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Animation

Once Again, Life is Like a Hurricane

If you haven’t caught it yet, word is spreading fast that Disney TV Animation plans to bring back 90’s cartoon favorite Duck Tales in a whole new series on Disney XD, starting in 2017. We first heard about it over at Oh My Disney: “When Marc Buhaj—Senior Vice President, Programming and General Manager, Disney XD—made the announcement, he said, ‘DuckTales has a special place in Disney’s TV animation history, it drew its inspiration from Disney Legend Carl Barks’ comic books and through its storytelling and artistic showmanship, set an enduring standard for animated entertainment that connects with both kids and adults. Our new series will bring that same energy and adventurous spirit to a new generation.’  The new series will star the same beloved characters as the old: Scrooge McDuck, Huey, Dewey, Louie, Launchpad McQuack, Donald Duck, Duckworth, Gyro Gearloose, Flintheart Glomgold, Magica DeSpell, Poe, Ma Beagle, the Beagle Boys, Mrs. Beakley, and Webbigail Vanderquack.” Nothing more precise from Disney regarding a premier date yet, but Disney XD is starting to sound more and more interesting for animation.

image c. 2015 Disney TV Animation

image c. 2015 Disney TV Animation

They Grow Strong in Scandinavia

If you hadn’t heard, one of Sweden’s most popular funny animals came to European movie screens in 2014. “Sweden’s most popular comic book character – the bear Bamse – now gets his first feature film. In Bamse Och Tjuvstaden (Bamse and the City of Thieves) the strongest bear in the world and his two friends Little Hopp and Shellman show that the best weapon against evil is -friendship (and a few drops of Grandma’s Thunder Honey of course).” After a popular animated TV series and several TV movies you can check out the feature film’s trailer over on YouTube. As usual, of course, there’s little chance we’ll be able to see this stuff anytime soon in North America — at least not translated!

image c. 2015 Tre Vanner Productions

image c. 2015 Tre Vanner Prod.

Creatures of New York City

Making quite a buzz at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was a series of animated shorts made for television and the web, of all things. Animals is a black & white, minimally-animated series which “follows various New York City creatures as they get into awkward (and sometimes deadly) encounters with one another.” The series was created by Phil Matarese and Mike Luciano, two employees at a commercial production house who took some time off to make little animals talk to each other. Check out the Animals web site to see what the fuss is about. (Here’s a hint: Click on the clouds!)

image c. 2015 by Phil Matarese/Mike Luciano

image c. 2015 by Phil Matarese / Mike Luciano

More Bear, More Marmalade

The film adaptation of Paddington has become, world-wide, one of the biggest box office successes of all time for a “family film”. Now come the word (thanks to Cartoon Brew again) that Studio Canal (the French film creators who brought Paddington to CGI life) are fast-tracking a sequel to the 2014 film — once again to be produced by David Heyman from the UK. In the meantime, the studio is busy distributing another oh-so-English property: Aardman Animation’s Shaun the Sheep Movie, which premiered in Britain last week. No word yet on a release date for Paddington 2, but you can bet it will be sooner rather than later.

image c. 2015 Studio Canal

image c. 2015 Studio Canal

Nobody Move Or The Doggy Gets It!

Over at Cartoon Brew there’s a new article about an upcoming animated film called Blazing Samurai. Does that title sound a little familiar? Maybe it’s because the whole idea of the movie is an animated re-make of Mel Brooks’ classic western comedy Blazing Saddles — but this time, with dogs. And samurai. Yes. “In this version, a dog named Hank travels to a small town in ancient Japan to fulfill his dream of becoming a samurai. He discovers the town is populated entirely by cats, and must overcome prejudice while learning how to be a great warrior from a once-great samurai cat named Jimbo. Chris Bailey, who directed the Disney short Runaway Brain and animation directed Alvin And The Chipmunks, and veteran animator/story artist Mark Koetsier will co-direct from a screenplay by Ed Stone and Nate Hopper.” The film is being distributed by Open Road Films, who last year brought us The Nut Job. Check out the rest of the article, and look for Blazing Samurai to hit movie screens in April of 2017.

image c. 2015 Open Road Films

image c. 2015 Open Road Films

Canines to the Rescue — Again!

Squarely in the “It’s about time!” department: Warner Brothers Home Video has announced the release of Road Rovers: The Complete Series on DVD later this month. “Meet ‘Cano-sapien’ the next, heroic step in the evolution of man’s best friend! After the evil General Parvo unleashes Professor Shepherd’s inventions upon the world, mutating dogs into monsters, Professor Shepherd recruits an international team of canines and transdogmafies’ them into super-heroic, humanoid crime-fighters.” That description barely scratches the surface of just how completely odd this popular anthropomorphic cartoon series from the 90’s could get. So head on over to the Warner Brothers web site and check it out. And remember: Don’t be weird boy!

image c. 2015 Warner Brothers Home Video

image c. 2015 Warner Brothers Home Video

Freddy’s Back! (The OTHER One!)

After what can only be called a very successful year in 2014, Five Nights at Freddy’s creator Scott Cawthon has announced that Part 3 is in development and will be released very soon for computers and a variety of mobile devices. According to an article at Cinema Blend, this new chapter takes place 30 years after the horrific events of Five Nights at Freddy’s 1 and 2 have resulted in Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza being shut down and demolished. But now, someone has come up with the bright idea of building a brand new theme park attraction based on Freddy Fazbear’s! Even better, they decide to use some of the old parts from the original animatronic characters for this new dark ride. As you can imagine, things don’t go as planned… No word yet on a precise release date, but the article does feature a very creepy teaser trailer for the new game.

image c. 2015 Scott Cawthon

image c. 2015 Scott Cawthon

One Flew Over the Monkey’s Nest

This is direct from an article on Cartoon Brew: “Mexican animation firm Ánima Estudios, producer of the hit 2011 Mexican film Top Cat: The Movie, has released a trailer for its next feature Guardianes de Oz ([Guardians of Oz] retitled Wicked Flying Monkeys for English audiences). The film is set to premiere in Mexico on April 10, 2015. Directed by Alberto Mar (Top Cat: The Movie), the film has an original story by Mexico-born director Jorge Gutierrez, who helmed the recent Reel FX feature The Book of Life. Veteran American television writers Doug Langdale and Evan Gore are credited for the final script along with Gutierrez. Taking place in L. Frank Baum’s Oz universe, the film follows Ozzy, a young flying monkey who rebels against his boss, the wicked witch Evilene, and reaches out to the “Guardians of Oz”—the Lion, the Scarecrow and the Tin Man—who have been put under a spell by the witch.” The article also has a link to the trailer itself. It’s easy to see the connection between this and The Book of Life when you look at the character designs!

image c. 2015 Ánima Estudios

image c. 2015 Ánima Estudios

The Untold Story

“… of the animals who didn’t get on the Ark.” That’s the official tag line of Oops! Noah is Gone, a new CGI feature film coming out later this year. Produced in Germany and animated all over Europe, it follows the story of David and his young son Finny, the last of the Nestrians, and what happens when one of them misses the boat — literally. The official English trailer explains it all better… sort of. No word yet on if it’s to be released to North American theaters or only on DVD. Thanks to Cartoon Brew for the heads-up.

[Don’t forget, nominations for the Ursa Major Awards are open now! And with that, we’ll see you all after Further Confusion!]

image c. 2015 Global Screen

image c. 2015 Global Screen