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Movie News

Too Chicken To Fly?

Animation World Network let us know about a new European animated firm called Ploey. Unlike the usual animated film we whine about, this one seems to have already found US distribution! “When a young flightless plover chick named Ploey gets separated from his family, he must undertake a dangerous journey to a legendary valley in order to save his loved ones from falling prey to an evil falcon… A co-production between the animation division of Iceland’s GunHil‘s and Belgium-based studio Cyborn, Ploey is written by Friðrik Erlingsson and directed by Árni Ásgeirsson. The CG animated feature is set to take wing in the U.S. in April both on DirecTV and in theaters.” The article includes more artwork and clips. Seems like it’ll be flying in soon!

image c. 2019 Cyborn

Overture. Hit the Lights.

So Animation World Network recently brought us a big announcement from the folks at Warner Brothers.  Here’s the highlights: “Bugs Bunny! Daffy Duck! The Looney Tunes are back! The classic Warner Bros. Animation characters return in Looney Tunes Cartoons, a series of new shortform cartoons debuting at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, which runs this year June 10-15. The next chapter of the iconic Looney Tunes story, featuring a cartoonist-driven approach to storytelling, will have its world debut on Monday, June 10, as part of the Opening Ceremony festivities, with Looney Tunes Cartoons shorts playing in front of the previously announced opening film, Playmobil: The MovieLooney Tunes Cartoons is a series of new short form cartoons starring the iconic and beloved Looney Tunes characters. With a crew of some of the premiere artists working in animation today, each ‘season’ will produce 1,000 minutes of all-new Looney Tunes animation that will be distributed across multiple platforms — including digital, mobile and broadcast.” We’ll see how things work out this time. We know from several recent attempts at “new” Looney Tunes that the old Warner Brothers magic is hard to recreate — especially the timing. Stay tooned.

image c. 2019 Warner Brothers

The Tiger and the Tale

[You know what? Lingering colds really really suck…] Buried in a recent article at Animation Magazine’s web site about some upcoming films (all of them furry, to some extent!) was this little tidbit: “Meanwhile, Paramount has confirmed that The Tiger’s Apprentice, an animated adaptation of Laurence Yep’s young adult fantasy trilogy series, will be released on February 11, 2022. The story centers on a young San Francisco boy who meets a mysterious talking tiger called Mr. Hu and realizes that he’s the appointed guardian who can protect everyone from an evil ancient phoenix. The screenplay has been adapted by David Magee (Life of Pi). The studio hasn’t announced a director or voice cast for the project. Feb. 11, 2022 sounds like a good spot for the animated pic as no other movie has been announced for that time period.” Really now? Hmm, let’s see… 2022 would be six years after the release of Zootopia. The same amount of time it took Disney Animation to make and release Frozen 2. Just saying…

image c. 2019 HarperCollins

Shaggy (and the) Dog

Here we go again! We got this from Complex.com: “Scooby-Doo will make its return to the big screen with an animated movie set to star Gina Rodriguez, Tracy Morgan, and Will Forte, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The film — directed by Tony Cervone, the producer behind the television series, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated — is currently untitled. Forte is set to play the titular dane’s best friend Shaggy, Rodriguez will voice Velma, and Morgan will be non-Mystery Gang member Captain Caveman [!]. Frank Welker, who’s worked with the franchise since 1972-73’s The New Scooby-Doo Movies, will play the role of Scooby-Doo. For this case, the gang will reportedly team up with other Hanna-Barbera universe heroes to save the world from the corrupt plans of Dick Dastardly, the main villain of fellow Hanna-Barbera classic, Wacky Races [!!]. The project, which is set to hit theaters May 2020, will be the first time Scooby Doo takes the silver screen since the 2004 live-action film, Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed.” Sounds like they’re getting much more ambitious with their universe now! We found other talk on-line about this this movie project that gave it the title of S.C.O.O.B. Guess we’ll find out next year!

image c. 2019 Hanna Barbera

See Him Again, If You Dare

Congratulations are of course in order for the creators of Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse, following their Oscar win for Best Animated Feature of 2018. Now comes the word that one of the directors of that film is moving on to a project that’s got even more furry content — and he’s been there before. “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse co-director Bob Persichetti has been signed to direct the sequel for DreamWorks Animation’s Puss in Boots, according to a report by Deadline… Animation veteran Persichetti, who has worked in various roles in the industry in a career spanning more than two decades, served as the Head of Story and voiced a role in the original Puss in Boots. The follow-up to the 2011 hit film that garnered an Oscar nomination and grossed more than $550 million globally, Puss In Boots 2 is currently in development, with a release date yet to be announced… A spinoff of the studio’s blockbuster Shrek franchise, Puss in Boots received an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature in 2012. Voiced by Antonio Banderas, the character, which first appeared in Shrek 2, was included in subsequent Shrek sequels and shorts.” We’ll keep our ears pointed.

image c. 2019 Dreamworks Animation

Bad, Bad Bunny

And more dark stuff from the Long Beach Comic Expo. Remember when we talked about the graphic novel Wretched Things? Well it turns out that the publisher, Source Point Press, has another creepy anthropomorphic title in their crop: Rottentail. “This deranged graphic novel comes straight from the minds and hands of David C. Hayes, Kevin Moyers, Kurt Belcher, and Henrik Horvath. Geeky fertility researcher Peter Cotton is bitten by a mutant rabbit and changes into the half-man/half-bunny Rottentail. What’s a boy to do? Why, take a hippity, hoppity trip home of course! Peter begins a bloody killing spree of revenge that culminates in his childhood hometown of Easter Falls.” Ready for this? Rottentail has even been made into a film!

image c. 2019 Source Point Press

The World in Black and White?

A very… unusual anime feature is heading to our shores this spring. “Los Angeles-based Eleven Arts Anime Studio has set April 12 as the theatrical release date for the sci-fi coming-of-age animated feature, Penguin Highway, which it will be distributing in the U.S. and Canada. Directed by Hiroyasu Ishida, the film won the Axis: The Satoshi Kon Award for Excellence in Animation award at the Fantasia International Film Festival for best animated feature and has also been nominated for the Japan Academy Prize for Animation of the Year. The film will screen with the original Japanese dialogue with subtitles as well as the English dub. In the film, budding genius Aoyama is only in the 4th grade, but already lives his life like a scientist. When penguins start appearing in his sleepy suburb hundreds of miles from the sea, Aoyama vows to solve the mystery. When he finds the source of the penguins is a woman from his dentist’s office, they team up for an unforgettable summer adventure!” Got that? Read the article at Animation World Network for more, including the trailer.

image c. 2019 Eleven Arts

The Annie Award Winners for 2018

Your humble ed-otter and his mate got a chance to attend the Annie Awards at UCLA’s Royce Hall recently. Presented annually by ASIFA-Hollywood, the Annie Awards are considered by many to be the Oscars for animation, voted on by folks who work in the industry. And once again, there was plenty of anthropomorphic content to be found among the winners. By far, the big winner of the evening was Sony Pictures’ Spider Man: Into The Spiderverse. The surprise hit from last December not only won the coveted Best Animated Feature trophy, but also took home the Feature awards for Directing, Writing, Character Animation, Character Design, Production Design, and Editing — winning all seven categories in which it was nominated. (Go, Spider-Ham!). Ralph Breaks The Internet had to settle for only one award in Feature Effects Animation, while the 2D animated sequence in Mary Poppins Returns got the awards for Animated Special Production and Character Animation In A Live Action Feature. Also taking home one award was Wes Anderson’s Isle Of Dogs, which got the award in Feature Voice Acting for Bryan Cranston’s performance as Chief. Over on the TV/Broadcast side of things, the big winners were Hilda from Netflix (taking home awards for Best TV Series For Children, Writing, and Character Animation) and Disney’s Mickey Mouse (with trophies for Music, Storyboarding — tied with Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles — and Directing). In TV Character Design, the Annie went to a very anthropomorphic episode of Rapunzel’s Tangled Adventure called “Freebird”. Bojack Horseman did well, winning for TV Voice acting (Will Arnett as Bojack) and Best TV Production overall. Dreamworks’ Tales of Arcadia: Trollhunters won the trophy for Best TV Effects Animation. The award for Best Commercial went to “There’s a Rang-Tan in My Bedroom” (produced for Greenpeace), and the first winner of the brand new Best Virtual Reality award was Crow: The Legend (which we’ve talked about before!). Finally, the Ub Iwerks Award for technical achievement went to the developers of the open source software known as Blender, which of course many furry creators have also used extensively. To see all the winners visit the Annie Awards web site — and remember, nominations for the Ursa Major Awards close on February 16th!

image c. 2019 Sony Pictures

Bunny Bound by Magic

Found this thanks to Animation World Network: “Netflix has announced that it will produce the animated feature film, Escape From Hat, from two-time Academy Award-nominated director Mark Osborne (Kung Fu Panda, The Little Prince) together with writer Adam Kline (Artemis Fowl, The Clockwork War)… The screenplay is by Kline and Osborne, based on the book of the same name by Kline [illustrated by Brian Taylorye ed-otter], a new middle-grade novel that will be published by HarperCollins in Winter 2020… Escape From Hat brings light to the ancient mysteries of magic. In a fairy tale where black cats are bad and magic rabbits are good, balance is threatened when one such rabbit is cast into a mysterious realm of danger and shadow. There, our desperate hero rallies an unexpected band of allies and undertakes an impossible quest to escape from inside a magician’s hat – and return to the human boy he dearly loves.” Netflix say they plan to release the film in 2022.

image c. 2018 HarperCollins