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Animation

Dino-Volve Again

Back in the 1980’s we had Dinosaucers, an animated TV series about warring tribes of anthro-dinosaurs who bring their battle to Planet Earth. (Not fooling anyone: The series is known these days mostly for its rather… rich dialogue writing…) Well now the original creator of Dinosaucers, Michael Uslan, has returned with a new Dinosaucers 5-issue comic book mini-series — illustrated by Andrew Pepoy and published by Lion Forge. “Reptilon has just found its sister planet-Earth-complete with water, fauna, and a billion pieces of meat. The Voyager has been peacefully traveling through space for years when, unexpectedly, it’s attacked by an alien, laser-shooting space shuttle. The attackers? Fully evolved, advanced humanoid dinosaurs who’ve destroyed their home planet and are now on the hunt to commandeer a new one to expand their empire.” Several issues are on the shelves already.

image c. 2018 Lion Forge

Garfield Meets An Old Friend

You might well remember the name of Mark Dindal: He directed the films Cats Don’t Dance, The Emperor’s New Groove, and Chicken Little.  All films with more than a passing Furry Fandom interest, yes? Well Mr. Dindal largely disappeared after that trio of films… that is, until now. Check out this news from Animation Scoop: “Alcon Entertainment’s new Garfield animated feature has selected its director. The all-CG cartoon feature will be directed by Mark Dindal, it was announced today by Alcon co-founders and co-CEOs Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove. Writing team Paul Kaplan (George Lopez) and Mark Torgove (Raising Hope) penned the script. Pre-production it set to begin next month in Los Angeles.” So there you have it. More about a release date when we know!

image c. 2018 Alcon Entertainment

Aw, the Brits Get Everything!

This came out of nowhere, but we have an excuse: I appears to be a UK exclusive. Here’s what we got from Animation World Network: “Disney UK has announced that Paloma Faith, Miriam Margolyes, Ben Bailey Smith, Tameka Empson and Bethan Wright have signed up for a ‘spot’ on Disney Channel’s brand new animation series, 101 Dalmatian Street, and will be featured in the first season which is set to launch on Disney Channel UK early next year. Ahead of the season premiere, there will be a special episode, airing in December 2018, which will introduce audiences to the unique characters and world of 101 Dalmatian Street. The U.K. guest stars will be joining Josh Brener as Dylan (Silicon Valley, Star Wars Resistance, The Big Bang Theory), Michaela Dietz as Dolly (Steven Universe, Barney & Friends) who voice the eldest Dalmatian siblings… Aimed at girls and boys, the new series has been reimagined for the 21st Century and is set in modern day London in the borough of Camden. The series follows the adventures of eldest siblings Dylan and Dolly, their parents Doug and Delilah, and 97 younger puppies, whose names also begin with ‘D’, in an epic comedy about family life, multiplied one hundred and one.” The article has a whole bunch more about the voice actors and the production team. Who knows? Maybe Disney will let us folks in North America see this sometime.

image c. 2018 Disney Channel UK

Why the Crow is Black

Almost exactly a year ago we told you about a VR film in production called Rainbow Crow, based a Native American legend. Well now it seems that project has changed name and changed format. According to Animation Magazine, Crow: The Legend will premiere as a free-to-view animated feature on Facebook and YouTube later this month. “Written and directed by Eric Darnell [Antz, Madagascar] with input from Native American cultural experts and community leaders, the folklore-inspired tale arrives timed to Native American Heritage Month. The film features an all-star voice cast including John Legend as Crow, Oprah Winfrey as The One Who Creates Everything by Thinking, Sarah Eagle Heart (Native Americans in Philanthropy CEO) as Luna; 83-year-old tribal elder and lifelong Native rights crusader Randy Edmonds as the Narrator; Liza Koshy (Hulu’s Freakish) as Owl; Diego Luna (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) as Moth; Tye Sheridan (Ready Player One) as Turtle; and Constance Wu (Crazy Rich Asians, Fresh Off the Boat) as Skunk… Inspired by the classic Native American legend about the origins of the bird, Crow: The Legend respectfully illustrates the sacrifices the bird must make. As the most beautiful animal of the forest, Crow must risk everything to save those around him. With themes of diversity and self-sacrifice for the greater community, Crow demonstrates how one single act of sacrifice can have a profound impact to our world.” You can also check out the official trailer at Animation’s link.

image c. 2018 Baobab Studios

2019 Could Get Ugly

UPDATE: As we mentioned last summer, both a feature film and a new TV series based on the UglyDolls line of plush toys have been in development for some time. Well now thanks to Animation Scoop and the Hulu Network we have the first trailer for the UglyDolls animated feature. And as it turns out, the film includes quite a roster of singers and well-known actors giving voices to the characters, including Kelly Clarkson, Blake Shelton, Pitbull, Wanda Sykes, and Gabriel Iglesias. The film is directed by Kelly Asbury (of Shrek 2 and Gnomeo & Juliet).

image c. 2018 STX

All The World Shall Be Your Enemy

How on Earth did we not hear about this coming up? Well thanks to The Nerdist we did — and just in time too, as the newly-animated Watership Down is due very soon! “The BBC and Netflix are releasing a new CG-animated version this Christmas, and in order to more accurately portray the book, it’s going to come in two feature-length installments. The cast was already all-star, with James McAvoy as refugee rabbit leader Hazel, Nicholas Hoult as the psychic runt Fiver, John Boyega as the intimidating fighter Bigwig, Olivia Colman as bereaved doe Strawberry (a gender-flip from the book), Ben Kingsley as villain General Woundwort, Tom Wilkinson as doomed elder Threarah, and Taron Egerton as the rabbit Christ-analogue El-ahrairah (meaning “prince with a thousand enemies”). But now, via an official BBC announcement, they’ve revealed even more: Peter Capaldi will play the bunnies’ seagull ally Kehaar, Daniel Kaluuya is warren destruction survivor Bluebell, and Rosamund Pike is the Black Rabbit of Inle, a death/Satan figure and counterpart to the rabbit deity Frith.” All that plus director Noam Murro, the man behind 300: Rise of an Empire. Look for it on Netflix this coming December.

image c. 2018 BBC

Mice, Mystics, Movies!

So here’s what we just found over at Slash Film: “Variety reports that [Dreamworks Animation] is in final negotiations for the movie rights to Jerry Hawthorne’s board game Mice and Mystics. The role-playing game, which was our No. 1 pick for games that should be adapted to film, follows mice heroes who must race through a vast castle to break the curse of the evil Vanestra, fighting rats, cockroaches, spiders, and the castle cat, Brodie. Its complex, deeply involved story seemed perfect for a big-screen adaptation, and it seems that DreamWorks thinks so too. If talks go through, The Hills Have Eyes and Horns director Alexandre Aja is set to direct a script by Aquaman scribe David Leslie Johnson. Vertigo Entertainment’s Roy Lee and Jon Berg are producing.” Sounds like there is some serious talent behind this project, yes?

image c. 2018 by John Ariosa

Disney Had Help

A well-known (among fans) but under-discussed pioneer of animation gets more of his due in the new book Walt Disney’s Ultimate Inventor: The Genius of Ub Iwerks. It’s written by Don Iwerks (Ub’s son!), with an introduction by Leonard Maltin. “Beginning with the creation of the Mickey Mouse cartoons, the Walt Disney Studio established an early reputation as being a technical leader in Hollywood. But Walt Disney didn’t do it alone. He frequently relied on the counsel, expertise, ingenuity, and creativity of a kindred spirit, lifelong friend, and fellow virtuoso: Ub Iwerks. Yet Ub and his many technical inventions and techniques are largely unknown by the general public. His illustrious career consisted of dozens of innovative contributions, large and small, to both animated and live-action motion pictures, as well as the fields of optics, film processes, and special effects. He was also the major force behind the design of special cameras, projectors, electronics, and audio for theme park projects-and much more. The high standard set by Walt and Ub continues to inspire artists and technicians within The Walt Disney Company as they explore new avenues of quality entertainment.” In hardcover from Disney Editions, it’s out of print right now but should be available again before the holidays.

image c. 2018 Walt Disney Animation

Looking Ahead to 2019

Cartoon Brew has a new article up giving a chronological and detailed look at animated features from major studios that are scheduled to hit theaters in 2019. Interestingly, almost all of them have furry content — some more than others of course, but just about all of them have a least a little! Those titles include The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part, How To Train Your Dragon 3: The Hidden World, Wonder Park, Missing Link, Uglydolls, Farmageddon (aka Shaun the Sheep 2), The Secret Life of Pets 2, Toy Story 4, The Lion King (the realistic CGI “live action” remake), Wish Dragon, Angry Birds 2, Abominable, and Frozen 2. (Hey, the first one nabbed itself an Ursa Major Award, don’t forget!)

image c. 2018 LAIKA