The 38th annual Annecy International Animation Festival wound up June 14th and the winners are now available. The big winner for best feature film – the Cristal- is Alê Abreu’s O Menino e o Mundo (The Boy and the World – Some Dreams Survive). The film is from Brazil and produced by Filme de Papel. The story tells the journey of a village boy into the modern world (São Paulo) as seen through his eyes and imagination, in the search for his father. Suffering from the absence of a father, a boy leaves his village and discovers a fantastic world dominated by animal-machines and strange beings. A portrait of the problems of the modern world seen through the eyes of a child.
Disney Television Animation has announced they have begun production on “Pickle & Peanut,” a buddy-comedy series about two unlikely friends. Scheduled to premiere on Disney XD in fall 2015 premiere, “Pickle & Peanut” will be a hybrid mix of 2-D animation and live-action footage that tell of the adventures of two small-town underdogs who dream up plans to be anything but ordinary. The show’s title characters- an emotional pickle and a freewheeling peanut- are voiced by Jon Heder (“Napoleon Dynamite“) and Johnny Pemberton (“21 Jump Street“), respectively.
Pixar’s next animated feature film – Inside Out- is due out in one year, and today Pixar announced the short that will accompany the film. The short is titled Lava and is described as a musical love story that takes place over millions of years. Pixar gave LA journalists an early sneak preview last night and by all accounts, the footage shown was stunning. Pixar also showed the new poster for the short, which shows a beautiful, idyllic tropical island, frolicking (and paired!) sea-life, and a background of a smoldering volcano.
Over the last week, three new series have been announce from three separate studios, all of them revisiting previous shows or films. Disney is sending The Lion Guard to Disney Jr., Scholastic Entertainment is sending Ms. Frizzle back out with The Magic School Bus 360°, and FremantleMedia is resurrecting Cosgrove-Hall’s 80′s hit with a new version of Danger Mouse.
Remember last month when DreamWorks pulled the old switcheroo with a couple films? Monday DreamWorks released the first trailers for both films… 2014′s The Penguins of Madagascar and 2015′s Home. DreamWorks does not have a record of incredible trailers, and these continue that trend. Neither film looks to be the hit that the studio needs after the lackluster open of How to Train Your Dragon 2 last week, which only came in second with about a 50 million dollar open.
The popular 1990′s Hanna-Barbera series The Powerfuff Girls is headed back to Cartoon Network. Not much has been released about the new series, so we have no word on who is directing, writing or producing. We don’t even know if it will reboot in the style of the recent Dance Pantsed or go off on it’s own. About all we do know for sure is that it will be out in 2016… and Cartoon Network is looking at major licensing deals based on the new series.
Laika Entertainment has released the official domestic trailer for their highly anticipated 2014 release The Boxtrolls. Three months from release, the film is directed by Anthony Stacchi and Graham Annable and based on the novel Here Be Monsters by Alan Snow. Dare to be square with the highly anticipated official trailer for The Boxtrolls, premiering on Yahoo! Movies Today!
Once again dipping into their deep archives, Disney is pulling out a rework of the life of the Seven Dwarfs for their new animated TV show The 7D. Rather than set the story in the world of Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs, the show takes place in contemporary storybook world of Jollywood. The 7D follows brave little heroes Happy, Bashful, Sleepy, Sneezy, Dopey, Grumpy and Doc as they work together to maintain order in the kingdom. Standing in their way are Grim and Hildy Gloom, a novice warlock and witch couple, who haplessly plot to dethrone the Queen and take over Jollywood.
I have been looking forward to Maleficent with equal amounts of anticipation and dread. On one hand, she is easily my favorite Disney villain, so cold and so pure, and I want desperately to see more of her and her back-story. On the other hand, she is easily my favorite Disney villain, and I would hate to see her parodied, taken lightly or ultimately destroyed in a film that does not understand this great character. The good news is that this film almost gets it right; but that is also the bad news.
In the mess of trailers before Maleficent this weekend, there was one that quite literally took my breath away. It was not Boxtrolls (which looks good), or Jupiter Rising, but The Book of Life, the new CG animated feature directed by Jorge R. Gutierrez. So full of life, or color, of motion, of raw energy, I sat mesmerized by where animation has taken us. I cannot wait to see this film.