to have returned to the format in recent years, with great short films like The Ballad of Nessie and Paperman), Pixar have remained loyal to short production - having one precede each of their feature films.

So, five years after its original Short Films Collection, Pixar have now released the second collection of its acclaimed short films on Blu-ray and DVD; and it's been worth the wait!

Wednesday 21 November 2012

Rise of the Guardians in US Cinemas Today - What Are the Critics Saying?

It's been quite a ride: anticipation running high, speculation that this could be the greatest DreamWorks film yet, some mixed reviews, some more positive ones, trepidation; and now US fans can find out for themselves how good DreamWorks' Rise of the Guardians - playing now in the US - actually is!

Watch: Clip From The Legend of Mor'du

Disney UK may suck at releasing films in decent time, but their YouTube channel is top notch. Today, Walt Disney Studios UK brings us the above clip of the new short film that's on the Brave DVD and Blu-ray, The Legend of Mor'du.

We got our first look at the feature-based short a couple of weeks ago, and you can really see the distinctively different visual style mentioned then in this clip. The short, which is directed by long-time Pixar storyboard artist Brian Larsen, (Ratatouille, Brave) is narrated by Julie Walters' Witch and follows the story of demon bear Mor'du more closely. It looks great and I can't wait to check it out with the fantastic Brave very soon!

The Legend of Mor'du arrives in the UK on DVD and Blu-ray with Brave this coming Monday - and is already out in the US. You can pre-order below.

So It Has Begun: First Round of For Your Consideration Ads

Yes, it is that time of year again. It has its detractors, but I happen to think Awards season is pretty exciting! So, in a bid to get their films nominates for as many awards (well, mainly Oscars) as possible, studios have begun rolling out For Your Consideration ads - and we've got some cool animation ones so far.

Tuesday 20 November 2012

Watch: Brilliant New Trailer for Epic

Blue Sky Studios are great. They get a lot of flack sometimes for their more goofy, comic approach to animation - versus the more sophisticated stories of Pixar or, now, DreamWorks - but their films have heart, have depth, are gorgeous, and, yes, have lots of, sometimes asinine, comedy. I loved the first two Ice Age films (3, not so much; I still haven't seen 4), I loved Robots as a kid, Horton Hears a Who! was fun, and Rio was a great film! That said, the Fox-owned studio's next film, Epic, looks like a departure from their pre-existing mould, and I'm all for that.

Monday 19 November 2012

New Images From Blue Sky's Epic

It certainly looks like, at least somewhat of, a departure from their funny Ice Age-norm, but Blue Sky Studios' Epic looks just that: epic. Directed by Blue Sky co-founder and head-honcho, Chris Wedge (Ice Age, Robots), and based on the 1996 book, The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs, by William Joyce, Epic looks set to wow - particularly in terms of visuals.

Sunday 18 November 2012

UPDATED - Star Wars Update: Brad Bird's Out, Who's In?

The hot topic at the moment is who's going to direct Star Wars: Episode VII? Already the most anticipated film in the history of the world, the first film in the Star Wars sequel trilogy will allegedly see the return of Luke, Han and Leia, with more old faces seemingly set to return, along with everyone and their mum wanting to be a part of the film, which is being scripted by Toy Story 3 writer, Michael Arndt. With all the news we are getting though, the one bit we're not is that all important nugget of who's going to direct it.

The Fairest One of All: The Making of Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Review - A Triumph Befitting Disney's Classic

Firstly, I apologise for the tardiness of this review; I've been snowed under, but hopefully normal service is now restored - there'll be a review up of The Art and Making of Peanuts Animation in the next week as well. Thanks to the team at Aurum Press for sending me a copy of this - US version sold by Weldon Owen.

The Fairest One of All: The Making of Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is an almost complete account of the huge production of Walt Disney's first feature length animated feature, the fantastic classic, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Such a gigantically important, influential and trend-setting picture, obviously, took a mammoth amount of effort, as such, this book is an absolutely mammoth undertaking itself.

Saturday 17 November 2012

Brand New Frankenweenie Short to Appear on DVD/Blu-ray Release

Tim Burton's Frankenweenie hasn't had the best run at the box-office (just north of $63 million at the time of writing), but the critics love it, and the DVD and Blu-ray will likely sell well among Burton and animation fans.

Stitch Kingdom reports that the film arrives on home video on 15th January (in the US), and is bringing a brand new feature-based short with it. In the same vein as Brave, which is accompanied on home video with the new short The Legend of Mor'du, one of the bonus features on the Frankenweenie - which is also released by Disney - release will be a two minutes and twenty second short called Captain Sparky vs The Flying Saucers.

Going from the title, the short will likely follow the home movies Victor makes with his later-reanimated dog Sparky. Captain Sparky was written by Frankenweenie co-producer Derek Fray, a long-time collaborator of Burton's who also worked on Alice in Wonderland and The Nightmare Before Christmas.

No word yet on the UK release date though.

Friday 16 November 2012

Check Out Some New Rise of the Guardians Clips

The holidays are almost upon as, and DreamWorks rolls out its seasonal offering next week, the Peter Ramsey directed Rise of the Guardians. The film, based on William Joyce's Guardians of Childhood book series, sees childhood icons Santa, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the Sandman and Jack Frost join together to fight the malevolent Boogeyman, Pitch.

So, DreamWorks are in full promotion mode and have released three new clips from the film, and an interesting behind the scenes peek at the many looks of the film (above). Check out the clips after the jump break.

Finding Nemo Blu-ray Trailer

With Finding Nemo 3D recently in US cinemas, and Finding Nemo 2 in the works, Nemo-fever continues with the 4th December US release of the 2003 Academy Award winner on Blu-ray!

To help promote the impending release (that'll surely make Disney a bucketload of bucks this holiday season), Pixar have released the above ad for the film - which is sure to look absolutely stunning in HD. Interesting song choice though...

Finding Nemo 3D is scheduled for a UK release date of 29th March, 2013, so we can probably expect the UK Blu-ray release sometime in early April.

Wednesday 14 November 2012

DreamWorks Working on Puss in Boots 2; Kung Fu Panda 3 and Trollhunters Details

Producer-extraordinaire Guillermo del Toro recently spoke to Collider about DreamWorks' latest film, Rise of the Guardians, which he executive produced, and offered up some quotes on two of DreamWorks' upcoming sequels, Kung Fu Panda 3 and Puss in Boots 2, as well as an original film he's developing for the studio, Trollhunters.

Tuesday 13 November 2012

Behold: Brave Easter Eggs Found!

A113 in Brave, carved in Roman numerals (ACXIII) above the doorway.

UPDATE: 20:33 (GMT) - you can now check out the references (including a newly found one, paying homage to the late-great Cars co-director Joe Ranft) in hi-res below; again via The Pixar Post.

It's not quite out over here yet, but Pixar's thirteenth feature film, Brave, is now out on Blu-ray and DVD in the US, and it's jam-packed with special features! The most special feature of all, though, is the film itself, and Pixar fans all over the web have returned to the film to try and nail down the few Easter Eggs that eluded us all in cinemas!

Those wonderful guys over at The Pixar Post have a breakdown of all the Easter Eggs you can see, ranging from Pixar-mainstays to some rather more interesting ones. We've already seen some of them before - the Pizza Planet Truck, Sulley from Monsters, Inc. and Monsters University, and a newt reference - but we also, finally, now know the location of A113 in the film (and the Luxo ball pops up as well).

A113 (top) isn't the most highly-defined and visible in the world, but it's there, and we'll add it to our A113 page ASAP! Check out the rest, of the slightly more visible Easter Eggs, below!

The Luxo ball, clearly - well, maybe not clearly - visible in the Witch's clutter.

The Witch's carving of the Pizza Planet Truck, which appears in every Pixar film except for The Incredibles.

Sulley from Monsters, Inc., who will also appear in next year's Monsters University, doubling up as a reference to past and future Pixar films.

A newt, paying reference to Pixar's cancelled film of the same name.

A carving of the late-great Joe Ranft's face.

Brave hits Blu-ray and DVD in the UK on 26th November - you can pre-order it below. In the meantime, to whet your Pixar appetite, Pixar Short Films Collection: Volume 2 is out now in the UK and you can buy it here, and check out our exclusive review of Monsters, Inc. 3D (released 19th December, US; 18th January, UK).

Pictures and Easter Egg-spotting courtesy of The Pixar Post.

Sunday 11 November 2012

An Open Letter to The Walt Disney Company

Cc: Hollywood

To Mr. Rober Iger, Mr. Alan Horn and whomever else it may concern,

Let me preface this by saying I am a huge Disney fan, it formed my childhood, and it and its subsidiaries continue to shape my present and, hopefully, my future. That said, there is one particular area of Disney that I am not a fan of: excessively delayed 'foreign' release dates.

Saturday 10 November 2012

Hotel Transylvania 2 Officially in the Works - Due 2015

In a move that won't please the critics, but will satisfy kids and other fans alike - and probably already has Sony execs drooling - The Hollywood Reporter tells us that Sony Pictures Animation are officially working on Hotel Transylvania 2.

The project, which is very early on in development, is tentatively scheduled for a 25th September, 2015 release. Considering that the first film took seven years to make, three is a significant improvement! That said, it took Hotel Transylvania a long time to find Genndy Tartakovsky as its director, and 2's going to be without the Dexter's Lab creator. Tartakovsky is working on Popeye (now due on 26th September, 2014) for Sony at the moment, so Hotel T 2 will have to find a new director.

Hotel Transylvania's been a big hit for the studio (its highest grossing fully-animated film in fact - although it bows to CG/live-action mash-up The Smurfs' $563.7 million gross), having taken about $253.6 million worldwide, so, a sequel makes sense. The first film was good enough, I'm not overly-eager to see a second, but so long as it replicates the original's formula of light-hearted gags and unpretentiousness, it should be fun.

Related posts:

Interview: Pete Oswald, Vis. Dev. Artist on Hotel Transylvania and ParaNorman

This latest A113Animation interview seems particularly relevant given our recent competition to give away a copy of an Art of book. The companion books to most animated films are a great portal behind the screen, giving you a look at the colossal glut of fantastic visual development artwork that goes into a production and that we might otherwise never get to see. When reviewing The Art and Making of ParaNorman and The Art and Making of Hotel Transylvania, one artist consistently stood out to me, Pete Oswald.

Pete's work was colourful, lively, caricatured, playful and full of cartoony energy! So, I sought Pete out, I found his website and sent him an email saying how much I enjoyed his work and asking if he'd mind doing an interview. Thankfully, he said yes - and expressed a great deal of enthusiasm about it too! Pete's a great guy; modest, helpful and very talented, and I'm grateful he took the time to speak to me.

In our interview - which we did via email - Pete and I discuss his role on the two aforementioned films, what working on them was like, his other work (including The Ricky Gervais Show!), working on Cloudy 2 for Sony right now, and broader animation. Check it out after the jump break!

Friday 9 November 2012

10 Animated Shorts Make the Oscar Shortlist

Just last week we got the names of the animated shorts (and indeed features) submitted for Academy Award consideration, and today AMPAS have revealed the ten animated short films that have made it onto the Oscar short list. From these shorts - including last year's Annie Award for Best Animated Short Subject winner, Adam and Dog, as well as Disney's Paperman and The Simpsons short The Longest Daycare - between three and five will progress to the final list of nominees.

The shortlist is as follows:
  • "Adam and Dog," Minkyu Lee, director (Lodge Films)
  • "Combustible," Katsuhiro Otomo, director (Sunrise Inc.)
  • "Dripped," Léo Verrier, director (ChezEddy)
  • "The Eagleman Stag," Mikey Please, director, and Benedict Please, music scores and sound design (Royal College of Art)
  • "The Fall of the House of Usher," Raul Garcia, director, and Stephan Roelants, producer (Melusine Productions, R&R Communications Inc., Les Armateurs, The Big Farm)
  • "Fresh Guacamole," PES, director (PES)
  • "Head over Heels," Timothy Reckart, director, and Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly, producer (National Film and Television School)
  • "Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare”," David Silverman, director (Gracie Films)
  • "Paperman," John Kahrs, director (Disney Animation Studios)
  • "Tram," Michaela Pavlátová, director, and Ron Dyens, producer (Sacrebleu Productions)
I'm not even going to pretend I've seen all of these, but it'll be exciting to see which progress. Given all of its buzz and the mainstream audience it's getting with Wreck-It Ralph, Paperman seems set for a nomination; Adam and Dog seems likely too. And from a fanboy standpoint, it sure would be nice to see a Simpsons short get an Oscar nomination!

The 85th Academy Award nominations will be revealed on 10th January, 2013 and then the awards will be presented from the Dolby Theatre, at the Hollywood & Highland Centre, on 24th February. Until then, we'll keep you posted.

Thursday 8 November 2012

A113Animation Competition - Now Closed!

It's been an exciting ride but the 2nd A113Animation Competition has come to a close. With over 40 entries from all over the world, it soon became obvious that people really wanted to win The Art of Rise of the Guardians. So, my heartfelt commiserations to all those who didn't win, especially to those - like @LuxoCharaDesign and @mubblegum - who expressed such a keen enthusiasm for it; there's always next time! If you were thinking of buying it anyway, I'd recommend doing so - it's fantastic.

That said, there could only be one winner, and that winner - chosen at random - is Twitter user @MoonieBalloonie! Moonie also entered via email, but it was her Twitter entry that won her this free copy of Titan Books' companion book of DreamWorks' latest feature (out 21st Nov. (US), 30th Nov. (UK)). I've sent her an email, and so long as she replies with her address, then we have our winner!

Again, sorry if you were unsuccessful, but thanks for visiting A113Animation, and we hope to be able to maybe give you a prize in the future.

Wednesday 7 November 2012

Monday 5 November 2012

Rich Moore Already Working on Ideas for Wreck-It Ralph 2!

Director Rich Moore (centre), pictured with producer Clark Spencer (left), executive producer John Lasseter (right) and the film's main voice talent.

Wreck-It Ralph's only just out in the US, and is still a way off being out in the UK, but director Rich Moore has already not only expressed a keen interest in pursuing a sequel, but announced that he's actively working on ideas for one!

Ralph Wrecks US Box-Office!

If more proof was needed that we're in the third golden age of Disney, here it is. Wreck-It Ralph's being lauded by critics, raved about by fans, and, as evident by these new figures, is raking in a fair amount of coins!

Walt Disney Animation Studios' 52nd animated feature took in a fantastic, estimated, $49.1 million across its opening weekend, says Box Office Mojo. This marks the highest ever opening for a Disney animated feature, beating out Tangled's 2010 $48.8 million opening weekend, and that went on to gross just shy of $591 million, so the future's very bright for Ralph! Box Office Mojo reports:

"The movie's audience skewed younger (57 percent under the age of 25) and male (55 percent), and they gave it a strong "A" CinemaScore. Considering the positive word-of-mouth and lack of competition over the next few weeks, Wreck-It Ralph could be on its way to as much as $200 million at the domestic box office."

In addition, the film took in an estimated $12 million in foreign territories, bringing its current estimated worldwide total, after only 3 days, to $61.1 million!

Wreck-It Ralph - which is preceded by John Kahrs' Paperman - opens here in the UK on 15th February.

First Look at Brave-Based The Legend of Mor'du Short

Another story I didn't get round to posting before my mini-break over the weekend: Entertainment Weekly have got the first images from Pixar's Brave-based short film, The Legend of Mor'du. The short film, based on the demon bear from Pixar's latest feature, will be a bonus feature on the Brave DVD and Blu-ray when they're released, and features Julie Walters as the Witch.

According to EW, the short goes "a little deeper into the backstory of the movie’s fearsome, snarling villain.". They also tell us that the short is (continuing Pixar's recent run of shorts) directed by a first-timer, Brian Larsen. Larsen worked as a storyboard artist on Ratatouille, and was story supervisor for Brave. Larsen describes The Legend of Mor'du as "like Grimm’s fairy tales" saying there's "not always a happy ending.”

The short is apparently in a different style to Pixar's norm; it seems it'll be like Your Friend the Rat, with CG sequences featuring the characters from the feature, and then more traditionally animated animation for the bulk of the short, more in the style of Mary Blair:

"The short is book-ended by Brave‘s cheerful witch (voiced by Harry Potter’s Julie Walters) recounting the tale of Mor’du for another, unseen customer seeking a potion that might change his fate. But as she flashes back to the savage prince’s backstory, we see it depicted in a kind of hand-painted, paper cut-out style."

Brave arrives on home media on 13th November in the US, and 26th in the UK.

Via The Pixar Post.

Sunday 4 November 2012

Monsters, Inc. 3D Review - See it With Your Own Eye!

*This review assumes you’ve seen Monsters, Inc. – if not, it contains spoilers.*

The latest Hollywood craze is 3D re-releases. Re-releases are nothing new, Walt Disney would frequently re-release his films – largely to recoup productions costs for films in production – but as 3D has become more and more a fixture in cinemas, studios increasingly opt to re-release their expansive libraries with an extra dimension. Titanic, Star Wars and The Lion King are just some of the big-name films to undergo this redubbing, with plans to release films like Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park in 3D too. Fans don’t mind, not so much because they like 3D as because they love seeing these classic films back on the big screen. Of course, it’s always a benefit when the 3D is good as well.

21 Animated Features Submitted for Oscar Consideration

Apologies for the mini-hiatus, guys, I've been in London watching Monsters, Inc. 3D (review up later)! But, it's back to business as usual, with this exciting news from Friday: the list of the 21 animated feature films that have been submitted to the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences for consideration for the Oscar for Best Animated Feature have been revealed.

Included among the running are likely favourites Brave, Wreck-It Ralph and ParaNorman. Check out the full list, with studios (where known), after the jump break - with links to trailers and reviews where appropriate:

Friday 2 November 2012

DreamWorks Release Spate of New Rise of the Guardians Featurettes

On the back of the release of the fantastic accompanying 'Art of' book, DreamWorks are hard at work promoting their latest animated feature film, Rise of the Guardians. Today, they bring us some fantastic new featurettes for the film, introducing us to each of the film's iconic characters; as well as one with words from the team behind them.

The featurette for Rise of the Guardians' reimagining of Santa Claus, North, voiced in the film by Alec Baldwin, is embedded above. Alas, DreamWorks have inexplicably disabled embedding for the remaining featurettes, so check them out at the links below!

Sandy in particular looks like a whole bunch of fun, and the all-star voice cast lends the film a lot of character. As for the animation, it looks every bit as gorgeous as the concept art The Art of Rise of the Guardians shows off!

The Guardians - described in the "Making Dreamsand" featurette by director Peter Ramsey as "the original superheroes" - arrive in cinemas on 21st November (US) and 30th November (UK), and I can't wait!

Wreck-It Ralph's Out Now in the US - What Are the Critics Saying?

Us unlucky blighters elsewhere in the world will have to suffer through months of rave reviews, but, as of today, American audiences can check out Walt Disney Animation Studios' 52nd animated feature film, Wreck-It Ralph, in cinemas! The film which takes place inside the world of arcade video-games, and is directed by Simpsons veteran Rich Moore, has been the most hotly anticipated animated film of the year, and, judging by reviews, it's been worth the wait.

Thursday 1 November 2012

New Despicable Me 2 Trailer

Universal and Illumination Entertainment have debuted a new trailer for Despicable Me 2 on iTunes Movie Trailers. It shows more of what we can expect story-wise from the follow-up to the 2010 hit: alien abductions, more minion focus (seguing into that planned spin-off maybe) - the return of Vector maybe? He was stranded in space at the end of the first film, and space is, after all, where most aliens would tend to be found.

Being a big fan of the original, this is quite exciting stuff! Let's just hope it turns out more like Despicable Me 1, and less like The Lorax. Be sure to watch in 720p, Illumination's animation is always fantastic.

This trailer will apparently play in front of Disney's Wreck-It Ralph, starting Friday. Despicable Me 2 is directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud, and is released on 28th June, 2013 (UK) and 3rd July, 2013 (US).