Friday 31 May 2013

William Talks Pixar with Pixar Corner

Al of Pixar Corner has started up a new feature, The Luxo Limelight, asking a series of personal Pixar questions to super-fans from all over the Web. I'm very fortunate to be the first interviewee, and our email chat is now live over on Pixar Corner!

Surprisingly, I said my favourite Pixar film is Toy Story 2; head on over now to check out all my responses. And Al is eager to accommodate all manner of Pixar fans, so shoot him an email at if you're interested. Be sure get following the site, if you're not already, it's a great read.

Munir's Disney Retrospective -- Animated Classic #20: The Aristocats (1970)

Make Sure You've Read: Munir's Disney Retrospective -- Silver Age (Part 3) Introduction

The Aristocats was the final film to have Walt’s approval, but he didn't see its development. After the huge success of The Jungle Book in 1967, The Aristocats didn't do as well as its predecessor and, in terms of quality, is also not on par with it. The Aristocats tells the story of Madame Bonfamille, a rich French old lady who wants to leave all her inheritance to her beloved cats: Duchess and her three kittens, Toulouse, Marie and Berlioz. This is not well received by the lady’s faithful butler Edgar, and he plans to get rid of the cats so he can inherit everything. He leaves the cats in the outskirts of Paris and they embark on an adventure to return home, with the help of a stray cat named Thomas O’Malley. The Aristocats is the definition of fun. While the beginning of the film is slow, once the cats are lost, all the adventure begins and it's a very entertaining journey with lots of funny moments and action. The problem with the film is that it lacks some recognizable characters and tends to be forgettable (which is not the case with The Jungle Book). The animation isn't very inspired and lacks some of the grandeur of early productions. What saves the picture though are the excellent and catchy songs by the Sherman Brothers, and the infinite amount of gags in the story (the sequence with the geese is a particular highlight). All in all, The Aristocats may not be a groundbreaking film but it still offers tons of fun and good-hearted entertainment. Rating: 4/5.

Next Week: Animated Classic #21 Review: Robin Hood (1973)

Pirates of the Caribbean 5 Directors Named

Despite the fourth chapter of the Pirates of the Caribbean films, On Stranger Tides, series being critically underwhelming, Disney are going ahead with a fifth, and have found a director - or directors, rather - for it.

Thursday 30 May 2013

Monsters University: Final Trailer and New Clips

With less than a month to go until the US release of Pixar's fourteenth feature film, promotion for Monsters University is reaching an exciting zenith. Over the last few days we've got a series of new clips for the film, and today we got its final trailer, boasting a lot of new footage and a look at the film's emotional core.

Disney and Pixar Slot Eight New Animated Releases In For 2016 - 2018

Box Office Mojo reports that Disney have nabbed release dates for a grand total of 8 new, untitled animated releases between 2016 and 2018. The site labels them as:

  • Untitled Disney Animation - 4th March, 2016
  • Untitled Pixar Animation - 17th June, 2016
  • Untitled Disney Animation - 23rd November, 2016
  • Untitled Pixar Animation - 16th June, 2017
  • Untitled Pixar Animation - 22nd November, 2017
  • Untitled Disney Animation - 8th March, 2018
  • Untitled Pixar Animation - 15th June, 2018
  • Untitled Disney Animation - 21st November, 2018

Wednesday 29 May 2013

Munir's Disney Retrospective -- Silver Age (Part 3) Introduction

Last Week's: Munir's Disney Retrospective -- Animated Classic #19: The Jungle Book (1967)

Silver Age (1950-1977)
The 70s


With Walt gone, the animation studio entered the 70s filled with uncertainty. The “Nine Old Men” took charge of the studio but it's undeniable that some of the ‘magic’ was lost in this decade. Carried by the motto “What Would Walt Do?" (a motto that was used until the mid-80s when the company made big changes and went for a different direction, the animators played it “safe” and produced animated features that, while fun, didn't break new ground story-wise or technologically speaking. Many refer to this decade as the beginning of the “Dark Age” that was prevalent at the company until the late 80s, but I think that, while the films released in this era can’t (for the most part) surpass their predecessors, they were still made by the same men and women that made all the Walt-era classics and are pretty entertaining and often heartfelt too. For that reason, these films represent the final batch of the classic era that started in the 1930s with Snow White.

WWE to Produce Straight-to-DVD Animated Flintstones Film. Yes, Really.

Warner Bros. announced today that they were partnering up with, get this, WWE to produce a new straight-to-DVD and Blu-ray animated Flintstones movie, starring a cast of wrestlers, including John Cena and CM Punk. The irony being that John Cena recently replaced Fred Flintstone as the long-time face of Fruity Pebbles.

DreamWorks Bits: New Turbo Poster and Trolls Director Announced

DreamWorks have had quite the success with their first feature film of 2013; The Croods has currently raked in upwards of $563 million. They'll be hoping for a repeat of that with their summer release, the Ryan Reynolds-starring escargot-adventure, Turbo. Today the studio rolled out another new poster for the film.

Tuesday 28 May 2013

Watch: New Trailer for Disney's Planes

If Disney are trying to stress that this isn't a Pixar film and is not an official Cars film, they're not doing a great job; starting this new trailer with stands full of spectating cars - which could have been ripped straight from Cars or Cars 2 - and commentator Brent Mustangburger - who also featured in Cars 2 - certainly doesn't make it look inherently different. It fits into the Cars world well, but this isn't going to help tell people that Planes is not a Pixar film...

Monday 27 May 2013

Classic Cartoons #13 - Three Little Pigs

And now the story of an A113Animation feature that fell by the wayside, and the one blogger who eventually remembered to revive it: it's our Classic Cartoons feature.

Today seemed an apt day to bring back the series, as it marks the 80th anniversary of one of Walt Disney's earliest landmarks, the Oscar winning short film, Three Little Pigs. Released on this day in 1933, the short - and the best-selling Frank Churchill song that resides within it - would go on to symbolise the American resolve against the Great Depression. It would win the Academy Award for Best Short Subject: Cartoons in 1934, and was inducted into the US National Film Registry for perpetual preservation in 2007. Directed by Burt Gillett and produced by Walt himself, savour in the immutable majesty of Three Little Pigs again today.

New Monsters University Promo, "Acceptance Letter"

Pixar have just rolled out a sweet promo for Monsters University, showing off some new footage and focusing on the Oozma Kappa fraternity to which Mike and Sulley belong in the film. It certainly seems as though acceptance and friendship are going to be the main themes of the film - and gorgeous animation and great humour are just nice little bonuses.

Monsters University hits US cinemas on 21st June and UK ones on 12th July.

Sunday 26 May 2013

This Week on A113Animation (20th - 26th May, 2013)

This week hasn't been quite as hectic as the one before it, but there's still been a lot of animation news breaking over the past 7 days. Trailers, rumours, reviews and more were posted on A113Animation this week; check out a breakdown of everything you may have missed below.

French Animation, Chapitre 4 - Ernest & Celestine

Previously: Persepolis

What is it?
Ernest & Celestine is loosely based on a series of books written by Gabrielle Vincent between 1981 and 2000; it's the story of an impossible friendship between a mouse and a bear. The film opened in France in December 2012, and is heading for a Fall 2013 release date in the United States - not sure about the rest of the world though. 
In the following review, I'll try to convince you to see Ernest & Celestine when you get the chance. You've been warned.

Saturday 25 May 2013

The Art of Epic Review - Fifty Shades of Green

The latest film from the studio who previously brought you Ice Age and Robots is out in cinemas now; as such, Titan have released an accompanying Art of book for the Chris Wedge film. We've actually had a copy of the book for a month or so, but schedules being what they are, we've not had the chance to review it until now. If you're in the UK, you can win yourself a free copy too, by entering our competition here. Before that though, check out our review below.

Friday 24 May 2013

From Up on Poppy Hill Review: A Grown-Up Twist on a Coming-of-Age Story

*This review is mostly spoiler free, but proceed with caution.*

Studio Ghibli has been known for its amazing imagery and intricate storytelling, incorporating everything from the supernatural (Kiki's Delivery Service), to the futuristically natural (Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind), to the anachronistically wonderful (Castle in the Sky). However, every once in a while they do something a little different. Similar in tone and approach as Only Yesterday, From Up on Poppy Hill is a rarity in the the world of animated films. It attempts to balance a coming-of-age romance story, with the pivotal self discovery of our two protagonists.

New Monsters University Clip Shows Mike and Sulley's "First Morning"

Pixar's Monsters University advertising is quickly ramping up to the studio's usual frenzied peaks; a couple of days ago we got a new mini-trailer for the film and late yesterday we got one of the first official clips from the film.

"First Morning" shows Mike and Sulley's... well, their first morning, in the house of their fraternity, Oozma Kappa, it seems. It shows the perfectly-timed shedding joke we've seen in previous trailers, and gives us a little glimpse at the pre-Inc. relationship between Billy Crystal's Mike Wazowski and John Goodman's Sulley.

The animation is as stunning and the comedy as golden as we've come to expect from Pixar and their previous Monsters film. Monsters U, directed by Dan Scanlon and produced by Kori Rae, hits US cinemas on 21st June, and UK ones on 12th July.

Simpsons Writer and Clone Wars Producer Join Angry Birds

Rovio have announced that Jon Vitti, whose previous credits include The Simpsons and The Office, will pen the screenplay for their upcoming animated Angry Birds movie. Vitti, a Harvard graduate, won an Emmy for his work on King of the Hill, as well writing a couple of episodes of The US Office and being one of eleven credited writers for The Simpsons Movie. Worryingly though, he also co-wrote the Alvin and the Chipmunks film.

Thursday 23 May 2013

Leaked Frozen Images Seem to Confirm Character Designs

Internet leakers continue to provide a better marketing campaign for Frozen than Disney. Today, images surfaced online which seem to confirm the designs of the film's central sisters, Anna and Elsa, that we glimpsed in the fake posters released a few months back.

New Star Wars TV Series, Rebels, Coming 2014

Disney have caught a lot of flack on a lot of things since their $4.05 billion acquisition of Lucasfilm back in October: layoffs at ILM, shuttering LucasArts, and, most recently, cancelling Star Wars: The Clone Wars, after a five series run on Cartoon Network. Not that this should be a surprise, but an acquisition by Disney definitely doesn't mean there will be less animation coming from the franchise; in fact, a new TV series, Star Wars Rebels, was announced only a few days ago.

Wednesday 22 May 2013

Watch: Raving New Monster University Trailer

Pixar have put a lot of viral marketing-effort into highlighting the academic side of Monsters University, but the last few weeks have brought the focus onto the other side of the college experience. Continuing that trend, today's new minute-long trailer is packed with dancing, DJs, partying, pranks and a whole lot of fun!

The new mini-trailer also features a new song, "Roar", by Swedish House Mafia's Sebastian Ingrosso. Monsters U is composed by Randy Newman, and also features a track from heavy metal band Mastodon. Head on over to iTunes Movie Trailers to check the latest trailer out.

Pixar's fourteenth feature film hits US cinemas on 21st June, and UK ones on 12th July.

Munir's Disney Retrospective -- Animated Classic #19: The Jungle Book (1967)

Last Week's: Munir's Disney Retrospective -- Animated Classic #18: The Sword in the Stone (1963)

Walt Disney didn't live to see The Jungle Book in theatres, but his touch on the film is undeniable. Dissatisfied with the studio's two previous efforts, Walt turned his full attention to this film - something he hadn't done since the 50s - and turned the initially dark story into a lively and colourful tale. Instead of being faithful to the grim Rudyard Kipling novel, Walt and his team just took some basic characters and altered the storyline into something more fun-filled, with memorable characters and catchy music. While the plot may be light, we aren't so much interested in the ultimate goal as on the journey that the characters take - and what a fun journey it is! The Jungle Book was Walt's swan song and it's a testament to his vision as a storyteller and filmmaker that it remains one of the studio's most treasured classics. Rating: 5/5.

Next Week: Animated Classic #20: The Aristocats (1970)

Jonathan Rhys Meyers Rumoured For Star Wars: Episode VII

Now J.J Abrams has completely finished with Star Trek Into Darkness, it's only natural for the Internet to start developing rumours for his next venture with Episode VIILatino Review reports that The Tudors star Jonathan Rhys Meyers is to join the cast.

Tuesday 21 May 2013

Next Toy Story Toon to be Called Mythic Rock?

Animated Views have discovered what might well be the name of the next Toy Story Toon! While perusing LinkedIn, the site found, on the profile of producer Pixar Kim Jorgensen Adams - credited as the producer of Partysaurus Rex and Small Fry - was listing another Toy Story Toon, called Mythic Rock, as her current project. All mentions of that appear to have vanished from Kim's profile, but it's interesting nonetheless.

What exactly could Mythic Rock entail? A family vacation to somewhere with a tourism trade surrounding enchanted rocks? Something more space-y? Among all the speculation, one thing's for sure: we won't find out any time soon. Composer BT let slip that he was working on Partysaurus Rex months and months before we heard anything official, so don't get too excited just yet.

Watch: New Trailer for The Lone Ranger

An action packed new trailer for Jerry Bruckheimer's latest Disney live-action flick has been released, showcasing a lot of sand, a lot of fighting and some very expensive set design.

Monday 20 May 2013

Competition: Win a Copy of The Art of Epic [NOW CLOSED]

A113Animation are teaming up with the new animated film EPIC to offer you the chance to win a free copy of The Art of Epic, the accompanying Art of book for Blue Sky Studios' latest - directed by Ice Age's Chris Wedge. Alas, this competition is only open to UK residents; check out the full details and terms and conditions below.

Sunday 19 May 2013

This Week on A113Animation (13th - 19th May, 2013)

With our recent expansion, and the fact that the film industry is prepping itself for a big summer, there's a lot happening here on at the moment. As such, here's a brief recap of what went down this week:

French Animation, Chapitre 3 - Persepolis

Previously: Le Roi et l'Oiseau

What is it?
Based on an autobiographic graphic novel of the same name, Persepolis tells the story of Marjane Satrapi, from Iran to France, via Austria. The film was directed by Satrapi herself and Vincent Paronnaud, and released in 2007.

Saturday 18 May 2013

Avengers 2 Cast, Characters and Contract Updates

A lot of fresh character news has risen about Joss Whedon's The Avengers 2, involving two new characters, an update on the return of Iron Man, a possible non-returning character and location details for another possible character. Like I said, a lot.

Two New Blue Sky Films Due in 2016 and 2017

Box Office Mojo reports that Fox have slotted in two new Blue Sky Studios films for release on 15th July, 2016 and 7th April, 2017 respectively. The 2016 film is called Anubis, and the 2017 one (which is being directed by Rio's Carlos Saldanha) is called Ferdinand.

The Sword in the Stone and Robin Hood Coming to Blu-ray on 6th August

After recently announcing The Little Mermaid, Oliver and Company and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Disney still isn't done releasing their catalogue titles just yet. They have recently announced the release of two more films: The Sword in the Stone (1963) and Robin Hood (1973).

Friday 17 May 2013

New Concept Art for Laika's The Boxtrolls

Laika have put out two feature films so far - two spooky stop-motion films - Coraline and ParaNorman, and both have been very high quality. Now two-time Oscar nominees, Laika will be hoping to repeat that success with their next film, The Boxtrolls, based on the novel Here Be Monsters! by Alan Snow.

Sony Pushes Genndy Tartakovsky's Popeye Back to 2015

Sony Pictures Animation had a profitable 2012, with the financial success of Hotel Transyvania. The film was also very enjoyable though (our review here), not so much due to the somewhat derivative characters and story, but rather because of the inherent sense of fun and the wonderfully stylised CG orchestrated by Dexter's Lab creator Genndy Tartakovsky. Although Sony are moving ahead with a sequel to that film, Tartakovsky won't be at the helm, as he's instead shepherding the studio's CG reimagining of the gravel-voiced, spinach-stomaching sailor man, Popeye.

Thursday 16 May 2013

Brad Bird on The Incredibles 2 and Star Wars: Episode VII

Brad Bird's a hot commodity right now. His consistent success is something very few directors who have directed four features can rival: all his films have been critical hits, and all except The Iron Giant have done admirably commercially too (and that was down to lax advertising). Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol proved he can direct live action as well as animation, and he's currently helming the secretive sci-fi flick Tomorrowland for Disney. As such, he was one of the top names bandied about when dream-directors were being postulated for Star Wars: Episode VIIThat's not happening, but it can't stop us dreaming. The other Brad Bird project we've all been dreaming of for nigh-on nine years now, is The Incredibles 2. The director recently spoke to THR about both of those prospects.

New Planes Trailer Showcases Gorgeous Animation and What Appears To Be The Entire Plot

Considering their shocking lack of advertising for Frozen, Disney have done a hell of a job marketing Planes. They've turned this former straight-to-video Cars spin-off that everybody had written off as a cheap, shoddy, money grab, into one of my most anticipated theatrical animated releases of the year. That turnaround continues today with a great new trailer.

Wednesday 15 May 2013

Munir's Disney Retrospective -- Animated Classic #18: The Sword in the Stone (1963)

Last Week's: Munir's Disney Retrospective -- Animated Classic #17: One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961)

The Sword in the Stone was the last film Walt was alive to see, and is also his weakest (not counting the anthology films). The story of King Arthur's beginnings is retooled here as series of lessons to the future king, and while many moments are amusing and charming, the pacing is  sometimes uneven, making the film a little bit slower than expected. The animation lacks the grandeur of past films but the character animation is excellent. And, while the protagonist is not very interesting, the supporting players (mainly Merlin, Archimedes and Madame Mim) are a delight from beginning to end and help elevate the picture from its uneven rhythm. Plus, the epic battle between Merlin and Madame Mim is one of the most memorable and beautifully animated sequences in all of animated film. All in all, The Sword in the Stone may not be an instant Disney classic but has enough charm and magic to delight young and old audiences. Rating: 4/5.

Next Week: Animated Classic #19: The Jungle Book (1967)

Sony Will Release Rovio's Angry Birds Film on 1st July, 2016

Rovio announced today that their Angry Birds animated movie will be released by Sony Pictures, and that the worldwide release date is currently set for 1st July, 2016. Rovio themselves - in the Marvel mould - are developing, producing and financing the film.

The film is being produced by John Cohen (Despicable Me) and executive produced by David Maisel (Iron Man). No word on a director or writer yet though.

In the meantime, Rovio's Angry Birds Toons are available to watch in-app every weekend!

Studio Ghibli Blu-ray Releases on 21st May

Studio Ghibli is planning on helping you kick off your summer with a bang! On May 21st, they will be releasing two of their biggest films on Blu-ray: Howl's Moving Castle and the 25th anniversary edition of My Neighbor Totoro.  Both films are incredibly special, and are packed with awesome extras.

Howl's Moving Castle synopsis: When an unconfident young woman is cursed with an old body by a spiteful witch, her only chance of breaking the spell lies with a self-indulgent yet insecure young wizard and his companions in his legged, walking home.

Watch: Full Trailer for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: "Not All Heroes Are Super"

ABC seem really confident with Marvel's The Avengers spin-off Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., as, after the teaser just a few days ago, we already have a full length trailer.

Tuesday 14 May 2013

[UPDATED] Watch: Portuguese Teaser for Rio 2

Blue Sky Studios' 8th feature film, Epic (directed by Chris Wedge), is in cinemas on 24th May, so the Ice Age studio is looking towards the future, as they've put together a musical teaser for their upcoming sequel, Rio 2, which appears to have leaked online early - in Spanish Portugese (my ignorance has been pointed out. It's actually Portuguese, not Spanish)!

New Despicable Me 2 Poster Shows a Sea of Minions

Illumination have just rolled out a new poster for Despicable Me 2 on Twitter. Perhaps setting the stage for what's to come next year, the poster is awash with an endless collection of Gru's little nonsensical henchmen, topped off by the catchy tagline "When the world needed a hero, they called a villain."

Despicable Me 2 is directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud and hits UK cinemas on 28th June, and US ones on 3rd July.

[UPDATED] First Look: Toy Story of Terror

In October of last year, Animation World Network announced that Pixar were working on a Toy Story Halloween TV special, Toy Story of Terror, that was due this October. Since then, we haven't heard a peep about the project. Until now.

Watch: First Promo for Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

The first trailer for The Avengers' spin-off TV series, Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. now has its first promo. Watch it, and read more about the Coulson-revivin' series, below!

Sunday 12 May 2013

Merida Officially Coronated Eleventh Disney Princess

At the end of last month, it was announced that Pixar would induct their first heroine into the Disney Princes line, Brave's Merida. Yesterday, an official coronation ceremony took place at Walt Disney World, where Merida's own mum was on hand to welcome her to the line-up. Inside the Magic has some pictures and video highlights, showing off the event's glitz, glamour and bagpipes.

The Tintin Sequels: Speculation - Characters and Actors

Since the secrecy surrounding the sequel to The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn seems to be absolute, and clues given by screenwriter Anthony Horowitz, director Peter Jackson and producer Steven Spielberg are, at best, misleading, why not have some fun and speculate a little?
What I plan to do here is compile a list of characters I'd like to see in the Tintin sequels.
This will not just be a list, as that would not be very interesting; I will also do a brief presentation of each character, consider the probability of their appearance in the sequels, and ponder which actor could portray them. Warning: as this is my dream-casting, expect to see big name actors, even for the smallest parts.
Let's go!

Friday 10 May 2013

Do These The Muppets...Again! Set Pictures Reveal How the Film Will Start? (Possible Spoilers)

The Muppets had a far better reception than anyone expected back in 2011, so, with The Muppets...Again!, expectations are running high. Set pictures taken from the filming of the sequel a couple of nights ago shed light on how the new film might start, and how it ties in to the previous one.

Munir's Disney Retrospective -- Animated Classic #17: One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961)

Make Sure You've Read: Munir's Disney Retrospective -- Silver Age (Part 2) Introduction

The first film to use the Xerox technique, 101 Dalmatians was reportedly very much liked by Walt. With his mind on other projects like his TV show and his magnum opus, Mary Poppins, most of the burden went to story artist Bill Peet and 101 Dalmatians truly is one of Disney's best films and a real classic. The story of two dogs rescuing their puppies from a mad woman was a departure from the fairy tale lands that graced past Disney productions. By setting the movie in real time, 101 has a fresh tone that hasn't diminished with time. It's full of action, gags and the character animation is simply amazing. Cruella De Vill is one of the greatest villains created for an animated film and one of the most memorable characters ever committed to film. Add two very likeable leads and 99 adorable puppies and you have a charming an endearing Disney classic. Rating: 5/5.

Next Week: Animated Classic #18 Review: The Sword in the Stone (1963)

Thursday 9 May 2013

Introducing the A113Animation Podcast! - Pilot Episode Online Now

As part of our expansion, we're very pleased to introduce you to the first episode of the A113Animation Podcast! This possibly-sort-of-regular podcast will cover recent animation news, play clips of interviews we carry out, and review the latest releases: this time, it's Iron Man 3.

The episode is available now on Podomatic (below) for either streaming or download, and you can follow us on that site here; you can download the show on iTunes here, and please do subscribe and rate; we're also on Stitcher Radio (a player for that is embedded below too). Check out the episode and its extensive show notes below!

[UPDATED] First Look: Disney's Big Hero 6; And Some New Concept Art for Frozen

Well, it's official: Disney are marketing everything except for Frozen. In fact, today we got our first look at Walt Disney Animation Studios' 2014 release, the Marvel co-production, Big Hero 6!