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Source: http://uk.movies.yahoo.com/pixar-killed-traditional-animation-222700162.html

Animation still from Disney’s 2009 film Princess and the Frog

This has been a topic for more than a couple years. These days with kids movies you see things like Bolt, Tangled, but you don’t see much 2-D animation any more. Disney’s last 2-D project, The Princess and the Frog,  didn’t do as well as expected in theaters.  It only recieved 267 million in the box office, where as the 3-D films Bolt and Tangled both breached 300 million.

A lot of people these days ask themselves where 2-D animation has gone. In this UK movies article, Rachel MacGregor comments on the situation.

Commercially, CGI animations and 3D capabilities are much more viable options for the company to make a profit.

Sadly, this is the true state of how animated movies are seen these days. Kids are more interest, or rather, the adults taking them to the movies seem more interested in something that is 3-D rendered rather than hand drawn 2-D animation. It makes me somewhat sad but I know that in the future 2-D animation will seem more like a luxury to these production companies. I am in no way slamming 3-D animation (I love it, I made a whole blog dedicated to it…) but it is sad to see 2-D animation staggering as an art form. Hopefully it will not be all lost by 2020.

Source: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/dreamworks-animation-wins-big-kung-597254

This year, artist Jayme Gordon started a lawsuit against animation giant Dreamworks, claiming that his work had been stolen to create Kung Fu Panda , which grossed 630 million dollars in the box office. Last tuesday, Gordon suddenly pulled out of the lawsuit. He agreed to dismiss the case which ensures that he isn’t allowed to bring it up again.

I had no idea this was going on, and I’m sure not a lot of people do either. Here’s the scoop from the article:

In the lawsuit, Gordon said he developed the “Kung Fu Panda property” in the 1990s and his work featured “a Kung Fu fighting giant panda who likes to eat; his companion, a rare small red panda who also is a Kung Fu fighter; and a Kung Fu fighting super group known as the ‘Five Fists of Fury’ that consists of a tiger, crane, mantis, monkey and a venomless snake.”

Perhaps most impressive was his 2000 copyright registration and the side-by-side comparison that was offered in his complaint.

Here is the picture in question.

Side by side comparison of Gordon’s sketches (left) and final rendered characters from Dreamwork’s movies.

Looks suspicious to me even if I don’t know the full story. However, many suggest, including Dreamwork’s lawyers, that Gordon had copied the idea himself from a 1996 disney coloring book, which he traced to come up with some of the character designs.

I suppose Dreamworks can sleep better tonight. However, it would have been interesting to see this lawsuit if it had played out.

Sources: http://io9.com/the-awesome-car-chase-scene-from-the-cg-gatchaman-movie-1441324737

http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/interest/2013-10-05/long-lost-animation-sequences-from-defunct-gatchaman-movie

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gatchaman

Rough drafts of sequences and animations tests have surfaced of the long dead “Gatchaman” movie, a CGI animation superhero movie which began development in 2003 but was cancelled to the studio, Imagi’s, financial problems.

Imagi Animation studios began production early into the 2000s, with a release for the Gatchaman movie around 2012, but the studio fell into collapse and laid off over 30 of its workers in 2010. It officially shut its doors later that year and worked to become debt free.

Luckily for us, Slash Film got a tip about several bits of the Gatchaman production stages, and they have since gone viral. Here is a roughcut of  an animated sequence for a car chase scene- and it looks pretty cool.

Based off the 1972 anime, Gatchaman is a superhero fantasy set in the future following a team of heroes who fight against a terrorist organization set on destroying the world’s natural resources. I am unfamiliar with the Gatchaman series, both the anime and this movie, but these animation tests make me really disappointed that it never came to fruition. Here is another test sequence that was surfaced on the internet.

Looks exciting, doesn’t it? I find it sad that Imagi couldn’t secure enough funding. Animated films with environmentalist themes have lately become quite popular, including the Lorax, and several of Miyazaki’s films have such themes. However, I am glad that these bits have been revealed through the internet, we get to see an often secretive process of 3-D animation and see bits of it how it would be made. Maybe after seeing these, another production team might take hold!

Oscars 2014

Source: http://www.animationmagazine.net/events/academy-introduce-new-animation-oscar-rules/

Every year, Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks, and all the like battle it out at the Oscars for the much coveted award of “Best Animated Feature”.  But,  for the upcoming 2014 Oscar run, the rules have been changed regarding the screening processes and volunteers for watching the screenings.

Nominees being played at screenings will not just be judged by Los Angeles based volunteers, but also a much larger group of people from other areas. The number could go up to as high as 6,000 viewers from the greater California area to judge the nominees on the Academy’s standards.

From the source article:

In the past, the Animated Feature Film Award Screening Committee determined the nominees: Half were been chosen members of the Short Films and Animated Feature branch and half were members of one the Academy’s other branches. All had be unaffiliated with any of the movies in contention, but also available to attend L.A. screenings of the eligible films over several Sundays starting in November.

The new rule change will enable Academy members who are based outside of the L.A. area to serve on the Screening Committee, and allowing them to weigh the eligible films by watching them on DVD or Blu-ray screeners, as opposed to having to attend the official screenings.

Including more people in the voting process means the animated films will have a lot more eyes to impress. I think this is a great idea because it can get people who don’t really work in Hollywood themselves to judge the films. A greater variety of opinions will be presented which will all go into picking the nominee for Best Animated Feature. I’m a bit excited to see what this will have in store for this years Oscars!

Source: http://www.animationmagazine.net/features/sonys-cloudy-2-may-chance-40-mil-weekend/

In the era of numerous but not always successful sequels, Sony attempts to make an impact this weekend with it’s release of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2. While not met with the most positive reviews, box office gurus claim that it will make around 35 million this opening weekend, some even saying it will top 40 million.

The first movie, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs came out over 4 years ago and has since made 245 million in profit. Directors Kris Pearn and Cody Cameron returned to direct this sequel, and have garnered a strong celebrity voice cast including Anna Faris, Andy Smaberg, Bill Hader, and Neil Patrick Harris.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 still

 

The movie has been met with some strong opposition. It currently stands with a 62% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, which is not a lot to be proud of. In addition to this, many critics have blasted the production.

From the Animation Magazine’s article:

“It’s another brightly rendered effort, but, as the title indicates, a lot of the real creativity seems to have been used up the first time around.” – Tom Russo, Boston Globe

In my opinion, I really do agree. I didn’t see the first Cloudy movie, but I had read the book. I believe making a sequel somewhat sucks the life out of the story and offers nothing new or delightful to the viewer. All the “surprise” of giant food falling from the sky has been used up. However,  I may go see this movie before I say anything too strong about it.

Source: http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2013/09/21/disney-isnt-planning-the-incredibles-2-yet-but-thi.aspx

While a lot of us were anticipating a sequel to the hit 2004 animated movie The Incredibles, At the very least, at the past D23 exposition we thought they would announce any news about it. But, the expo came and went. We didn’t get any Incredibles 2 leaks, but we got something just as good.

Disney is creating a 3-D animated movie called Big Hero 6. It will be the studio’s first big budget after acquiring Marvel Comic Company in 2009, and from the ‘first look’ footage provided at the expo, it looks pretty neat.

 

Here is a short summary of the plot from the comic book, expected to be included in the film:

In the comic books, at least, Hiro and Baymax are recruited by the Japanese government to be part of a highly capable crime fighting team, a plot Disney has so far indicated will largely remain intact as Hiro “finds himself in the grips of a criminal plot that threatens to destroy the fast-paced, high-tech city of San Fransokyo, [and so] joins forces with a reluctant team of first-time crime fighters on a mission to save their city.” The city, just as it sounds, is a curious combination of Tokyo and San Francisco.

I feel as if a lot of fans are weary, but excited, to see Disney’s take on the comicbooks, as well as bringing more superheros into the 3-D animated world DIsney and like companies have spear headed into the industry.

Source: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/pixars-good-dinosaur-pushed-back-631722

The scheduled release for Disney and Pixar’s upcoming animated movie “The Good Dinosaur” has been delayed 18 additional months to November 25, 2015. Directer Bob Peterson parted ways with the film and other heads on the project knew that it wouldn’t be finished by its original May 2014 date. This move marks the year 2014 as the first since 2005 that Pixar will not have released a movie.

Even more disappointing is that this shift in dates readjusts the releases of a lot more animated and CGI movies.  From the Hollywood Reporter’s article:

As a result of Good Dinosaur‘s relocation, Angelina Jolie‘s live-action fairy tale Maleficent is moving up from July 2, 2014, toGoodDinosaur‘s old date of May 30. Disney likes the date because it gets Jolie’s film somewhat out of the way of soccer’s World Cup, which runs June 12 to July 13. It’s also now out of the way of the second weekend of Transformers: Age of Extinction. In turn, there’s now a spot opened up over the lucrative July Fourth weekend.

Pixar’s high-profile sequel Finding Dory had occupied the Nov. 25, 2015, date; now it won’t open until June 17, 2016 — opposite DreamWorks Animation’s Howto Train Your Dragon 3 in an animation showdown.

While I’m a bit sad that “The Good Dinosaur” is having so many issues getting on its feet, I know that Pixar wouldn’t delay something just for the heck of it– they hold themselves to a high standard and if they want to create the quality animated films they always do, pushing back the release date is a good way to keep afloat. Future posts about this fun movie are sure to happen!

Concept art for “The Good Dinosaur”.

Theatrical Release Poster.

Source: http://screenrant.com/entourage-movie-delayed-mortal-instruments-2-the-croods-2/

After releasing the news that The Croods 2 is a movie that will be happening, Dreamworks called for the voice actors of the first movie to reprise their roles for the sequel. Those who have signed thus far include Emma Stone as Eep, Ryan Reynolds as Guy, and Nicolas Cage as Thug.  Though some were afraid that being released around the time Monster’s University and Despicable Me 2, it made over 585$ million dollars in the box office. So, as per usual with these franchises, it is getting a sequel.

If you are unfamiliar with The Croods, here is a short synopsis from the movie’s wikipedia page found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Croods

 The film is set in a fictional prehistoric Pliocene era known as The Croodaceous, a period which contains fantastical creatures, when a man’s position as a “Leader of the Hunt” is threatened by the arrival of a prehistoric genius who comes up with revolutionary new inventions, like fire, as they trek through a dangerous but exotic land in search of a new home.

Personally, I really enjoyed this movie and it was one of my favorites from 2013. It thought it was colorful, emotional, and above all Chris Sanders is one of my favorite directors and animators in the industry. You will probably hear me talk about him a lot.

KazeTachinuTheWindRises_1JiroFirstchoice

Source: http://uk.movies.yahoo.com/wind-rises-first-10-billion-yen-since-2008-171100736.html

As I mentioned in my earlier posts, Hiyao Miyazaki is retiring. But,  his fans do have this one last thing to hold onto, his final film with Studio Ghibli ‘The Wind Rises’. The economy took great hold of this movie too, as the animated movie was a box office hit in his release. So far it has made over 10 billion yen, the equivalent to 101 million US dollars,  in the theaters. It has been met with generally positive reception, critics claiming it to be an uplifting, enjoyable movie.

Miyazaki’s final film has, so far, topped the 10 billion yen mark, which is the first Japanese film in its native country to do so since 2008’s ‘Ponyo’ — a film also directed and written by the maestro himself. The only other film to have passed this milestone in that time is Pixar’s ‘Toy Story 3’.

There is probably a lot of buzz around the movie because it is indeed his final film. However I have seen Miyazaki’s other films and they have all been fantastic, so I will probably have to see it myself once it comes out on DVD. If you haven’t heard of The Wind Rises or if you don’t know about it’s plot, here’s a little bit from it’s wikipedia page found here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wind_Rises

The Wind Rises takes two main sources as its loose inspiration: a Japanese short story from the 1930s also called Kaze Tachinu, and the life of Jiro Horikoshi, the World War II-era aircraft designer. Horikoshi worked on the feared Mitsubishi A6M Zero fighter used by the Japanese air force in the assault on Pearl Harbor, but, rather than glorifying war, The Wind Rises marks a return to Miyazaki’s long-held love affair with flight. In an interview with the Asahi Shimbun, the celebrated animator talks about Horikoshi’s “extraordinary genius” and his desire to “snatch back” the designer’s legacy from patriotic Zero enthusiasts. Japan went to war out of “foolish arrogance,” he says, but the Zero “represented one of the few things that we Japanese could be proud of.”

There you have it. While a historical movie might not be everyone’s taste, you can guarantee this movie will have a lasting effect on Miyazaki’s long legacy.

Source: http://thecelebritycafe.com/feature/2013/08/disney-goes-details-new-animated-projects-frozen-big-hero-6-and-zootopia

If you’re like me, DIsney has been a big part of your childhood  and has produced many of the VHS tapes you had in your collection way back when. Since the ground breaking “Toy Story” in 1995, Disney has made the switch from 2-D animation to 3-D. This past August at the Disney Expo, several new details were revealed about the Walt Disney Company’s upcoming projects.

Disney’s Frozen, to be released November 27th, follows Han Christian Anderson’s story “The Snow Queen”. The article states that “Frozen features Kristen Bell voicing Anna, the only person who can save an icy kingdom when she finds her sister, voiced by Idina Menzel. Jonathan Groff voices Kristoff, a man who helps Anna on her quest. ” Disney always has a good flair for voice actors so I’m really excited about this one.

Other upcoming animated films include Big Hero 6, a fantastical superhero movie, and Zootopia, a movie about a world run by talking animals.  Future blog posts will describe these future movies in more depth.