SoftBank In Talks To Buy DreamWorks Animation?

Posted by Ben Huber on Sep 29, 2014 in Animation, Cinema

Dreamworks

Here’s an odd tale for the day: SoftBank, as in the Japanese telecom, is in talks to possibly acquire DreamWorks Animation SKG. Apparently DreamWorks has been looking for new funding for a while now, but most companies haven’t been interested. DreamWorks films has been having a certain issue since it went public: its movies would open soft and then build up a huge final gross. Great, right? Well, investors don’t like soft openings, and shares would frequently plummet when a film would open. Sadly, shareholders don’t understand the movie industry, it seems. Thus, getting additional funding could help DreamWorks Animation quite a bit. No paper has been signed yet, but it’ll be interesting to see how this whole affair proceeds. Read more…

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Genndy Tartakovsky Debuts Test Footage For CGI Popeye Film

Posted by Ben Huber on Sep 20, 2014 in Animation

popeye

And… it looks pretty good! I mean, a CGI Popeye is perhaps not the most ideal situation in the first place — but if that’s your only option, doing it with Genndy Tartakovsky is a great way to tackle it. After wrapping up Hotel Transylvania (which was a bit of a rescue project for Tartakovsky), he had a chance to point Sony Pictures Animation in a different direction: Popeye! They’re definitely applying a lot of traditional animation techniques to the CGI, giving it a flexible, unique look. I think it’s safe to say the visual style of the film will be in good hands — I hope Tartakovsky and the script-writing crew can make the story worthwhile, too! The test footage is below. Read more…

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Shigeru Miyamoto To Reveal Pikmin Short Films At Tokyo International Film Festival

Posted by Ben Huber on Sep 12, 2014 in Animation, Videogames

pikmin

Here’s an odd place for Nintendo to show up: the Tokyo International Film Festival! According to Variety, Mario and Zelda creator Shigeru Miyamoto will be at the festival to debut an animated film from Nintendo, titled “Pikmin Short Films.” The movie is a compilation of three shorts: “The Night Juicer,” “Treasures in a Bottle,” and “Occupational Hazards.” Miyamoto produced the films, although there is no word on who directed it. The film’s debut will be accompanied by Nobuo Kawakami, a producer-trainer at Studio Ghibli and the chairman of Dwango, a telecom and media company in Japan (and owners of popular streaming site Nico Nico Douga). The festival begins October 25th. Hopefully we’ll hear how Nintendo will release the film around then. Read more…

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This Is What DuckTales Looks Like With Real Ducks

Posted by Bob Muir on Sep 9, 2014 in Animation, Fandom

DuckTales

14 years after the last episode, and people still like DuckTales. It’s a shame that Disney hasn’t felt like making the entire series available legally for streaming, considering how low any prospective sales are these days, but there are likely many fans who would gladly watch a few ads to revisit the series. Until then, fans continue showing their appreciation for the classic cartoon with various fanworks. But while not every video is gold, YouTube channel Oh My Disney has redone the opening with real, live ducks. Obviously, coordinating real ducks well enough to perform is difficult, so there’s not a lot of motion. But seeing a real duck with a top hat is still adorable! Read more…

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Angry Birds Transformers Trailer Nails That ’80s VHS Feel

Posted by Ben Huber on Aug 31, 2014 in Animation, Videogames

birdtransformers

Never thought I’d be saying this about Angry Birds Transformers, but this trailer is pretty neat. Spoofing off of the original Transformers cartoon, it features the various birds duking it out all in VHS glory. The audio distortion, the fade-in frames, poor tracking, and fuzzy visuals drag me back to watching classic cartoons on tape as a child. Plus, the theme song says “birds disguised as robots in disguise,” so that’s pretty funny. I wonder if the actual game will be any good? Hopefully! Check out the video below. Read more…

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Here’s Your First Clip From Pixar’s Short Film, Lava

Posted by Ben Huber on Aug 29, 2014 in Animation, Cinema

Lava

It’s not coming out until next summer, but when Pete Docter’s INside Out arrives in June, you’ll be seeing Lava before it. James Ford Murphy, the short film’s director, was inspired to create the short by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole’s version of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow.” Thus, the whole short is told through song. It features a jolly volcano looking for love… over millions of years. It sounds adorable. Check out the clip below, along with the previously-released poster for the short film. Read more…

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Donald Glover Is Voicing Ultimate Spider-Man

Posted by Bob Muir on Aug 27, 2014 in Animation, Comic Books

Ultimate Spider-Man

In Marvel’s Ultimate universe, Peter Parker has died, and young Miles Morales has taken his place. Strangely, the cartoon Ultimate Spider-Man isn’t based on the Ultimate universe, which means Peter Parker is still the star. But a new dimension-hopping storyline has the classic hero interacting with Spider-Men from other worlds, including the real Ultimate universe. And that means someone is voicing Miles: Donald Glover, formerly of Community. A giant Spider-Man fan, he had previously launched a Twitter campaign to play a live-action Spidey, which doesn’t seem to be happening. But this is a perfect fit, so I’m glad to see Glover finally get a chance to play his hero. Check out the video and see him in action. Read more…

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US Trailer for Ghibli’s Princess Kaguya Surfaces

Posted by Bob Muir on Aug 19, 2014 in Animation, Cinema

The Tale of Princess Kaguya

The future of Studio Ghibli is still in question, with the studio considering shifting from animation to simply managing its library. But until then, there are still two films that have been released after Hayao Miyazaki’s final film The Wind Rises but still haven’t made their way outside of Japan. The first is a movie from director Isao Takahata (Grave of the Fireflies), The Tale of Princess Kaguya. Gkids is releasing the English dub of the movie theatrically on October 17, featuring the voices of James Caan, Mary Steenburgen, and Chloë Grace Moretz. Though there’s no dialogue in this first trailer, it does give a good example of how different the animation is from the usual Ghibli style, though it’s still unmistakably their work. Read more…

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Michael Bay Directs Pixar’s Up In This Parody Trailer

Posted by Bob Muir on Aug 19, 2014 in Animation, Cinema, Fandom

Michael Bay's Up

Up is well known for tugging at your emotional heartstrings, especially in that bittersweet opening sequence that sort of overshadows the rest of the film. So what if Michael “Explosions” Bay, known for cinematic fast food like the Transformers franchise, directed Up instead of Pete Docter? The result would be something like this fan trailer by YouTube user MrStratman7, which makes Up seem much more epic and action-focused than it actually is. And naturally, there are explosions — tons and tons of endless explosions. In fact, keep watching after the title appears for one final explosion. Read more…

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A Little Song About Mario Beating Up On Yoshi

Posted by Ben Huber on Aug 17, 2014 in Animation, Videogames

yoshi

Fox Animation Domination Hi-Def is a recent programming block that air late-night on Fox, featuring cartoons from a variety of creators. It lets them be a bit more loose and wild with their cartoons, and giving animators a chance to shine on smaller projects. Their latest video features “Songs You Didn’t Know Had Lyrics,” in which they examine the long-standing distrust between Mario and Yoshi — mostly the fact that Mario is just using Yosh to get ahead in the game. It’s not very long but it’s an adorable short, mainly just for Yoshi’s expressions. Check it out below! Read more…

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The Book of Life Trailer #2 Features A Cacophony of Colors

Posted by Ben Huber on Aug 8, 2014 in Animation, Cinema

bookoflife

I’m really impressed by the visual stylings of The Book of Life! This new trailer has a better overview of the art on display, but you’ll have to wade through the stereotypical trailer announcer and hamfisted cameos. I have hope for the final film, as Jorge Gutierrez and Guillermo del Toro are talented folks. I’ve already seen some “Tim Burton” jokes though, so if you make any… I’m coming for you. The cast features Diego Luna, Zoe Saldana, Channing Tatum, Ron Perlman (of course), and more. The film comes out October 17th. Check out the trailer below! Read more…

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Fox Officially Releases Leaked Deadpool Test Footage

Posted by Bob Muir on Jul 30, 2014 in Animation, Cinema, Comic Books

Deadpool

Pretty much no one liked the version of Deadpool that appeared in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Since having their hopes dashed with that film, fans have wished for a Deadpool movie that is accurate to the fourth-wall breaking comic book. Fox was experimenting with the idea, but with not much happening recently, the project seems to be dead. But wait: director Tim Miller’s fabled test footage (animated in CG by Blur Studio) has surfaced, and it’s surprisingly great. Ryan Reynolds returns as Deadpool, but he’s much more fun to watch, cracking jokes and illustrating his enemy’s upcoming death. Can we please have a movie like this? I don’t care if it’s tied into X-Men, I just think it would be fun to watch. Maybe the renewed interest in this test footage will give the project a boost? Read more…

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A New Trailer For When Marnie Was There

Posted by Ben Huber on Jul 20, 2014 in Animation, Anime

marnie

Studio Ghibli’s latest film, When Marnie Was There, has arrived in Japanese cinemas. Sadly, folks in the west will have to wait a little longer for the film, but until then, we can watch the latest trailer that features much more footage from Hiromasa Yonebayashi (who previously directed The Secret World of Arrietty). This is his second film, so I’m eagerly awaiting impressions from Japan to hear if the film is good. With Miyazaki now out of the picture (kind of), where Ghibli goes from here will be fascinating to watch. Can they cultivate the same creativity and passion Miyazaki previously delivered? It remains to be seen… but When Marnie Was There does look fascinating. Check out the trailer below. Read more…

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Mondo Makes Batman: TAS Record Sleeves

Posted by Bob Muir on Jul 17, 2014 in Animation, Comic Books

Mondo Harley Quinn

Batman: The Animated Series had a sharp, yet moody art style, ripe for exploration. Mondo, known mainly for their limited edition posters of classic movies, has done that with a new series of record sleeves. The 7-inch record sleeves will come in five varieties, featuring Harley Quinn, Mr. Freeze, Clayface, Man-Bat, and naturally the Joker. And of course, there will be a small 7-inch vinyl record inside with the show’s theme music pressed onto it. The records are colored as well, to match the sleeves. You can buy them at Mondo’s booth (#835) starting on San Diego Comic Con’s Preview Night, to celebrate Batman’s 75th anniversary. Check out more below! Read more…

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Platinum Games Making Game Based On The Legend of Korra

Posted by Bob Muir on Jun 26, 2014 in Animation, Videogames

The Legend of Korra

The Legend of Korra is often compared to its anime influences, so it makes sense that Japanese developer Platinum Games has announced a game based on the popular cartoon. Platinum is known for its action games, and that’s what they’re delivering with this downloadable game published by Activision. The game is set between the second and third seasons, so Korra has access to all four elements in combat. The game is releasing this fall for PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One. (A turn-based strategy game made by Webfoot Technologies will release on 3DS.) The teaser shows that the graphics maintain the colorful look the show, so it looks great.
Read more…

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Watch Valve’s Latest Team Fortress 2 Short: ‘Expiration Date’

Posted by Bob Muir on Jun 19, 2014 in Animation, Videogames

Expiration Date

Team Fortress 2 has been out forever, at least in internet time. But Valve is still supporting it with new updates, even after the game became free-to-play a few years back. Their latest, the Love & War update, promises several additions, such as new taunts. But more importantly, Valve released another short starring the various playable classes, made in Source Filmmaker. “Expiration Date” has the red team confronting their imminent death only three days later, as well as Scout pursuing his crush with the help of Spy. It’s a whopping 15 minutes long, making it the longest TF2 short Valve has ever done. I just enjoy watching the characters bounce off each other, so keep making them Valve! Read more…

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Trailer For The Legend of Korra: Book 3 Hits

Posted by Ben Huber on Jun 16, 2014 in Animation

korra

Apparently it hasn’t been all fun and games over at Nickelodeon. They recently finished work on the third season of The Legend of Korra, only to have episodes 3 through 6 leaked on the Mexican Nickelodeon site. Oops! In response to this, they quickly released a trailer giving a deeper look at the upcoming season to satiate fans. I’ve included it below. The third season will begin airing on July 3rd, which is earlier than usual, so perhaps the leak situation has pushed things up a bit. The trailer itself looks impressive, and to me it looks like the budget for the series has been increased. I have no idea what’s going on story-wise, though, as I haven’t caught up with Korra yet. I will someday soon though! Read more…

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GKIDS Will Bring Studio Ghibli Documentary to US

Posted by Ben Huber on Jun 15, 2014 in Animation, Anime

ghibli

Good news, Studio Ghibli fans! The documentary about the famous Japanese animation studio, “The Kingdom of Dreams and Madness,” will be getting a theatrical release here in the US thanks to GKIDS. The doc, directed by Mami Sunada, follows the production of the most recent two Ghibli releases, The Wind Rises (from Hayao Miyazaki) and The Tale of Princess Kaguya (by Isao Takahata). Sunada was granted unprecedented access to the studio while they toiled, getting a surprisingly up-close look at their work. It’s unusual to see such unfettered access to a Japanese studio, much less Ghibli themselves. GKIDS did not specify a release date, but did say that it will come this year. This is one that any animation fan will not want to miss. Read more…

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First Trailer for The Book of Life Shows Off Vibrant, Dia de los Muertos World

Posted by Ben Huber on May 31, 2014 in Animation, Cinema

THE BOOK OF LIFE

I’ll be honest, I hadn’t been paying much attention to The Book of Life until this trailer. I had heard Guillermo del Toro was producing an animated film, but hey, he’s producing a million things all the time. Anyway, del Toro is the producer, but Jorge R. Gutierrez is the director, whose previous work on El Tigre and Mad was pretty unique. Now he’s getting a shot at a CGI animated feature, and it looks really impressive. The story revolves around the Day of the Dead, a love triangle, and the main character’s attempt to get back to the world of the living. Some of the musical choices in the trailer are questionable, but I suppose that’s the marketing team making those choices. I love the visual style though, and I hope the film turns out well! It’s arriving in theaters this Halloween. Read more…

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Big Hero 6 Teaser Trailer Arrives

Posted by Ben Huber on May 23, 2014 in Animation, Cinema

Big_Hero_6

You’ve seen the teaser images, now see the trailer for Disney’s new animated film, Big Hero 6. This is a Marvel property, but surprisingly, there’s not a single Marvel logo on it anywhere, and they’re instead opting to market it with “from the makers of Wreck-It Ralph and Frozen.” Which is certainly not a bad thing by any means — it’s just an odd choice, given that Marvel is such a strong brand right now. Still, this teaser trailer does its job, and reveals none of the story while telling you exactly what it’ll be: a humorous romp about a kid and his robot. Big Hero 6 arrives November 7th. Read more…

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Pixar Working On Sequel To The Incredibles

Posted by Bob Muir on Mar 19, 2014 in Animation, Cinema

The Incredibles

Of all the films that Pixar is made, I was always somewhat disappointed that The Incredibles, one of my personal faves, never got a sequel. Sure, Toy Story put them on the map, and Cars prints money for Disney’s coffers, but I thought The Incredibles had the most sequel potential of any of them. (Not that I need a sequel, mind you; I just wanted one instead of sequels to their other movies). Lo and behold, Disney CEO Bob Iger just confirmed that Pixar is working on a sequel. Speaking at the annual shareholders meeting, Iger shared that Brad Bird, who not only wrote and directed the first film but also voiced Edna Mode, was already working on the story. It hasn’t been confirmed that he will write or direct, but hopefully he does return for at least one of those roles. Until then, all that’s left to do is speculate wildly. I want more team-ups with Samuel L. Jackson’s Frozone! Read more…

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First Peanuts Trailer Looks Potentially Good

Posted by Bob Muir on Mar 19, 2014 in Animation, Cinema

Peanuts

20 Century Fox’s Blue Sky Studios is making a big-budget Peanuts film, based on Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and all the other classic characters created by Charles M. Schulz. Considering how many other modern animated/half-animated films have come before and sucked, it’s reasonable to be skeptical. But wait a second — this teaser looks good! While the animation nut in me pines for 2D animation, even I can admit how limited the Peanuts cartoons were, so it’s not like there wasn’t room to grow. This animation style, while done with CG, does a great job of retaining Schulz’s original designs and art style while mixing in faux-stop-motion animation. With a script by Schulz’s son Craig, Schulz’s grandson Bryan, and Cornelius Uliano (who simply has a cool name), there’s certainly potential for this movie to duck the trend of awful modern animated reboots and rehashes. Here’s hoping! Peanuts will be released on November 6, 2015. Read more…

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Watch Sylvian Chomet’s (Triplets of Belleville) Simpsons Couch Gag

Posted by Ben Huber on Mar 7, 2014 in Animation, Television

simpsons

The Simpsons have been getting lot of big-names involved in their couch gags, recently featuring such names as Guillermo Del Toro and more. The latest, airing this Sunday (March 9th), is done by Sylvian Chomet, the director of the fantastic animated films the Triplets of Belleville and The Illusionist. It features his distinctive style applied to all the characters, but the jokes are pretty standard fare. That said, it’s some great animation and contrasts pretty heavily with the cheaper stuff used by the Simpsons now. Check it out! Read more…

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First Promos Go Out For Star Wars: Rebels

Posted by Bob Muir on Feb 18, 2014 in Animation, Star Wars

Star Wars: Rebels

Here’s the first look at Star Wars: Rebels, the new cartoon that will air on Disney XD. Fans were rightly annoyed when Star Wars: The Clone Wars was canceled in favor of this (though the remaining episodes are coming to Netflix), so what do these trailers show? In short, yep, it looks like a Star Wars cartoon. There’s not much to say that the marketing materials haven’t already covered. The show may be good, but right now, it just looks like more animated Star Wars to this casual fan. So cross your fingers that The Clone Wars wasn’t canceled in vain! Just give this a good writing team and things will be alright when it premieres in Fall 2014. Read more…

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