OLAF’S FROZEN ADVENTURE Seeks to Create a Holiday Tradition

Olaf's Frozen Adventure Trailer

Everyone’s favorite little snowperson is out to find the perfect family tradition for Anna and Elsa in the first trailer for ‘Olaf’s Frozen Adventure’ Continue reading

Laika’s KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS Teaser Trailer Showcases Their Best Work Yet in 90 Seconds

Known for such films as Coraline, ParaNorman, and last year’s The Boxtrolls, the stop-motion animation studio, LAIKA, returns in 2016 to bring audiences Kubo and the Two Strings. The first, stunning teaser is wildly different from anything we’ve seen from the Oscar nominated animators before. Taking a more Eastern approach to their art direction, influenced by Japanese culture, this could be LAIKA’s boldest film to date.

Upon watching the first seconds of this teaser I was blown away. According to the official production announcement from 2014, Kubo and the Two Strings “is being brought to life at LAIKA via the company’s innovative 3D stop-motion and CG hybrid technique.” The opening sequence in the ocean is breathtakingly impressive and the environments are stunning. The way the movie positions itself with its art style, action, and visual queues, it almost feels like a video game.

Kubo and the Two Strings hosts a bevy of big name actors to voice its characters. Game of ThronesArt Parkinson, who plays Rickon Stark, voices the titular Kubo. At his side are George Takei as Hosato, Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Hashi, Brenda Vaccaro as Kamekichi, Rooney Mara as the evil twin Sisters, Charlize Theron as Monkey, Matthew McConaughey as Beetle, and Ralph Fiennes as the Moon King.

I like Coraline, but ParaNorman didn’t impress me beyond its ending and The Boxtrolls didn’t work for me at all. The mix of Japanese culture and stop-motion animation is something I can’t say I’ve seen before, and it truly interests me. I can safely say Kubo and the Two Strings is high up on my list of most anticipated films of 2016.

Extended Commentary:

  • From the origami birds to the underwater eyeball creatures, I’m amazed by everything.
  • The music perfectly sets up the tone of this film.
  • Making photo realistic water in film and video games is wonderful, but the ocean animation here looks beautiful.
  • Some of the animation reminds me of James and the Giant Peach.
  • Before reading the plot synopsis, I had thought Kubo was a girl. I think it would be more interesting story if Kubo was a girl and not a boy.
  • It would also be awesome if LAIKA intended this film to be voiced over in Japanese first then dubbed in English.

Click on the teaser poster below to enlarge:

Kubo and the Two Strings Teaser Poster

Here’s the official plot synopsis for Kubo and the Two Strings, courtesy of Focus Features:

Kubo and the Two Strings is an epic action-adventure set in a fantastical Japan from acclaimed animation studio LAIKA. Clever, kindhearted Kubo ekes out a humble living, telling stories to the people of his seaside town including Hosato, Hashi and Kamekichi. But his relatively quiet existence is shattered when he accidentally summons a spirit from his past which storms down from the heavens to enforce an age-old vendetta. Now on the run, Kubo joins forces with Monkey and Beetle, and sets out on a thrilling quest to save his family and solve the mystery of his fallen father, the greatest samurai warrior the world has ever known. With the help of his shamisen – a magical musical instrument – Kubo must battle gods and monsters, including the vengeful Moon King and the evil twin Sisters to unlock the secret of his legacy, reunite his family and fulfill his heroic destiny.

Directed by Travis Knight, Kubo and the Two Strings is set for release on August 19, 2016.

Source: Focus Features

Disney’s ZOOTOPIA Sloth Trailer is Far from Slow [85 Screenshots]

Since 2008, Walt Disney Animation Studios has been on a roll with such films like Tangled, Frozen, The Princess and the Frog, and Wreck-It Ralph. And with the release of the latest trailer for Zootopia, the house that Walt built looks to continue on its path back to greatness. The first teaser quickly introduced the many animals we’ll see in the film, and now Disney fans will get to see how the world works.

More of a full clip than anything else, the Zootopia sloth trailer features our two furry leads, Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman),at the Department of Mammal Vehicles (DMV) to run a license plate number. As if a visit to the DMV isn’t bad enough in our world, in Zootopia the DMV is run by sloths. (In a world in which there are no humans, only animals, would it be considered PC to say that the something is moving at a sloth’s pace?)

Comedy relies on timing, and this clip is absolutely hysterical when it comes to sloth humor. Who knew sloth jokes outside the meme would be so funny? Between Judy’s frustration and Nick’s playful sensibility to mess with her, the whole clip is magical. It’s everything you would come to expect from a DMV run by sloths and it works on every level. The chemistry Nick and Judy have feels similar to classic Pixar pairings where two opposite characters must work together ala Toy Story, WALL-E, Ratatouille, Up, and Finding Nemo.

Aside from the sloth scene, we get a very quick glimpse of the big city and its inhabits. The details are incredible, with all walks of life filling the city. If Zootopia is as well conceived as this little scene and delivers what has been promised, then I sure everything else will be delightful.

(Click on any thumbnail below to begin the image gallery)

Here’s the official plot synopsis for Zootopia, courtesy of Walt Disney Animation Studios:

The modern mammal metropolis of Zootopia is a city like no other. Comprised of habitat neighborhoods like ritzy Sahara Square and frigid Tundratown, it’s a melting pot where animals from every environment live together—a place where no matter what you are, from the biggest elephant to the smallest shrew, you can be anything. But when optimistic Officer Judy Hopps (voice of Ginnifer Goodwin) arrives, she discovers that being the first bunny on a police force of big, tough animals isn’t so easy. Determined to prove herself, she jumps at the opportunity to crack a case, even if it means partnering with a fast-talking, scam-artist fox, Nick Wilde (voice of Jason Bateman), to solve the mystery.

Directed by Byron Howard and Rich Moore, Zootopia stars the voices of Jason Bateman, Ginnifer Goodwin, Shakira, Idris Elba, J.K. Simmons, Nate Torrence, Jenny Slate, Tommy Chong, Octavia Spencer, Bonnie Hunt, Don Lake, and Alan Tudyk. The film is set to release in theaters on March 4, 2016.

Zootopia Sloth Smile Disney Teaser

Source: Walt Disney Animation Studios

D23 Expo 2015: Disney Animation Announces ‘Gigantic’ for 2018

To introduce the second feature at D23 Expo during Disney Animation panel, Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter was brought back on stage to announce the development of a new feature-length film, Gigantic. The story is based on the classic tale, Jack and the Beanstalk. “When Disney does a fairy tale, it becomes the definitive version of that story,” said John Lasseter. The studio aims to be the end all be all for this tale.

Production is already underway, with Nathan Greno (Tangled) directing and Dorothy McKim (Get a Horse!) producing. The crack team behind the music of Frozen, Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, will be teaming up with Disney once again to write the music for Gigantic. All four were present on stage during the big presentation.

Set in Spain, Gigantic is not aiming to be or will be your traditional Jack and the Beanstalk fare. I can only assume that it wants to distance itself as far away from 2013’s Jack the Giant Killer as possible. It’s the Age of Discovery and upon finding the magic beans, Jack soon uncovers a whole new world of giants. Yes, this sounds very similar to the fairytale we know, but when Jack meets Inma, a “feisty” young giant girl, that’s when the new tale truly begins.

D23 Expo Gigantic Presentation Dorothy McKim

Inma was named after a little girl the filmmakers met in Spain while doing research for Gigantic. In the animated feature, Inma at first believes Jack is a toy. Being at the mercy of her size, Jack is helpless to stop her, but soon the two develop a bond that brings adventure into their lives. Of course it wouldn’t be a Disney movie if they didn’t learn something life changing about themselves as well.

Greno went on to tease the existence of Storm Giants, the big bads in the giant world who cause havoc for all and a force Inma and Jack try to stop. The director describes Gigantic as a “tearjerker,” saying “If we do our jobs right, we hope this will become the definitive version,” he stated. Does Inma fall out of the clouds? They’re really adamant on making audiences forget about Jack killing giants and returning with golden eggs.

A theory I have is that Jack and Inma try to stop the Storm Giants and in the process of doing so Inma falls out of the sky and when Jack arrives back on the ground he is declared a hero. Thus, the fairytale we know is told from the perspective of those who do not know the true story of Jack and Inma. If that’s the case, I’d be really on board for this kind of tragic tale told as an animated story.

D23 Expo Gigantic Presentation Nathan Greno

A pre-visualized clip of Gigantic was shown at the end of the presentation that depicted the beanstalk sprouting up into the sky. Jack was shown climbing, eventually reaching the land of giants, with what appears to be Inma chasing after him. Skipping ahead, the two are shown enjoying each other’s company.

To cap off the presentation, a clip of the latest song from Anderson-Lopez and Lopez was played with the duo singing it for the D23 Expo crowd. The lyrics go as following:

I love my little man, I love my little man, you can make him do this, you can make him do this.

You can wash him in a dish, be care he gets ticklish, my teeny little man.

In a life that’s kind of lonely, I thought if only, I had a little man.

D23 Expo First Look Gigantic Walt Disney Animation Studios

Here’s the official production notes on Gigantic courtesy of Walt Disney Animation Studios:

“GIGANTIC” TAKES ROOT – Things are looking up at Walt Disney Animation Studios – way up. “Gigantic,” Disney’s unique take on “Jack and the Beanstalk,” will feature music from Oscar®-winning songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, who greeted D23 EXPO fans in signature style—in song—alongside director Nathan Greno (“Tangled”) and producer Dorothy McKim (“Get A Horse!”). Set in Spain during the Age of Exploration, Disney’s “Gigantic” follows adventure-seeker Jack as he discovers a world of giants hidden within the clouds. He hatches a grand plan with Inma, a 60-foot-tall, 11-year-old girl, and agrees to help her find her way home. But he doesn’t account for her super-sized personality—and who knew giants were so down to earth?

And here’s the official plot plot synopsis:

DOWN TO EARTH — Adventure-seeker Jack discovers a world of giants hidden within the clouds, hatching a grand plan with Inma, a 60-foot-tall, 11-year-old girl. Directed by Nathan Greno (“Tangled”) and produced by Dorothy McKim (“Get A Horse!”).

Gigantic hits theaters on March 9, 2018.

D23 Expo News Stories

D23 Expo 2015: Shakira Joins the ‘Zootopia’ Cast and Two Clips Previewed

As the first of the many big announcements we’ll learn this weekend at Disney’s fourt D23 Expo, it was revealed during the Walt Disney Animation Studios panel that international superstar Shakira has joined the Zootopia voice cast as the character Gazelle. Mirroring her professional career, Shakira’s character is the biggest pop sensation in Zootopia. Zootopia Gazelle Shakira Character Art

The singer was not present at the event, but a pre-recorded message appeared on screen for fans to see the Shakira make the announcement. In attendance, Ginnifer Goodwin, who lends her voice to the rabbit officer Judy Hopps, was joined by directors Byron Howard (Tangled) and Rich Moore (Wreck-It Ralph), as well as producer Clark Spencer.

In order to capture a fully realized animal kingdom, Moore and Howard described on stage their process of visiting wild areas of Kenya to study behavior and movements of animals in their natural habitats. They also researched animal biology and shared their insights with attendees that polar bear fur is not white, but clear. So they worked with their animation team to make sure the CG polar bear character’s hundred of thousands of hairs were clear. That’s just one aspect out of the thousands of animals living in the world of that will depicted in the film.

The filmmakers went on to discuss the animal neighborhoods, such as the upscale Dubai like Sahara Square; the snowy Russian-like territory of Tundra Town; the humid Rainforest District; and the over populated Bunny District that is host to millions of rabbits living in bunny-shaped houses built.

D23 Expo Zootopia Clark Spencer

The Zootopia teaser trailer was released earlier this year, and fans in attendance got to see two clips, plus a tease of an all-new original song, “Try Anything,” written by Sia and performed by Shakira.

The first clip featured Judy Hopps, who comes from the outskirts of town with big city dreams. An ambitious fresh cop on the Zootopia police force, Judy is stuck on parking meter duty due to her size while bigger animals like rhinos and hippos carry out more “important” tasks. Judy is seen eating lunch at a local ice cream parlor run by an elephant. Here she encounters Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman), a con-man fox, who stops in with a little white fox he claims is his son. After a bit of coaxing, the elephant gives Wilde a jumbo pop on the house, which the sly fox then breaks apart into smaller pieces and sells individually.

D23 Expo Zootopia Ginnifer Goodwin

The second clip shows both Nick and Judy arriving at a DMV to get some paperwork. Unfortunately for them, the DMV is operated by sloths, which delivers some comical satire. By the time Judy and Nick get what they’re looking for hours have passed as Flash the sloth works as diligently to complete their request.

Here’s the official plot synopsis for Zootopia, courtesy of Walt Disney Animation Studios:

The modern mammal metropolis of Zootopia is a city like no other. Comprised of habitat neighborhoods like ritzy Sahara Square and frigid Tundratown, it’s a melting pot where animals from every environment live together—a place where no matter what you are, from the biggest elephant to the smallest shrew, you can be anything. But when optimistic Officer Judy Hopps  arrives, she discovers that being the first bunny on a police force of big, tough animals isn’t so easy. Determined to prove herself, she jumps at the opportunity to crack a case, even if it means partnering with a fast-talking, scam-artist fox, Nick Wilde, to solve the mystery.

Zootopia is set to hit theaters on March 4, 2016.

D23 Expo News Stories

Image Source: D23

Newest GOOD DINOSAUR Trailer Presents Kindness and Adventure [64 Screenshots]

Following the success of last month’s Inside Out, Pixar is back for all the feels with The Good Dinosaur, the studio’s second animated feature of 2015. Showcasing the studio’s gorgeous signature animation, in a film that is guaranteed to tug at the heartstrings of children and adults alike, this latest trailer for The Good Dinosaur opens with its teaser and then expands on its question: what would happen if the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs missed Earth?

Pixar brings us the answer through the friendship off adorably clumsy Arlo (Raymond Ochoa), the green Apatosaurus and his equally sweet human friend Spot (Jack Bright). The two and a half minute spot largely consists of beautiful pre-historic visuals layered over “Crystals” by Monsters & Men, so we aren’t given a whole lot of characterization or clues through the one word of dialogue given.

After facing production issues and being pushed back from its original 2013 release date, The Good Dinosaur is finally getting its debut. Pixar replaced its original director Bob Peterson with Peter Sohn (Partly Cloudy) due to problems with the movie’s third act. The Good Dinosaur trailer still presents a fairly vague story, which could mean the marketing team actually doesn’t want to give away spoilers, they actually want to slowly build the story through these trailers, or they’re trying to hide the fact that The Good Dinosaur still has its problems.

Due to the open-ended nature of The Good Dinosaur trailer, we’re left with a lot of questions. Where is Arlo traveling to? How does a human and dinosaur become friends? What dangers will these two unlikely friends face? There’s still plenty of time between now and Thanksgiving for Pixar to unfold more of this story, and I look forward to it.

(Click on any thumbnail below to begin the image gallery)

Here’s the official plot synopsis for The Good Dinosaur courtesy of Pixar:

The Good Dinosaur asks the question: What if the asteroid that forever changed life on Earth missed the planet completely and giant dinosaurs never became extinct? Pixar Animation Studios takes you on an epic journey into the world of dinosaurs where an Apatosaurus named Arlo makes an unlikely human friend. While traveling through a harsh and mysterious landscape, Arlo learns the power of confronting his fears and discovers what he is truly capable of.

Directed by Peter Sohn, The Good Dinosaur stars the voices of Lucas Neff, John Lithgow, Francis McDormand, Bill Hader, Neil Patrick Harris, and Judy Greer. This film is set to play in theaters on November 25, 2015.

Source: Pixar

Complete Comic-Con 2015 Television Panels Schedule

Most would say we are in the Golden Age of television. Everywhere you look there’s a new superhero show emerging or a fun genre bending procedural popping up. There are a smorgasbord of TV series on every channel for everyone, and fortunately for Comic-Con 2015 attendees there will be a bounty of panels to attend.  The Comic-Con 2015 television panels include the likes of HBO’s Game of Thrones, AMC’s The Walking Dead, ABC’s Once Upon a Time, TNT’s The Last Ship, Fox’s Gotham, The CW’s Arrow, MTV’s Scream, and the highly anticipated Supergirl from CBS. And don’t forget the popular animated series such as Archer, Bob’s Burgers, Rick and Morty, Adventure Time, and more. Check out the full list of panels below:

Preview Night Comic-Con 2015 Television Panels

CBS Supergirl Arrow Flash

6:00pm – 10:00pm Special Sneak Peek Pilot Screenings – Comic-Con and Warner Bros. Television proudly continue their annual Preview Night tradition, with exclusive world premiere screenings of the pilot episodes of four of the most highly anticipated series of the 2015-16 television season. Ballroom 20

  • Supergirl – In the vast DC Comics Universe of superheroes, the rich mythology of Superman, the planet Krypton and the House of El is perhaps the most famous and instantly recognizable. Enter Supergirl! Born Kara Zor-El on the doomed planet Krypton, the preteen Kara escaped at the same time as the infant Kal-El but didn’t arrive on Earth until many years later after being lost in the Phantom Zone. Protected and raised by her adopted family, the Danvers, Kara grew up in the shadow of her foster sister, Alex, and learned to hide the phenomenal powers she shares with her famous cousin. Years later, at age 24, living in National City and working as an assistant for Catco Worldwide Media mogul Cat Grant, Kara has spent so many years trying to fit in that she forgot to ever stand out. All that changes when she decides to embrace her superhuman abilities and become the hero she was always destined to be. With the help of Daily Planet photographer James Olsen, her bioengineer sister Alex, and the research of the super-secret, off-the-grid Department of Extra-Normal Operations (DEO) and its head, Hank Henshaw, who are tasked with keeping the Earth safe from aliens, Kara takes to the skies to protect her world. Her foes include both a sinister extraterrestrial menace and the high-tech terrestrial threat of clever villains with powerful weaponry. The series stars Melissa Benoist (Whiplash, Glee), Chyler Leigh (Grey’s Anatomy), and Mehcad Brooks (True Blood), with David Harewood (Homeland) and Calista Flockhart (Brothers & Sisters), and is executive produced by Greg Berlanti (The Flash, Arrow), Ali Adler (Chuck), Andrew Kreisberg (The Flash, Arrow) and Sarah Schechter (Pan, The Flash). From Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television, Supergirl premieres Mondays at 8/7c on CBS this November.
  • Blindspot – Sullivan Stapleton (300: Rise of an Empire) and Jaimie Alexander (Thor films) star in Blindspot, a one-hour action thriller from Berlanti Productions (The Flash, Arrow, Pan) and writer/executive producer Martin Gero (Stargate: Atlantis). Stapleton plays hardened FBI agent Kurt Weller, who is drawn into a complex conspiracy when a naked amnesiac, Jane Doe (Alexander), is found in Times Square covered in a series of cryptic tattoos…including his name on her back. As Weller and his teammates at the FBI begin to investigate the veritable treasure map found in Jane Doe’s tattoos, they are drawn into a high-stakes underworld that twists and turns through a labyrinth of secrets and revelations-the information they uncover might ultimately change the world. In addition to Stapleton and Alexander, the series stars Rob Brown (Treme), Audrey Esparza (Public Morals), Ukweli Roach (Eternal Law), Ashley Johnson (The Killing), and Marianne Jean-Baptiste (Without a Trace). From Berlanti Productions in association with Warner Bros. Television Blindspot premieres this fall Mondays at 10/9c on NBC.
  • Containment – When a mysterious and deadly epidemic breaks out in Atlanta, a vast urban quarantine is quickly enforced, forcing those stuck on the inside to fight for their lives while local and federal officials desperately search for a. Torn apart from their loved ones, the survivors trapped within the cordon are fighting against not only fatal infection but also isolation, fear, and the disintegration of society around them. But as they begin to gain each other’s trust, hope remains, and on either side of the cordon unlikely heroes will rise. Containment stars David Gyasi (Interstellar), Christina Moses (How We Met), Chris Wood (The Vampire Diaries), Kristen Gutoskie, Claudia Black (The Originals), George Young, Hanna Mangan Lawrence ( Spartacus: Vengeance), and Trevor St. John (One Life to Live). Based on the original Belgian series created by Carl Joos for Eyeworks, Containment is produced by My So-Called Company in association with Warner Bros. Television, with executive producers Julie Plec (The Vampire Diaries, The Originals) and David Nutter (The Flash, Arrow).
  • Lucifer – Lucifer is the story of the original fallen angel. Bored and unhappy as the Lord of Hell, Lucifer Morningstar has resigned his throne and retired to the City of Angels, where he owns an upscale piano bar called Lux. When a beautiful pop star is murdered, for the first time in roughly 10 billion years, he feels something awaken deep within him. Is he actually capable of feelings for a human being? The very thought disturbs him. The murder attracts the attention of LAPD homicide detective Chloe Dancer, who finds herself both repulsed and fascinated by Lucifer. At the same time, God’s emissary, the angel Amenadiel, has been sent to Los Angeles to convince Lucifer to return to Hell. But with the City of Angels at his feet and a newfound purpose, Lucifer’s having too much fun to go back now. Sexy, dark and irreverent, Lucifer stars Tom Ellis (Rush), Lauren German (Chicago Fire), DB Woodside (24, Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Lesley-Ann Brandt (Spartacus series), Nicholas Gonzalez (Sleepy Hollow), Scarlett Estevez, and Rachael Harris (The Hangover) and is executive produced by Jerry Bruckheimer (Pirates of the Caribbean films), Jonathan Littman (CSI series), Tom Kapinos (Californication), Ildy Modrovich (Necessary Roughness), Len Wiseman (Underworld films), and Joe Henderson (Almost Human). From Jerry Bruckheimer Television and Aggressive Mediocrity in association with Warner Bros. Television, and based on characters created by Neil Gaiman, Sam Kieth, and Mike Dringenberg for DC Entertainment’s Vertigo imprint, Lucifer premieres Midseason on FOX.
  • Teen Titans Go! – The Teen Titans are back at it again, in Teen Titans Go!, with all new comedic adventures both in and out of Titans Tower and Warner Bros has you covered by screening a brand-new episode. Based on DC Comics characters and produced by Warner Bros. Animation, Teen Titans Go! airs Thursdays at 6/5c on Cartoon Network.

Continue reading for Friday’s Comic-Con 2015 Television Panels Schedule–>