If you’ve got to get the bad news (or maybe good news if you’re lucky) about this crazy weather that we’re having, why not get it from a cute little bunny? “Weather Rabbit is a unique combination of weather app and virtual pet that rewards you for keeping your rabbit happy by dressing it in different clothes to match the current weather conditions. It features accurate, up-to-date, local information using your GPS and weather data sourced from Wunderground.com. You can earn new outfits for all four seasons plus more seasonally themed costumes.” This animated app (available on Google Play and The App Store) was created by Rabbx, with character design by Tracy Reynolds. You can find it at the Rabbx web site, too.
According to an article in Variety magazine, Disney Animation has given the green light to produce a live action Chip and Dale movie. Yes. What’s more, the film’s plot is an origin story for the Chip and Dale Rescue Rangers. This means we get to see not only Chip and Dale but Monterey Jack, Gadget Hackwrench, and the fly known as Zipper all portrayed as CGI characters in the real world, a la The Smurfs or the recent spate of Alvin and the Chipmunks movies. The film is being written and directed by Paul Rugan, previously best known as a director of TV commercials. No word yet on a planned release date or any cast members.
Your humble ed-otter and his mate were honored to once again attend the 2014 Annie Awards, honoring the best in animation from the year 2013. The event at UCLA’s Royce Hall (on Saturday the 1st of February) was hosted by Patrick Warburton, best known as Kronk from Disney’s The Emperor’s New Groove but also appearing as a voice in the upcoming Peabody and Sherman movie. Though Disney’s Frozen won Best Feature and Best Directing (it was a favorite for both), no film or TV series really seemed to dominate the awards that night. Instead the honors were spread out over a wide swath of projects. Several furry projects — or projects with anthropomorphic characters in them, at least — were honored, which is good when you’re honoring a year like 2013 that, let’s face it, had rather a dearth of heavily furry works — especially compared to 2012. Overall Disney was one of the big winners of the night — no, not Pixar. Disney. Not only did Frozen take home the feature-length honors for Best Picture, Directing, Music, Production Design, and Voice Acting (Josh Gad as Olaf the snowman); but the Disney Mickey Mouse series of shorts won in TV/Broadcast categories for Editing, Character Design, and Music. What’s more, the popular Disney cartoon Get A Horse won the Best Short Subject award. Pixar was represented as well of course, both in feature awards (as Monsters University won for Storyboarding and Editing) and TV/Broadcast (where Toy Story of Terror took home awards for Storyboarding, Character Animation, and Directing). Dreamworks Animation’s biggest winner of the evening was The Croods, which took home feature awards in Character Design, Effects Animation, and Character Animation. In television Tom Kenny received the award for Best Voice Acting for his role as The Ice King in Adventure Time, and the show itself was honored as the Best Production for Children. Some popular furry projects were nominated in several categories but unfortunately the did not win any awards. Among them were the TV series Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness and Dragons: Riders of Berk, as well as the French feature film Ernest & Celestine. The Annie Awards are administered by ASIFA-Hollywood, the Southern California branch of the International Animated Film Society (ASIFA). You can visit the Annie Awards web site to see pictures and videos from the event as well as a full list of all the winners for 2013.
So the Comic Book Movie site has released an image they found showing a much more detailed look at what the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are going to appear like in the new film directed by Jonathan Liebesman (Battle Los Angeles) and produced by Michael Bay (Transformers, et al). The look is certainly… different, isn’t it? Guess we’ll see more images and probably some footage soon, as the film is scheduled for release this August.
Bringing yet another well-known video game to the big screen, Sony Pictures have announced that Sly Cooper — The Movie is filming and set for release in 2016. Erik Kain at Forbes.com has the complete story, as well as a link to the teaser trailer. The film is being directed by Kevin Munroe (one of the writers on the TMNT film from 2007) and animated by Rainmaker Entertainment and Blockade Entertainment (both of whom are currently working on the Ratchet & Clank movie, also for Sony). According to the press release, “Sly Cooper is a kinetic and comedic heist film that tells the story of Sly Cooper, an orphaned raccoon thief, along with his childhood friends and partners in crime, Bentley Turtle and Murray Hippo. In the film, Sly learns of his birth family’s secret legacy; that he comes from a long line of talented and international thieves. Endowed with this knowledge, Sly and his friends are catapulted into a global adventure as they race to reassemble pieces of an ancient book holding The Cooper Clan’s family secrets before it can fall into the hands of Clockwerk — an evil Russian metallic owl bent on ending the Cooper family line. ” With the movie not coming out until 2016, we can probably assume that the teaser trailer does not reflect the look or feel of the final film — but it does get the word out and hopefully gets people interested.
Not many independent animation studios have a large staffs; fewer still are a one-person operation. But such is the case with Zandoria Studios — also known as animator William Sutton, working out of his home in Tennessee. While still working a day job, Mr. Sutton has found time to create CGI sequences for various independent films. Meanwhile, he’s been working on his own personal project: TAR of Zandoria, created using the popular Animation Master software. TAR, you see, is a barbarian hippopotamus, who spends his time wandering the wasteland in search of adventure, dancing girls, and fruit punch — but who must instead busy himself dispatching armies of hyenas and other evil-doers. A Kickstarter campaign to finance the first episode of TAR was unfortunately not successful, and so Mr. Sutton is seeking out other ways to bring his idea to life — and the screen. Check out the official TAR web site to find out the latest and see lots of background sketches — both computer-generated and traditional art.
Sheriff Callie’s Wild West is a new CGI animated TV series for preschool kids, coming soon to Disney Junior. Starring the voice of Mandy Moore (Tangled), it tells the story of Callie — a calico cat, the loyal and heroic sheriff of a little western town called Nice and Friendly Corners — and her friends and associates as they learn important little life lessons. There’s an article at Entertainment Weekly that includes a preview video of the show. Sheriff Callie’s Wild West is available now at WATCHDisneyJunior.com and the WATCH Disney Junior smartphone and tablet app. It debuts on the Disney Channel and Disney Junior in early 2014.
A brand new trailer is making the rounds for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, coming to theaters in July of 2014. It seems that the virus revealed at the end of 2011′s Rise of the Planet of the Apes did not in fact wipe out Humanity, though it gave it the old college try. Now the remaining humans and the tribe of evolved apes (lead, of course, by Caesar) have gone to war, and then formed an uneasy truce. That peace is fragile though, and war seems like it is always just on the horizon. Once again, Caesar the CGI chimp is modeled by the multi-talented actor Andy Serkis. Taking over the reins for Rise’s director Rupert Wyatt this time is newcomer Matt Reeves, perhaps best known as the director of the “reality monster movie” Cloverfield. Currently 20th Century Fox’s official site for the film only has the trailer up, but that will probably be added to as we swing into the new year. See what we did there?
Antilia is described by its creators as “an MMORPG featuring a beautiful world, original races, unique gameplay, and an innovative storytelling system!” Brought about by Jeff Leigh and the crew at Right Brain Games, this new multi-player game is currently in the testing and programming stage — and has a Kickstarter campaign up to get things brought to the next level. According to Jeff, “With Antilia, we are creating a unique and beautiful science-fiction/fantasy world, populated by distinctive anthropomorphic races. If you’ve heard of Antilia before, it’s because we have spent several years refining our process and building the game’s foundation. Antilia has had public alpha tests for the past two years as we developed, and we are confident we can deliver a quality game.” Find out more by visiting Antilia’s web site, or by checking out the preview trailer up on YouTube.