animated

Animation Verses Prejudice

Trade paperback cover of Buffy: Season Eight V...
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John The Rogue Demon Hunter asks:

With all the Buffy and Angel cast getting older, would the fans being willing to accept further adventures in the animation style of Star Wars: The clone Wars?

Fans would be willing to accept further adventures of Buffy, Angel, and Firefly in an animation style.  The bigger question is would the general public accept further adventures in animation style?  Would the studios have the patience to back and distribute further adventures in animation style?

Joss Whedon has already transitioned those settings and characters into a comic format.  There is great acceptance and love for the continuation of the series in print comic form.  This leaves a short step to move from print to animation.

The current success of animated shows both on TV and in the direct to DVD markets also support the plausibility of doing more animated shows.  Clone Wars had a rocky start getting accepted though most of it was due to the new style they used in animation that took some getting used to.  The Simpsons had a lucky start with "bartmania" that still gets large ratings decades latter.  Both DC and Marvel’s direct to DVD animated movies prove both quality in animated projects and how they can cater to the adult market.

We face several problems that are hindering future projects.

General Public Prejudice

The general public in the American market has a prejudice against animated shows.  When first approaching an animated show they presume it is for children not adults.  Many don’t even bother to give those shows the time of day unless they are bringing their kids to watch it.

Though this public prejudice has decreased some in recent years it is still rampant.  I could not count the number of adults that give subtle nonverbal clues of disdain when they find out I’m watching Clone Wars or Planet Hulk.  Others still voice their prejudice by replying “I thought that was a show for kids?”

Many creators of animated projects have their demons to wrestle with too.  First, before the project is even done they have to admit they won’t win any prizes for the work due to the prejudice in viewing it as less no matter how brilliant and deserving.  Look at Avatar, the movie would have been better going full animation but instead it went with live action parts so that it could be a “movie with cool special effects”.

This prejudice holds back studios from giving a green light to an animated project that is not targeted toward the children / young adult markets.  This forces many good projects to include in kidsey elements and to remove some of the better adult elements.  Clone Wars season one is a great example of this problem.  The show was so much less than it could have been.  Once they got past the prejudice it got better in season two.

I Find Their Lack of Faith Most Disturbing

Because of the prejudice against animated projects they tend to take longer before picking up larger audience share.

Studios have been trending toward a less lenient policy when it comes to new projects.  They have been quick to cancel projects that don’t show immediate success.

This is a recipe for failure by proclamation instead of giving the project time to get over the inherent hurdles.

A New Hope

I hope that the American public continues to learn from the Japanese, and Korean animated markets.

I hope that we continue to see the trend in the decline of prejudice against animated projects.

I would love to see the continuing adventures of Firefly and Buffy the vampire slayer in animated format.

I've always wanted a Faith The Vampire Slayer series and wrote up a series outline. Maybe one day I will hook up with some animators.

I hope John finds some animator to help him with his Faith the Vampire Slayer project and that they then check in with us for many more projects.

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Crowdsourced Animation Live Music Does Not Add Up

Here is a curious little crowdsourced project from Sony Pictures which got my interest upon learning that Steve Vai is in it.

The animated short is called Live Music, watch the teaser above.  Sony used facebook to network 51 animators around the globe to put this project together.  It's an interesting model that fans have been doing for a while.

The disturbing part is unlike the fan projects Sony Pictures budgeted one million dollars for this project!  One of the advantages of using a crowdsourced project is it's ability to keep costs down and to recruit people who have passion for the project to the project.  One million dollars is a staggering amount of money.  What did they spend it on?

They paid each animator $500 for their part which is cool but that is $25,500.  There are editing, distribution, and advertising costs but where did the rest of the money go?

(via CinemaTech)

DVD Releases: April 28th, 2009

Out this week we have 5 DVDs to feature: X-Men, Volume 1, X-Men Volume 2, Jetsons: The Movie, Castle Ghosts of the British Isles, and J. R. R. Tolkien.

  • X-Men, Volume 1:  I waited years for this to finally come out on DVD.  This is by far the best representation of X-Men beyond the comics.  I loved the animation style and the story lines were amazing.  I burnt through so many tapes of this series and now that it is on DVD it is a must own!
  • Jetsons: The Movie: This is one of those movies that was not that great but loved by fans of the Jetsons.  This feature-length animated film came out in the 90’s and is based on the classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon.
  • Castle Ghosts of the British Isles: This program investigates the myths of ghosts associated with various castles throughout the British Isles.  I’m a sucker for these types of shows I love hearing the ghost stories from various places around the world.  Having not seen this production I will have to rent it to see if it is good.
  • J. R. R. Tolkien:  This film tells the story of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien.  This 1998 BBC production is finally out on DVD.  I really enjoyed other BBC productions like this one and have high hopes for the contents.  A high recommendation for any fan of Lord of the Rings and J.R.R. Tolkien.

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DVD Releases: April 21st, 2009

Out this week we have 2 DVD to feature: Wolverine and the X-Men: Heroes Return Trilogy, Battlestar Galactica: Caprica


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Second Astro Boy Trailer

The second Astro Boy trailer is out and I'm getting excited.  Watch the second trailer above!

Astro Boy is based on the 1960's science fiction manga and television program.  Set in a futuristic world wherein androids co-exist with humans. Astro Boy, sometimes called simply Astro, is a powerful robot created by the head of the Ministry of Science, Doctor Tenma, to replace his son Tobio, who died in a car accident.

This animated film will hit theaters on October 23rd, 2009.

Get your copy of Astro Boy Television Collection here from Amazon Get your copy of Astro Boy manga Volumes 1 & 2 here from Amazon

Review: Kung Fu Panda

Get your copy of Kung Fu Panda here through amazon and help support the project Review of:  Kung Fu Panda Overall Rating: 9

Kung Fu Panda really impressed me with how edifying it is.  there are tons of valuable messages yet it was not preachy.  This movie is entertaining and funny I could not stop laughing.  This animated movie is an owner.

Kung Fu Panda is about Po a panda bear that is recruited by a team of Kung Fu masters to help protect the Valley of Peace from an evil snow leopard.  Starring: Jack Black, Ian McShane, Angelina Jolie.

The Wisdom of Master Oogway

  • “There are No accidents.”
  • “You are too concerned with what was and what will be.  Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery but today is a gift that is why it is called the present.”
  • “Let go of the illusion of control.”
  • The secret of all masters… is in the movie you have to watch it (no spoilers he he)

Likes

  1. Good pace
  2. Great story: with a strong underdog / dreamer rising up to overcome the challenge theme to it.
  3. Nice animation not outstanding but there were some really cool effects.
  4. Good acting:  I really felt the emotions from the voice talent behind the animated characters
  5. Cool use bullet time
  6. I loved Master Oogway
  7. I love the use of the peach tree and especially the symbolic scene with the falling blossoms.
  8. I really liked the wisdom of Master Oogway
  9. The great Zen way of teaching great lessons without teaching the audience.

Dislikes / Concerns

  1. I was concerned before watching the film that this movie was going to be stupid funny, not bad but one note.  To my delight Kung Fu Panda is so much more!
  2. It’s petty but I kept getting stuck mentally on the fact that Po being a panda has a father who is a duck!  I actually found it funny yet my mind kept getting hung up on it.  It has no bearing on the quality of the film and is not out of the ordinary for this type of move.  It’s just a little funny thing that got me really excited latter when I expected a big reveal latter on in the movie that I thought I should share.

Get you copy from Amazon here

Meet The Five

Kung_Fu_Panda_The_Five From left to right: Masters Viper, Monkey, Mantis (on Monkey's head), Shifu, Tigress, and Crane (via Wikipedia).


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DVD Releases: March 24th, 2009

Out this week we have five DVD’s to feature:  Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter & Under the Hood, Star Wars: The Clone Wars - A Galaxy Divided, Snakehead Terror, 1st Bite, Leaves' Eyes - We Came With The Northern Winds - En Saga I BelgiaWatchmen_Tales_of_the_Black_Freighter

  • Watchmen: Tales of the Black Freighter & Under the Hood: I’ve been excitedly waiting for the release of this animated tale.  It features Tales of the Black Freighter which was the comic that was being read within the Watchmen storyline.  Along with that tale they included a live-action/CGI Under the Hood, based on Nite Owl's powerful first-hand account of how the hooded adventurers came into existence. Two fan-essential stories.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars - A Galaxy Divided:  The first four episodes of the animated television series.  Although I loved the episode Ambushed I don’t see buying this when latter in the fall they will release the entire season as a set or I could just get the show through Star Wars: The Clone Wars - Star Wars: The Clone Wars now and not have to wait. For more on Clone Wars and reviews of episodes read here. For more on A Galaxy Divided read here.
  • Snakehead Terror: A bad monster movie that is so bad it’s worth watching.  a Sci-Fi original but it features Bruce Boxleitner.
  • 1st Bite: I have not watched this one and would love to know if it is good if any of you have watched it but after reading the description I might have to rent it.  By the way it’s not a vampire flick but it is a supernatural horror-comedy hybrid.  Shaken by the apparent food-poisoning death of a customer, Canadian chef and restaurateur Gus undertakes a pilgrimage to Thailand, where a mysterious woman shares with him the otherworldly secrets of Thai cooking. But when Gus returns to Montreal, he discovers that the cooking secrets he thought were a blessing may be a terrible curse.
  • Leaves_Eyes_We_Came_With_The_Northern_WindsLeaves' Eyes - We Came With The Northern Winds - En Saga I Belgia: This is a must own.  Double DVD digipak edition with 4 hours of material including the concert film, a 2-hour band documentary and much more. Watch the trailer for this DVD and more information here

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Theater or Renter: March 2009

Theater or Renter: March 2009 includes Five Speculative Fiction movies Watchmen, Race to Witch Mountain, Knowing, Monsters vs. Aliens, and The Haunting in Connecticut.  Will we watch? Will we rent? or do we even care? Rules of the Game: Watch the trailers. Rate the Trailer. Then share with us your comments: does the movie, it’s trailer and buzz make you want to watch it in the theater, rent it, or not interested at all, and why?

Watchmen:

Release Date:   MARCH 6th

Listed as:  Action, Drama, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Studio: Legendary Pictures, Lawrence Gordon Productions, DC Comics

Director: Zack Snyder

Produced by:  Lawrence Gordon, Lloyd Levin, Deborah Snyder

Written by:  David Hayter, Alex Tse, Roberto Orci, Alex Kurtzman

Stars: Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Carla Gugino, Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Patrick Wilson

The Plot / Story: Set in an alternate 1985 America where tensions between the US and the Soviet Union is high and the "Doomsday Clock" is set at five minutes to midnight, former superhero-turned vigilante Rorschach discovers that one of his former colleagues has been murdered. As he investigates the murder he uncovers a plot that is intent on killing and discrediting all past and present superheros. As he reconnects with members of his former crime-fighting legion, including Nite Owl II, Silk Spectre II and Dr. Manhattan, they uncover a wide-ranging and disturbing conspiracy that not only links to their shared past but has catastrophic consequences for the future. (Wikipedia) (The Official Site)

For More Watchmen Fun:

Race to Witch Mountain:

Release Date: MARCH 13th

Listed as:  Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi, Thriller

Studio: Walt Disney Pictures

Director: Andy Fickman

Produced by:  Andrew Gunn, Mario Iscovich, Anne Marie Sanderlin

Written by:  Andy Fickman, Mark Bomback, Matt Lopez

Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino, AnnaSophia Robb, Alexander Ludwig, Tom Everett Scott

The Plot / Story: Advancing the storyline from the 1975 film Escape to Witch Mountain, a Las Vegas cab driver and a discredited astrophysicist attempt to rescue two paranormal siblings from the hands of a villainous man. (Wikipedia) (The Official Site)

Knowing:

Watch additional Knowing features here in the P:S HQ Knowing TV Spot - "Warning" Knowing TV Spot - "Message"

Release Date:  MARCH 20th

Listed as:  Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Studio: Summit Entertainment

Director:  Alex Proyas

Produced by:  Todd Black, Jason Blumenthal, Steve Tisch

Written by:  Alex Proyas, Stuart Hazeldine, Juliet Snowden

Stars: Nicolas Cage, Rose Byrne

The Plot / Story: John Koestler, a professor, finds that the contents of a time capsule at his son's elementary school make predictions of the future that have come true. The predictions lead the teacher to believe the world is ending, and that he and his son are involved in the apocalypse. (Wikipedia) (The Official Site)

Monsters vs. Aliens:

Release Date:  MARCH 27th

Listed as:  Animation, Sci-Fi

Studio: DreamWorks Animation, Paramount Pictures

Director: Conrad Vernon, Rob Letterman

Produced by: Lisa Stewart, Jill Hopper, Lisa Stewart, Latifa Ouaou

Written by: Maya Forbes, Wallace Wolodarsky, Rob Letterman, Jonathan Aibel, Glenn Berger

Stars: Reese Witherspoon, Rainn Wilson, Hugh Laurie, Seth Rogen, Will Arnett, Kiefer Sutherland, Stephen Colbert, Paul Rudd, Jimmy Kimmel

The Plot / Story: When California girl Susan Murphy is unwittingly clobbered by a meteor full of outer space gunk on her wedding day, she mysteriously grows to 49-feet-11-inches tall.  She is labeled a monster and captured by the military and held at an institution that houses other monsters.  When a UFO lands and an alien overlord named Gallaxhar demands that Earth be given to them, General W.R. Monger suggests to the President that the monsters can provide the firepower to defeat the aliens. (Wikipedia) (The Official Site)

The Haunting in Connecticut:

Release Date:  MARCH 27th

Listed as:  Horror, Thriller

Studio: Lionsgate, Gold Circle Films

Director: Peter Cornwell

Produced by:  Scott Niemeyer, Norm Waitt, Steve Whitney, Paul Brooks, Daniel Farrands, Phyllis Laing, Wendy Rhoads, Andrew Trapani

Written by:  Adam Simon, Tim Metcalfe

Stars: Virginia Madsen, Kyle Gallner, Elias Koteas, Amanda Crew, Martin Donovan, Sophi Knight, Ty Wood, Erik J. Berg, John Bluethner, D.W. Brown, John B. Lowe

The Plot / Story: Based on a "true" story, Lionsgate’s The Haunting in Connecticut charts one family’s terrifying, real-life encounter with the dark forces of the supernatural. When the Campbell family moves to upstate Connecticut, they soon learn that their charming Victorian home has a disturbing history: not only was the house a transformed funeral parlor where inconceivable acts occurred, but the owner’s clairvoyant son Jonah served as a demonic messenger, providing a gateway for spiritual entities to crossover. Now unspeakable terror awaits, when Jonah, the boy who communicated with the powerful dark forces of the supernatural, returns to unleash a new kind of horror on the innocent and unsuspecting family. (Wikipedia) (The Official Site)

The “true” story was featured on the Discovery Channel television show called "A Haunting.”  It was actually one their pilot episode called "A Haunting in Connecticut.”  For more on the episode check out wikipedia episode guide here


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DVD Releases: March 4th, 2009

Out this week we have Three DVD’s to feature: Watchmen: The Complete Motion Comic, Rick and Steve: The Complete Second Season, Wonder Woman 2009.

  • Watchmen: The Complete Motion Comic:   This is an owner, the quality of this presentation of the Watchmen is amazing. For more on Watchmen Motion Comic: Review: Watchmen Motion Comic
  • Rick and Steve: The Complete Second Season:  The second season of this saucy puppet show chucked full of gay humor and social commentary.  This is a definite owner for me as a fan of irreverent humor that also makes you think.  This show has also given me many quotable lines.
  • wonder_woman2009Wonder Woman 2009:  The latest of the direct to DVD animated superhero movie.  Ares is plotting to use an ancient artifact called the Hand of Rage to decimate the human race, starting with the Amazons.  It's up princess Diana to use her unique powers to save her people by becoming Wonder Woman. This animated tale features the voices of Nathan Fillion, Rosario Dawson, Jason Miller and Oliver Platt. For more on Wonder Woman: Wonder Woman Animated Movie Trailer and Clip

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Wonder Woman Animated Movie Trailer and Clip

Wonder Woman 2009 will be out March 3rd 2009.  It is the latest of the direct to DVD animated comic movies.  Since the other’s were so good I have high hopes for the quality of Wonder Woman.  Watch the trailer and a clip below

Wonder Woman Clip

Really neat clip where we get to see the set up for the Amazon’s home and the binding of Aires.  I’m excited and can’t wait.

Get your copy Wonder Woman here!

Exploring: X-Men Animated Show 1992-1997

X-men-animated-series Marvel X-Men Volume 1 (2-Disc) and Volume 2 (2-Disc) are finally coming to DVD April 28th 2009.  This series is absolutely awesome and to date one of the best… nay best audio/video representation of X-Men.  I’m going to pre-order this it’s a must own.  The animated series originally aired from 1992 to 1997 on Fox.  See a full List of X-Men episodes here.

The X-Men line up is: Cyclops, Wolverine, Rogue, Storm, Beast, Gambit, Jubilee, Jean Grey, Professor X, and as well as an original character, Morph.  Also featured as guest-stars in at least one episode: Colossus, Nightcrawler, Emma Frost, Forge, Havok, Polaris, Cannonball, Banshee, Iceman, Archangel, Longshot, Dazzler, Sunfire, Psylocke, Cable, and Bishop. Keen-eyed fans may also spot cameos by other familiar mutants, such as Feral or Rictor. One prominent character, Shadowcat, did not appear in the series at all.

Some of the famous storylines and events loosely adapted are:

  • Dark Phoenix Saga
  • Days of Future Past
  • The Phalanx Covenant
  • The Legacy Virus

The series was also one of the few shining examples of Progressive Speculative Fiction from the nineties.  They addressed social issues like:

  • The ills of prejudice
  • Intolerance
  • Isolation
  • Racism
  • Divorce
  • Christianity
  • The Holocaust
  • AIDS hysteria
  • Even satires of television itself
  • Fundamentalism and government fascism

Get your copies here:

x-men-animated1 x-men-animated2

(via Wikipedia)