Saturday, 30 March 2013

Aladdin Blu-ray Review - Prince Ali, Yes It Is He, In Glorious HD


Aladdin is available to own on Disney Blu-ray™ from 15th April 2013

Within the Disney pantheon, there are good films, there are bad films, there are very good films and there are very bad films. Included in the very good films are indisputable, inarguable classics: The Lion King, Pinocchio, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Beauty and the Beast, One Hundred and One Dalmatians and, yes, Aladdin. The former lot, we have, film by film, drip by drop, got on Blu-ray, but the latter has eluded Disney-collectors for the longest time. Until now.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

New Poster for DisneyToon's Planes

Yesterday we got a healthy helping of new casting details and character posters from DisneyToon Studios' extension of the Cars universe, Planes. Today, we also get a new poster for the film (which hits cinemas in August).

It's a fun poster that shows off bad-guy Ripslinger (vocie of Ultimate Spider-Man's Roger Craig Smith) centrally, flanked by main character Dusty (Dane Cook) and his Mexican buddy El Chupacabra (Carlos Alazraqui). If nothing else, the film looks set to be entertaining and colourful.

Although, it seems as though it may be something beyond just that: Morgan from The Rotoscopers was able to check out a test screening of the film and seems to have actually quite enjoyed it, saying it's "just a lot of good-humored fun," and giving it an overall positive review. Morgan's post about it also comments that, unlike Pixar's Cars, Planes is (at least in part) a musical, saying the film features two songs. Check out their full breakdown of the screening here.

I'll admit, my interest for Planes has been piqued in the last couple of weeks. Now if only Disney would work as hard on marketing Frozen...

Check out my guest appearence on The Rotoscopers' Animation Addicts podcast, talking animation news and Toy Story 2, here.

Pictures of the Day: Why Toy Story and The Walking Dead Are Basically The Same

File this one under 'things you don't hear everyday'; Chris Hardwick tweeted a link to a rather interesting post, one which boasts "Undeniable Proof That "The Walking Dead" And "Toy Story" Have The Exact Same Plot". I'm not sure quite how "Undeniable" it is, but the pictures are certainly funny - particularly the Governor/Lotso and Hershel/Stinky Pete ones - and as mash-ups go, it's up there with Breaking Bad meets Dexter's Lab.

All this does, though, is hammer home just how badly Toy Story is lacking a crossbow-wielding badass. Check out a smattering of the evidence below, or head here to see them all.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Munir's Disney Retrospective -- Animated Classic #11: The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949)

By Munir Abedrabbo.

Last Week's: Munir's Disney Retrospective -- Animated Classic #10: Melody Time (1948)

The last of the “package” films is also easily the best of the bunch, and remains an underrated treasure from the great studio. Adapting two well know stories, (“The Wind in the Willows” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”) this film provides genuine fun and thrilling action that will surely enchant the entire family. The animation is also better than its predecessors and everything in the film suggests much more confidence in the Disney crew than any of the other “package” films. This film features two of the Disney studio's best segments, and it's too bad that the film remains an obscure entry, because it has plenty to offer to viewers of all ages. The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad is considered a “package” film, but it's truly a class apart from the rest of them. Rating: 4.5/5.

Next Week: Animated Classic #12 Review: Cinderella (1950)

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Planes Cast and Character Posters Revealed

Disney have struck gold with Cars - while the franchise may not be a hit with critics everywhere, kids (and a lot of others fans too) love it, and, in terms of merchandise alone, it makes a killing. As such, it's a logical, and very Disney, step to make a direct-to-video follow up. Said direct-to-video follow up though - in the spirit of Pixar's Toy Story 2 before it - is now going to be released theatrically, as Planes will soar onto screens this summer.

William Talking Toy Story 2 With The Rotoscopers

Continuing my recent podcast tour (you can check out my guest appearances on The Scotty Jo Podcast here and here), I was very happy to be welcomed onto The Rotoscopers' Animation Addicts Podcast last week, talking about my favourite animated film, Toy Story 2. The episode is available now, and you can download it from iTunes, or listen to it here.

Monday, 25 March 2013

The Croods Opens Big for DreamWorks

2012 ended in a non-too-pleasant way for DreamWorks, resulting in an $87 million down write-down after the disappointing box-office returns of the very good (though that's bittersweet in the end) Rise of the Guardians. As a result, the studio is facing layoffs of almost 20% of their workforce. So, it's very, very good news to see that the studio is starting off in a big way in 2013.

DreamWorks' first release of the year, caveman-comedy The Croods, is now playing worldwide, and as well as pretty favourable reviews, the Chris Sanders/Kirk DeMicco-directed flick took the number 1 spot at the North American box office this past weekend. The film took home an estimated $44.7 million domestically, as well as $62.6 million internationally, pushing its opening weekend total north of $107 million (figures via Box Office Mojo). To put that into perspective, The Croods has made as much in its opening weekend as Aardman's The Pirates! did during its entire run last year.

Nice to see DreamWorks back in their stride. I'll hopefully be checking out the film myself this weekend.

Party-Packed New Monsters University TV Spot

A new TV spot for Pixar's fourteenth feature film, Monsters University, aired during the Nickelodeon Kid's Choice Awards on Saturday, and you can now check it out online (embedded above). The new TV spot certainly hammers home the collegiate theme of the film, with raving music, hilarious dance moves and general merriment - long story short, it's a helluva lot of fun.

Despite some focus on the actual university, this spot focuses more directly on the actual film behind it all (directed by Dan Scanlon). It also boasts some absolutely breathtaking animation; with this, and The Blue Umbrella preceding it, this is going to be one great looking package when it opens on 21st June in the US, and 12th July in the UK.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Watch: Three New Cars Toons, Tales From Radiator Springs

On Friday, during a US Disney Channel airing of Up, Pixar released three news Cars Toons, subtitled Shorty Shorts. For those who missed it - or those outside of the US who didn't get a chance to catch them - the shorts are now online at

Friday, 22 March 2013

Three New, Non-Mater, Cars Toons Announced... For Tonight!

Cars Toons - Shorty Shorts: Hiccups

Well, this is a surprise. Disney have just announced three new Cars Toons, being billed as Shorty Shorts, to premiere on Disney Channel tonight during an airing of Up (starting 8/7c) - note, these details are all for the US, though the shorts are to hit the Internet on Sunday. They're called Shorty Shorts because they're just that, short, about a minute and a half each, and they'll be airing throughout the night.

Damien Presents: The Trouble With Stop Motion

By Damien.

Before I write this post, I want to make it clear that I love stop motion, and the same goes for the films I'll talk about here. I wouldn't want those movies to be even slightly different, because I love them just the way they are, and they're all perfect in their own way; their imperfections make them even more perfect. I'm aware that last sentence made absolutely zero sense, but that doesn't mean it's any less true.

DreamWorks' The Croods Is Out Now

DreamWorks' The Croods opens today, as the first major animated release of 2013. The caveman comedy, directed by How to Train Your Dragon helmer Chris Sanders and Space Chimps skipper Kirk DeMicco, is the first film under DreamWorks' new distribution deal with 20th Century Fox. Fox, and indeed DreamWorks, are presumably hoping that the film performs better than their last one under Paramount; Rise of the Guardians resulted in a write-down of $87 million for the studio and significant layoffs.

Warner Bros. Release New Logo for The Lego Movie

Warner Bros. are looking to reclaim their stake in the animation industry, first on the agenda The Lego Movie, due early next year (7th February, 2014 in the US/14th in the UK). As part of a competition aiming to get people invested in the film (/Film has the details), the studio have revealed a cool new logo for the film and the teensiest bit of plot details.

Another New Trailer for Blue Sky's Epic Showcases Stars and Comedy

We only got the previous Epic trailer earlier this month, but Blue Sky and Fox have just released another new look at their May release. The trailer, which again comes from iTunes Movie Trailers, follows the releases of new trailers for Despicable Me 2 and Turbo over the last few days.

As a big Blue Sky fan and an even bigger Bill Joyce one, I'm really excited for Epic (I mean, just look at those visuals), but I've really not been wowed by Fox's advertising for the film. This newest trailer focuses entirely too much on humour - while some of the jokes work, a lot fall flat, and it really isn't in keeping with the more, well, epic tone the studio tried to establish with the teaser. Something else that this new trailer focuses on too much is its cast; clearly Blue Sky are thrilled with the film's star wattage, but spending half the trailer saying who's in it is overkill, especially when a lot of the cast isn't that impressive (fair enough if it was focusing solely on Christoph Waltz).

Epic is directed by Chris Wedge (Ice Age) and stars the voices of... hell, we've heard enough about who's in it. It's released on 24th May.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Upcoming UK Disney Blu-ray Details


We in the UK often get a raw deal of things, Disney are a particularly nefarious culprit of giving us films late. One such area is that we get Disney Blu-rays at times completely independent to the US, sometimes this is good (we got Cinderella and Peter Pan early), but sometimes it isn't (we still haven't got the Finding Nemo Blu-ray, and the bonus features we get on our BD releases are always slim pickings). However, once in a while there's a ray of light in the dark, stormy night; for instance, we've got a succulent slew of Disney Blu-ray releases coming up in the next month.

Watch: Quite Fun New Trailer for DreamWorks' Turbo

Just ahead of their first release of 2013 (The Croods, which opens this Friday), DreamWorks have rolled out the first full theatrical trailer for their summer flick, Turbo. And it's actually pretty good.

I didn't like the teaser DreamWorks put out back in December. It was one-note and generic, and seemed like something DreamWorks would put out back in the bad old days of Shark Tale and Over the Hedge. This trailer, however, was a lot of fun - head on over to iTunes Movie Trailers to check it out.

Munir's Disney Retrospective -- Animated Classic #10: Melody Time (1948)

By Munir Abedrabbo.

Last Week's: Munir's Disney Retrospective -- Animated Classic #9: Fun and Fancy Free (1947)

Very similar to Make Mine Music in structure, Melody Time nonetheless manages to provide a much more satisfying experience than the former. Whereas Make Mine Music featured uneven segments that leaves the viewer wanting, Melody Time showcases a very stable selection of shorts that are fun and entertaining without become tiresome or redundant. Shorts like The Legend of Johnny Appleseed, Pecos Bill and Blame it on the Samba are sure to delight any Disney fan or casual viewer. While Melody does not match the quality of Fun and Fancy Free, it is nonetheless one of this period's better offerings. Rating: 3.5/5.

Next Week: Animated Classic #11 Review: The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949)

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

New Despicable Me 2 Trailer Shows Gadgets, Girls and Gru

After a series of Minion vignettes, Universal have finally cranked out a trailer for Despicable Me 2 featuring its main character. iTunes Movie Trailers debuted the new trailer (embedded above) which returns Steve Carell to his role as the villainous Gru.

First Angry Birds Toon Now Available to Watch

Rovio are gearing up for a feature animation adaptation of their popular Angry Birds franchise. In the meantime, the studio are stretching their animation legs with a series of new animated shorts.The first in the series, revolving around the game's yellow bird, Chuck, debuted over the weekend on all Angry Birds games. To watch it, head on over to any one of those games (they're free to download on Android) and click on the Toons button. Check out a sneak peak below.

I've checked the short out myself, and it's pretty fun. Obviously, it's no Looney Tunes (although that does seem to be the tone it's trying to strike), and it's clearly going to be more entertaining for kids than the rest of us. But there are a few laughs to be had, and the very short runtime means the limited story doesn't factor in - I'm still not sure how a feature film's going to work though. The second short debuts this weekend.

Seen the first short? Let us know what you thought of it below!

Sunday, 17 March 2013

The Art of The Croods Review

The Croods, directed by How to Train Your Dragon's Chris Sanders and Space Chimps' Kirk DeMicco, is DreamWorks' first film under Fox. While it seems critics aren't all too taken with the story of "the world's first family", one area that has been unanimously praised is the film's visuals. As such, and going off the beautiful shots we've seen in the trailers, the Art of book looked to be a must-buy. With just under a week to go until the release of the film, we can say that The Art of The Croods is definitely worth the purchase for animation fans.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Thomas Newman On Board to Score The Good Dinosaur

Acclaimed composer Thomas Newman, who most recently scored Skyfall and Steven Soderbergh's Side Effects, is returning to score his third Pixar film, 2014's The Good Dinosaur. This will be Newman's third film for Pixar (after Finding Nemo and WALL-E).

The composer, who is the cousin of fellow Pixar-composer Randy Newman and of Joey Newman (Adam and Dog), speaking at Le Moyne and Syracuse University a couple of days ago, said that the Pixar film (which is directed by Bob Peterson) would be his next project.

It's great to hear that Newman's returning to Pixar, as all of his work's superlative, particularly his score for WALL-E, which was absolutely out of this world (pun intended). I can't wait to hear what he conjures up next.

The Good Dinosaur opens on 30th May, 2014 in the US and 18th July, 2014 in the UK.

Via Upcoming Pixar.

UPDATED: First Reviews for The Croods Surface

DreamWorks' first film of 2013, The Croods, opens a week yesterday, and, as such, reviews are slowly starting to roll out, and, while they're so far pretty good, they're not as good as we might have hoped.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Video of the Day: The Harsh Reality for Disney Princesses, in After Ever After

Concerned Disney films are a little bit too happy? Not enough BP-bashing or Guantanamo Bay jokes for you? Fortunately, YouTuber Paint agrees with you. He posted the above video, suggesting some darker, possibly more realistic, endings to classic Disney fairytales.

It's inventive, tuneful and just plain funny, so be sure to check the video out!

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Mickey Mouse News: New Series of Shorts Coming Later This Year, Watch the First Now/New Poster for The Stooge

Disney announced yesterday that they're working on a series of nineteen new 2D Mickey Mouse cartoon shorts, to premiere on 28th June on Disney Channel, and their WATCH Disney Channel app.

The new series will feature Mickey and other classic Disney friends, including Minnie Mouse, Donald and Daisy Duck, Goofy and Pluto, in a "broad range of humorous situations that showcase [Mickey's] pluck and rascality, along with his long-beloved charm and good heartedness". The shorts will take Mickey to locales including Paris, New York and Beijing.

Munir's Disney Retrospective -- Animated Classic #9: Fun and Fancy Free (1947)

By Munir Abedrabbo.

Last Week's: Munir's Disney Retrospective -- Animated Classic #8: Make Mine Music (1946)

Here, finally, we have the first fully satisfying anthology film, and one that deserves a better reputation and more exposure than it gets nowadays. Part of its success is that it only has two very strong segments instead of many weak ones, and also because it features many beloved Disney characters (Mickey, Donald, Goofy and Jiminy Cricket!) in various roles. Both segments ‘Bongo’ about a bear in love and ‘Mickey and the Beanstalk’, a variation of the famous Jack and the Beanstalk story, feature plenty of laughs and good character development. Also helping matters is Jiminy Cricket’s intervention as the host, as well as famous ventriloquist Edgar Bergen, as himself, and his marionettes providing some comic relief and serving as narrator for the Mickey short. All these ingredients blend perfectly to produce a movie that, while still composed of short films, manages to deliver high quality feature entertainment and one of the best segments featuring Mickey & Co. in the studio’s history. Rating: 4/5.

Next Week: Animated Classic #10 Review: Melody Time (1948)

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Please Consider Donating to A113Animation

A113Animation is a free service - and one I wholeheartedly love running; it's one of the few things I'm happy to stay up until ungodly hours in the morning working on - but it isn't always an easy-to-maintain one.

Damien Talks Tintin 2 Possibilities

By Damien.

Here's what we know so far about the Tintin sequel. Months of research, tweets addressed to the writer Anthony Horowitz, hours of deciphering from top scientists, quotes from Peter Jackson and Steven Spielberg gathered here and there, guessing what's trolling and what's the truth, nights of dreaming about it, and a lot of waiting.
And this is where all this pain and suffering has led us: here are my theories on the Tintin sequels.

Spielberg Talks Tintin 2; "Hoping" for a Christmas 2015 Release

We've been heavily covering every little dribble of news on the sequel to 2011's The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, growing bit-by-bit more excited with every titbit. So far, we know the film will introduce Professor Calculus, but that it's likely not based on The Calculus Affair (we also heard that the third film will apparently adapt Prisoners of the Sun). We also heard in December that director Peter Jackson intends to shoot the film's motion-capture during post-production of The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug later this year.

New Production Art from The Croods

© DreamWorks 2013
Credit: The Art of the Croods, by Noela Hueso. £24.99, 15th March 2013,
Titan Books.

DreamWorks' first film of 2013, The Croods, is out in ten days and looks absolutely stunning (just look at this still from the film, and this one). As such, the film's companion art book is a must-buy! Titan Books, who're publishing, sent us a review copy of The Art of the Croods (by Noela Hueso) last month, and it's absolutely beautiful (as these books tend to be). It's not quite as brilliant as the book for Rise of the Guardians last year, but there's an awful lot to like - expect to see our review sometime this week.

Monday, 11 March 2013

Disney Apparently Working on Rumpelstiltskin Adaption, The Name Game

Disney's upcoming slate is more heavily shrouded in secrecy than Pixar's at the moment. Frozen, their first fairy tale film since 2010's Tangled, hits cinemas this winter; after that, Disney are set to release Marvel-adaptation Big Hero 6 in 2014. Beyond that, there's the long dormant King of the Elves, and we heard whispers of a possible Mickey Mouse/Roger Rabbit team-up last month (rumours, that have since been seemingly shot down).

Sunday, 10 March 2013

UPDATED: The Simpsons Movie 2 Not Happening for "Maybe Another 10, 15 Years"

Fans of The Simpsons are bound to be a little disheartened by this news, but show creator Matt Groening and several-time director David Silverman have said that a sequel to 2007's hit movie adaptation, The Simpsons Movie, is not on the cards any time soon.

Two New Viral Monsters University Ads

Pixar are continuing their viral marketing rollout for Monsters University, with a series of believably cheesy university advertisements for the titular college. The clips, as well as showing off some absolutely breathtaking visuals, (just how far computer animated fur has come in twelve years is absolutely astounding) boast some cool new footage.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Damien Reviews The Art of The Adventures of Tintin

By Damien.

A (Very) Late Review

It's not often that I receive 'Art of' books before I actually get to see the film it's based on. It happened three times: with Cars 2, Brave, and The Adventures of Tintin. With both Pixar flicks, I managed put off opening the book until I'd seen the film.
But with this one, curiosity got the best out of me, and I surrendered pretty quickly to my Tintin nerdiness.

Friday, 8 March 2013

Japanese Monsters University Trailer Shows Off Lots of New Footage - And a Lot of the Plot

Japanese trailers are a curious thing. On the one hand, they're always really good, often very emotional, and lend a lot of charm and excitement to the promotion of whatever film they're made for (see last year's awesome Brave one for an example). On the other hand, however, they're always extremely spoiler-heavy, showcasing a sizeable portion of a film's major plot-points. With that in mind, check out this new spoiler heavy Japanese trailer for Pixar's Monsters University!

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Watch: New Trailer For Blue Sky's Epic

Fox and Blue Sky Studios have released the first full-length trailer for their forthcoming release, Epic. Based on the book The Leaf Men and the Brave Good Bugs by Moonbot Studios' William Joyce (director of The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore; author of the source material for Meet the Robinsons and Rise of the Guardians), Epic will be Blue Sky's eighth feature film. We got a teaser for the film back in June of last year.

New Teaser Poster for DreamWorks' Turbo

DreamWork' release their first film of 2013, The Croods, later this month. As such, the studio (and new distributor Fox) are beginning to slowly turn their promotional attention towards their next release, Turbo. Today that consists of a cool new teaser poster - well, cool design. Not so cool slogan.

Turbo sees an ordinary garden snail (voiced by Ryan Reynolds), with big dreams of becoming a super-speedy Indy-500 racer. In a fortuitous turn of events, the unsuspecting snail gets the Spider-Man treatment, when an accident imbues him with just the speed he needed. The film, whose premise I'm still not sold on, is directed by David Soren (Merry Madagascar) and has an all-star cast including Samuel L. Jackson and Paul Giamatti.

A tie-in series, Turbo: F.A.S.T. (Fast Action Stunt Team), is currently in production. Turbo hits US cinemas on 19th July, it arrives in the UK on 18th October. Check out the teaser trailer here.

Munir's Disney Retrospective -- Animated Classic #8: Make Mine Music (1946)

By Munir Abedrabbo.

Last Week's: Munir's Disney Retrospective -- Animated Classic #7: The Three Caballeros (1945)

With the War over but the financial difficulties not, Walt continued with the anthology films for the remainder of the 40s. The first non-Latin American anthology film was Make Mine Music, and unfortunately it's one of the weakest of the six. Narrating the shorts with different musical rhythms and popular singers of the time, Make Mine Music is a mixed bag of good shorts (The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met, Peter and the Wolf, All the Cats Join In) and dull ones (Without You, Casey at the Bat) that ultimately fails to impress and creates an unsatisfying experience for the viewer. It doesn't help that an entire segment (The Martins and the Coys) was completely removed from later home video releases. Rating: 3/5.

Next Week: Animated Classic #9 Review: Fun and Fancy Free (1947)

Monday, 4 March 2013

Possible Plot For Brad Bird's Tomorrowland Revealed

Brad Bird is churning away on his super-secret project for Disney. Previously titled 1952 and based on a collection of bits-and-bobs stored away in a box within the walls of Disney, the film is being written by Prometheus/Star Trek Into Darkness scribe, Damon Lindelof; Bird and Lindelof are both producing. Towards the end of January, we found out that the film is now officially called Tomorrowland, and speculation ran rampant over what that might entail. Well, provided these new rumours are moderately accurate, the film just became a lot less mysterious...

Aardman News 12 - No Pirates! Sequel in "The Foreseeable Future"

Briefly, some disheartening news for Aardman fans from mid-January that I just noticed now: Peter Lord, the director of the Oscar-nominated The Pirates! in an Adventure with Scientists, said that the planned sequel is not happening.

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Munir Reviews Walt Disney’s Nine Old Men: The Flipbooks

By Munir Abedrabbo.

The Nine Old Men are arguably the most revered group of people in all of Disney Animation, and one of the most famous in animation history. They have been responsible for creating many of the most indelible characters in the Disney canon. From Tinker Bell to Aurora, from Maleficent to Shere Khan, their animated creations are nothing short of spectacular. Their legacy has not only enchanted moviegoers throughout the years, but also influenced many animators that are now considered legends in their own right. It's also very important to remember that not only were they exceptionally talented animators, but they excelled at innovation too, creating many techniques that are now standard in the medium. With all these accolades, an homage was long overdue and, fortunately, the Walt Disney's Nine Old Men: The Flipbooks collection is a wonderful way to celebrate their beautiful art.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Rich Moore Talks Wreck-It Ralph 2

Late in January, Rich Moore spoke to The Huffington Post about all things Wreck-It Ralph: the production of the film, his reaction to its Oscar nomination and a few more teases about the possible sequel.