Saturday 31 August 2013

The A113Animation Podcast, Episode 4 - D23 and Despicable Me 2

Episode 4 of the A113Animation Podcast is a biggie - and you can download and/or listen to it right now! Our cast of co-hosts is once again in rotation, and joining William this week are Munir, Damien and, making her podcast debut, our Studio Ghibli writer, Mayra! This was a double feature episode, and in place of our normal news section, the four of us discussed solely the big animation news from Disney's D23 expo. Our film this week is Illumination Entertainment's minion-packed sequel, Despicable Me 2. As per, there's a bit of off-topic talk, with some discussion of the newest episodes of Breaking Bad, and the announcement of the twelfth Doctor. Forewarning, if you're listening to the podcast with youngish kids, there is some rather choice language, particularly in the Breaking Bad section - no F-bombs though.

As usual, enjoy the show, get in touch and, if you're particularly moved by the show, you could always help us out by heading on over to our Support page. The episode is available on Podomatic now, and will be appearing in our iTunes feed and Stitcher playlist very soon.

Confirmed: Bradley Cooper to Voice Rocket Racoon in Guardians of the Galaxy

It was only last week that we reported that Bradley Cooper was in talks to voice Rocket Racoon in Guardians of the Galaxy, but last night, Marvel confirmed it.

Paperman Director John Kahrs Leaves Disney

Disney Animators, "the officially unofficial tweets of the Walt Disney Animation Studios Animation Department," tweeted last night that John Kahrs, best known as the director of Disney's fantastic, Oscar-winning short film, Paperman, has left the studio.

Friday 30 August 2013

[UPDATED] Official: Bob Peterson No Longer Directing The Good Dinosaur

3 days ago we reported the story that, apparently, Pixar had removed Bob Peterson as director of their next film, The Good Dinosaur. We've been hoping and crossing all our fingers that this wasn't true, but, alas, The LA Times reports officially that the Up co-director has indeed been pulled off the project, with no immediate successor named.

Thursday 29 August 2013

James Spader to Play Lead Villain in Avengers: Age of Ultron

James Spader (Boston Legal, The US Office) will be battling against Earth's mightiest heroes in Joss Whedon's sequel to The Avengers, as the titular baddie, the villainous artificial intelligence Ultron.

Futurama, A Swan Song - Week 11

First you can check what happened last week on Futurama, A Swan Song: Week 10. And then, there is this lightly-spoilery mini-review.

Stench and Stenchibility
Not The Episode With The Dead Dog

John Zoidberg doesn't have a history of great success with women. But after another disappointment, he meets Marianne, who happens to be perfect for him: she was born with no sense of smell. So she doesn't know that Zoidberg stinks like "Comic-Con on a submarine". But there is a cure that could give Marianne a sense of smell. Will Zoidberg do the surgery, even if it means his relationship with the girl would end there? Meanwhile, Bender participates in a dance contest.

Wednesday 28 August 2013

Munir's Disney Retrospective - Animated Classic #33: Pocahontas (1995)

It seemed rather impossible for Disney to do anything wrong after The Lion King. After that film's gigantic success, the studio positioned itself as the leading animation studio, obliterating what little competition they had at the time. Boy, what a difference one year makes! Pocahontas was destined for greatness from the very beginning. Before his bitter departure from the studio, Jeffrey Katzenberg put all of his effort into making this film the 'new Beauty and the Beast'. Top animators like Glen Keane were working on it, legendary composer Alan Menken was attached to score it, and Disney was proudly announcing that this was their first feature film based on real character. What could possibly go wrong? Well apparently many things because nowadays, Pocahontas is viewed as the 'beginning of the end' for Disney, and the start of their decline. While I can agree that Pocahontas does not surpass its predecessor in any way, and that it was indeed it a decline from its earlier predecessors, I also think that it has an undeservedly bad reputation, that it offers great entertainment and is still one of the most ambitious and beautiful films that ever came from the studio.

Disney to Distribute The Wind Rises in North America

Though Studio Ghibli's latest, The Wind Rises, has opened to some controversy, Disney has decided to go ahead and handle the American distribution for the film. This was somewhat expected as Disney has handled much of Studio Ghibli's distribution in the past.

Tuesday 27 August 2013

Munir's Disney Retrospective - The Renaissance, Part 2 (1995-1999) Introduction

After the roaring success of The Lion King, its successor had the uphill battle of surpassing or at least matching its unprecedented acclaim. Of course, that didn't happen and in the following years the films that were released were met with a more lukewarm response and decreasing revenue. That, however didn't mean that Disney Animation was going 'downhill' or that they had lost the magic but, as with any studio that's reached its peak, the only place to go was down. Another factor for this decline was the fact that, in this period of time, Pixar came into existence, forever changing the animation industry. Nonetheless, the second part of the Renaissance is filled with beautiful movies that, while not as good as its four big predecessors, still offer plenty of charm, superb animation, endearing characters and wonderful stories. The last part of the Renaissance may not have been as brilliant as its beginning, but it still remains a high point in the studio's history.

Tomorrow: Animated Classic #33 Review: Pocahontas (1995)

Warner Bros. Working on a New Animated Scooby-Doo Film

The characters as they appear in Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated.

Variety reports that Warner Bros. are developing a new Scooby-Doo feature film - an animated one, as opposed to the live-action/CG hybrid films of the early 2000s. The film is apparently being made with Atlas Entertainment, and being produced by Charles Roven (Man of Steel) and Richard Suckle (American Hustle), who both also produced the aforementioned live-action films starring Freddie Prinze Jr. and Sarah Michelle Gellar. Matt Lieberman (the upcoming Short Circuit) is scripting.

Rumour We Hope Isn't True: Bob Peterson Pulled from The Good Dinosaur

Now this is the sort of story you absolutely hate to read (and for what it's worth, it was no picnic to write either) and hope with all your heart isn't true. Blue Sky Disney - who you might remember as the fatally trustworthy source who first told us about Big Hero 6 a while back, and Zootopia, Giants and Moana more recently - says that both director Bob Peterson and producer John Walker have been pulled from Pixar's The Good Dinosaur.

Monday 26 August 2013

New Plot Synopsis for Disney's Tomorrowland

The first official plot details for Brad Bird's Tomorrowland have been revealed, and the lovely people at /Film have got the low down for us.

Fun New Cloudy 2 Clip Gets the Gang Back Together

SPA's Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 is certainly looking set to be one of the most fun films of the year. The first film was a great film - frenetic, energetic and funny - and the second, now directed by Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn, going off the trailers and this latest clip, looks to continue that.

Sunday 25 August 2013

This Week on A113Animation (19th - 25th August, 2013)

Again a rather a quiet week, but with some really interesting gems of animation news tucked in there. We've heard a lot of exciting details about two upcoming Disney films that the studio hasn't even announced yet; one of Hayao Miyazaki's earliest films might be about to get a sequel; we've got yet more Marvel rumours (as well as a channel for the UK broadcast of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.); posters, subtitles and your latest features! Check out below all that you may have missed this week on A113Animation.

Ron Clements Talks Disney, The Little Mermaid and Moana - Which Is Apparently a Musical

Photo credit: Sioux City Journal

Ron Clements, alongside directing partner John Musker, is a legendary name in animation, having directed Disney classics like The Little MermaidAladdin and, more recently, The Princess and the Frog. Clements and Musker are now hard at work on their seventh feature film, a film we've previously learned is called Moana. In a new interview with Sioux City Journal, Clements talks about his tenure at Disney and speaks a little about Moana.

French Animation, Chapitre 6 - The Secret of Kells

Previously: The Illusionist

What is it?
Loosely based around the creation of the real book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript, the story follows Brendan, a curious boy living in the Abbey of Kells. He is interested in the art of illumination and is an apprentice at the Abbey's scriptorium, but he would also like to go outside. He is not allow to though, because his uncle, Abbot Cellach, won't let anyone outside the walls of Kells. Cellach is obsessed with the fortifications he's building around the Abbey in order to protect it from Viking invasion. To the Abbot, Brendan's passion is merely a distraction from what's important.
The Secret of Kells is an Irish-French-Belgian film, directed by first-timer Irish illustrator Tomm Moore, and written by French scenarist Fabrice Ziolkowski.

Friday 23 August 2013

New Pirates Film Has a Title

The next instalment in the Pirates of the Caribbean films (yes, there is going to be a number 5) is to be titled Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.

We previously reported that Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg (Kon-Tiki) will be directing the next Pirates, with production beginning next year.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales is due out Summer 2015.

Hideaki Anno Wants Nausicaä Sequel, But What About Hayao Miyazaki?

When I saw the below Tweet, a rush of emotions flooded through me. First, surprise, then wonder, and finally nervousness. After some digging, I'm a little less on edge but I still have a lot of questions.

Thursday 22 August 2013

Futurama, A Swan Song - Week 10

Last week on Futurama, A Swan Song: Week 9. And now, a mini-review. With a few mild spoilers. You've been warned.

Murder on the Planet Express
#1 Rated Show in Universe 3

There seems to be a trust issue amongst the Planet Express crew. When he realizes that, the Professor sends everyone including himself on a team-building business retreat. But the journey takes a turn for the worst when a monster gets aboard Bessie (the Planet Express ship's new nickname, if you didn't know), and starts eating people.

Is Bradley Cooper the Voice of Rocket Raccoon in Guardians of the Galaxy?

With filming over half way through by now, Guardians of the Galaxy is still missing the voice of one of its most iconic characters, Rocket Racoon. The latest name in the mix is Oscar-nominated Silver Linings Playbook star, Bradley Cooper.

Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Gets a UK Channel!

We've been pretty excited to see the Marvel Universe continuing in television format with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and us Brits won't have to wait much longer than our neighbours across the pond as it's coming to Channel 4 this autumn!

No date has been confirmed, but we know it will be autumn time, so here's hoping it's not long after the US premiere date of 24th September.

Via Facebook

New Details on the Plot and Characters of Disney's Giants

Last month we heard a lot of exciting details about Walt Disney Animation Studios' upcoming slate. Then at D23 a couple of weeks ago, that was all seemingly confirmed with the official announcement of the first film we'd heard about, Zootopia. Now we've just heard substantially more about Disney's next film after that, the Nathan Greno-directed Giants, via Bleeding Cool.

Wednesday 21 August 2013

Munir's Disney Retrospective - Animated Classic #32: The Lion King (1994)

Last week's: Munir's Disney Retrospective - Animated Classic #31: Aladdin (1992)

After a string of big successes, beginning with The Little Mermaid in 1989, it seemed that Disney Animation could do no wrong and yet, The Lion King was once viewed as a B project to the 'more ambitious' Pocahontas, which was in production at the same time. Called King of the Jungle earlier on in production, nobody could foresee the impact and success that the film ultimately achieved in 1994. Jeffrey Katzenberg was more focused on Pocahontas and, on the whole, The Lion King seemed like a minor film, something that would be cute but not very memorable. As you likely already know, in the end, The Lion King not only was a resounding success on every front but it also became the peak of the Disney Renaissance, and one of Disney's most recognizable and lucrative films. The coming-of-age story of a lion cub who has to take his place in life and be part of the "Circle of Life" could be seen as nothing new or even original - similarities range from Bambi to Hamlet - and yet there is something very powerful about this film that sets it apart from the rest, making it an instant classic. Just take a look at the film's epic beginning, where just music and beautiful images take centre stage. No dialogue is needed and yet you know that you're in for something big. One of the many highlights of the film is the powerful score composed by Hans Zimmer; the music, built from African melodies, gives the film a sense of grandeur and amplifies the scope of the story. Characters are wonderfully constructed and every single one of them leaves an impression of you. Whether it's our hero Simba or the deliciously villainous Scar, every character is a perfect coupling of animation and voice acting that just makes the audience want to spend time with them. Like its predecessors, The Lion King also employs a Broadway-esque style and the songs composed by Elton John and Tim Rice are a rich amalgam of rhythms. From the earth shattering "Circle of Life" to the laid back "Hakuna Matata", each song contributes to the story and helps the plot advance with a nice, balanced flow. The animation again is top-notch with many memorable scenes from the epic prologue to the wildebeest stampede to Mufasa's appearance in the clouds to the big final battle, there are tons of scenes where you can see all the care and love that the crew put into the film. Moreover, the film's themes of death, responsibility and redemption - among others - makes this one of the most heartfelt, touching and profound motion pictures in the history of cinema. The Lion King repeated its predecessors' success in terms of accolades, and was a bombastic hit at the box office too, cementing its status as the peak of the Renaissance and of all the Disney canon. No single Disney feature before or after has repeated the success and relevancy of The Lion King; it's a testament to how good the picture is that still, all these years later, the film enchants new generations, while being fondly remembered by the older ones. Hakuna Matata indeed. Rating: 5/5.

Next Week - Animated Classic #33 Review: Pocahontas (1995)

Monday 19 August 2013

Six New Cloudy 2 Character Posters Show-Off Foodimals and Puns

Sony's Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 hits cinemas next month (27th in the US; 25th October in the UK though), so the studio has just rolled out six new character posters to help get you hyped for the succulent sequel.

As we've come to expect from the advertising for Cloudy 2, the posters are heavy on two things: the food-animal hybrids, called Foodimals, and cheesy puns. The first poster features Bill Hader's inventor extraordinaire, Flint Lockwood, and his pet monkey (who's actually voiced by Neil Patrick Harris). Check out the other five below.

Sunday 18 August 2013

This Week on A113Animation (12th - 18th August, 2013)

This has been a pretty quiet week for animation news - particularly when compared to last week's D23-packed greatness. Nonetheless, we got a few interested titbits - the expected, almost weekly, Marvel casting rumours, some Disney Blu-ray news and more. Your usual features are here again, as is a new Ghibli, war and more-themed editorial by Mayra. Check out your recap of everything animation-related that went down this week on A113Animation, below.

New Still Showcases Frozen's Main Characters

Disney have released a new still from their upcoming wintery animated flick, Frozen, via the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly. The new still corrals the film's main (good) quartet, Anna (voice of Kristen Bell), Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), Olaf the snowman (Josh Gad) and Sven (voice of, y'know, reindeer noises). Not in the new still is Anna's magical sister, Elsa, the Snow Queen.

Saturday 17 August 2013

The Jungle Book: Diamond Edition Trailer

Is is available now in the UK, but US (and some other territories) consumers will have to wait until February to own Disney's 1967 classic on Blu-ray. The Jungle Book was the last film Walt Disney was personally involved in before his death and it remains one of the company's most enduring classics. This new "Diamond Edition" will have HD picture, lossless sound and both new and old bonus features. Exact technical details are yet to be announced but, based on the UK edition, this is what you can expect in terms of bonus material:

Friday 16 August 2013

Hayao Miyazaki, Studio Ghibli and War

If you are an avid Studio Ghibli watcher, you know that many of Hayao Miyazaki's films incorporate some of the toughest themes to be covered by animated films. Studio Ghibli doesn't just do coming-of-age stories (Kiki's Delivery Service, My Neighbor Totoro), or romance based stories (Only Yesterday, Whisper of the Heart) they also do fantastical moral stories (Spirited Away, Howl's Moving Castle). But the biggest theme Studio Ghibli covers is the theme of the morality of war and violence (or lack thereof). From Miyazaki's pre-Studio Ghibli days, Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, to his most noted, Princess Mononoke, and even his most recent, The Wind Rises, Hayao Miyazaki chooses to highlight humanity in the midst of violent turmoil, and war. But the reasons the studio chooses to do so can be more striking than the films themselves.

Futurama, A Swan Song - Week 9

Previously on Futurama, A Swan Song: Week 8. Here comes a mini-review of the latest episode, with mild spoilers.

Game of Tones
If unable to see this message, turn on Futurama now

A threatening alien spaceship approaches Earth, emitting a powerful musical tone while doing so. Fry thinks he's heard that melody before but he can't remember when. The Professor finds out it was on the last day of 1999, the same day Fry was frozen for a thousand years; so the Planet Express delivery boy reenacts that day through a dream-state, trying to find that musical tone, in order to save the world.

Thursday 15 August 2013

The Wind Rises to Premiere in Toronto, Plus a Subtitled Trailer

Studio Ghibli's latest, The Wind Rises, has been holding the number one spot at the Japanese box office since it opened on 20th July according to Slashfilm. This could be a great indicator of what we can expect when it finally opens in the States or the UK... When will that be? We still have no idea.

-- However! We have learned that the film will have it's English subtitled premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) which will take place in Toronto, Canada from 5th-15th September. Though they have yet to post screening dates for the festival, the official TIFF page for The Wind Rises indicates that the schedule will be released on 20th August, so those of you lucky enough to have passes can pen that into your festivity plans.

Wednesday 14 August 2013

Munir's Disney Retrospective - Animated Classic #31: Aladdin (1992)

Last Week's: Munir's Disney Retrospective - Animated Classic #30: Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Aladdin is often perceived as the weakest film of 'The Big Four' group but I think that all of them offer something unique and entertain in their own ways. After the smash success of Beauty and the Beast the year before, Aladdin had the difficult task of trying to replicate or surpass its predecessor's glowing reputation (both critically and financially). But even if it didn't quite surpass BatB critically, it was nonetheless a smashing success and is still one of Disney's most appealing films. The third film helmed by legendary duo of Ron Clements and John Musker, Aladdin had a very difficult production where many things had to be reworked and many characters had to undergo many changes. Jeffrey Katzenberg came close to shutting down the project completely, but, thankfully, all the retooling worked, and the result is one of the most funny, heartfelt and beautiful Disney movies that ever graced the screen. Legendary composer Alan Menken returned to compose the score and his late partner Howard Ashman contributed some of the songs, making this his final work before his unfortunate death. Renowned lyricist Tim Rice had to step up to complete and create additional songs for the movie. In the end, all the troubles and problems paid off because not only do we have an appealing story, but also one of the best ensemble pieces and some of the most unforgettable characters in the entire canon.  We cannot think of Aladdin and not think about the Genie. This wonderful creation - the product of Eric Goldberg's fantastic animation and Robin Williams's superb voice acting - is one of the best and most hilarious characters to ever come from the studio. It's true that when he makes his appearances in the film, he does tend to overshadow the rest of the characters, but fortunately the filmmakers were wise enough to introduce him late in the picture so we can get to know the rest of the cast beforehand. And what a cast it is! Jafar is one of the best and most menacing villains to come from the studio and Aladdin is one of the most appealing heroes, one you can relate to and root for throughout the entire movie; and that's a good thing because, even if the Genie is a powerful presence, we never forget that this is Aladdin's story and we care for him the entire time. Added to this is top-notch humour that doesn't feel dated and is still as funny as it was 21 years ago, and fantastic songs that help the story flow more easily. As with its predecessor, the animation was also pushed to new heights and that can be seen in the 'Cave of Wonders' sequence which was done with the aid of computers and is one of the best sequences in the movie. And who can forget the "A Whole New World" scene which pairs one of the studio's best songs with some fantastic animation? You can't help but be swept away every time you see it. Aladdin may not be held as highly as Beauty and the Beast but it ended up being another huge success at the box office and took home the same Academy Awards that its predecessor did (Best Song and Best Score). More importantly though, Aladdin is still widely beloved by audiences all over the world today and remains one of the studio's brightest spots. A classic. Rating: 5/5.

Next Week - Animated Classic #32 Review: The Lion King (1994)

Tuesday 13 August 2013

The Little Mermaid 2 and 3 Coming to Blu-ray Soon

In not so exciting news, Disney is preparing a Blu-ray release of the direct-to video sequels of its 1989 beloved classic: The Little Mermaid 2: Return to the Sea and The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Beginning. No technical details or release date has been given but it will be a '2-Movie Collection' and expect it around the holiday season (A 'complete set' with the whole trilogy is due for release on 2nd September in the UK).

Vin Diesel Continues to Hint Involvement with Marvel

Vin Diesel is at it again! The Fast and Furious star posted another photo on his Facebook page which has caused speculation with his involvement with future Marvel films...particularly Guardians of the Galaxy.

Sunday 11 August 2013

This Week on A113Animation (5th - 11th August, 2013)

Now I was actually away this week (until yesterday, that is), so firstly I want to extend a big thank you to the rest of the A113Animation superteam for keeping things running like clockwork in my absence! That said, it was a poor choice of weeks for me to take a holiday, because this has been a very interesting week for animation fans. Trailers for The Muppets and Thor, a clip from Frozen, Benedict Cumberbatch stuff, and all the goodness from D23! Add onto that your usual features and Nadine's review of Planes, and it's been a good week.

Live-Action News From D23 Expo

We all got pretty excited about the news from the D23 Expo on Day 1, so you can imagine how thrilled we were with more, live-action-y, updates from Day 2 yesterday.

Monsters University Coming to DVD/Blu-ray on 29th October (US)

Monsters University is coming to DVD and Blu-ray in just over a couple of months (in America anyway)! The studio's fourteenth feature film, which has been met with a generally positive response, will hit home video on 29th October.

Saturday 10 August 2013

Pixar Rethinking Finding Dory Ending After Seeing Blackfish?

Yesterday we got our first real info about Pixar's Finding Nemo sequel, Finding Dory, which takes place about a year after Nemo: joining the returning voice cast are Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy and Ty Burrell. We also got the lovely bit of concept art above. But yesterday also brought an interesting, potentially spoiler-filled, rumour that suggested Pixar higher-ups are considering changing the film's ending.

New Clip from Frozen: "That's No Blizzard, That's My Sister!"

The Disney floodgates have opened (it's the time of year, y'know), and here's the first clip from Walt Disney Animation Studios' next feature film, Frozen! The clip shows Anna (voice of Kristen Bell), Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) and Olaf (Josh Gad) running away from the mammoth snow monster ironically dubbed Marshmallow, summoned by Anna's powerful sister, Elsa (Idina Menzel).

Disney and Pixar Tease Upcoming Movies at D23 Expo

The D23 Expo has just begun, and already big announcements are pouring in. Let's see what the Art & Imagination presentation had to offer.

Friday 9 August 2013

John Lasseter on the D23 Expo and more

As the D23 Expo is approaching, the Pixar & Disney news is coming in number and it's an exciting time to be an animation fan.

Today, debuted an interview with John Lasseter, where the chief creative officer of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios spilled the beans on what will be revealed in the next few days. As an added bonus, the EW interview offers two new images: a concept art from Pixar's The Good Dinosaur, and a Disney's Frozen still.

Thursday 8 August 2013

Futurama, A Swan Song - Week 8

Last time on this column, Futurama, A Swan SongWeek 7. Now is the time to mini-review another episode.

Leela and the Genestalk
Spoiler Alert: Robots and whatnot

Leela is diagnosed with an incurable genetic condition that will eventually transform her into a big purple squid. But a very expensive operation can push back the symptoms a few months; so the Planet Express crew sells the ship to get the money for that. Unfortunately, Fry comes back from the spacecraft market with only two magic beans…

Wednesday 7 August 2013

Planes Review - It Just About Takes Flight

Planes is DisneyToon Studios’ first US theatrical release since Bambi II in 2006. The film follows crop duster, tractor plane Dusty, who dreams of being a racing plane in the high-flying air competition.

Full Trailer for Thor: The Dark World

With the release date looming, we have a brand new trailer for Marvel's next film in Phase 2, Thor: The Dark World. Click below to see the new tease!

Munir's Disney Retrospective - Animated Classic #30: Beauty and the Beast (1991)

Last Week's: Munir's Disney Retrospective - Animated Classic #29: The Rescuers Down Under (1990)

If The Little Mermaid launched the studio into a bright future, Beauty and the Beast took it to glorious new heights. A perfect blend of stellar animation, a wonderful score, catchy songs and spectacular characters, Beauty and the Beast is one of the studio's finest (if not the finest) efforts. Many of the people that worked on Mermaid also worked here so there's a sense of continuity and fluidity between the two. The CAPS system that was launched with the (underrated) The Rescuers Down Under is fully developed in this movie and the characters are richly drawn and colored. The backgrounds and locations are breathtaking and full of detail so you're fully immersed in the character's world. The most enthralling thing though is how they take a very flawed human (or in this case, creature) and turned him into a deeply likable and sensible character that's the heart of the film. We also have a very smart and strong woman and together, they become one of the best couples that Disney have ever created. The supporting characters offer more than just comic relief becoming essential elements of the story and adding more depth to an already layered story. The score and songs created by legendary duo of Alan Menken and Howard Ashman (in one of his final contributions before his untimely death) add an epic scope to the movie that makes you think you are watching a big Broadway musical with dazzling numbers like 'Belle', 'Be Our Guest' and the utterly romantic 'Beauty and the Beast' that only adds to the movie's grandeur. Not only that, but this film was the first animated film to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards (something that won't happen again until Pixar's Up 18 years later) and won two Awards for Best Original Song and Score (also won the Golden Globe for Best Picture Musical or Comedy) and earned huge amounts of money cementing itself as one of Disney's most popular and beloved classics. The tale may be a little old but it hasn't lost any of its luster. A masterpiece. Rating: 5/5.

Next Week - Animated Classic #31 Review: Aladdin (1992)

Tuesday 6 August 2013

Benedict Cumberbatch and John Malkovich in Penguins of Madagascar

DreamWorks Animation's famous Madagascar franchise is set to have a spinoff feature based on the Penguins characters. And today brings us a pretty impressive announcement.

[UPDATE] Akira: 25th Anniversary Edition coming to Blu-ray on 12th November

Official Cover Art
In very exciting news, independent anime distributor Funimation has announced that is planning to release a new Blu-ray edition of director Katsuhiro Otomo's classic film Akira, commemorating its 25th anniversary. Akira was previously released in North America by distributor Honneamise in 2009 but went out of print shortly after; Funimation picked up the rights and now is prepping a new set that'll be released on 12th November. Technical details and bonus features are yet to be announced but it'll come in the form of a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack. Check the trailer announcing the new release below:

Based on the manga by the same name, Akira is a landmark of Japanese animation and its style has become a very influential element not only in animation but also live-action films. Are you excited for this release?

Note: Akira is available in the UK courtesy of Manga Entertainment. You can order the UK edition here or pre-order the US edition here.

First teaser for Muppets Most Wanted!

We get our first look at Disney's Muppets Most Wanted, as the first teaser has been released!