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February, 2012:

Wallace and Gromit come to DVD — Again

Wallace & Gromit’s World of Invention won the 2010 Ursa Major Award (presented at Morphicon in 2011) for Best Anthropomorphic Short Subject or Series. Now Cartoon Brew has informed us that Lionsgate is releasing the entire 6-episode BBC series (created by Nick Park and Aardman Animations, of course) to DVD and BluRay on March 13th. “Wallace & Gromit’s World of Invention sees world-renowned inventor Wallace and his faithful sidekick (turned camera dog) Gromit turn their hand to presenting for the very first time, hosting a six-part series from the basement of 62 West Wallaby Street. They take an enthusiastic look at some real life cracking contraptions, from gadgets that help around the home to the mind-boggling world of space travel and much more in between.”

image c. 2012 Aardman Animations

The Lorax

By now you’ve probably seen the trailers, the billboards, or the general buzz letting you know that a new version of Dr. Seuss’ 1971 parable The Lorax is coming to the big screen. The last time The Lorax was animated was 1972, in a TV special created by DePatie-Freleng (well known for The Pink Panther cartoon show). This time, Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment (who most recently brought us Despicable Me) will be releasing the CGI film version on March 2nd. It’s directed by Chris Renaud and Kyle Balda, and stars the voice of Danny DeVito (as the Lorax) as well as Zac Efron, Ed Helms, Betty White, and Taylor Swift. The original story, if you didn’t know, tells of a young boy who meets up with an unseen creature known as the Once-ler, who tells a story of his youth… when he destroyed a tranquil forest in the name of industrialization and commercialism, despite the pleas and warnings of the Lorax, a sort of spirit of the forest. As with the big screen adaptation of Horton Hears A Who, a lot has been added to the basic plot for this new version of The Lorax. It remains to be seen if the new movie will maintain not only the original’s important message, but also the power of its hopeful yet rather bleak ending. You can decide for yourself when the film comes out, or by visiting Unversal’s Lorax Movie Site.

image c. 2012 Universal Studios


Cats and Dinosaurs

Okay, so you’ve got a pet dinosaur. Raising one from an egg can be a real pain, er, adventure! Not the very least for your other household pets! That’s the idea behind Kitty & Dino, a new children’s hardcover book written and illustrated by Sara Richard. From the publisher’s press release on Amazon: “When a little boy brings home a dinosaur egg, the cat of the house isn’t too keen on the tiny creature that pops out. But after a few weeks of showing the new baby the ropes, a bond forms between kitty and dino that transcends species.” It’s available for order now, and coming from Yen Press in April.

image c. 2012 Sara Richard

She Talks to Toys

Doc McStuffins is a brand new CGI animated series which is premiering on Disney Channel this coming March 23rd as part of their Disney Junior programming. The show was created by Emmy-Award-winning writer and producer Chris Nee (who also wrote for The Wonder Pets) and it’s directed by Emmy-winner Norton Virgien (Rugrats). The show follows the adventures of a 6-year-old girl who discovers that, using her magic play stethoscope, she can talk to toys… and so, she sets up shop fixing them when they’re having troubles. The show is produced by Brown Bag Films out of Dublin, Ireland.  TV Guide on line has some background information on the show and a preview video too.

image c. 2012 Disney Channel

Black to the Moon

Black to the Moon is a 3D CGI animated feature film from Europe, which recently premiered at the Cartoon Movie event in Lyon, France. Originally known as Blackie & Kanuto, it was directed by Francis Nielsen and produced in France, Spain, Italy, and Belgium (!). Currently it’s looking for distribution in North America. Here’s the storyline according to the Internet Movie Database: “Blacky, a black sheep, is the terror of the farm. And she is obsessed with going to the Moon. Kanuto, the sheepdog, gets tangled up in her plans while failing to hide his love for her. They get swept away in an adventure where they meet an opera-singing cow, a fashion designer wolf, illegal sewing spiders, a weird couple of birds from some famous singing TV reality show contest, and a peculiar pack of dogs, the ‘Pastrinos’, who have a rocket ready to launch. And of course, Pinky, the Godzilla-sized sheep, with a bad attitude of lunar proportions.” Seriously.  Maybe it’ll make more sense when you see the English-language trailer on YouTube. But then again, maybe not.

image c. 2012 Art'Mell

Brave Pets vs. the Undead

Who says there aren’t any original ideas anymore? Even if they involve combining other ideas, still: “In the wake of a zombie apocalypse, a small band of animals, led by a hyper-intelligent Golden Retriever named Rex, and accompanied by a baseball bat-wielding gorilla, begin their cross-country journey in the hope of finding safety…and a home.” It’s Rex: Zombie Killer, a brand new double-thick one-shot comic book that’s coming soon from Big Dog Ink. Written by Rob Anderson and illustrated in full color by Dafu Yu, it’s scheduled for release (escape?) in early April. Check out the Rex: Zombie Killer web site to meet all the characters and find out more about the comic.

image c. 2012 Big Dog Ink

It’s A Racing Snail!

No, it’s not another addition to the Neverending Story series… it’s Dreamworks Animation’s newest project, Turbo. The folks over at Cartoon Brew gave us a preview of the sneak-peak poster and some background on the story. [Though the write-up quotes 2012, it’s actually due in 2013 — ye ed-otter.] “Set for release in summer 2012, DreamWorks Animation’s Turbo is described as ‘a garden snail with dreams of becoming the fast snail in the world experiences a freak accident that might just allow him to realize his goal.’ Three actors have been attached to do voices: Ryan Reynolds, Marvin Duerkholz and Lil’ Mizerkk.” Dreamworks has also released higher-res versions of the main posters for the films Rise of the Guardians (coming this November) and The Croods (the new project from director Chris Sanders).

image c. 2012 Dreamworks Animation

Ponies Come to DVD

At long last the wildly popular series My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (from the Hub network of course) comes to DVD thanks to Shout Factory on the 28th of this month.  My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic — The Friendship Express will include five non-sequential episodes from seasons one and two of the series, including the premiere episode parts 1 and 2, “Over a Barrel”, “Hearth’s Warming Eve”, and “The Last Roundup”. You can order a copy on Amazon, and any number of other places too, of course.  If you’ve been on another planet and have no idea what we’re talking about, check out the latest incarnation of My Little Pony on Wikipedia and find out why so many adults have gone crazy for it!

image c. 2012 Hasbro, Inc/The Hub

Franklin Returns

Franklin is, of course, more than a turtle — He’s a well-known children’s book character with his own long-running TV series from Nelvana. Well now Franklin has returned to Nickelodeon in Franklin and Friends, a new CGI series produced by Nelvana and Infinite Frameworks. Here’s a press release we picked up from Cartoon Brew: “Franklin is back and better than ever in the brand-new CG-animated preschool series, Franklin and Friends, premiering Monday, Feb. 13, at 9:30 a.m. (ET/PT) on Nickelodeon. Based on the best-selling children’s book series by Paulette Bourgeois and Brenda Clark, published by Kids Can Press, the half-hour series follows a turtle named Franklin as he experiences adventures and milestones, learning lessons along the way with his pals Snail, Rabbit, Beaver, Fox, Goose and best friend Bear. The series emphasizes the importance of family, friendship, community, personal growth and helping others. Franklin and Friends, produced by Nelvana and Infinite Frameworks Pte. Ltd., will regularly air weekdays at 9:30 a.m. (ET/PT) on Nickelodeon.” The article goes into much more depth about the show, and includes a video snippet from the first episode.

image c. 2012 Nelvana/Infinite Frameworks