Archive for November, 2013


I was poking around the animation news of the week and found a particularly harsh but unsurprising review of Fox Animation’s “Free Birds”, an animated tale of two turkeys going back in time to prevent Thanksgiving from having a tradition of eating them. Many critics have slammed the movie for “shamelessly tapping in” on the holiday line up of movies, which I agree with. As soon as I saw the trailers I knew it would be a disaster.

From the source article, here is what the Daily Nebraskan writer Vince Moran thinks of it:

If this plot sounds overstuffed, it’s because it is. There are about three different stories attempting to establish themselves in the first 10 minutes of the film before it finally settles on the time-travel plot line. When the time-traveling birds arrive in the past, they encounter their ancestors, dressed in Native American garb and war paint, clearly drawing a comparison between the white man’s genocide of the Native Americans and the current state of animal cruelty and factory farming. While this comparison is awkward in itself, this juxtaposition seems like it could be daring and controversial. However, “Free Birds” chickens out, and instead of delving into these topics, glosses over them, problematically ignoring the very themes it raises.

The review continues to call the film sloppy and misguided, as it doesn’t do much in a comedic atmosphere and the whole “adventure” side of it has been rehashed over and over again. A lot of talented actors, such as Amy Poehler and and Owen Wilson, were put into the voice roles but it doesn’t do much. This whole movie makes me frown, just from the sense I’m given in the review. I really, really don’t want to have to sit through the real thing.



The Academy of Motion Picture Arts released their list for the contenders for Best Animated Feature. These nineteen films, some that are familiar and some that aren’t, will compete to make the cut for the five films that will make it to the actual Academy Awards Ceremony. Then, the winner will be selected out of those five.

From the source article, here are the films:

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2

The Croods

Despicable Me 2


Ernest and Celestine

The Fake

Free Birds



The Legend of Sarila

A Letter to Momo

Monsters University

O Apostolo


Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie — Rebellion

Rio: 2096 A Story of Love and Fury

The Smurfs 2


The Wind Rises

Not all of them may be ones you’ve heard of, but since I’m actually excited about some of the more obscure ones. I would rather see The Wind Rises beat for a spot than the atrocious movie Planes or Smurfs 2…but enough about that! You will also see that the big Pixar and Dreamworks Films, The Croods and Frozen are on there. Frozen has not been released yet, but it will be in time for the Academy Awards come early next year. I will have to see it for myself to determine how it measures up against the other films, but I have a good feeling about it.

Another thing about this list is that not all films submitted qualify for the Academy’s expectations. Smurfs 2 is not 75% animation and has a LOT of live action, so it probably won’t qualify. If Smurfs and several others don’t qualify, we won’t get 5 films to make it to the Awards.

The number of movies nominated in the animated feature category is dependent on how many films qualify for Oscar consideration: If at least 16 films qualify, the category will have five films; if fewer than 16 qualify, the number of nominees drops to 3.

It was a tough year for animation, but I sure hope that doesn’t happen.


A minion from Despicable Me.

Chris Meledandri, CEO of Illumination Animation and creator of such movies as Despicable Me, was interviewed recently by The Holly Wood Reporter. He answered the tough questions about his failures, successes, and where he thinks the market of animation is heading. He included some harsh replies, including his perspective that the animation market is essentially killing itself by releasing too many things too soon.

From the source article:

Addressing the volatile state of the industry, he warned that the animation community “releases too many films and there’s not enough room. They are going to cannibalize each other; we are already seeing that. We are also competing against the big live action films.”

He also talked about how the box office bomb, Titan A.E. released in 2000, helped shape his career over time. He lost 100 million with the movie and almost lost his job, but he says that it determined where he is now.  He claimed that “My faith in my film making changed on the heels ofTitan. It allowed me to pursue things that I previously would have questioned.”

A lot of people don’t really know about Titan A.E., but being the nerd I am of Don Bluth and animation, I am extremely familiar with the movie. In fact, I loved it. Chris took a hard hit with the movie when it underperformed in the box office, and perhaps it changed his perspective with how he thinks the Animation market is ‘cannibalizing’ itself. I really hope it isn’t true.

Poster from Titan A.E.’s release.