Tuesday 30 December 2014

2015 in Animation: A Preview

As 2014 is closing as one of the most solid years for animation in recent memory, let's take a look at what lies ahead in the new year. Bear in mind that this list is just for mainstream animated films, as the independent and foreign fare get announced on the fly. Also, this list only includes fully animated films, so hybrids like Monster Trucks and Pixels are not included.  Here's the list of the animated films that are coming with some observations and (just for fun) an estimated Rotten Tomatoes score:

Saturday 27 December 2014

Munir's Disney Retrospective - Animated Classic #54: Big Hero 6 (2014)

Big Hero 6 is the latest film from WDAS - and also their latest triumph! It would've been easy for the studio to rest on its laurels after Frozen's smashing success, (success that's still resonating today) but it's reassuring to see that the studio has no plans to slow down; Big Hero 6 is the latest proof of that.

Sunday 14 December 2014

Song of the Sea Review - Moore of This, Please

Too rarely these days a traditional animated feature presents itself to us. In a world where CGI is king, Ghibli is no more and only a few stop-motion flicks make it through, a hand-drawn film is a much-needed breath of fresh air - not that there's anything wrong with CGI.
So, why wouldn't you be excited for Song of the Sea? It's new, it's different, it's great. More after the break.

Wednesday 10 December 2014

Watch: New Inside Out Trailer - The Foot is Down!

Pixar have rolled out the first full trailer for their next film, the Pete Docter-directed Inside Out. And, as has been speculated, the film looks bloody good.

Saturday 22 November 2014

French Animation, Chapitre 7 - Asterix: The Land of the Gods

Previously: The Secret of Kells

What is it?
Asterix is originally a French series of comic books created in 1959 by brilliant author René Goscinny (this reviewer recommends everything from him - Oumpah-pah, Le Petit Nicolas, Iznogoud, Les Dingodossiers, his Lucky Luke stories - it's all gold) and artist Albert Uderzo. It tells the adventures of a Gaulish warrior and his village resisting the Roman occupation. Asterix has become a massive success, and is one of the most popular French-Belgian comic series worldwide - if not the most popular. It has spawned numerous animated and live-action movies, of varying quality.

Friday 14 November 2014

Futurama, A Swan Song - A Crossover

We knew it wasn't over. Meanwhile was not the end. The Planet Express crew-members had another adventure under their futuristic belts. This adventure would take place in the past, within the world of Matt Groening's other show: a little thing called The Simpsons.
Futurama is back for one last (?) hurrah and the result is a riotous episode. Mini-review to follow.

A show out of ideas teams up with a show out of episodes

Bender is sent back to the 21st Century in the town of Springfield. At first, he doesn't know why. After befriending Homer Simpson, he meets Professor Frink who resets his memory. Bender can then remember his mission: he was sent there to kill Homer Simpson…

Friday 7 November 2014

Pixar Announce Toy Story 4! John Lasseter Directing, Rashida Jones Writing, Out 2017

Well damn. I genuinely did not see this one coming. Yesterday, Pixar shook the entire Internet with the surprise announcement that they will be releasing a fourth film in the Toy Story series! Toy Story 4 (not, as some have suggested, called Toy Story: The Fours Awakens, sadly...) in June 2017 - meaning the film has presumably been in the works for a few years. More on this, who's involved, the general reaction - and ours - below.

Sunday 2 November 2014

The Book of Life Review - A Feast for the Senses

The Book of Life has been surrounded by a great amount of hype since the first stunning images of it were released to the public. After Reel FX's less than auspicious debut with last year's misguided Free Birds, The Book of Life had the immense task of making the audience care about this new studio, and the good news is, for the most part, The Book of Life succeeds in that endeavour.

Wednesday 29 October 2014

Here's Marvel's Phase 3 Slate!

(L-R): Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige, and the core cast of Captain America: Civil
: Robert Downey, Jr., newcomer Chadwick Boseman and Chris Evans.

Phase 3 of the multi-billion dollar Marvel Cinematic Universe was announced at a special Marvel event yesterday! We'll cut to the chase and tell you what you an expect from these new Marvel films, and when. Check out the breakdown below!

Monday 27 October 2014

Chris Miller and Phil Lord to Write The Lego Movie 2

The Lego Movie remains one of the best and most successful films of the year, so it's no surprise that Warner Bros. commissioned a sequel to it. That, and the expansions to their Lego universe, was all very good, but there was no word on who was directing the movie and, while that still remains a mystery, Deadline has confirmed that the directors of the original film, Chris Miller and Phil Lord, are set to at least write the sequel!

Disney Animation Officially Announces Moana as 56th Animated Film

In some big news, Walt Disney Animation Studios recently announced that their 56th animated feature film will indeed be Ron Clements and John Musker's Moana! Musker and Clements have an extensive filmography with the studio and are responsible for such classics as The Little Mermaid and Aladdin, so a new film by them is always welcome.

Sunday 26 October 2014

Pete Sohn Confirmed as Director of Pixar's The Good Dinosaur

Pixar recently announced (in a subtle yet effective way) the new director for their 16th feature film. And, as expected, it is indeed Pete Sohn (Partly Cloudy), the film's original co-director. Here's the video that Pixar uploaded with the official announcement:

The Book of Life Review: Yes to the Colours, No to the Shape

The time of the year when everything becomes dark and spooky is upon us, and with it arrives its lot of death-themed animated features. This year's iteration is a special one though, as it doesn't deliver the usual Halloween folklore and instead takes us on a journey through Día de los Muertos, the Mexican day of the dead.
Director Jorge Gutierrez and Producer Guillermo Del Toro come up with a gorgeous-looking movie; ironically, from that great strength The Book of Life also suffers. Clarifications after the break.

Sunday 19 October 2014

The BoxTrolls: A Suspenseful Review

With the hypnotic Coraline and the gutsy ParaNorman, Laika was two-for-two in my book. And I certainly believed their third sop-motion outing, The BoxTrolls, would extend their success. In fact this was my most anticipated animated film of 2014, as the teasers and trailers charmed me in a way that very few promotional campaign ever have. Then came the very mixed first reviews, and I started to worry. But despite that negative early buzz, I was still willing to enjoy The BoxTrolls.
So, did the Oregon-based studio strike gold once again, or is this their first flop? You can put an end to this absurdly thrilling suspense and discover my opinion after the break.

Saturday 11 October 2014

The BoxTrolls Review - An Uneven But Utterly Charming Film

The BoxTrolls is Laika's third stop-motion wonder; it's a bizarre and enchanting film that looks just wonderful. The animation is absolutely stunning and the world that the crew have created is rich with detail and hard work. The story doesn't quite hit the same highs that Coraline and ParaNorman did, but it nonetheless offers plenty of charm, making it an enjoyable ride.

Wednesday 8 October 2014

Inside Out First Impressions: A New Era for Pixar.

Pixar's 15th feature film is coming next summer and last week we got our first glimpse of the film, via a very good teaser trailer. Aside from making us remember all the good emotions that the Pixar films have helped us experience throughout the years, the teaser also shows us the main protagonists of the new film - with charming results.

Thursday 2 October 2014

Here's Our First Look at the Angry Birds Movie, And Its All-Star Cast

Frankly, who knows whether the Angry Birds Movie will be good or terrible... But if this surprisingly great first look at the characters as they'll appear in the film - and the solid and diverse voice cast - is anything to go on, it might surprise us yet.

Watch: Inside Out Teaser Takes Us Through a Montage of Pixar Emotions

In the absence of a feature film release, it's been a rather quiet year for Pixar news. But here, at long last, is the teaser trailer for Pixar's fifteenth feature film, Inside Out. The trailer introduces the five main characters of the new film, by reminding us of the times each of the emotions has cropped up in Pixar's previous classics. It's being billed as "a major emotion picture" and here's the trailer.

Monday 29 September 2014

Animation Turnaround #3: Toy Story (1995)

If there's a film that deserves the title of "Turnaround," it's Toy Story. The film completely and single-handedly changed the animation industry and its repercussions are still felt today. Just as Snow White introduced the animated feature film in 1937, Toy Story introduced a new way of making these films and now most mainstream animated films are done that way. CG animation was almost non-existent before Toy Story, mostly relegated to backgrounds, environments or creatures (for example, the stampede scene in The Lion King or the ballroom scene in Beauty and the Beast), but a fully CG animated film was thought an impossible task. Not only did Toy Story prove that notion wrong, but it also launched Pixar Animation Studios, one of the most highly regarded studios in the world. Toy Story came as a breath of fresh air for audiences and was a direct answer to Disney's Broadway formula, which by that time was starting to show signs of exhaustion.

Thursday 25 September 2014

Watch: New Big Hero 6 Trailer Focuses on the Characters

The second full-length trailer for Disney's Big Hero 6 is remarkable for a number of reasons. One such reason is that - in what's an extremely rare move for a trailer for a Hollywood film of this size - it actually focuses on the characters, rather than just a bunch of big action set pieces. Another reasons is that it's really, really good.

Sunday 14 September 2014

Animation Turnaround #2: Coraline (2009)

Laika made a splash in 2009 when they released their first animated film, Coraline. Done entirely in stop-motion, the film is a rarity in mainstream animation, because it's one of the few truly spooky family films that has appeared on the big screen. Based on the famous novel by Neil Gaiman, Coraline represented a rebirth for the stop-motion format and a glorious return for director Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas), who crafted a lovingly terrifying world and made Laika a force to be reckoned with.

Idris Elba and Dominic West Wired Up for Finding Dory

Former The Wire co-stars Idris Elba and Dominic West are reportedly now part of the voice cast for Pixar's hotly anticipated Nemo sequel, Finding Dory! Or so says Dominic West, anyway.

Thursday 4 September 2014

Animation Turnaround #1: Shrek (2001)

Welcome to Animation Turnarounds, a new section where I will review animated films that, for one reason or another, represented a change of direction for their respective animation studios and the industry in general. Unlike the Disney Retrospectives, these reviews won't be in chronological order and will feature a variety of films from different studios and nationalities. So, join me in celebrating these films that have made a dent in the animation industry, starting right now with Shrek:

Watch: Baymax and Hiro Meet in New Big Hero 6 Clip

Disney recently aired The Story of Frozen: Making a Disney Animated Classic; as well as providing the history of the highest-grossing animated film of all time and announcing the Frozen Fever short film, the TV special also featured a brand new clip from Walt Disney Animation Studios' next film, Big Hero 6. And here it is! Check the funny new clip out below.

Disney to Release New Frozen Short Film Next Year

Disney have announced a follow-up film to their billion dollar smash-hit Frozen - just not in the form of a feature. No, next year, Walt Disney Animation Studios will release Frozen Fever (an apt term to describe the time since the film's release, actually...) an all new short film, in a similar fashion to the Tangled Ever After short the studio released in 2012.

DreamWorks Pushes How to Train Your Dragon 3 to 2017

As How To Train Your Dragon 2 is crossing the $600 million dollar mark worldwide, DreamWorks Animation have just announced that the third instalment in what's arguably their best franchise has been pushed back, from its original release date of 17th June, 2016 to almost a year later, 9th June, 2017.

Thursday 28 August 2014

Meet Wisnton, The Star of Disney's Upcoming Short Film, Feast

Yesterday was (apparently) International Dog Day. So, in recognition of that, USA Today released an exclusive look at the canine star of Walt Disney Animation Studios' next short film, Feast! So, meet cute little Boston terrier Winston!

Watch: Singing Volcano in First Clip from Pixar's Lava

Yahoo! Movies have released the first clip from Pixar's charming new short film, which does indeed feature a singing volcano, Lava! A creative idea, the first (albeit short) Pixar musical and stunning animation make this an extremely intriguing short film. Check out the lovely little clip below.

Tuesday 19 August 2014

Pixar's The Good Dinosaur Getting "Completely Reimagined"

While Pixar is getting ready to release their much anticipated and talked about film Inside Out next summer, we know very little about their next project after that, scheduled for November 2015. As you may already know, The Good Dinosaur was scheduled to be released this past May, only to be postponed and have its director removed. After that, the only thing we knew was that the Pixar Brain Trust was working to save the project and a new release date of 25th November, 2015 was scheduled. We haven't heard much about the project until yesterday when /Film broke the news that the film has been "completely reimagined." These words came from actor John Lithgow, who plays the main protagonist's father.

Friday 15 August 2014

DisneyToon Studios' Future: What Options Does it Have?

Earlier this week, reports surfaced that there were going to be some layoffs at DisneyToon Studios, the studio responsible for the Tinker Bell and Planes series. The reason? There wasn't an specific one but it's not too hard to see why the layoffs occurred. The Tinker Bell series is done, with Legend of the Neverbeast being its last instalment, and the second film in the Planes franchise, Fire and Rescue, didn't do nearly as well as the first did last year. With the home media market shrinking every year, there are not many options for a studio that has specialized in producing home video products since its inception.

Tuesday 12 August 2014

Animated Films that Need Blu-ray Releases ASAP

In this day and age, where digital streaming is becoming the norm and physical media is waning, it's nonetheless hard to believe that some of the most celebrated animated films aren't available in HD yet. Here's a list of the films that need a Blu-ray release as soon as possible. This list applies to US releases.

Monday 11 August 2014

Watch: Enter the Danger Zone with New Trailer for Penguins of Madagascar

The "untold story" of the Madagascar franchise's most entertaining characters hits cinemas this November, and DreamWorks recently rolled out a new trailer for the film. And, in sticking with everything we've seen from the film so far, it looks rather fun. Check that new trailer out below!

Thursday 7 August 2014

Studio Ghibli's Future: What's Next for the Revered Studio?

After all the craziness that rose up recently over the alleged closure of Studio Ghibli, I was going to write an editorial mourning its closing and celebrating its legacy. Fortunately, those reports have been debunked and Studio Ghibli is still open, albeit not quite as we knew it. A restructuring is imminent and the prospect of closing down its production team is not far fetched. So now that the three people who have managed the studio for 29 years (Hayao Miyazaki, Isao Takahata and Toshio Suzuki) have retired, what's next for the celebrated studio? And what can they do to avoid shutting down? We'll take a look at how things have been running and how the studio can improve those things and re-emerge as a stronger studio, ready to look into the future and continuing to provide audiences with stellar motion pictures.

Monday 21 July 2014

Check Out This Awesome Comic-Con Poster for Pixar's Toy Story That Time Forgot!

Back in January, Pixar announced that - although they may not be releasing a feature film this year - they will be releasing their second Toy Story TV special this holiday season. Toy Story That Time Forgot is making an appearance at this year's San Diego Comic-Con, and this immense poster - which will be given out to attendees of Pixar's panel at SDCC - has just popped up online!

Sequel Potential?

In this day and age, if a movie does well enough, it's common for the studio that made it to announce a sequel right away. Animation studios are no different; DreamWorks Animation is the best example of this practice, as they tend to announce a sequel (or sequels) as soon as a film does good business. Most recently, Warner Bros. Animation announced a sequel to The Lego Movie as soon as the film started earning big bucks at the box office. Other studios, like Pixar, take their time with announcing sequels to their films (just recently we learned of sequels to The Incredibles and Cars). Surprisingly though, the studio that hasn't released many sequels in its long history is the oldest of them all, Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Tuesday 15 July 2014

Watch: Super New Trailer for Disney's Big Hero 6

Yesterday we learned about the voice cast of Disney's Big Hero 6 - which includes Scott Adsit, T.J. Miller, Damon Waynas Jr., Maya Rudolph and Alan Tudyk - and today we got a comedy-heavy new trailer for the film, due out in the US in November. Check it out below!

Monday 14 July 2014

Big Hero 6 Voice Cast Revealed!

Speculation's been running rampant for a while, and impatience has been growing, so Disney have finally revealed the voice cast for their 54th animated feature, Big Hero 6, along with some brand-spanking new character images to accompany the announcements!

First Look: Still from Pixar's Latest Short Film, Lava

A little while ago, we heard that Pixar's next short film was going to be "a musical love story that takes place over millions of years," called Lava. Lava is directed by James Ford Murphy, is going to play before Pixar's next film, Inside Out, and is already winning rave reviews. And now we get our first look at it, with the whimsically charming still above! More details about Lava and its story below.

Tuesday 8 July 2014

Watch: Morph and Chas Are Back in Twin Decks!

Aardman's oldest clay pal is back! Morph, who first appeared back in 1977, is popping back up now, following the success of the recent Kickstarter to launch 15 new shorts - the first of which, Twin Decks, is now online! Check it out below.

Another HTTYD2 Review - These People Are Really Mean to Sheep!

The RSPCA should really have a word with the people of Berk about their treatment of sheep...

*This review contains major spoilers. We find that a lot of the main talking points for HTTYD2 involve discussing the film in depth, so if you haven't seen it yet, don't read any further! Beware spoilers!*

Back in 2010, DreamWorks released a true gem of modern animation; it was only by the bad luck of it being released the same year as Pixar's Toy Story 3 that the film didn't get awards left, right and centre. That film, of course, was How to Train Your Dragon, the touching, exciting and epic story of young Viking Hiccup and his bizarre choice of best friend - a fire-breathing Night Fury dragon, named Toothless. And there has been a phenomenal amount of hype surrounding the much anticipated sequel, which has been playing in America for a few weeks now (Munir has actually already reviewed the film for this site here), and has been previewing on select days in the UK, ahead of a general release on Friday. So, here's a second A113Animation review of How to Train Your Dragon 2 - and I also really rather liked it.

Thursday 3 July 2014

Disney Confirms Enchanted Sequel, Complete with Writers and Director

When Enchanted hit back in 2007, it was the real (albeit non-animated) start to the resurgence of Disney Animation. Disney's first great musical film in years, the Amy Adams-starring flick was very well received - and didn't do too shabbily at the box office either. So a sequel has been long expected; that it took 7 years to get properly moving is the only real surprise.

Saturday 21 June 2014

Pixar's Next Short Film Will Be Lava; Will Play Before Inside Out

Pixar have announced their next short film, which will play before Pete Docter's Inside Out next summer: Lava! It's described as "a musical love story that takes place over millions of years." Check out more details on the project below.

Sunday 15 June 2014

How to Train Your Dragon 2 Review - A Sequel Done Right

DreamWorks Animation has been in a rut lately. Not creatively, but financially. The once powerhouse studio, has now become accustomed to sustaining heavy loses with their animated films. Rise of the Guardians, Turbo and, most recently, Mr. Peabody & Sherman have joined the list of box office underperformers. That does not mean the films are bad (Guardians and Peabody are great, in fact), but lousy marketing has prevented them from earning big money and becoming big franchises, which ultimately is what the studio seeks in every animated film they release. After all these 'risky' endeavours, it's understandable that the studio would release a sequel to a film that many consider their best film to date. Sure, sequels are nothing new, but, more often than not, they disappoint creatively by becoming merely retreads of the first film. DreamWorks is no stranger to ruining franchises (the last two Shrek films are complete train wrecks) but recently the studio has strived to make more serious and heartfelt films, and to shy away from the 'sitcom-esque' model that prevailed for most their previous films. So it's comforting to see that they have actually taken the time to make a sequel worthy of its predecessor and, without any reservation, I can call How to Train Your Dragon 2 the best DreamWorks film to date.

Friday 13 June 2014

DreamWorks Stuff: Release Dates, Trailers and More!

DreamWorks have been busy. The Shrek shack has released two new trailers, some high-res stills and a brand-spanking new line-up of animated films for between now and 2018! So to check out more from The Penguins of Madagascar, Home, Puss in Boots 2, Captain Underpants and more, see below!

Monday 9 June 2014

Two New Baymax-Centric Posters for Big Hero 6

Disney are getting out in front with the advertising for their 54th animated feature, the Marvel-based super-teen film, Big Hero 6. And today, we get two fun new posters for the film, featuring Baymax, the cuddly/friendly-turned-badass robot who promises to be a breakout character in the film.

Friday 30 May 2014

Watch: Stunning First Trailer for The Book of Life

Reel FX came onto the animation scene last November with Free Birds, the critically-panned time-travelling turkey film. Yeah, not the best of debuts... But the studio seems set to easily leap over that low bar with their follow-up, the Day of the Dead-inspired The Book of Life. And they've just released a rather great first trailer for it; check it out below.

Friday 23 May 2014

Watch: Marvel-lous First Teaser Trailer for Big Hero 6

Yesterday we shared with you some brand spanking new stills, a poster and a teaser for the teaser for Disney's next animated pic, Big Hero 6. And, shortly thereafter, WDAS released the first teaser trailer for the film! And it's great. Check it out below!

Thursday 22 May 2014

Meet Hiro and Baymax in First Stills, Poster and Footage from Disney's Big Hero 6!

Disney are beginning the hype again. With their 54th animated feature, Marvel-adaptation Big Hero 6, coming this November, the Mouse House has started releasing our first proper looks at the film! With a trailer coming later today, first check out the official stills, poster and teaser trailer teaser (yeah, really...) here!

Monday 19 May 2014

First Teaser for Disney's Cinderella!

The first trailer for the new adaptation of Cinderella found its way online a few days ago! Check it out below.

Sunday 11 May 2014

If Frozen Was a Horror Movie, It Would Be Very Creepy - And Something Like This

If you're starting to tire of the platoons of Frozen parodies, covers, tributes and videos... then here's another one! And, if you are tiring of the sweetness and Disney-ness of the film, this might be just the parody/cover/tribute/video for you: this video wonders what a horror version of Frozen would look like. And it's really rather good.