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DVD

Look At Th-Th-This!

We got this over at Animation Scoop: “Warner Archives has announced today the September 19th release for Porky Pig 101 – a unique 5-disc DVD set that collects 99 black-and-white Looney Tunes (and two Technicolor Merrie Melodies) starring Warner Bros. first cartoon superstar. The set includes cartoons dating from 1935 (with Porky’s first appearance in Friz Freleng’s I Haven’t Got A Hat) through 1943 (in Frank Tashlin’s Porky Pig’s Feat), presented in original release order. There is audio commentary on key cartoons from animation historians Greg Ford, Michael Barrier, Jerry Beck, and Mark Kausler, among others.” All these years, and still no pants…

image c. 2017 Warner Archives

Help Restore An Animation Treasure

Once again we have Animation Scoop to thank for this bit of news: David Hale Hand, the son of Disney Legend David Dodd Hand, has a new new Kickstarter campaign up and running to restore his father’s Musical Paintbox series of animated shorts, as well as to update and enhance the Animaland series of shorts (which have previously been released on DVD). If you are not familiar with the elder Hand, check this out: “David Dodd Hand was an Animator and Director, and best known as Supervising Director of Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs (1937) and Bambi (1942). He was also Studio Production Supervisor while he was at the Disney Studios from 1930 – 1944… Leaving Disney, he was creator and Managing Director of Gaumont British Animation (GBA), a J. Arthur Rank Studio, where he created the 19 films about which are the focus of this project.” Those 9 Animaland shorts introduced us to new characters like Ginger Nutt (and his girlfriend Hazel), Oswald Ostrich, and Digger the Platypus. Anthropomorphic characters made their presence known in Musical Paintbox too — a series about the quirky British countryside and its many legends. The Kickstarter campaign has only a couple of weeks left (as of this writing), and contributors will receive digital copies of the restored films, so visit soon.

image c. 2017 GB Animation

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How Does An Elephant Sneak?

Out-of-nowhere department… and more of a curiosity than a recommendation. There’s a new DVD out this week: A direct-to-video animated film called Elephant Kingdom. Here’s the tag: “When brave elephant Rock (Cary Elwes) sees his wife, Melody (Alexa PenaVega), kidnapped by the powerful human king (Patrick Warburton), the mighty warrior will need some jumbo-sized help from his friends in order to rescue her. Coming to his aid is a quirky, courageous troop of young elephants, including Rally (Carlos PenaVega), and Pugsley (Mikey Bolts), plus the ever-trusty and wacky Wingman (Garrett Clayton) and the kindhearted human queen (Ambyr Childers)”. Interestingly, other than “Grindstone Entertainment” and Lionsgate (who released it) we know next to nothing about who made this. The IMDB entry does not list any director, writers, or other crew; only the English-language voice actors.  It’s available and on the shelves now, but check out the trailer first.

image c. 2016 Lionsgate

image c. 2016 Lionsgate

Bird, You Are Goin’ DOWN!

Out of nowhere department: Thanks to the folks over at Cartoonbrew we learn that Sony Pictures Animation are hard at work on a direct-to-video sequel to the 2007 surfing penguin epic, Surf’s Up.  (Gad, did it really come out that long ago??) Only this time it’s surfing… wrestling… penguins. Got that? “Cody Maverick, hungry for a new challenge, convinces an infamous big wave riding crew known as The Hang 5, voiced by WWE stars John Cena, The Undertaker, Triple H, WWE Diva Paige, and Mr. McMahon, to let him join them on their journey to a mysterious surf spot known as The Trenches, where legend has it, they’ll find the biggest waves in the world.” Okay then. “Abdul Williams (writer of the urban-comedy Lottery Ticket) will script Surf’s Up 2, and story artist Henry Yu will make his directorial debut. Yu’s previous credits include Sym-Bionic Titan and both Hotel Transylvania movies… Animation will be provided by Rainmaker Entertainment, the studio behind the upcoming Ratchet & Clank feature, as well as Sony’s Open Season: Scared Silly.Check out the Cartoonbrew article for lots of preliminary artwork and an interview with the director. Look for Surf’s Up 2: Wave Mania cresting in the spring of 2017.

image c. 2016 Sony Pictures Animation

image c. 2016 Sony Pictures Animation

Find the Phoenix, Beat the Moo!

One of several Pokemon-wannabe series that appeared in the wake of that series’ massive success, Monster Farm (aka Monster Rancher for the US release) is one of a select few that made it to American shores in translated form. Now Discotek Media have release Monster Farm: The Complete Series on DVD. The story “… follows a boy named Genki Sakura, who is an avid player of the Monster Rancher video games. After winning a tournament hosted by the game’s creators, Genki wins a special CD that he can use to unlock a special monster in his game at home. However, upon using this disk in his game console, he finds himself transported to a world of monsters that, much like Genki’s game, are given life by scanning special stone disks within temples. There he meets a girl named Holly, who is seeking a stone disk containing a legendary Phoenix that will save the land from the tyranny of an evil ruler named Moo. While attempting to use the disk to try and release the Phoenix, they instead bring forth a different sort of monster, which Genki names ‘Mocchi’. Wanting to free the land from Moo’s rule, Genki, Holly, Mocchi and their other monster companions set forth on a quest to find the stone disk that contains the Phoenix!” Got all that? Good! Check it out over at Previews.

image c. 2015 Discotek Media

image c. 2015 Discotek Media

Scare the Bear!

CartoonBrew.com made note that the fourth feature-length animation in the Open Season series is in production and scheduled for release on home video in the spring of 2016. “Directed by Cow and Chicken creator David Feiss (who was also head of story on the original Open Season) and produced by The Simpsons’ John Bush, Open Season’s fourth installment [Open Season: Scared Silly], animated by Canada’s Rainmaker Entertainment, centers on the mystery of the Wailing Wampus Werewolf, who reportedly haunts the Timberline National Forest that serves as the setting for the franchise. Its possible existence so intensely scares the crap out of Open Season’s domesticated grizzly bear Boog that he elects to skip summer camp, which inspires his companions, led by the one-antlered mule deer Elliot, to bombard their ursine pal with exposure therapy to cure his fears.” No word yet on who’ll be voicing Boog and Elliot this time.

image c. 2015 Rainmaker Entertainment

image c. 2015 Rainmaker Entertainment

The Wolf and Rabbit are Friends

In the came-from-out-of-nowhere division: Animation Scoop has a review of a new DVD release, Wolfy, The Incredible Secret from France. Random Media (in partnership with Cinedigm) have now released it with an English soundtrack. “A story of political machinations, anamorphic animal hierarchy and gypsy fantasy – traditionally hand-drawn with a look that leans far away from photorealism. The convoluted English title (French title: Loulou, l’incroyable secret) actually refers to quite a few secrets, which unravel as Wolfy, an easygoing wolf, and Tom, his neurotic bunny pal, travel to Wolfenberg to find Wolfy’s mother. A gypsy has told them that she is the true princess as well as the leader of a rebellion against an evil usurper—a manipulative wolf named Lou Andréa.” Take a look at the trailer linked to the article. It won’t make much more sense, but it’ll give you an overall idea of the movie’s look and feel.

image c. 2015 Random Media

image c. 2015 Random Media

Canines to the Rescue — Again!

Squarely in the “It’s about time!” department: Warner Brothers Home Video has announced the release of Road Rovers: The Complete Series on DVD later this month. “Meet ‘Cano-sapien’ the next, heroic step in the evolution of man’s best friend! After the evil General Parvo unleashes Professor Shepherd’s inventions upon the world, mutating dogs into monsters, Professor Shepherd recruits an international team of canines and transdogmafies’ them into super-heroic, humanoid crime-fighters.” That description barely scratches the surface of just how completely odd this popular anthropomorphic cartoon series from the 90’s could get. So head on over to the Warner Brothers web site and check it out. And remember: Don’t be weird boy!

image c. 2015 Warner Brothers Home Video

image c. 2015 Warner Brothers Home Video

Dogs… in… SPACE!

In 2010 Russia’s Centre of National Film gave the world Space Dogs, a CGI animated feature that celebrated the memory of Strelka and Belka (the first animals ever to survive a trip rocketing into orbit) by re-imagining them in a science fiction adventure. Now one of the same directors (Inna Evlannikova) has returned to bring us their further adventures in Space Dogs 2, also known as Space Dog: Adventure to the Moon. Epic Pictures has picked up international distribution rights for the film. According to their web site, the plot goes like this: “When the world’s most precious monuments disappear before everyone’s eyes, an unlikely team of two legendary Russian canine astronauts named Belka and Strelka, a heroic American monkey named Bonnie, and Belka’s brave teenage son Pushok jet off to the dark side of the moon to investigate the mystery.” The site also has a link to the trailer. Here’s another Russian film that is slowly making its way around North America in specialty screenings, so look for it. (It’s also available on DVD at least some places, apparently.)

image c. 2014 Epic Pictures

image c. 2014 Epic Pictures