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October, 2012:

Animated Animal Farm — Sort Of

Andy Serkis is a well-known actor, both in front of the camera and… behind the animation, as one of the world’s most famous motion-capture models. You’ve seen the results of his work as Gollum in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and also in movies like King Kong and Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Now Cartoon Brew has passed along the word the Mr. Serkis is looking to direct his own feature film — and wouldn’t you know it, he plans to do it using mo-cap! George Orwell’s famous allegorical fantasy Animal Farm has been filmed before of course, via traditional animation and also puppetry.  Now Mr. Serkis has bought the rights to the story and has it currently in development, hoping to direct the film himself. No word yet on a projected release date, but Mr. Serkis is currently working on a “proof of concept” short film to help him secure financing.

image c. 2012 Cartoon Brew

A Couple of Real Turkeys

They put it best, so we’re lifting this directly from Cartoon Brew: “Relativity Media and Reel FX have announced that they will jointly produce and finance the upcoming animated feature Turkeys. The film is being directed by Jimmy Hayward (Horton Hears A Who!) and stars the voice talent of Owen Wilson (Cars) and Woody Harrelson (A Scanner Darkly). Relativity usually releases their films through a major U.S. distributor like Universal or Warner Bros. Expect one of them to pick it up.” What’s it about?  This is from the Relativity Media press release: “Turkeys is an irreverent, hilarious, adventurous buddy comedy where two turkeys from opposite sides of the tracks must put aside their differences and team up to travel back in time to change the course of history – and get turkey off the menu for good.” Hmmm, is it at all significant that both of the lead actors are vegetarians in real life? Watch for this in 2014.

image c. 2012 Relativity Media

Silly Cartoons on your Mobile Phone

Rubes is a single-panel gag cartoon series created by Leigh Rubin. Many of his cartoons have been collected in a book called The Wild and Twisted World of Rubes, available on his web site. There you can also order his 2013 Rubes desk calender, called Zoo in a Box. And to top it off, with a purchase of the Zoo on the Go app you can receive a daily Rubes cartoon sent right to your mobile phone. There’s a free trial available on the web site too.

image c. 2012 Leigh Rubin

New from India

Delhi Safari is a new full-length CGI animated feature from India, directed by Nikhil Advani and animated by Krayon Pictures. It tells the story of a group of rainforest animals in India, who find their forest is being destroyed and paved over by human encroachment and construction. They take it upon themselves to travel to Delhi, with the intention of using a “bilingual” parrot (he speaks both human and non-human languages) to voice their complaints about the destruction of their home. The film has been picked up for international distribution by Fantastic Films, and it recently opened for a limited engagement in North America. Filmed in Hindi, the English version of the film features the voices of Jason Alexander, Cary Elwes, Christopher Lloyd, Jane Lynch, Vanessa Williams, and Brad Garrett. Watch the international trailer on YouTube, or visit the Delhi Safari Facebook page.

image c. 2012 Krayon Pictures

Cowabunga Turtle Dudes in Their Very Own Van

The first time our buddies the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles came to animation was in their first TV series, created in 1987 by Murakami-Wolf-Swenson. More comedic in tone than many Turtle variations, this version ran for no less than 10 seasons on TV, intersecting with several of the movie adaptations. Now Lionsgate will soon release all 10 seasons in a 23-disc DVD box set — contained in a bright and shiny turtle-van! “From their origins on the comic book page to the depths of Dimension X and beyond, the pizza-loving, shell-busting Leonardo™, Donatello™, Raphael™ and Michelangelo™, with the guidance of their Sensei, have been delighting fans for decades with their turtle power. Whether it’s facing fierce enemies Krang™, Shredder™ and Lord Dregg™, saving humanity from near extinction, or battling against life-altering mutations, the half-shell heroes are always ready for heart-stopping, time-bending, straight outta the sewer action!” Look for it in November, or order it from Amazon today.

image c. 2012 Lionsgate

Colorful Bears, Coming to Save Your World

In case anyone needs a refresher: The Care Bears were created in 1981 by American Greetings (originally for greeting cards, of course), and eventually starred in their own TV series and animated movies (produced by Nelvana) before they went on to conquer the world of tie-in marketing entirely. Well now the entirety of that original animated series is available in a -DVD box set (!) called Care Bears: The Original Series Collection. “The lovable bears of Care-a-lot, Cheer, Share, Harmony, and all their bear buddies with unique belly badges and a caring mission have been delighting fans for 30 years! Whether it1s learning the value of friendship, helping someone in need, or using their special powers to brighten up the day, the adorable Care Bears are always ready for caring, sharing, and giving goodness!” The set is available now from Miramax/Lionsgate.

image c. 2012 Miramax/Lionsgate

Jake on DVD. With Hat!

In the spirit of all-around marketing, Cartoon Network has just released the new Adventure Time: Jake vs. Me-Mow DVD… which includes your very own Finn Hat, which has become such a popular fashion accessory for ATFJ fans. The DVD (let’s not forget about that) features 16 episodes from all 4 seasons of Adventure Time with Finn and Jake, this time featuring Jake the magical dog taking on Me-Mow the dastardly cat. There’s a commercial for the package on YouTube… which, frankly, is about as strange as the show itself.

image c. 2012 Cartoon Network

Animal Companions from Small to Scary

If you play the FRP game Pathfinder, don’t go it alone: Bring along one of many new animal companions to help  you out. “It’s time to level up every adventurer’s best friend with Pathfinder Player Companion: Animal Archive. This player-focused guide to animal allies, steadfast steeds, and fearless familiars unleashes a host of options for everyone’s favorite companion creatures. Take your pick of new options for heroes, including new opportunities to give any class access to animal allies, new tricks to teach all manner of beasts, and a host of savage new archetypes, spells, equipment, and magical items. Or take your pick from any of a variety of new creature compatriots, whether it be one of Golarion’s numerous native animals, a choice from the comprehensive list of animal familiars, or one of an assortment of new creatures specifically designed as adventuring companions. An assortment of feats and archetypes for animals also gives your ally the edge over every other bestial bumpkin in the wider wilds. Don’t let druids and rangers be the only ones with an advantage, adopt your perfect furred or feathered, tailed or scaled ally with Pathfinder Player Companion: Animal Archive.” Look for this new illustrated trade paperback in January, or pre-order it at Amazon.

image c. 2012 Paizo

One Sneezy Little Panda

Famed “dark fantasy” author Neil Gaiman has taken a different tack with his latest book, Chu’s Day. It’s a picture book for young children, illustrated by Adam Rex (Chloe and the Lion). Chu is a little panda boy who has trouble with sneezing. So why do his parents keep taking him to places like a dusty library, or a restaurant where they cover everything with pepper?  Will Chu make it through his day? Find out. The book comes out in hardcover this January from Harper Collins. Pre-order it at Amazon.

image c. 2012 Adam Rex