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Ganba, You’ve Changed!

The future can be scary — and welcome to it! Writer Brian Ashcraft notes in an article at Kotaku.com that he’s not very thrilled with the re-design of the characters for the upcoming CGI feature version of Ganba no Bouken (also known as The Adventures of Ganba). If you didn’t know, Ganba no Bouken was originally an anime TV series in the 1970’s about a rat and his rodent companions who sail off on adventures while trying to avoid a terrifying white weasel. In the 1980’s the series was made into a popular 2D anime feature as well. The article includes a trailer for the CGI version.  See what you think.

image c. 2015 Kotaku.com

image c. 2015 Kotaku.com

Scare the Bear!

CartoonBrew.com made note that the fourth feature-length animation in the Open Season series is in production and scheduled for release on home video in the spring of 2016. “Directed by Cow and Chicken creator David Feiss (who was also head of story on the original Open Season) and produced by The Simpsons’ John Bush, Open Season’s fourth installment [Open Season: Scared Silly], animated by Canada’s Rainmaker Entertainment, centers on the mystery of the Wailing Wampus Werewolf, who reportedly haunts the Timberline National Forest that serves as the setting for the franchise. Its possible existence so intensely scares the crap out of Open Season’s domesticated grizzly bear Boog that he elects to skip summer camp, which inspires his companions, led by the one-antlered mule deer Elliot, to bombard their ursine pal with exposure therapy to cure his fears.” No word yet on who’ll be voicing Boog and Elliot this time.

image c. 2015 Rainmaker Entertainment

image c. 2015 Rainmaker Entertainment

Fox and Rabbit are Friends… Eventually

ComingSoon.net recently ran an article summarizing an article in USA Today (the Internet is so circular sometimes…) about Disney Animation releasing a preview image from their upcoming 2016 CGI feature Zootopia. The new picture gives us the first glimpse of lead characters Nick Wilde (fox, voiced by Jason Bateman) and Judy Hopps (rabbit, voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin) as they’ll actually appear in the finished film. For those who don’t know, “The story involves these two characters who don’t get along at first but must work together when Nick needs Judy’s help getting out of a jam as she’s trying to crack a big case. [Co-director Rich Moore (Wreck-It Ralph)] describes the film as the story of ‘two animals who would naturally never hang out or like one another in the beginning, but over the course of the movie develop a relationship and become friends.’ So apparently, it’s a buddy comedy via anthrapamorphic Disney cartoon characters.” And apparently, the writer for ComingSoon.net doesn’t know how to spell “anthropomorphic”. Anyway, the film’s other director is Byron Howard (Tangled) and it’s set to be released in March of next year.

image c. 2015 Walt Disney Animation

image c. 2015 Walt Disney Animation

Ratchet That Much Closer to the Big Screen

Today at Cartoon Brew there was an announcement about new developments for the much-anticipated upcoming Ratchet & Clank feature film. (Based on the popular Playstation video game series.  Do we even need to say that?) Now the film has a distributor (Focus Features, also the home of Laika films) and a planned release date: April 29, 2016. Which is close to the time that Insomniac Games plan to release a new Ratchet & Clank adventure for the PS4. “The movie will be directed by Kevin Munroe (TMNT) and co-directed by Jericca Cleland. The film’s voice cast, also announced this week, includes Paul Giamatti, John Goodman, Rosario Dawson, and Sylvester Stallone, with Ratchet, Clank, Nefarious, and Captain Qwark voiced by the same actors as in the games. The script was developed with former Insomniac Games and Ratchet & Clank senior writer T.J. Fixman, with original Ratchet & Clank character designer Dave Guertin and weapon/vehicle designer Greg Baldwin also working on designs.” In other words, they’re putting a lot of effort into this thing!

image c. 2015 Insomniac Games

image c. 2015 Insomniac Games

Fast Cash

There’s been a lot in the news lately about the new video game Yooka-Laylee (get it?). It’s the flagship product of a new company called Playtonic Games, which features a lot of the creative staff from Rare. And this new game is considered to be a spiritual successor to the wildly-popular Banjo & Kazooie series. But that’s not what’s got people talking. This is: Playtonic put up a Kickstarter campaign to finance the game… and they reached their initial multi-thousand British pound goal in less than 40 minutes. That’s got to be some kinda record, we think. “Yooka-Laylee (yes, like the tiny guitar) is a 3D platformer starring Yooka, a bipedal lizard-like dude, and Laylee, a purple “wisecracking lady-bat.” They have unique abilities, such as Yooka’s tongue-grapple and Laylee’s tactical sonar blast, and together these best buds explore five worlds filled with weird characters and feisty bosses. Also, one of the abilities is a “giant fart bubble.” Playtonic knows the way to its players’ hearts.” And their pocketbooks, it would seem. Head on over to Engadget to find out more.

image c. 2015 Playtonic Games

image c. 2015 Playtonic Games

Beast of Burden Closer to Escaping?

A recent article in Variety notes that Beast of Burden is now set to shoot as the first China / New Zealand co-production animated feature film. “Written and directed by Kirby Atkins (Nickelodeon’s The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron), the story sees a species of now-extinct creatures called Thoriphants rebel against their life of servitude to mankind and embark on a treacherous journey.” You may recall that we previously discussed the film on this very web site. As a reminder, we’ll give you the link to Mr. Atkins’ original proof-of-concept short film, which helped him to secure the production deal for his first solo feature.

image c. 2015 Kirby Atkins

image c. 2015 Kirby Atkins

Big News from Dreamworks

Dreamworks Animation have released the first preview of their new How To Train Your Dragon tie-in TV series, Dragons: Race to the Edge. It’s coming to Netflix on June 26th. Interestingly, it’s all coming on that date: All 13 episodes will be available at once. In this latest iteration, “Hiccup and Toothless lead the Dragon Riders as they soar beyond the borders of Berk and discover the mysterious Dragon Eye — an ancient artifact filled with secrets that will lead them to new lands filled with undiscovered dragons. But the heroes find themselves pursued by marauding dragon hunters, who will stop at nothing to seize the power of the Dragon Eye.” Check it out over at Comingsoon.net. Meanwhile, just today came another Dreamworks announcement: Kung Fu Panda 3’s release date has been moved. Again. This time they’ve moved it up from March 18th to January 29th. We still gotta wait until 2016, but at least it’s coming sooner!

image c. 2015 Dreamworks Animation

image c. 2015 Dreamworks Animation

The Lamb. No Lion.

More news from Cartoon Brew: The first major-studio release of a faith-based animated feature film. “Academy Award-nominated director Tim Reckart (Head Over Heels) will make his feature directorial debut with faith-based feature The Lamb, Sony Pictures Animation revealed today in a late-Easter Weekend announcement. First announced in September 2014, The Lamb will be a fully CG-animated pic based on the Christian nativity story, telling the ‘inspirational story of a young lamb who will change the world’ with an all-animal cast.” Lest you forget, the last time there was a faith-based anthropomorphic animated film (independently released) it was Jonah: A Veggie Tales Movie. Stay tuned for more information on a release date for The Lamb.

image c. 2015 Morethings.com

image c. 2015 Morethings.com

Australian Animals on the Big Screen

Cartoon Brew has an article about the first teaser trailer for the new CGI (of course) feature film version of Blinky Bill. Wot, ye’ve not ‘eard o’ Blinky Bill? He’s one of Australia’s most famous animated animals: A young koala with an adventurous attitude and a strong environmental heart. “Blinky Bill first rose to fame in the 1930s in a series of lavishly illustrated and conservation-themed books by Dorothy Wall. A new generation of children… was introduced to Blinky through the classic 1990s animated series The Adventures of Blinky Bill.” The new CGI film features Ryan Kwanten (True Blood) as Blinky Bill himself, while other Australian voices include Toni Collette and Barry Humphries (“Dame Edna”). The film is directed by Deane Taylor, who previously was art director on The Nightmare Before Christmas. Interestingly, the same article makes mention of another upcoming film called Larrikins, in production over at Dreamworks Animation and featuring contributions by musician & comedian Tim Minchin.Larrikins tells the story of an uptight bilby (a desert-dwelling marsupial), who has lived a sheltered life in the safety of his family burrow. When he ventures out and becomes privy to a dangerous secret, he finds himself launched on a musical adventure across the mystical and untamed Australian outback.” Larrikins was originally scheduled for a 2018 release, but there’s no word yet if all the recent shake-ups at Dreamworks will change that.

image c. 2015 Flying Bark Productions

image c. 2015 Flying Bark Productions