Tuesday 31 December 2013

Bolt Co-Director Chris Williams Joins Don Hall at Helm of Big Hero 6

Perhaps mirroring the production of their current mega-hit Frozen, The Hollywood Reporter has announced that Disney have added Chris Williams, who co-directed 2008's Bolt with Tangled's Byron Howard, as a director of their upcoming Marvel-adaptation Big Hero 6, alongside existing director Don Hall (Winnie the Pooh).

Saturday 28 December 2013

Awards Predictions 2014: Golden Globes Edition

We're starting the Awards season and while the Oscar nominations won't be announced until a few weeks, other major awards have already announced their nominees, including the Golden Globes and the Annie Awards. I'll post my predictions for the Annie Awards at a later date but, for now, let's begin with the Golden Globes.

I must say, I'm very disappointed with this year's nominees for Best Animated Feature. First, I thought there would be five nominees instead of three, and that one of those nominees was going to be Pixar's Monsters University. The fact that Pixar got shut out for the first time with a film that's superior to both of its predecessors (both of which were nominated) is befuddling considering the fact that the film is better than two of the three actual nominees. Well, now that I got that out of my system let's begin with the predictions.

Munir’s Disney Retrospective - Animated Classic #48: Bolt (2008)

Last Week’s: Munir's Disney Retrospective - Animated Classic #47: Meet the Robinsons (2007).

John Lasseter didn't have it easy when he arrived at the Disney Studio. First, Meet the Robinsons needed a complete overhaul before it could be released in theatres, and then the following film was even more troubled. Bolt was first titled American Dog and it was to be the next project by director Chris Sanders, who co-directed the highly acclaimed Lilo & Stitch (one of the few popular films from the previous era). However, problems in the production led to the removal of Sanders from the director's chair (after which he left Disney and went to DreamWorks) and the team of Chris Williams and Byron Howard taking over. The film was completed in 18 months and, against all odds, it was warmly received and represented another step in the right direction for the studio.

Monday 23 December 2013

Christmas Recommendations: What Animated Things You Should Be Watching This Christmas

It's that time of year again (notice our festive banner and logo, once again designed by the fantastic Damien Chevrier), and we hope you're all having a restful, relaxing and enjoyable Holiday season so far! So, for those of you here in the UK, here are our ho-ho-hot picks for animated stuff (and generally-linked-to-animation stuff) that's on tele over the next couple of weeks.

Sunday 22 December 2013

Munir's Disney Retrospective - Animated Classic #47: Meet the Robinsons (2007).

Make Sure You’ve Read: Munir’s Disney Retrospective - The Revival Era (2007 - present) Introduction.

I'm very fond of Meet the Robinsons. It's not a perfect film but it did something remarkable for the studio and for me: it gave us both hope. Hope that a better studio was coming and hope that their future output would return it to its former glory.

Saturday 21 December 2013

Munir's Disney Retrospective - The Revival Era (2007 - Present) Introduction

Last Week’s: Munir’s Disney Retrospective - Animated Classic #46: Chicken Little (2005).

After a very difficult early/mid-2000s, Walt Disney Animation Studios could've easily ceased to exist and no one would've cared. Yes, the oldest animation studio was in such a crisis that putting it out of its misery was a very viable and merciful option at the time. Thank goodness for John Lasseter. Yes, I just said that. The man often reviled nowadays, John Lasseter, completely rehauled the studio, giving it back its identity, putting it back on the map and making it a worthy competitor to the other animation studios again. He healed the heart of the Disney Company and released a string of films that, step-by-step, created a stronger studio, a confident studio that not only embraced its rich history but also wasn't afraid of trying new things and delivering fresh stories with wonderful characters and heartfelt messages. Better still, the studio was no longer a DreamWorks or Pixar wannabe, but had its own style to differentiate it from the others. That wasn't an easy feat. Critical reception and box office started to grow slowly but surely, and now, seven years after Lasseter took over, the studio is back where it was always meant to be: at the very top of the pack. Whether it's a musical fairy-tale that pays homage to the Renaissance features while also offering something new and exciting, or a completely fresh story set in the video gaming world or a shiny future, Walt Disney Animation Studios has returned from the dead, risen like the phoenix, and taken the world by storm. We can only hope that this comeback will never subside again, as the studio's recent output has been simply outstanding to say the least. Welcome back Disney Animation, I hope you're here to stay!

Ice Age 5 Coming in 2016 (Yes, Really), Anubis Pushed Back to 2018

This news is sure to draw collective groans from animation fans, particularly given the rate at which the quality of the films is plummeting (just have a gander at their Rotten Tomatoes scores), but so long as they keep bringing in the mammoth (no pun intended) numbers that they are doing (Continental Drift, the fourth film in the series, made almost $875 million worldwide), Fox and Blue Sky will keep making Ice Age films. And the fifth one is coming in 2016.

Friday 20 December 2013

Watch: Epic New Promo for Disney's Frozen

Frozen is riding a tidal wave of momentum right now, and - particularly with some international release dates still to come, and a hopefully big Christmas period haul in the US, UK, and other territories - Disney are capitalising on that, by building the well-deserved hype surrounding the film. Namely, check out this powerful new promo for the film, focusing on the stellar reviews it's earned.

For the record, I've seen it three times now, and loved it whole-heartedly every single time.

Edgar Wright Has Found His Ant-Man: Paul Rudd!

After many weeks of speculation, Marvel have announced that Paul Rudd will star as the size-changing superhero in Edgar Wright's kick off of Phase 3 in the Marvel Cinematic Universe!

Thursday 19 December 2013

New How to Train Your Dragon 2 Trailer: Beware Dragon Hunters and Spoilers

The first full length trailer for DreamWorks' hotly-anticipated How to Train Your Dragon 2 has arrived, and it's fantastic! Unfortunately, it also packs a pretty hefty spoiler. But first, the positives: the film looks absolutely phenomenal. More dragons, more intensity, more badassery, and the set-up for what looks to be one of DreamWorks' most mature films yet - it's a trailer worth watching... most of it, anyway.

Wednesday 18 December 2013

Studio Ghibli Announces New Film for Summer 2014!

The majority of the world still hasn't seen Hayao Miyazaki's latest and final masterpiece, The Wind Rises, nor Isao Takahata's latest, The Tale of Princess Kaguya, but that hasn't stopped Studio Ghibli from announcing their next project, due for release in Japan next Summer. The film is called When Marnie Was There, and it'll be helmed by The Secret World of Arrietty director Hiromasa Yonebayashi.

Tuesday 17 December 2013

Joseph Gordon-Levitt To Front English-Language Dub of Miyazaki's The Wind Rises

Hayao Miyazaki's ostensibly final film, The Wind Rises, is earning a lot of praise right now - just yesterday it was one of five animated films to get nominated for this year's Critics' Choice Award for Best Animated Feature. As such, the English-language dub of the film isn't far off. And while English dubs are often a bit of an irritant or distraction (Spirited Away, Ponyo, etc...), this one, fronted by Internet-favourite Joseph Gordon-Levitt, is really rather exciting.

Monday 16 December 2013

2014 Critics' Choice Nominations Revealed

Awards season is starting to gear up now, and you'll be happy to hear, after the somewhat controversial Golden Globe nominations last week, that the nominations for the 2014 Critics' Choice Awards are a lot more in line with what we were expecting. That is to say, Pixar's Monsters University and Hayao Miyazaki's The Wind Rises, notable omissions from the Globes, are both included in the animation line-up. Check the full list of five nominees for Best Animated Feature below.

Munir's Disney Retrospective - Animated Classic #46: Chicken Little (2005)

Last Week’s: Munir’s Disney Retrospective - Animated Classic #45: Home on the Range (2004)

The early-to-mid 2000s was a difficult time for Disney Animation, one where it tried to stay relevant amongst a fiercely competitive market. Troubled productions, half-baked stories and little revenue were some of the reasons why, in my humble opinion, they made the worst mistake they have ever made in their long and storied history. Instead of trying to tell better stories, executives blamed traditional animation as their main source of box office disappointment, judging it as "old fashioned" and switching completely to CGI like all the other studios. This not only caused Disney Animation to lose its identity, but also to hit rock bottom and release what can only be called their worst animated film of all time: Chicken Little.

Meet Cate Blanchett-Voiced Dragon Rider in New How to Train Your Dragon 2 Still

The sequel to DreamWorks' 2010 hit, How to Train Your Dragon, seems in many ways poised to be even bigger and better than the original. We got an intense teaser trailer for the film back in July, and now we've got a new still, introducing an interesting new character, voiced by Oscar winner Cate Blanchett! Meet Valka.

Thursday 12 December 2013

Golden Globe Nominations: Frozen, Despicable Me 2 and The Croods Fight It Out, Monsters U Left Out

Controversy is always abound with awards ceremonies, and this latest batch of Golden Globe nominations is no exception. But first, the positive: three really stellar animated films earned nominations for Best Animated Feature, with Universal/Illumination's Despicable Me 2, Fox/DreamWorks' The Croods, and awards-favourite Frozen all snagging a nomination. Now what seems to be missing from that line-up?

Monday 9 December 2013

Frozen Ices Over the US Box Office; Takes First Place in Second Week

After a strong first week, taking almost $93.6 million in its first 5 days, Walt Disney Animation Studios' Frozen has managed another impressive showing at the US Box Office, supplanting The Hunger Games: Catching Fire as the States' top-grossing movie this week. The icy princess pic took an estimated $31.6 million this weekend, bringing its domestic total so far to $134.2 million, and $190 million worldwide.

Sunday 8 December 2013

Munir's Disney Retrospective - Animated Classic #45: Home on the Range (2004)

And now, we've arrived at the moment where the word "classic" is really a stretch. Here's a movie that could've been a charming half hour special for the Disney Channel, but instead it's from the same studio that brought you timeless classics like Snow White and Beauty and the Beast. Home on the Range is the worst traditionally animated film from the studio, and now, nine years after its release, it's still hard to fathom why a film with such a generic story, unappealing characters and cheap animation was ever released to theatres.

Saturday 7 December 2013

Tarzan Composer to Score Ron Clements and John Musker's Moana

Details are still scant for what is expected to be Disney’s 57th animated film, Moana. But today we've learned that the film, the next project by the revered duo of Ron Clements and John Musker (The Little Mermaid, Aladdin), has found its composer!

Friday 6 December 2013

Frozen Out Now In the UK! Who's Seeing It This Weekend?

It's actually not been a particularly long wait (especially when compared to the 3 month gap between the US and UK releases of Wreck-It Ralph), but UK Disney fans should be extremely happy to know that Frozen, the studio's acclaimed new hit, is out now!

Thursday 5 December 2013

Annie Nominations: Frozen and Monsters University Lead the Pack

The Awards season is upon us and the Annies have taken the lead, announcing their nominations for outstanding achievements in the animation field. For animation fans, this is the only time we can see animated films get rewarded in multiple categories, instead of just the usual "Best Animated Feature." Here's a full breakdown of the nominations for both production and individual categories in theatrical films:

Monday 2 December 2013

Frozen Opens With Massive $93 Million, Smashes Disney Records

Frozen is an inexorable steamroller of momentum right now; the film has opened to extremely strong reviews, A113Animation readers seem very taken with it too, it's been given an A+ CinemaScore, and it's also racked up the biggest opening ever for a Walt Disney Animation Studios film, with a massive $93 million over the 5-day Thanksgiving weekend!