Monthly Archives: February 2013

Cartoon of the Day: Ali Baba Bunny

Ali Baba Bunny

Ali Baba Bunny

A short so funny we could make it a cartoon of the week, Ali Baba Bunny released on this date in 1957. One of the classic Chuck Jones Bugs Bunny pairings, this one also included the running gag about “I knew I should have taken that left turn at Albuquerque…”

After a goofed up left turn at Albuquerque (on their way to Pismo Beach), Bugs and Daffy end up in Ali Baba’s treasure-filled cave. Hassan Chop!

The end is absolutely hilarious! If you haven’t seen this one in a while, it is worth a watch again today on BCDB!

LAIKA Brings Back The Monsters

The Boxtrolls

The Boxtrolls

LAIKA and Focus Features, whose current animated feature ParaNorman is in the running for an Oscar, announced today that they have begun production on The Boxtrolls. The new movie will be released nationwide by Focus on October 17th, 2014 according to Focus CEO James Schamus and LAIKA President/CEO Travis Knight.

As on the previous animation collaborations ParaNorman and Coraline, Focus will hold worldwide distribution rights to The Boxtrolls., and Universal Pictures International will release the movie overseas (with eOne Distribution handling Canada). Coraline (2009) earned Golden Globe, BAFTA, Critics’ Choice, and Academy Award nominations for Best Animated Feature Film; and was named one of the year’s 10 Best Films by the American Film Institute (AFI). In addition to its Academy Award nomination, ParaNorman (2012) is in the running for the BAFTA Awards’ animated feature prize. ParaNorman has won two Annie Awards (the animation community’s Oscars equivalent) and been cited as best animated feature film by 14 critics’ groups, more than any other 2012 animated feature.

The Boxtrolls is a 3D stop-motion and CG hybrid animated feature based on Alan Snow’s bestselling fantasy adventure novel Here Be Monsters. The Boxtrolls is being directed by Anthony Stacchi (co-director of the hit animated feature Open Season) and Graham Annable (story artist on Coraline and ParaNorman), and produced by David Ichioka and Mr. Knight. The voice cast includes Academy Award winner Ben Kingsley, Academy Award nominee Toni Collette, Elle Fanning (marking her fourth movie with Focus), Isaac Hempstead-Wright (Game of Thrones), Emmy Award nominee Jared Harris (Mad Men), Simon Pegg (Star Trek), Nick Frost (of Focus’ upcoming The World’s End), Richard Ayoade (The IT Crowd), and Tracy Morgan (30 Rock).

The Boxtrolls is a comedic fable that unfolds in Cheesebridge, a posh Victorian-era town obsessed with wealth, class, and the stinkiest of fine cheeses. Beneath its charming cobblestone streets dwell the Boxtrolls, foul monsters who crawl out of the sewers at night and steal what the townspeople hold most dear: their children and their cheeses. At least, that’s the legend residents have always believed. In truth, the Boxtrolls are an underground cavern-dwelling community of quirky and lovable oddballs who wear recycled cardboard boxes the way turtles wear their shells. The Boxtrolls have raised an orphaned human boy, Eggs (voiced by Mr. Hempstead-Wright), since infancy as one of their dumpster-diving and mechanical junk-collecting own. When the Boxtrolls are targeted by villainous pest exterminator Archibald Snatcher (Mr. Kingsley), who is bent on eradicating them as his ticket to Cheesebridge society, the kindhearted band of tinkerers must turn to their adopted charge and adventurous rich girl Winnie (Ms. Fanning) to bridge two worlds amidst the winds of change – and cheese.

Mr. Knight said, “The Boxtrolls is a visually dazzling mash-up of gripping detective story, absurdist comedy, and steampunk adventure with a surprisingly wholesome heart. It’s Dickens by way of Monty Python. Tony and Graham have crafted a strange and beautiful world replete with fantastical creatures, good-for-nothing reprobates, madcap antics, and rip-roaring feats of derring-do.

But at its core, like all LAIKA films, The Boxtrolls is a moving and human story with timelessness and powerful emotional resonance. We’re thrilled to partner with Focus Features and Universal to bring this remarkable story to family audiences around the world.”

Mr. Schamus commented, “Following our successful collaborations on ParaNorman and Coraline, we are delighted to be embarking on a third wondrous adventure with the LAIKA artisans who transform everyday materials into living creatures infused with dimension, humor, and soul. With a wonderfully appealing menagerie of fun characters, and a generous, open heart at its center, The Boxtrolls will be a must-see for family audiences.”

Cartoon of the Day: The Early Bird And The Worm

The Early Bird And The Worm

The Early Bird And The Worm

Today’s CotD takes us back to 1936 for The Early Bird And The Worm. Directed by Rudolf Ising, this color short was from the Happy Harmonies Theatrical Cartoon Series.

A sprightly young bird gets up early, the better to get the jump on his neighborhood worm, but he finds his quarry elusive. The worm, for his part, sets off with a flute and jazzes along happily, out-finessing the bird repeatedly. Then a pair of shiftless crows debate the virtues of early rising and decide that no worm is worth it (clearly, these are shiftless “Negro” stereotypes, though the ethnic angle isn’t stressed here so much). Finally, a rattlesnake practices some hypnotic moves on both bird and worm before getting tied up in knots.

The two lazy crows are caricatures of then-famous blackface comedy team Moran and Mack. Much of their dialogue is directly lifted from their hit 1920s comedy recording “Two Black Crows.”

Croods Posters Evolve

The Croods Theatrical Poster

The Croods Theatrical Poster

DreamWorks Animation’s next animated film, The Croods, today got two new updated posters, one domestic and one International. Both posters feature the whole prehistoric family, and a view of the exotic lands they live in. The domestic poster features the film release date- March 23, while the international version just says coming soon.

DreamWorks has been notable in their goal to ramp up production to two or three animated features a year. The Croods will be the first for the studio for 2013, and will be followed by Turbo this summer and Mr. Peabody & Sherman in November.

A comedy adventure that takes us back to a previously undiscovered era in the history of our planet known as the Croodaceous, when nature was still a work-in-progress… full of never-before-seen creatures and landscapes.

An old-school caveman must lead his family across a volatile prehistoric landscape in search of a new home. The outsized flora and fauna are challenge enough, but the real complication arises when the family is joined by an alarmingly modern caveman whose search for “tomorrow” is at odds with our hero’s reliance on the traditions of yesterday. The imaginative and resourceful newcomer helps the Croods navigate their way through the fantastic world beyond their cave.

The Croods Theatrical Poster

The Croods Theatrical Poster

 

The Croods International Poster

The Croods International Poster

Cartoon of the Day: I Yabba-Dabba Do!

I Yabba-Dabba Do!

I Yabba-Dabba Do!

Who is celebrating their twentieth anniversary today? The two stone-age kids that grew up next door to each other- Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm! In 1993, ABC aired I Yabba-Dabba Do!, a special directed by animation giant William Hanna. How tough was it for Fred to give away the bride?

Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm get married but not before enduring all the antics and confusion that seem to accompany every Flintstones affair.

Sort of the opposite of all those eighties cartoon series in which grown-up characters are shown in their youth. You know, the Muppet Babies, A Pup Named Scooby-Doo or Flintstone Kids….

 

Cartoon of the Day: Peter Pan

Peter Pan

Peter Pan

Today would be the 60th anniversary of that kids film about being a grown up kid, Peter Pan. One of my personal favorites, Peter Pan is probably the perfect Disney film- action, adventure, great backgrounds and animation, and a stellar voice cast. Second star on the right, and on until dawn…

Peter Pan, the boy who wouldn’t grow up, arrives in the London nursery of the Darling children: Wendy, Michael and John. He teaches the children to fly (with the help of Tinker Bell’s pixie dust), then takes them all to Never Land so Wendy can be mother to Peter’s tribe of Lost Boys. In Never Land, there are flirtatious mermaids, savage Indians, and wicked pirates-including Peter’s great nemesis, Captain Hook. A series of dangerous and exciting cloak-and-dagger adventures with Captain Hook and Peter leads to the villain’s ultimate defeat, and Peter takes the Darling children home in the captured pirate ship, which now soars through the sky, thanks to a little contribution from Tinker Bell.

Cartoon of the Day: The Case Of The Maltese Chicken

The Case Of The Maltese Chicken

The Case Of The Maltese Chicken

In 1964, Inspector Willoughby too on The Case Of The Maltese Chicken. Inspector Willoughby was one of the later Walter Lantz series, beginning in 1960 and running 12 cartoons.

In this theatrical short, Inspector Willoughby tries to retrieve The Maltese Chicken from the evil oriental villain Egg Foo Yung.

Woody Woodpecker makes a cameo appearance hidden inside The Maltese Chicken.

Based on Jack Hannah’s Ranger Woodlore from his days at Disney.

Cartoon Research Guru Ethan Minovitz Passes Away

Ethan Minovitz

Ethan Minovitz

Ethan Minovitz, the self-proclaimed animation research guru of the Big Cartoon DataBase, passed away from natural causes at his home in Vancouver, British Columbia on Friday February 1st, 2013. His name should be familiar to anyone who follows this blog and the Big Cartoon Forum, and he was a voracious poster of news and trivia on both. His contributions to the site go much deeper than what the casual observer can notice, though. He was, in many ways, the heart and soul of BCDB.

Ethan was born in 1962 in his native British Columbia. He attend Eric Hamber High School and graduated in 1980. He competed on the school team for Reach For The Top National Finals, and his team won the competition. Mr. Minovitz was very active in his local Jewish Center.

Ethan is survived by his older sister Lise of New York, and his father, also in Vancouver. Ethan Minovitz’s funeral is planned for Wednesday, 2 PM at the Schara Tzedeck Cemetary at 2345 Marine Drive, New Westminster, BC V3M 6R8.  Details on shiva services are to be arranged.

In December, 2009, he traveled with a group of volunteers to the Cuba-America Jewish Mission in Havana, where he worked with the group for two weeks. Ethan was also vocal with the Vancouver Jewish Folk Choir, singing in concerts whenever he could. Ethan’s Jewish heritage was very important to him, and his faith was strong.

He joined the BCDB about ten years ago, and it was immediately obvious that Ethan was at home in our group. He was an earnest and competent contributor, and it was not long until I asked him to be a moderator.

Ethan’s love of animation showed- he had tremendous knowledge on the subject. And what he did not know, he would research. That was one thing about Ethan, the man knew how to look something up. He soon became our resident expert on just about anything.

Ethan in Cuba

Ethan in Cuba

Ethan was always a calming force within BCDB, too. We have always been a fairly calm site, but there were occasions where tempers grew and egos grew larger. Ethan was the peacemaker, Ethan found a way to solve all the problems that came up.

Ethan always had a kind word for everyone. He was the first person to post a welcome message to anyone who joined our forums. I never asked him to, he just did. That is the kind of man Ethan was, and that is something I specifically admired about him.

A few years ago, we decided to start a news section of the forum. It is hard and a lot of work to publish 2 or 3 stories every day there. I know- I have tried. Ethan did it, every day, on his own and with no complaints. I did not even ask him, he just stepped up and did it. It is ironic now to think about, but one of Ethan’s passions was posting obituaries to the news section. We had a contest, he and I- who could get the big ones first. Ethan usually won.

But Ethan’s biggest contribution to BCDB is the one no one here ever saw. And this again gets back to his tag as Research Guru. Any day of the week, Ethan contributed numerous new cartoons for inclusion in the database. None of you ever saw this, because they went direct to me. Hundreds of Excel spread sheets a year. He formatted his finds in such a way it made it easy for me to slip them into the database. He would go on tears… sometimes Japanese, sometimes Russian, sometimes Czech. I would feel over burdened when getting them, and then I would think about all the work to find, sort and enter them into Excel. THAT would be overwhelming…. but that was what Ethan did behind the scenes. Ethan contributed at least 55,000 cartoons this way.

But most importantly, Ethan was my friend. We talked a lot. Sometimes about BCDB and what and where it was going. But often about other things. His trips to Israel were always a point of joy for him, and I loved listening to his stories. While we never met face-to-face, we knew each other very well. And I am proud to call him my friend.

As I sit here and miss my friend, I am also wanting to do something a little more permanent for him at BCDB. He was such an important part of getting us to where we are today, I want to make the BCDB a little more about him. I am not sure how I will accomplish this yet, but if you have any ideas, please let me know.

In the meantime, I can only wish my friend safe travels.

And The Best In Animation Is…. Annie Award Winners

Annie Awards Statue

Annie Awards Statue

Tonight, film critic Leonard Maltin and voice actors Pinky and the Brain, urm, Uh, I mean Rob Paulsen and Maurice LaMarche are handing out the Annies at UCLA’s Royce Hall. For 40 years this annual event recognizes the best in animation from around the world.

Through most of the night, things look pretty well split up between the big studios, with one award going to DreamWorks, the next to Pixar, then to ParaNorman, and then to Disney. But when the big awards came down, it was all Disney, with Wreck-It Ralph pulling in Best Music, Voice Acting, Directing and Best Feature. Disney short Paperman won for best animated short.

The full list of winners:

Best Animated Video Game
Journey – Sony Computer Entertainment America

Best Student Film
Head Over Heels – Timothy Reckart

Storyboarding in a TV/Broadcast Production
Doug Lovelace Dragons: Riders Of Berk: Portrait Of Hiccup As A Buff Man – DreamWorks Animation

Storyboarding in a Feature Production
Johanne Matte, Rise Of The Guardians – DreamWorks Animation

Editing in TV/Broadcast Production
Hugo Morales, Adam Arnold, Davrik Waeden and Otto Ferraye Kung Fu Panda: Enter The DragonNickelodeon Animation Studios

Editing in a Feature Production
Nicholas C. Smith, A.C.E., Robert Grahamjones, A.C.E., David Suther Brave – Pixar Animation Studios

Character Design in a TV/Broadcast Production
Robert Valley, Disney Tron: Uprising: The Renegade, Part 1 – Disney TV Animation

Character Design in a Feature Production
Heidi Smith, ParaNorman – LAIKA/Focus Features

June Foray Award
Howard Green (VP, Communications for Walt Disney Animation Studios)

Tex Avery Award
June Foray

Winsor McCay Award
Oscar Grillo

Music in a TV/Broadcast Production
John Paesano, Dragons: Riders Of Berk: How To Pick Your Dragon – DreamWorks Animation

Music in a Feature Production
Henry Jackman, Skrillex, Adam Young, Matthew Thiessen, Jamie Houston, Yasushi Akimoto, Wreck-It Ralph – Walt Disney Animation Studios

Animated Effects In an Animated Production
Andy Hayes, Carl Hooper, David Lipton – Rise Of The Guardians – DreamWorks Animation

Animated Effects in a Live Action Production
Jerome Platteaux, John Sigurdson, Ryan Hopkins, Raul Essig, Mark Chataway The Avengers – Industrial Light & Magic

Ub Iwerks Award
Toon Boom Pipeline

Character Animation in a Live Action Production
Erik de Boer, Matt Shumway, Brian Wells, Vinayak Pawar, Michael Holzl, Life Of Pi – Tiger – Rhythm & Hues Studio

Character Animation in a TV/Broadcast Production
Dan Driscoll, Spongebob SquarePants: It’s a SpongeBob Christmas! – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

Character Animation in a Feature Production
Travis Knight ParaNorman – LAIKA/Focus Features

Production Design in a TV/Broadcast Production
Alberto Mielgo, Disney Tron: Uprising: The Stranger – Disney TV Animation

Production Design in a Feature Production
Steve Pilcher, Brave – Pixar Animation Studios

Winsor McCay Award
Terry Gilliam

Best Animated Special Production
Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem – Illumination Entertainment

Best Animated Short Subject
Paperman – Walt Disney Animation Studios

Writing in a Television/Broadcast Production
Trey Parker, South Park: Jewpacabra – Central Productions

Writing in a Feature Production
Phil Johnson, Jennifer Lee, Wreck-It Ralph – Walt Disney Animation Studios

Winsor McCay Award
Mark Henn

Voice Acting in a Television/Broadcast Production
Kristen Schaal as Mabel Pines Gravity Falls: Tourist Trapped – Disney TV Animation

Voice Acting in a Feature Production
Alan Tudyk as King Candy Wreck-It Ralph – Walt Disney Animation Studios

Best Animated Television Production for Pre-School Children
Bubble Guppies: A Tooth On the Looth – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

Directing in a Television/Broadcast Production
John Eng, Dragons: Riders Of Berk: Animal House – DreamWorks Animation

Directing in a Feature Production
Rich Moore, Wreck-It Ralph – Walt Disney Animation Studios

General Audience Television Production
Robot Chicken DC Comics Special – Stoopid Buddy Studios

Animated Feature
Wreck-It Ralph– Walt Disney Animation Studios

Vancouver Shows Oscar-nominated Animated Shorts

Oscar Statuette, Academy Awards

Oscar Statuette, Academy Awards

Vancouver’s Vancity Theatre is bringing back its popular program of Academy Award-nominated short films in the categories of Best Animated Short and Best Live Action Short from Friday, February 8 to Thursday, February 21.

Here are the Oscar-nominated animated shorts to be shown in an 88-minute program:

Maggie Simpson in The Longest Daycare (David Silverman, U.S.A., 5 min.)
Maggie Simpson spends a day at the Ayn Rand Daycare Center, where she is diagnosed at an average intelligence level. Longing to be grouped with the gifted children, Maggie finds her destiny by rescuing a lonely cocoon from Baby Gerald, who is busy smooshing butterflies.

Adam and Dog (Minkyu Lee, U.S.A., 16 min.)
The story about the dog of Eden. What happened in those first days of Creation that made Man and Dog so inseparable? The dog, as he lives through this curious world, encounters a strange creature; a human being named Adam — and with that discovers a new-found connection to the world.

Fresh Guacamole (Adam Pesapane aka PES, U.S.A., 2 min.)
Learn how to transform familiar objects into Fresh Guacamole!

Head Over Heels (Timothy Reckart, United Kingdom, 10 min.)
After many years of marriage, Walter and Madge have grown apart: he lives on the floor and she lives on the ceiling. They live separate, parallel lives, never talking, barely even looking at each other. When Walter tries to reignite their old romance, it brings their equilibrium crashing down, and the couple that can’t agree which way is up must find a way to put their marriage back together.

Paperman (John Kahrs, U.S.A., 7 min.)
Paperman tells the story of a lonely young man in mid-century New York City, whose destiny takes an unexpected turn after a chance meeting with a beautiful woman on his morning commute. Convinced that the girl of his dreams is gone forever, he gets a second chance when he spots her in a skyscraper window across the avenue from his office. With only his heart, imagination and a stack of papers to get her attention, his efforts are no match for what the fates have in store for him.

And for your viewing pleasure… three shortlisted contenders that did not make the final cut:

Abiogenesis (Richard Mars, New Zealand, 5 min.)
In this breathtaking science fiction spectacle, a strange mechanical device lands on a desolate world and uses the planet to undergo a startling transformation that has profound implications for an entire galaxy.

Dripped (Leo Verier, France, 9 min.)
Jack is a strange character. He steals paintings from museums to eat them. He feeds himself with the artistic process of the painter. But one day, the museums are closed, and he will have to paint by himself to survive.

The Gruffalo’s Child (Uwe Heidschötter and Johannes Weiland, United Kingdom, 27 min.)
A little Gruffalo ignores her father’s warnings and tiptoes out into the snow in search of the Big Bad Mouse.

Screening dates and times:

Friday, February 8, 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, February 9, 8:45 p.m.
Sunday, February 10, 6:30 p.m.
Tuesday, February 12, 8:45 p.m.
Friday, February 15, 6:30 p.m.
Sunday, February 17, 6:30 p.m.
Wednesday, February 20, 8:45 p.m.
Thursday, February 21, 6:30 p.m.

Vancity Theatre is at 1181 Seymour Street. Call the Film Info Line at (604) 683-FILM (3456) or visit www.viff.org for the latest info and listings.