Friday, 30 March 2012

The Pirates! Sails Away to a Strong Start

British animation giants Aardman have just released their latest feature film, The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists (in the UK anyway, US theatre-goers will have to wait just under a month, until 27th April), to, as is the norm for Aardman, heavy critical praise.

The Pirates! is the studio's, most famous for Wallace and Gromit, fifth feature film, and their first stop-motion film since 2006's Wallace and Gromit outing, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Directed by Chicken Run helmer, Peter Lord, and co-produced with Sony Pictures Animation, The Pirates! seems to contain the usual Aardman combination of spectacle, great characters and British wit, as it currently has a score 96% on review aggregator site, Rotten Tomatoes, signifying critical acclaim.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

First Hotel Transylvania Trailer - In English This Time

On Sunday, we posted our first footage from Sony Pictures Animation's Genndy Tartakovsky directed feature film, Hotel Transylvania... in Russian. Whilst I wasn't blown away by it (largely due to the fact that... it was in Russian), the animation was impressive and the artistic style of the film looked hopeful.

Now the trailer has been released in English, and I'm still not overly impressed. Admittedly, it's a bit funnier and it still looks like it has potential, but I shan't be too optimistic until we see something of more substance. However, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs didn't look too great in trailers either, and that was brilliant, and a huge winner for Sony - fingers crossed for a repeat performance.

Rise of the Guardians Trailer

The first intense, action-packed trailer for DreamWorks' upcoming animated film, Rise of the Guardians was released on iTunes Movie Trailers today, showcasing the film's troupe of bad-ass childhood heroes. The film, based on the upcoming Guardians of Childhood book series by Moonbot Studios' William Joyce, and co-directed by Joyce, as well as being co-produced by Guillermo del Toro, follows the story of a group of famed fairytale characters, including Santa, the Easter Bunny, Jack Frost and the Tooth Fairy, who must band together to save the children of the world from an evil force.

Rise of the Guardians will be DreamWorks' second feature release this year, after Madagascar 3, and is due out on 30th November.

Sunday, 25 March 2012

First Trailer for Hotel Transylvania

I generally tend not to post foreign language trailers, because - quite frankly - I have no idea what they're saying. However, our first look at footage from Sony Pictures Animation's next feature film, Hotel Transylvania, comes in the form of a Russian trailer.

At this stage, it doesn't look that astounding, but the Genndy Tartakovsky (Samurai Jack) directed film, starring Adam Sandler, does seem to be very well animated, enthused with a certain energy, and seems pretty funny. Although we'll have to reserve judgement until 12th October (here in the UK, 28th September in the US), or at least until we see an English trailer.

Watch the trailer at

Via Cartoon Brew.

After 37 Years, Glen Keane Leaves Disney

After almost 4 decades in the employ of Walt Disney Animation Studios, Glen Keane, arguably the famed studio's most well known and respected animator and artist, has retired from Disney.

Keane, who began working for Disney in September, 1974 has been responsible for bringing to life some of Disney's most loved characters, including animating Beast in Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin in Aladdin, and having heavy creative influence over Rapunzel in Tangled.

Cartoon Brew have the text of the letter detailing his resignation to friends at the studio, in which he said:

Over these four decades I have seen so many changes, but the one thing that remains the same is that we all do this because we love it.
I am humbled and deeply honored to have worked side by side so many artists, producers and directors during my career here at Disney, and I am tremendously proud of the films which together we have created. I will deeply miss working with you.
With my most sincere and heartfelt good wishes for your and Disney’s continued artistic growth and success, 

One thing's for sure, Glen Keane will be sorely missed at Disney, but will remain a true icon and legend of animation, who will surely continue to excel at whatever he tries his hand at next.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

New Brave TV Spot

Disney and Pixar have rolled out the second TV Spot for their next, highly anticipated, feature film, Brave. The tale of Princess Merida and her clash with her mother, magic and tradition, set in the highlands of Scotland, is shaping up to be one of Pixar's best films yet.

Whilst the clip (above) doesn't feature a lot of new footage, it is set to a rocking soundtrack and does a great job - as per usual - of making Brave a must-see film.

Brave is due in cinemas 22nd June in North America, and on 17th August here in the UK.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Classic Cartoons #3 - The Screwball

To marry with this week's Bitesized Biography, of Walter Lantz, today's Classic Cartoon is one of Lantz's most famous creation in action. The Screwball is one of Woody Woodpecker's first outings, showcasing the zany humour and hyperactive energy that made generation after generation fall in love with the charismatic little bird. Premiering on 15th February, 1943, The Screwball remains one of Woody's finer adventures.

Bitesized Biographies #3 - Walter Lantz

I never tried to make a cartoon for a certain age bracket. I just tried to make entertaining pictures. That's why they still play and why they play so well in foreign countries."
—Walter Lantz

After looking at perhaps two of the most famous and prolific figures in all of animation, Chuck Jones and Matt Groening, with our first two Bitesized Biographies; it seemed very apt and fitting - given A113Animation's new year's resolution to spotlight classic cartoons and pay homage to the geniuses behind them - that this latest Bitesized Biography is dedicated to one of the less famed animation pioneers, Walter Lantz.

Illumination Entertainment Developing The Cat in the Hat Adaptation

Almost a decade after the critical and box office failure of the live-action adaptation of arguably Dr. Seuss's most famous work, The Cat in the Hat, Universal Pictures are set to have another go at adapting the beloved book, this time as an animated film, Deadline reports.

Universal's resident animation department, Illumination Entertainment, are tasked with adapting the book for a CG animated release, following the enormous success of their adaptation of another of Dr. Seuss's books, The Lorax. The Lorax has topped the US box office for the past two weeks, and that success seems sufficient enough to somewhat expunge the painful memory of the 2003 live-action disaster from the mind of Audrey Geisel, as the widow of Dr. Seuss has agreed to the production of the film. Geisel will also be executive producing the product, with Chris Meledandri set to produce and Rob Lieber penning the script.

Meledandri has been working with the famed author's widow on adapting his works since he ran Blue Sky Studios, with 2008's Horton Hears a Who. Illumination Enertainment are also reportedly working on a live-action biopic about Seuss's life, starring and being produced by Johnny Depp.

Via Big Screen Animation.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

First Look at Hotel Transylvania

USA Today have provided us with our first look at Sony Pictures Animation's Hotel Transylvania. The tale of the Dracula (Adam Sandler) run hotel - a home away from home for monsters - and his relationship with his daughter (Selena Gomez), has been plagued by production problems, before finding its latest director Genndy Tartakovsky (the creator of Dexter's Lab and Samurai Jack).

The USA Today article provides us with the two images you can see here (showing the film's distinct visual style and showcasing its vast cast of characters) as well as some words from the film's director about the film and its voice cast - including Sandler, his comedy partner Kevin James, and Steve Buscemi. After all of the trouble surrounding the film, it would be easy to write it off, however these images give me some hope and Sony Pictures Animation have a fairly strong track record.

Head on over to USA Today to read the full article.  Hotel Transylvania is due for release on 28th September in the US, and 12th October here in the UK.

Via Cartoon Brew.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

New The Pirates Clip - We Laugh in the Face of Danger

Aardman have just released a new clip (above) from their next stop-motion animated film, The Pirates. Branded here in England as The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists (and The Pirates! Band of Misfits internationally), the film will be Aardman's first stop-motion film since 2005's Oscar winning The Curse of the Were Rabbit; it also mark's Chicken Run director Peter Lord's return to the director's chair.

The clip displays the trademark style and British wit of the animation giants that has made them a huge hit with critics and fans alike over the years, and also the luscious animation on display in the film.

The Pirates will be released in conjunction with Sony Pictures Animation on 28th March here in the UK, and 27th April in America.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Picture of the Day: Walt

Above you'll see a very cool fan made poster from Pascal Witaszek, for a biopic of Walt Disney's life, starring Drive star, Ryan Gosling. We can hope and dream that we'll one day see a film like this, to pay tribute to the great man.

Via Cartoon Brew.

The Lorax and John Carter Debut - Who's Winning?

The latest animated effort from Illumination Entertainment - the studio behind Despicable Me - The Lorax, was released last Friday. While the critical response to the film hasn't been overwhelmingly positive, it has been raking it in at the US box office, opening in the number 1 position and maintaining that place this week. It's currently grossed over $120 million, making it the highest grossing film of the year thus far.

It's placed ahead of a film that made its debut this weekend, a film that Disney was hoping would place significantly higher, Andrew Stanton's John Carter. The Finding Nemo director's adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs's first Barsoom based sci-fi novel was hoped to be Disney's next franchise, to replace Pirates of the Carribbean; yet it took only £30.6 million in its opening weekend. While it's far too early to write it off yet, the combination of bad marketing, poor critical response so far and a reportedly large budget mean that a sequel is looking less likely; which is a real shame given Andrew Stanton's blatant love for the source material and his immense talent.

It's a shame to see John Carter under-perform, and I'll be able to judge it for myself (and contribute to its worldwide gross) when I see it this weekend.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

John Carter - 10 Minute Clip

Despite having the utmost faith in Andrew Stanton, the visionary director behind Pixar's Finding Nemo and WALL E, I had thus far been underwhelmed by John Carter; the trailers looked a bit generic, making little of the fact that this is the story that inspired Star Wars and Avatar, instead making it look like a mash-up of Prince of Persia and Avatar.

However, as we approach its release date (Friday) and the review embargo is lifted, more and more good things are being said about Andrew Stanton and Disney's adaptation of Edgar Rice Burroughs's classic Barsoom novels. But, what's got me most excited is embedded above, Disney have released a ten minute clip from towards the start of the movie, showing the events leading up to the titular character's arrival on Mars, and they're brilliant.

A mix of intensity, epic scope and comedy, John Carter looks set to keep Stanton's immaculate reputation intact and possibly help launch Disney's next franchise come Friday.

Epic, Intense Japanese Brave Trailer

Although we've seen a glut of Brave coverage, trailers and clips over the past few weeks, strangely enough the thing that does the best job of hyping Pixar's next feature film and building a paramount sense of anticipation and intensity, is not even in the English language.

Above you'll see the Japanese trailer for Brave (with English subtitles) - there dubbed Merida and the Forest of Fear - which is by far the most intense and epic promotional material we've seen for Pixar's thirteenth feature film so far. A combination of the brilliantly atmospheric voiceover and the focus on character, story and the film's environmental message means that this trailer really leaves you not able to wait for release date.

Although I've read many call it spoiler heavy, there seems to be very little in the trailer that we haven't already heard about in plot synopses - that said, it does show us a lot of previously unseen and, obviously, brilliant footage.

Brave roars into theatres on 22nd June (North America), 21st July (Japan) and 17th August (UK).

Monday, 5 March 2012

First Full-Length Ice Age 4 Trailer

After many clips and short films, both online and preceding films, we finally get the first full-length, theatrical for Ice Age: Continental Drift. The fourth installment in the ever popular Ice Age franchise is due for release on 13th July.

Whilst I'm not overly sold on the idea of a fourth Ice Age - the third, after all, was rather trite and cheesy - I have faith in Blue Sky Studios and there'll always be a place in my heart for Manny and friends. Also, the trailer doesn't look half bad; reasonably funny, what seems like the next logical step in terms of plot, and some truly stunning animation.

Head on over to iTunes Movie Trailers to check it out.

Friday, 2 March 2012

DreamWorks News - The Croods and Turbo

Over the last few weeks, several pieces of news have come to light concerning, arguably, the second biggest animation studio around today, DreamWorks Animation. The studio behind Shrek and Kung Fu Panda is infamous for rolling out an awful lot of films, as such, its roster of upcoming films is very substantial, including sequels, adaptations of short films, a spin-off Penguins of Madagascar movie, and an adaptation of Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpants books. Included amongst these films, are two which I'm greatly anticipating: The Croods and Turbo.

Above you'll see a gorgeous new piece of artwork for The Croods, a caveman-era family comedy, directed by Chris Sanders (How to Train Your Dragon) and Kirk DeMicco (Space Chimps) and starring the voices of Nicolas Cage, Ryan Reynolds and Emma Stone. The artwork is vibrant and colourful and will hopefully imbue life and fun into the film. The Croods is scheduled for release on 22nd March, 2013.

Secondly, the voice cast for Turbo, the story of a snail with dreams of racing grandeur, has been revealed, along with another gorgeous, more iridescent, piece of artwork (above). Following on from starring in The Croods, Ryan Reynolds will headline Turbo (directed by David Soren) just a few months later on 19th July, 2013. Reynolds will be joined by Paul Giamatti, Michael Pena and Samuel L. Jackson.

On the casting of Reynolds as the lead, DreamWorks' Chief Creative Officer, Bill Damaschke said:

"Ryan Reynolds' infectious enthusiasm and humor will bring life to the lead role of Turbo and set the tone for this amazing roster of all-star voice talent. This high-octane journey will take audiences on the race of their lives and completely re-define the traditional notion of moving at a snail's pace!"

Via DreamWorks' official Facebook page.

New ParaNorman Trailer

The second full length, theatrical trailer for Laika's (the studio behind 2009's Coraline) next stop-motion animated film, ParaNorman has been released on iTunes Movie Trailers.

I was definitely not a huge fan of the teaser trailer, it just didn't grab me. However, the first full trailer gave me hope, and this newest trailer really impressed me. It was quirky, clever, dark and surprisingly funny. The combination of this and the solid voice cast, including John Goodman, Jeff Garlin and Christopher Mintz-Plasse, as well as Kodi Smit-McPhee as the titular, Norman, means that ParaNorman is definitely one to watch in 2012.

Head on over to iTunes Movie Trailer to watch the latest trailer. ParaNorman is due for a UK release on 14th September.

Muppets Sequel Greenlit

Given the enormous popularity of Disney's newest film starring Jim Henson's famed creations, The Muppets, this should come as no, great surprise, but should nonetheless be a huge thrill to die-hard fans and passers-by alike: a sequel to the recent revival of The Muppets is currently being worked on.

Original co-writer Nicholas Stroller and director James Bobin have been announced as the co-writers for the hotly anticipated sequel. Although nothing has been announced yet, it seems likely that Bobin will return to the director's chair as well. Auspicious by his absence however, is the other co-writer, and one of the stars of The Muppets, Jason Segel. The actor who co-starred as Gary in The Muppets has prior engagements to How I Met Your Mother and several film roles, so will unfortunately likely be unavailable to write or co-write the sequel; although there's always the chance we'll see him return in an acting role.

Now, I think it's fairly evident how much I loved The Muppets, so it shouldn't surprise you to hear that I'm ecstatic at this announcement, and I know that an awful lot of people will be too.

Via Empire.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Despicable Me 2 Teaser Trailer

Ahead of the US release of The Lorax later this week, Illumination Entertainment have released a short teaser trailer for another of their upcoming films: the sequel to their first, immensely popular, animated film, 2010's Despicable Me.

The short teaser trailer (above) reveals no plot points, or really anything new, instead offering us up arguably the biggest hit in the original, the Minions, singing a Beach Boys song. Nonetheless, it does a good job of slowly building the hype, after all 2013 is a long way off yet, and if it's anything like the original, Despicable Me 2 promises to be great!

We also get the first new, also Minion focuses, poster the sequel (below).

Via Empire.

Frankenweenie Teaser Trailer

Courtesy of the above teaser trailer, we now get our first proper look at Tim Burton's feature length revival of his original short film, Frankenweenie. The film, a stop-motion film whose decision to be in black and white is likely a lot less potentially troubling now, after the success of The Artist, looks brilliant.

The style is quintessentially Burton, its weird, its quirky, and its delightfully dark. The latest animated film from the Alice in Wonderland helmer is due to be released by Disney on 5th October.

Via Cartoon Brew.

Brave TV Spot

Pixar may have walked away empty handed from the Oscars last Sunday, but Pixar fans were treated to the above TV spot - the first for Pixar's next feature film, Brave. The newly debuted TV spot shows off the epic scale we've seen in previous trailers, and a familiar warmth and love that Pixar films epitomise and that the antiquated Scottish setting will help further boost.

Over the top of the video, you will also hear beautiful Gaelic singing by the very talented Julie Fowlis.