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Animation

Calm DOWN, Girl!

More interesting stuff from the recent Walt Disney Company investors’ presentation. Turning Red is an upcoming Pixar animated feature being directed by Domee Shi, creator of the Oscar-winning animated short Bao. Here’s how Pixar describes the story: “Meet Mei. She experiences the awkwardness of being a teenager, with an added twist: When she gets too excited, she transforms into a giant red panda.” Oh! Turning Red is set to be released in the spring of 2022.

image c. 2020 Disney/Pixar

New Adventures in the City We All Love!

Just today on Twitter, Disney Animation made the announcement that a new slate of original animated TV series is on its way to the Disney+ streaming service — and among them is a show called Zootopia+. Yes: Zootopia the series! According to other sources, the series will follow several characters throughout the multi-species city, rather than focusing exclusively on Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps. Here’s the bad news though: We’ll have to wait ’till 2022 to see it!

image c. 2020 Disney Animation

In A World…

Proper movie-trailer speak. This is one we came across on Facebook, of all places. Brok The InvestiGator is a new “narrative-driven adventure game” that’s coming soon from Cowcat and Gog. “In a futuristic ‘light cyberpunk’ world where animals have replaced humans, privileged citizens live under a dome protected from the ambient pollution while others struggle to make a living outside. Brok, a private detective and former boxer, lives with Graff, the son of his deceased wife. Although he could never elucidate her accident, recent events may shed some light on an even more tragic outcome… one that may be linked to their own existence. Will they be able to withstand the threats of this corrupted world and face their own destiny?” There’s a cool trailer on YouTube as well.

image c. 2020 Cowcat

Missing Tiger?

We were looking for something else, and we came across this completely by accident! Hidden Dragon is a new animated feature film that’s due this year, according to the IMDB page. We don’t know much about it, but the production crew names are mostly Chinese while the voice actor names are mostly western, so it’s an international production. “In a magical undersea world where dragons rule and humans are feared, a naive young dragon forms an uneasy alliance with the sea’s greatest enemy – a human girl.” We don’t know if they’ll successfully get it out this year, but it should be coming soon.

image c. 2020 Magic Hill Animation

Move Along, Mate

We stumbled across this announcement from Deadline: Back To The Outback, a new animated feature due from Netflix in 2021. “In the movie, tired of being locked in a reptile house where humans gawk at them like they’re monsters, a ragtag group of Australia’s deadliest creatures plot a daring escape from their zoo to the Outback, a place where they’ll fit in without being judged for their scales and fangs. Leading the group is Maddie (Isla Fisher), a poisonous snake with a heart of gold, who bands together with a self-assured Thorny Devil lizard Zoe (Miranda Tapsell), a lovelorn hairy spider Frank (Guy Pearce), and a sensitive scorpion Nigel (Angus Imrie). But when their nemesis — Pretty Boy (Tim Minchin), a cute but obnoxious koala — unexpectedly joins their escape, Maddie and the gang have no choice but to take him with them.” Hmm… sounds a bit like an Australian version of Disney’s The Wild — remember that one? Anyway, we’ll know more when Reel FX brings us the film next fall. (Can’t help wondering if some of this is about making up to Tim Minchin for his aborted film Larrikins.)

image c. 2020 Netflix

First a Sparrow, Now…

More news from Animation World Network, this time featuring a well-known celebrity. “Iervolino Entertainment has debuted the first images from its new animated series Puffins, revealing the character ‘Johnny Puff,’ who is being voiced by star Johnny Depp. The mobile-first, short-form project was announced in June and is now in production… Puffins follows the adventures of a group of cute little birds, who work for the wily walrus Otto. The main characters of the series are five puffins: Johnny Puff, Tic and Tac, Didi and Pie. They live with a tribe of puffins in the vast and technological realm of Tana. The stories in the series will range from the bold missions of Otto, to multiple situations related to the small, fun problems of everyday life, addressing the issues of social impact in a childish way.” Now let’s see if this one winds up available in North America. [Thanks for reading — and a Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family, from ye humble ed-otter.]

image c. 2020 Iervolino Entertainment

Mumfie’s The Word

News from Animation World Network that Zodiac Kids (part of Banijay Studios in California) will be producing a new Mumfie animated series for markets in Europe. “Mumfie is a preschool comedy series based on Magic Adventures of Mumfie by Britt Allcroft (creator of Thomas & Friends and the film Thomas & The Magic Railroad). Told with heart and humor, the brand-new series features the optimistic young elephant Mumfie, who along with his best friends, Pinky the flying pig and Jelly Bean the color-changing jellyfish, are the helpful heroes of this whimsical series. As our trio embark on their daily adventures you’ll get to meet their eclectic bunch of animal friends: A cheeky crocodile who thinks he’s a king and his mischievous cat confidant; there’s a hermit crab mayor and a giraffe who runs a hotel on an iceberg; you’ll see a jolly yellow whale and a skateboarding zebra, as well as some pirate wolves and a Greek chorus of funny frogs. In this world, nothing is quite what it seems and no matter what challenges arise, no flop, failure or fiasco is unfixable for Mumfie and his friends.” As is typical for such properties, there’s no word on if this new series will be distributed in North America, but with the Internet anything is possible.

image c. 2020 Zodiac Kids

Return of the Big Red Dog

How could something that large sneak up on us? Well, here we go: Clifford the Big Red Dog is coming back soon in a new live action/CGI movie from Paramount Pictures and Walden Media. “As Emily Elizabeth (Darby Camp) struggles to fit in at home and at school, she discovers a small red puppy who is destined to become her best friend. When Clifford magically undergoes one heck of a growth spurt, becomes a gigantic dog, and attracts the attention of a genetics company, Emily and her Uncle Casey (Jack Whitehall) have to fight the forces of greed as they go on the run across New York City.” Before all that though, Scholastic is bringing us Clifford The Big Red Dog: The Movie as a graphic novel, written by Georgia Ball and illustrated by Chi Ngo. According to Wikipedia, the project has actually been in development since 2016, but now both graphic novel and movie are scheduled for release in the later part of 2021.

image c. 2020 Scholastic

Wolves Are After Us

Wasteland is a web series being created for YouTube that follows a pack of wolves attempting to survive the apocalypse.” Sounds pretty straight forward. “There are 7 main characters, and the show is being produced as a semi-realistic 3D animation. The story is told from the wolves’ point of view as they must fight to protect their family, and the world, from the new viral threat.” The Kickstarter campaign for UK-based Blue Biscuits Studios (the brainchild of animator Molly Babington) has already passed its goals, so things are looking up. Check out the teaser trailer on YouTube also. Watch it through to the end.

image c. 2020 Blue Biscuits Studios