Tuesday 30 April 2013

The Fearsome Beastie Animated Short Film Now in Production


Briefly: A CG short film adaptation of Giles Paley-Phillips' award winning book, The Fearsome Beastie, is currently underway, with an aim for a 2014 release. Check out the official press release below:

April 19th 2013 sees the announcement of a CGI animation Short film of 'The Fearsome Beastie' by award winning author Giles Paley-Phillips.

The Book published by Maverick Arts Publishing will be adapted by Slurpy Studios and Co-Directed by Katie Steed and Jon Hunt, in collaboration with UCA

UCA has a prestigious track record in animation having produced four Oscar winners to date.

The Film will be completed during the summer of 2014 and will be launched on the festival circuit soon after.

'The Fearsome Beastie' has had much success since it's release in May 2011, having won the People's Book Prize in 2012 it has also been shortlisted for many other awards including The Rotherham children's Book award 2012 and The Heart of Hawick Children's Book Prize in 2013.

Merida Becomes Eleventh Disney Princess


Pixar's first fairytale didn't receive all the acclaim we expect from a Pixar release - sure, it won the Oscar, and we here at A113Animation were very high on it, but general consensus is that it was merely quite good. Nonetheless, Pixar seem to have found a lot of love within their parent company for the film's feisty fire-haired lead: Merida will officially become the eleventh Disney Princess on 11th May, Inside the Magic reports.

Exclusive: Concept Art from The Art of Epic


Next month, Blue Sky Studios will release their eighth feature film, the Chris Wedge-directed Epic. To prelude that release, Titan Books will release The Art of Epic, featuring a collection of gorgeous (and very green) concept art from the production of the film, on 3rd May. The kind PR folks over at Titan were nice enough to send us some over to share with you all.

Monday 29 April 2013

Introducing the A113Animation YouTube Channel!



As part of our ongoing expansion, we're pleased to officially unveil the A113Animation YouTube channel! Videos will be posted covering everything from news, to reviews, to opinions and everything in between. The first proper video from the channel, covering my updated thoughts on the A113Animation Award winning Best Animated Feature Film of 2012, Wreck-It Ralph, is live now - check it out above!

Sunday 28 April 2013

Iron Man 3 Review - Avengers Disassemble


*This review is largely spoiler free, and most plot-details mentioned are evident in the trailers, but read cautiously if you haven’t seen the film yet*

Marvel Studios are absolutely golden right now. Iron Man was big, Iron Man 2 was bigger (The Incredible Hulk, not so much), Captain America and Thor were no slouches either; but I don't think even Marvel knew how huge The Avengers was going to be. So coming on the back of that is a pretty unenviable task, yet one Iron Man 3 manages to accomplish with vigour, by fully addressing the events of last year's blockbuster smash and pondering "what next?". Although Iron Man 3 very loosely resembles its trailers - beyond a few key set pieces - it is nonetheless a fully enjoyable film.

Thursday 25 April 2013

Aardman News 13 - Shaun the Sheep Movie Details


Aardman have announced a partnership with producer-financer StudioCanal to craft the feature film debut of Shaun the Sheep. Shaun first appeared in the Oscar-winning Wallace and Gromit short, A Close Shave, and has since starred in his own, very popular, kids' TV series.

The good news for Aardman fans is that, much like their most recent hit, The Pirates! in an Adventure with Scientists, Shaun the Sheep will be animated in Aardman's trademark claymation style. It's being written and directed by Aardman veterans Mark Burton and Richard "Golly" Starzak. Golly directed two series of Creature Comforts, as well developing and co-directing the Shaun the Sheep TV series; Burton worked on Chicken Run.

French Animation, Chapitre 1 - The Triplets of Belleville


Foreword
This is the first in a series of French animated film reviews I will be doing in the near future. This won't be an exhaustive list, as I'll only be talking about films that deserve to be reviewed; there are a few that I think are not as renowned as they should be, and I'll using this column to help resolve this. Spoiler alert: all reviews will therefore be favorable to the movie they discuss.
And here it goes...

Watch: New Monsters University Trailer



While Disney are floundering about failing to promote their 53rd animated feature, they're doing a bang-up job hyping Pixar's fourteenth feature, (and, by the sounds of it, fourteenth hitMonsters University. Today, that includes rolling out another hilarious new trailer for the Dan Scanlon-directed Monsters, Inc. prequel!

Wednesday 24 April 2013

Munir's Disney Retrospective -- Animated Classic #15: Lady and the Tramp (1955)


For his next feature film, Walt Disney departed fairy tales and magical lands, instead focusing on a more down-to earth story about two dogs that fall in love. Set against a lovely turn of the century town, Lady and the Tramp is the quintessential love story. Two dogs from different classes fall for each other, but have to overcome a lot of obstacles in order to be together. That may not sound all too great, but the truth is that Lady and the Tramp is one of the most compelling stories ever created by the studio (and the first one created in the CinemaScope format allowing for a wider aspect ratio). The romanticism in the movie is brilliantly executed without becoming obnoxious, and the ‘Bella Notte’ scene is one of the best ever created for film. It's hard not to fall in love with this movie when every aspect of it is a labour of love. Rating: 5/5.

Next Week: Animated Classic #16 Review: Sleeping Beauty (1959)

First Animated Look at Frozen 'Leaked'


Disney's non-existent Frozen ad campaign may be starting to finally to ramp up; the first animation from the Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee-directed film, complete with an intro from the former, has just made its way online.

Tuesday 23 April 2013

Futurama Cancelled... Again.


Comedy Central has officially announced that it will not be ordering more episodes of the futuristic animated series. According to Entertainment Weekly, the last 13 episodes of the series (now in its seventh season) will begin airing from 19th June, finishing on 4th September.

Rainmaker Will Release a Ratchet & Clank Animated Film in 2015!


Variety reports that Rainmaker Entertainment, who most recently released the critically panned Escape from Planet Earth, are making a feature length animated film out of the popular PlayStation sci-fi platformer game series, Ratchet & Clank!

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 2 [Blu-ray] Review


Overview

After a great introduction in The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1, the highly anticipated conclusion has arrived to end Batman’s epic journey. Does it meet the high expectations fans had? I have to answer that with a resounding yes. TDKR, Part 2 is a fantastic, action-packed adventure that concludes Batman’s epic quest on a very high note.

Watch: Teaser Trailer for Thor: The Dark World



Just ahead of the release of their Shane Black-directed Iron Man threequel (3rd May in the US, this Thursday in the UK), Disney and Marvel have rolled out the teaser trailer for the second film in Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Thor: The Dark World.

The teaser - which is the latest in the line of big-budget sci-fi flicks that seem to enjoy destroying London - comes via iTunes Movie Trailers, and is embedded above via YouTube. Much as Iron Man 3 seems a lot darker than its predecessors, so too does Thor 2 look a bit more adult - I'm certainly getting a Lord of the Rings vibe from it. That said, it does look freaking great - visually, thematically, it just works.

Thor: The Dark World is directed by Games of Thrones' Alan Taylor, and smashes its way into US cinemas on 8th November, while it hits the UK a week earlier on 30th October.

~

I'm posting about this right now, but I won't be doing in the near future; A113Animation has a vacancy for a live-action Disney writer, covering, amongst other things, Disney's Marvel releases. If you're interested in the position, see here for details.

First Look: How to Train Your Dragon 2


At CinemaCon last week, as part of their extensive animation panel, Fox treated attendees to a little look at the sequel to DreamWorks' acclaimed 2010 hit. Today, some pictures, showing promotional material for How to Train Your Dragon 2, have surfaced online.

Sunday 21 April 2013

Oriental DreamWorks To Adapt The Tibet Code


The Hollywood Reporter says that DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg has announced plans for Oriental DreamWorks to adapt the immensely popular Chinese book series, The Tibet Code, with a view towards turning it into a franchise.

The series follows "the adventures a two men on the hunt for Buddhist treasures," so DreamWorks will presumably be hoping to evoke Indiana Jones comparisons; the books themselves have been several times compared to the Harry Potter series. The project is to be a collaboration between Oriental DreamWorks, China Film Group and The National Film Fund of China. The commercial potential of the films is huge, particularly so in China, with Katzenberg stating "Tibet Code has all the makings of a world-class, quality, blockbuster franchise."

Oriental DreamWorks is the animation powerhouse's Beijing-based satellite studio, which is currently working on Kung Fu Panda 3. Writing for Tibet Code is set to begin shortly.

Related news: Exciting New Additions to Kung Fu Panda 3 Voice Cast

Introducing the New A113Animation Logo


Yesterday we announced that we're expanding over here at A113Animation. We've got two vacancies at the moment, for Studio Ghibli and Live-action Disney writers; we've launched a shiny new YouTube channel, which we'll be posting some exciting animation news, reviews and opinions to in the coming weeks. As part of our expansion, we decided it was time for a bit of a revamp.

So, Damien stepped in and whipped up this awesome new logo - keeping the Toy Story title panache, but bringing in a more diverse range of animated characters, all hoisting high the mighty A113Animation logo.

Thanks to Damien for the new banner, and watch this space, as we continue to expand in new and exciting directions.

Hayao Miyazaki's New Film To Be Released in Japan in July

The beautiful poster for The Wind Rises.

In exciting news, Studio Ghibli's newest project has been given a release date in Japan. The Wind Rises (Kaze Tachinu) will be released in Japan on 20th July, 2013, Far East Films reports. Written and directed by Academy Award-winning director Hayao Miyazaki, five years after his last project (2008's Ponyo), The Wind Rises will be a welcome return for the beloved and acclaimed director. Frequent Miyazaki collaborator, composer Joe Hisaishi, also returns to score the film.

The Wind Rises is an adaptation of Miyazaki's own 2009 manga and tells the story of historic World War II Zero fighter designer Jirō Horikoshi. Similar to Porco Rosso, this film will tackle Miyazaki's passion for flying and aeroplanes, although a detailed synopsis isn't available at this time.

The only downside to this news, is that we'll have to wait a little longer until it gets released in the Western Hemisphere; but we can expect another Miyazaki classic with gorgeous animation and an impressive story.

Are you excited for The Wind Rises?

Wreck-It Ralph Blu-ray Review - Did the Bonus Features Go Turbo?


The most recent film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios, Wreck-It Ralph, was a winner in every sense of the word. It was a hit at the box-office, so much so that a sequel could very well see the light in only a few years - director Rich Moore even mentioned some possible plot points for the likely follow up.
It was a hit critically too. People embraced the characters and their unique world. Many even called Wreck-It Ralph the best animated film of 2012. Including this very blog and its readers (yes, you!).

Saturday 20 April 2013

[UPDATED] Oliver and Company Heading to Blu-ray on 6th August


Following The Little Mermaid's big announcement, another 80s title (although a much more obscure one) is quietly being released on Blu-ray this summer. Walt Disney Home Entertainment has officially announced the release of the Oliver and Company: 25th Anniversary Edition on 6th August. While there is no press release (and don't expect one), it appears on their official website. Exact technical details are yet to be revealed but bonus features are already listed. Here's what can you expect in this set:
  • Two Bonus Shorts: "Lend a Paw" and "Puss Cafe"
  • Disney Sing-Along Mode
  • Disney's Animated Animals
  • The Making of Oliver and Company
  • And More!

These appear to be the same bonus features found on the current DVD, and since Oliver isn't a very popular title, I wouldn't expect any new material. Pre-orders are not available at the moment, but stay tuned for updates.

UPDATE - 19/05/2013, 20:35 (GMT): The title is now available for pre-order on Amazon.com and will come in a Blu-ray/DVD Combo pack.


A113Animation is Expanding: Writers Wanted


A113Animation is an animation news, reviews, views and interviews site. Life often gets in the way though, and often I'm so engrossed by the constant glut of exciting animation news that I don't have time for many other features. Reviews come as frequently as films and books do, but there're no retrospectives from me; I've a couple of really rather fun interviews coming in the next couple of months, but interviews aren't here every week. And the other features I write have somewhat fallen into disarray.

The Little Mermaid Officially Announced and Detailed for Blu-Ray Release!

Blu-Ray and DVD (BD packaging)

In very exciting news, Disney has officially detailed the Diamond Edition release of one its most beloved films, 1989's The Little Mermaid. Confirming the previously announced date of 1st Oct. in the US (there's no release date for the UK yet, but an announcement can't be far off), Mermaid will be released in four different versions: A Blu-ray/DVD Combo in BD packaging (top), the same set in DVD packaging, a Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy Combo and, confirming previous rumours, a Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy/Music Download Combo.

Friday 19 April 2013

Fox at CinemaCon: Dragon 2, Peabody, Epic, Peanuts and More!


Disney had a very packed showing at CinemaCon this week, splashing details and footage from their Star Wars, Marvel and Pixar properties (although very little from their own animated films), but 20th Century Fox weren't slouching with the promotion for their own powerful animation stable either.

New UK Poster for Monsters University


The UK often get a raw deal when it comes to release dates, but we do get some really rather nifty posters. Yesterday, Disney's UK PR team sent us out this cool new poster for Monsters University (due in UK cinemas on 12th July), showing some of the pranks Sulley seems to enjoy pulling on Mike.

Wednesday 17 April 2013

DreamWorks Bits: The Croods To Get a Sequel; New Turbo Poster


This shouldn't come as too much of a surprise to those who've been keeping up to date with how the film's been performing at the box office (particularly, that it's a significant improvement over Rise of the Guardians), but Deadline reports that DreamWorks have green-lit a sequel to The Croods - which will be announced at CinemaCon tomorrow (check out our coverage of Disney's CinemaCon news here).

UPDATED - Disney at CinemaCon: Inside Out, The Good Dinosaur, Star Wars, Tomorrowland and More!


CinemaCon has been going on today in Las Vegas, and the biggest film studios around have a presence there - included, obviously, is Disney and their many exciting subsidiaries. Here's some of the cool news stories to come out of the event:

It's only mildly intriguing, because we'd already heard strong speculation from several sources, but Disney and Pixar have confirmed that Pete Docter's inside-the-mind film is called Inside Out and scheduled for a US release date of 19th June, 2015 (which they released at CinemaCon last year) - the UK release date is currently 7th August, 2015. Now, is this the upcoming Pixar film that Michael Giacchino's scoring?

Munir's Disney Retrospective -- Animated Classic #14: Peter Pan (1953)


By Munir Abedrabbo.

Last Week's: Munir's Disney Retrospective -- Animated Classic #13: Alice in Wonderland (1951)


After a lukewarm reception for Alice in Wonderland, audiences more openly embraced Disney's next feature film: Peter Pan, based on the classic J.M. Barrie novel. Disney’s version is much lighter than its source material, and some darker themes from the book aren't addressed in the film - but that doesm't mean the film suffers from it. Peter Pan is the quintessential adventure film, with breathtaking flight scenes, a likeable hero, a compelling and funny villain, some magic and a lot of action packed scenes. The film is so much fun that both children and grown-ups will be fully entertained by it. Even though Walt expressed some dissatisfaction with the film, he had created another classic, filled with memorable characters that still enchant 60 years after their debut. Rating: 4.5/5.

Next Week: Animated Classic #15 Review: Lady and the Tramp (1955)

Tuesday 16 April 2013

Monsters University Voice Cast Revealed - Here's Who John Ratzenberger's Playing!


As we march inexorably forward and Pixar's fourteenth feature film looms ever more, Entertainment Weekly have today got some exclusive details on who will be lending their voices to Monsters University - as well as some new posters and images from the film!

Monday 15 April 2013

Mulan Blu-ray Review - I'll Make an HD Man Out of You

©Disney

Mulan is available to own on Disney Blu-ray™ from today

Four Disney films arrive on Blu-ray here in the UK today: Aladdin, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Brother Bear and Mulan. Rounding off our quadrilogy of reviews is this one of the HD transfer of Disney's 1998 animated classic. Given that the primary focus of A113Animation is news, often there are many an old film on which I haven't made clear my opinion - allow me to rectify this particular instance: I love Mulan. The film is funny, has great music, is very dark in places, has a great villain, a great voice cast and, the most recent addition, a pretty damn good Blu-ray package.

Sunday 14 April 2013

Damien Reviews The Croods


By Damien.

The Croods is a very good film... sort of

The latest DreamWorks Animation effort, while not the best the studio has given us in the last few years, is still a very solid movie. And this should not be a surprise, as it was co-directed by Chris Sanders, one of the men responsible for what is arguably the best DreamWorks Animation film to date: How to Train Your Dragon.
Still, as I stated before, The Croods come with flaws. Some big, some minor. As always when it comes to reviews, what you will read here is only subjective, but I will try my best to explain what I think the issues and the strengths of The Croods are.

Fantastic New Batch of Monsters University Concept Art

Monsters University Scare School colour exploration -- Dice Tsutsumi
(digital, 2010)

Pixar's fourteenth feature film is fast approaching, but almost as eagerly anticipated - particularly going off how vibrant and beautiful the trailers have been - is the accompanying Art of book, The Art of Monsters University. To help hype both the book and the film, and give us all a peek at how the talented artists at Pixar created the extended monster world for Monsters U, Disney and Pixar have rolled out an array of beautiful new concept art.

UPDATED: Michael Giacchino Working On An Unspecified Upcoming Pixar Film

Giacchino (right) with Up director Pete Docter (left).

As part of the promotion for next month's Star Trek Into Darkness, composer Michael Giacchino spoke to Swiss blog Owley, to whom he revealed that he is working on another film for Pixar!

This will mark Giacchino's fifth feature film collaboration with the Oscar-laden studio, after previously composing the scores for The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Up and Cars 2. Which film exactly, though, wasn't specified, and Giacchino offered up a very nondescript "a Pixar film". We know that Thomas Newman is scoring Bob Peterson's The Good Dinosaur, and can only he assume that he's also returning to score Finding Dory, so it would seem likely that Giacchino is going to be collaborating with Up director Pete Docter again, on his new film, Inside Out - currently due 19th June, 2015. UPDATE - 14/04/2013, 19:24 (GMT): Owley himself commented below that the actual original English quotation was:


"Michael Giacchino: Also, there is a project I cannot tell you about. And, a future Pixar thing. I can't tell you about that either.

Owley: So, is that a project that hasn't been spoken of yet?

MG: Yeah."

That certainly seems to imply that Giacchino's working on an as of yet unmentioned Pixar film (Teddy Newton's feature?), but it could just be a matter of the phrasing, and our money's still on Inside Out.

Giacchino is also scheduled to collaborate with The Incredibles director Brad Bird again, on his second live-action feature, Tomorrowland.

Via Big Screen Animation.

Saturday 13 April 2013

Video of the Day: The Walking Dead Opening - Toy Story Style



The Walking Dead/Toy Story memes are clearly very in right now. A couple of weeks ago, we shared with you some bizarrely accurate reasoning as to why AMC's hit zombie-drama and Pixar's anthropomorphic trilogy are essentially the same. Today, some witty so-and-so has recreated The Walking Dead's opening with Toy Story characters and iconography.

I wonder if Toy Story of Terror! may end up looking a bit like this... Check it out above.

Related posts: "I Am the D'ohnger": Breaking Bad Meets The Simpsons in New Couch Gag

Inside Moon Bear: Discarded Storyboards and More



Last week we introduced you to Moon Bear, the great animated short being Kickstarted by Scotty Jo (of The Scotty Jo Podcast). The short is based on a storybook Scott made in college and is in the early stages of production. As such, he recently rolled out the above video, explaining the paramount importance of storyboarding and offering up some discarded boards from the short - set to Michael Giacchino's magnificent Up score.

Friday 12 April 2013

Brother Bear Blu-ray Review - A Flawed But Well-Rounded Set, Eh

©Disney

Brother Bear is available to own on Disney Blu-ray™ from 15th April 2013

The third of four Disney movies that are coming to UK Blu-ray players on 15th April is one often cited as a low-point for the studio, 2003's Brother Bear. That's because Brother Bear, the 44th feature animated film from Disney, came in the midst of an ostensible dark age for the Mouse House, amidst a storm of creatively damp and visually uninspired films like Dinosaur and Home on the Range. I put it to you though, that Brother Bear is in fact quite a good film: sweet, well-meaning and visually inventive - if not particularly groundbreaking. The Blu-ray, likewise, is a good, but flawed, package.

Lay Your Eye on This: New Monsters University Still


A new still from Pixar's summer release, Monsters University, was rolled out onto the film's Facebook page today, with the caption "Mike and Sulley didn't always see eyes to eye," showing the scaring duo's formerly adversarial relationship at its height. The lighting and staging are immaculate, as is the use of colour - Chronicle Books' The Art of Monsters University will surely be fantastic!

Monsters University is directed by Dan Scanlon (Mater and the Ghostlight), produced by Kori Rae (Tokyo Mater) and returns the voices of John Goodman and Billy Crystal to the lead roles. Pixar's first prequel releases in the US on 21st June, and in the UK on 12th July.

"I Am the D'ohnger": Breaking Bad Meets The Simpsons in New Couch Gag



Much like the fan-made picture we shared a while back, The Simpsons is being mashed up with Breaking Bad, but in a more official manner this time: The Huffington Post shared the above video, which is the couch gag from the next episode of the hit Fox animated series.

The episode, What Animated Women Want, will star the voices of Wanda Sykes and Internet-God George Takei and airs in the US this Sunday on Fox. In the meantime, enjoy the show's opening, in which Marge cooks up some of that sweet blue stuff - cupcakes, that is - on repeat.

Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston has previously lent his voice to the season 23 Simpsons episode, The Spy Who Learned Me. Both he and co-star Aaron Paul appeared in hilarious fashion at the end of the gag. News broke on Wednesday that Cranston had joined the cast of DreamWorks' Kung Fu Panda 3.

Breaking Bad begins the final stretch of its final season this summer - although a spin-off may already be in the works. Interestingly, Matt Groening once toyed with the idea of a live-action Krusty the Clown.

Sorry for the terrible pun in the title. Couldn't resist.

Wednesday 10 April 2013

Munir's Disney Retrospective -- Animated Classic #13: Alice in Wonderland (1951)


By Munir Abedrabbo.

Last Week's: Munir's Disney Retrospective -- Animated Classic #12: Cinderella (1950)

Adapted from one of Walt’s favourite stories (Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland), Alice didn't get the same warm reception Cinderella got a year earlier. Many critics (British especially) didn't like the film, calling it dull or saying it butchered a classic piece of British literature. Even Walt himself was dissatisfied with the final product and, for many years, Alice remained a black ship in the studio's canon. Years later, Alice is not only regarded as a much better film, but has earned its status as a classic. In retrospect, it's easy to appreciate the level of artistry that went into this film. The character animation is astounding and the colours are breathtaking. Moreover, the nonsensical story and sequences are charming and fun and the film moves at a brisk pace that never feels tiresome. The only fatal flaw is the ‘Tulgey Wood’ sequence where all of the film's high energy is drained in a dull moment that nearly kills the movie. Fortunately, after this the movie picks up again and delivers a satisfying conclusion. Alice may not be a masterpiece or a flawless classic, but it's still a fun adventure and a very solid offering from the studio. Rating: 4.5/5.

Next Week: Animated Classic #14 Review: Peter Pan (1953)

Exciting New Additions to Kung Fu Panda 3 Voice Cast


The Hollywood Reporter says that Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Rebel Wilson (Pitch Perfect) and Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale) have all joined the cast of DreamWorks' martial arts-threequel in unspecified roles.

Monday 8 April 2013

Watch: Stunning New Argentinian Short Film, Shave it



Check out this wonderfully bizarre and visually stunning animated short film from Argentinian animation house, 3dar. The plot synopsis for the short, Shave it, is given as:

"In the wilderness of the forests where giant bulldozers are tearing apart the woods there is a monkey that accidentally finds a shaving machine and decides to use it. Spontaneously disguised as a human being, he moves out to the city and starts a career. After a stunning success in business, he understands the need of gaining political power. Not too long after, he becomes the president. Now he is ready to make a change."

Sunday 7 April 2013

The Hunchback of Notre Dame Blu-ray Review - Pretty Nice Looking For a Hunchback

©Disney

The Hunchback of Notre Dame is available to own on Disney Blu-ray™ from 15th April 2013

Alongside Aladdin (the hi-def release of which, there still isn't a firm US release date for), three really rather good animated Disney films are coming to UK Blu-ray players on 15th April: Mulan, Brother Bear and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (and, yes, I did just call Brother Bear rather good). The latter three releases are already out Stateside, but Disney were kind enough to send me out advance review copies of the UK releases of the films, - check out our Aladdin Blu-ray review here - second on the agenda: Hunchback.

The Croods Review - Prehistoric Fun, Feels and Visual Splendour


*This review is largely spoiler free, but read cautiously if you haven’t seen the film yet*

2012 was an up-and-down year for DreamWorks Animation, with the strong performance of Madagascar 3, but the commercial disappointment associated with Rise of the Guardians (although only in the über-competitive and expensive world of  animation can a gross of $300 million not be a great thing), but 2013 seems to be off to a good start so far. The studio's first film of the year is out now and you know what? The Croods is good. Reviews have been tepidly enthusiastic and, certainly, The Croods isn't up there with How to Train Your Dragon or Kung Fu Panda 2, but it is still a very fun, very funny and suitably warm film - just another in DreamWorks' recent string of really good animated pictures.

Thursday 4 April 2013

Watch: Siskel & Ebert Review Toy Story -- RIP, Roger Ebert



A113Animation is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of the world's finest, best-known and most respected movie reviewer, the irreplaceable Roger Ebert. Known and celebrated as a champion of the great and a sardonic derider of the mediocre, Ebert had been reviewing movies for The Chicago Sun-Times for 46 years.

He was also well known for his reviewing partnership with Gene Siskel. From said partnership, check out Siskel & Ebert's TV review of Toy Story, from way-back-when in 1995. It speaks to how knowing both men were, that they correctly predicted that this rather groundbreaking CG flick would change everything for animation.

In a sadly ironic manner, the critic announced a "leave of presence" only two days ago, due to the re-emergence of his cancer and latent health problems. Today, The Chicago Sun-Times announced his passing, at the age of 70 - alas, cancer takes another great human being. Rest in peace, Mr. Ebert, in the knowledge that, for us here at least, you've forever changed how we watch a movie.

Our thoughts and condolences to the Ebert family, as we leave you with this apt quote from the Sun-Times:

"Roger Ebert loved movies.

Except for those he hated."

Back The Moon Bear Animated Short on Kickstarter


You guys remember Scotty Jo, right? Friend of the blog who's been kind enough to have me over on his podcast and let me ramble about animation twice now (with a third time coming up shortly). Well, he's working on a little animated short film of his own, Moon Bear. Moon Bear is based on a storybook Scott himself made in college, a touching story about loneliness, all told in a charming visual style.

Munir's Disney Retrospective -- Animated Classic #12: Cinderella (1950)


By Munir Abedrabbo.

Make Sure You've Read: Munir's Disney Retrospective -- Silver Age (Part 1) Introduction

Cinderella represented a huge gamble for the Disney studio. After a decade that didn't turn a profit, Walt desperately needed a hit to keep the studio afloat. In order to do so, he returned to fairy tales (something that proved successful with Snow White) and, as usual invested a lot of his own talent and funds to make it. The result was not only a huge hit at the time, but a movie that is still fondly remembered even now. Cinderella is pure Disney formula: a damsel in distress, a heinous villain, a handsome prince, cute animals aides and a little magical help. Many cynics have scorned this and criticised the film for not being remarkable enough, but I think what's remarkable about it is how well executed all these traditional elements are. This film proves once more that Walt Disney was a master storyteller and it's another bright spot in his enormous legacy. Rating: 4.5/5.

Next Week: Animated Classic #13 Review: Alice in Wonderland (1951)

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

Terry Crews Brings Us An Excited Peek at Cloudy 2



The always entertaining Terry Crews will have the unenviable task of filling Mr. T's shoes when he replaces him in voicing Officer Earl in Sony Pictures Animation's September release, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2. So, the White Chicks and Expendables star today brings us a nature documentary-meets-Jurassic Park style clip, as he narrates a sighting of the elusive 'sasquash'. The clip features gorgeous animation, a healthy dose of quirky humour and a whole lot of food puns - check it out above.

Directed by Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn, and executive produced by the directors of the original (who are currently directing The Lego Movie for Warner Bros.), Phil Lord and Chris Miller, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 hits cinemas on 27th September (US)/25th October (UK).

Wednesday 3 April 2013

Watch: New Sneak Peek at Planes



Disney are sure promoting Planes rather heavily; last week they rolled out extensive voice cast details and a fun new poster. Yesterday, the studio released a "special sneak peek" at the spin-off from Pixar's Cars, which is being handled by DisneyToon Studios.

The clip features Dane Cook's Dusty showing his racing prowess against a couple of jets. Sure, the dialogue and voice acting is a bit cheesy, but the animation's superb, the tone and music are very well handled and the creative, plane-inspired backgrounds are very clever. All in all, Planes is looking set to be a surprise hit when it opens in August (9th in US, 16th in UK).

Want to know a bit more? Our friends over at The Rotoscopers have put together a podcast about their impressions from the test screening. Check it out here.

Munir's Disney Retrospective -- Silver Age (Part 1) Introduction


By Munir Abedrabbo.

Silver Age (1950-1977)
The 50s

Overview

After a very difficult decade, Walt Disney returned to the feature-length animated form, which he hadn't visited since Bambi in 1942. What followed was a decade of great expansion, not only in the animation department, but also in the introduction of television, - which brought forth a new area of interest for Walt. Also, the culmination of his largest undertaking yet, Disneyland - a long gestating dream which can easily be called the peak of the decade for Walt. But, even with Walt's interests in other areas, the animation department produced five films that can arguably be called classics by today's standards. From the studio-saving Cinderella, to the ambitious and one of a kind Sleeping Beauty, the 50s was a return to form for Walt and his studio and another achievement in his illustrious career.



Tomorrow: Animated Classic #12 Review: Cinderella (1950)

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

Tuesday 2 April 2013

Pixar Officially Announce Finding Dory For 2015 Release


Nope, this isn't a late April Fool's joke, you know that Finding Nemo sequel we've been hearing about for months now? Well, it's happening, it's coming in November 2015 and it's called Finding Dory. The sequel was as good as confirmed anyway, but Ellen DeGeneres, who voices the now-titular blue tang (and was said to be in talks to return to the role last summer) officially announced the film earlier today.