Friday, October 18, 2013

October Animation Tidbits [#3]

Tidbits on time-travel, three fantastical worlds
and shadows...


USA Today gives us our first look at DreamWorks' Mr. Peabody & Sherman, which opens March 7th. The trailer, according to director Rob Minkoff (The Lion King), will be released just in time for the debut of Free Birds this come November. Check out the images and see what you think!

Personally, I like the design of the Egyptian setting and the WABAC Machine's interior, but I like that the film is going to have the character design style and simplistic charm of the original segments, but in the world of computer animation. The rest of it, art direction-wise, looks very nice. It's also nice to see that Ancient Egypt will be prominent setting, judging by the selection of stills they have picked.

Also, I think - going by what I've read and what I'm currently seeing - this will be a bounce back for DreamWorks. The Croods was a letdown for me, I have not seen Turbo but I'm not dying to see it either, this looks like it'll be DreamWorks' first good film since Rise of the Guardians. (Hey, with the pipeline they have, not everything will be up to par.) I know that's a radical opinion, because it seems like everyone adored The Croods. Oh well, I wasn't too fond of it.


The big news today for me concerns Reel FX's second animated feature (their first is Free Birds), The Book of Life. Recently, distributor Fox moved it from October 3, 2014 back to the October 17th spot, as opposed to the film's original October 10th spot. My Rotoscoper comrade Morgan got this bit of news earlier today; the plot and the full cast!

"An animated comedy with a unique visual style, The Book of Life is the journey of Manolo, a young man who is torn between fulfilling the expectations of his family and following his heart. Before choosing which path to follow, he embarks on an incredible adventure that spans three fantastical worlds where he must face his greatest fears. Rich with a fresh take on pop music favorites, The Book of Life encourages us to celebrate the past while looking forward to the future."

I'm surprised that there's no mention of the Day of the Dead backdrop (it's possible that it's been removed in order to not make it seem similar to Pixar's upcoming similarly-themed film) or the Romeo & Juliet-style story, but three fantastical worlds? I wonder if they'll come in different unique animation styles, the synopsis alone promises an animation style like no other. Aron Warner, who is producing Free Birds, also noted this a while back. Remember when I compared it to Rango? Yeah, I'm pretty it will definitely be the next Rango for the computer animation medium.

Also, a "fresh take on pop music favorites"? Are we talking pop classics? Or more recent stuff? I hope it's classics, and it'll definitely be interesting because, as Morgan pointed out, it could go a Moulin Rouge!-esque route or something of the sort. Crafting a story around many songs sounds like a great idea, I just wonder what songs they will use.

The cast consists of Channing Tatum, Zoe Saldana, Diego Luna, Christina Applegate, Ice Cube, Kate del Castillo, Ron Perlman, Cheech Marin,  Hector Elizondo Placido Domingo, Ana de la Reguera, Eugenio Derbez, Gabriel Iglesias, Ricardo (“El Mandril”) Sanchez, Danny Trejo...

Ice Cube? Channing Tatum? A bit star-studded, don't you think? Oh well, hopefully all of them are invested in their roles because I'm tired of animated films having casts with celebrities who are only in it for the paycheck (*cough* Epic *cough*) and sound so uninterested in the film itself. On the other hand, there's a lot of top talent here and unexpected faces. Quite the mix!

But I'm still excited nonetheless, it sounds wicked and wildly different... Just what I expected!

I'm glad they are hyping it now, which may mean that a trailer will be attached to Free Birds. Cross your fingers!


Henry Selick's The Shadow King can't seem to catch a break...

Originally, this stop motion film was going to be released by Walt Disney Pictures this month, but after Alan Horn was named Chairman of the company last summer, the plug was pulled. Apparently Selick and crew were way behind schedule, though supposedly the film is actually halfway done. Selick then shopped it to LAIKA, since he directed Coraline for them, but they strangely rejected it! Earlier in the year, K5 International had picked up the film but we have not heard anything since...

Now, it seems like it's not on the schedule anymore. Selick is now off to direct a live action film based on Adam Gitwiz's A Tale Dark and Grimm, a Hansel and Gretel continuation where they enter eight other Grimm fairy tales. A pretty cool idea, but if you ask me, that should be an animated film - it screams animated. He also has an adaptation of The Graveyard Book in the works for Disney, so I assume that we won't be seeing his next stop motion film anytime soon. What a bummer...

That is, if someone picks it up... I hope it happens...


What do you think of the Mr. Peabody & Sherman stills? Are you looking forward to the film? Or not? Does The Book of Life excite you? What do you think of the plot and the cast? Do you Henry Selick will ever get The Shadow King completed any time soon?

Sound off below!


  1. Great blog. Thanks for sharing great information about animated world. I came to know some new and interesting information about animation. Keep sharing.

  2. I personally liked The Croods. It's definitely not the best of DreamWorks' recent output, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and it did surpass my expectations. Mr. Peabody & Sherman looks fantastic, though! I love the premise, the character designs and just the look and feel of it overall. I cannot wait to see more of it.