Saturday, March 30, 2013

Not Quite Crood

I happened to catch the first big animated film of 2013 just a few hours ago... DreamWorks' The Croods!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Plane Crazy...

I was one of many who had absolutely no interest in Planes. Planes, in case you don't know, is a feature-length spin-off of the Cars franchise that was produced by DisneyToon Studios; the same animation studio who produced the direct-to-video Disney sequels including the Tinker Bell films. Of course, this was commissioned because the Cars franchise is massive. Of course Disney would want to expand on that... What better way to do that than with aircraft?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A Real Wonder

Yes, I finally got around to seeing this film... I sadly missed out on it when it was playing in theaters though I had really wanted to see it. So what did I end up doing? Well, I decided to "blind buy" this film, knowing I would at least like it if it didn't turn out to be great... Let's just say I'm glad I did so. Rise of the Guardians, I believe, is DreamWorks' best film to date. You read that right, the best DreamWorks film to date...

Monday, March 25, 2013

PSone Nostalgia: "Spyro the Dragon" (Part 2)

Here we are again, PSone Nostalgia! In the last part of this three-part review, I took a look at the 1998 PlayStation classic, Spyro the Dragon... Now, I'll be taking a look at the sequel to the impressive PlayStation game... Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage!

A Rebound

DreamWorks Animation's The Croods was a box office hit this weekend... Yes, this was inevitable for many reasons. Despite the fact that the trailers and marketing turned off a lot of folks in the animation community (I wasn't one of them, I was more mixed on what I was seeing), it sure did well with general audiences. I was expecting that to happen. The prehistoric comedy-adventure opened with a very good $43 million, and an additional $62 million overseas. It's off to a good start.

The studio's last release, Rise of the Guardians, was sadly a box office disappointment. I finally saw the film for the first time yesterday and loved it, but like I said before, I could see why it had trouble on opening weekend. I didn't think The Croods would be in any trouble; it looked far more accessible than Guardians. A family of cavemen going on a colorful, comedic adventure? Easier sell than a fairly serious film about epic fantasy-like versions of our childhood legends teaming up to save the children of the world. Fox's marketing for this film focused on the fun and comedic tone of the film, and that's why it appealed.

How will it do in the long run? Well, most DreamWorks films get good word-of-mouth. This film has all of April to itself without any major family-friendly competition; though something like G.I. Joe: Retaliation (also in 3D) can take away some younger audiences, this'll have staying power until the big blockbusters come in. I think it could finish up with around $150-170 million domestically. The "A" grade on CinemaScore and the good reception guarantee that this will be a hit and a rebound for the studio.

Friday, March 22, 2013

"The Croods" Digs Up Good Reception

The other day, DreamWorks' new animated film The Croods had a solid 85% on Rotten Tomatoes. It seemed like the new Chris Sanders film was another winner much like his last film - and his first for DreamWorks - How To Train Your Dragon.

But now that the film has finally opened and more critics have seen it, the percentage dropped quite a bit... To a respectable 64%. Metacritic, on the other hand, has it at a "mixed" 56. However, Rise of the Guardians has a 57 on there while its percentage on Rotten Tomatoes was over 70%, ditto Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted (RT - 79% / Meta - 60).

Once again, it's another critical success for DreamWorks! Another indicator of how well they've been doing lately.

Reviews imply that the film looks great and is overall a fun romp for the whole family, but it's definitely not up to the best. Other reviews somewhat confirm what I thought this film would turn out to be. It's more in line with Madagascar than How To Train Your Dragon, so it's a little more comedic and it has quite a bit of slapstick. Nothing wrong with that, Madagascar 3 took that tone and ran with it. In turn, it was a good film because of that. I may say the same thing about this film.

So basically, according to the critics, The Croods is a fun flick but nothing spectacular. Well, we'll see what I think of it. I may think it's great, very good or maybe mediocre... You never know! When I get around to seeing it, expect a review!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

March Animation News Roundup

The month isn't over yet, but I thought I'd cover a few things I missed over the last few weeks. It's a been rather slow month for the blog, so I apologize. Been toying around with a new one that's not necessarily meant to be like this. This one is what I call the "extra rambly" blog, where stuff I deem not so suitable for this blog goes...

Anyways, what's my take on a few new things?

Monday, March 18, 2013

PSone Nostalgia: "Spyro the Dragon" (Part 1)

Looks like PSone Nostalgia (tentative title, mind you) is back! Last December, I kicked off the series with a review of the three Test Drive games for the PlayStation - now I'll look at a trilogy that was one of the best in the console's history...

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Pixar Mystery Film

We all know that Pixar Animation Studios doesn't really reveal much about their films when they are first announced. Take 2014's The Good Dinosaur for a good example. It was first announced back in June 2011 for a November 27, 2013 release with no title or premise. Then later that year, we found out what the premise was and who was behind the film when Pixar presented at the D23 Expo but we still didn't get a title... We then got the name of the film in April 2012 when Pixar made their presentation at the annual CinemaCon and revealed additional details. Pixar is usually hush-hush about what's in the works, and that's for the better because it's nice to find out about the film as the release date comes closer and closer...

The Secret Project

Remember that shareholder meeting that happened a few days ago? Remember how Disney CEO Bob Iger said that no hand-drawn animated features were in development at Walt Disney Animation Studios? Well, it was obvious that he was wrong. Either he has no idea what's going on at the Burbank building, or he made an assumption given the company's recent films being computer animated. Or he wanted to make us think that none were coming, and then... Surprise!

Well, Indie Wire reported that Ron Clements and John Musker's formerly super-secret project is a fresh new take on the Rumplestiltskin story titled The Name Game. Disney had been planning a Rumplestiltskin adaptation for a while, so it makes a lot of sense that this is going to be the dream team's next big film. Last summer, Ron and John's project was announced by Disney's Animation Research Library (the link is now defunct) and it was stated that it would be a hand-drawn feature. We then heard some things about a research trip to the South Pacific and how the film will possibly be done the same way Paperman was.

Rumor has it that Ron and John's new take on Rumplestiltskin takes place in the South Pacific and the legendary fairy tale character is a tiki carver. This definitely is an interesting and neat new spin on the classic, since the duo did the same for The Princess and the Frog. It's nice to see Disney going about fairy tale adaptations in a different way, as seen in that sterling film and the impressive Tangled. This year's Frozen is looking to be that way as well. That way, they can keep doing fairy tales adaptations but they're at least trying something new with each project.

I'll be a bit disappointed if it turns that this film won't be a hand-drawn or a hybrid, because Paperman is essentially the starting ground for the future of Disney animation: Keeping the tradition alive while looking forward... Just like Walt would've done. It would be nice to see an all hand-drawn film, but I'll be very happy if The Name Game is Paperman in feature-length form. The story? I have no doubt that it'll be good. After all, everything from Meet The Robinsons up until now boasted strong storytelling.

What will the release date be? Probably 2015, since it was announced for a 2014/15 release and the fact that Big Hero 6 is now Disney Animation's 2014 release. Also, I think it has a better chance at bringing back hand-drawn than The Princess and the Frog because it doesn't seem as risky, plus Disney probably won't have it open against a massive four-quadrant film while backing it with lackluster marketing... Well, they better not...

Time to bring back traditional animation to Disney feature animation... For good...

Monday, March 4, 2013

A Suggestion to Disney Home Entertainment

Next week, fans and consumers will be able to own three Disney animated films on Blu-ray for the first time in stunning high definition: The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mulan and Brother Bear. Of course, they are going to be released the same way The Fox and the Hound and Pocahontas were on Blu-ray. They're being packaged with their direct-to-video sequels and each release will be billed as a "2 Movie Collection".

Sunday, March 3, 2013

A Big Year?

I've been thinking this for a while. The more we find out about the animated films being released next year, the more excitement... 2014 is loaded. Literally. 2014 is packed with so much promise. If you ask me, this could be another fine year for animation and perhaps its biggest.