Monday, November 29, 2010

New Tron cartoon on Disney XD

Disney XD orders 'Tron: Legacy' toon

Tron Legacy:

Disney is spinning its upcoming "Tron: Legacy" feature into an animated TV series.
Boy-centric cabler Disney XD has given a series order to "Tron: Uprising," which is set for a summer 2012 bow.

Charlie Bean ("Samurai Jack") will exec produce and direct, while "Tron: Legacy" writers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz will serve as consulting producers. "Tron: Legacy" co-producer Justin Springer is also on board.

"Tron: Uprising's" voice cast includes Elijah Wood, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Mandy Moore, Paul Reubens, Nate Corddry and Lance Henriksen. Bruce Boxleitner will reprise his role as Tron.

Disney XD had already picked up a 10-part "Tron" microseries, which airs next fall.

Disney TV Animation is behind the show. Disney Channels Worldwide entertainment prexy Gary Marsh called the new show "a culmination of an extraordinary collaboration between Disney Television Animation and our feature film studio."

"Tron: Uprising" will focus on Beck (voiced by Wood), who leads a revolution inside the Grid's computer world.



Saturday, November 20, 2010

Tangled: "Mother Gothel" - Movie Clip

Mother Gothel looks like she'll be a fun villain with a small spin on the Evil Queen from Snow White. But it's hard to beat the evil Fairy Godmother from Shrek 2. Tangled definitely has a lot of comparisons going against it right from the start. Hopefully it will shine through.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Tangled: "Reluctant Alliance" - Movie Clip

So Flynn, Rapunzel, the horse, Maximus, and the chameleon, Pascal, form a reluctant alliance.

Looks like fun!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tangled: "Snuggly Duckling" - Movie Clip

The Snuggly Duckling feels a lot like the "Bad Apple" bar in Shrek 2, but not as cool. It's got to be hard to make a fairy tale and not get comparisons to Shrek.

I can't wait for Tangled! It looks so good!


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Movie Review - The Blind Side

by Alex Popp

Based on the extraordinary true story of Leigh Anne and Sean Tuohy, who take in a homeless teenage African-American in "The Blind Side."

The teenager has no idea who his father is, and his mother is a crack head. Michael has had little formal education and few skills to help him learn. Leigh Anne, played by Sandra Bullock, soon takes charge, however, as is her nature, ensuring that the young man has every opportunity to succeed. When he expresses an interest in football, she goes all out to help him, including giving the coach a few ideas on how best to use Michael's skills. They not only provide him with a loving home, but they hire a tutor to help him improve his grades to the point where he would qualify for an NCAA Division I athletic scholarship. Michael Oher was the first-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens in the 2009 NFL draft.

At first, this looked like just another sports movie, but it was far more than that. In fact, the sports are focused on little enough that you can't exactly class this as a sports movie. Rather it's a movie about family and unconditional love, just as touching and sigh-worthy as "The Last Song."

I was not surprised at all that Sandra Bullock won the Academy Award for Best Actress this year. She made a phenomenal performance. When my dad and I saw this in the theater, we both agreed that she deserved to win Best Actress. He and I also agreed that it was one of the best films of 2009. I think the only one he liked better from that year was "Knowing." I was mostly glad that I picked to see a movie that he enjoyed; it rarely ever happens.

Rated PG-13 for some racial issues and a crude reference to the male anatomy that was necessary, but it could have been rephrased.

Three and a half stars (out of four) for "The Blind Side," and the only way you couldn't like it is if you were blind.

Review by Alex Popp for The Animation Empire blog.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

"Winnie the Pooh" Official Trailer - is it enough?

Send Winnie the Pooh back to his roots. I get it. But in 2D? His TV show is in 3D. Is this enough? Sure it worked 40 years ago, but is this really enough by today's standards? I think 2D animated films in general can work if the story is right, but the last times where I saw that work were Mulan and Tarzan, over a decade ago (with "Lilo & Stitch" and "Princess and the Frog" to smaller extents). It's a big risk, and I just don't think this is enough. Sure they are throwing in some 3D effects (like the honey and the pot), but is that enough to get today's audience into the theater?

My recommendation (after this does okay but not great in the box office) would be to try again, but do it all in 3D and try to capture the look and feel of how the characters would look in a semi-realistic version of their world. Rather than make them rubbery like the TV show, give them real lighting and texture, with real fur, colors, and lighting/shadows (in realistic environments). And then throw in effects like the transformation from plush to real characters and you could really begin to take it some places visually (and not just relying on the great story, although that is also essential). I think that's the only way to make a hit Winnie the Pooh animated film.

A similar alternative is to go toward "Alvin and the Chipmunks" by shooting the woods and Christopher Robin in live action but to do all the animals in CG (also done successfully with Scooby Doo and now with Smurfs, but Garfield should be a lesson on how not to do it).

Personally, I would prefer the first option, which would be the more Pixar-like approach to it.

Feel free to drop thoughts if you have them.

- The Emperor

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Movie Review - Avatar

by Alex Popp

Enter the World.

Sam Worthington plays a former marine in the incredible flick "Avatar," directed by James Cameron, who previously directed "Titanic." And it took over "Titanic"'s place as the most popular motion picture of all time.

A lame man, "a member of the Jarhead clan," goes on an expedition to the sacred planet of Pandora in a program designed to help him get his legs back. He steps into the body that resembles that of an inhabitant of the planet, with blue skin and standing eleven feet high. As he explores the new world, he gets acquainted with Neytiri, a member of the Na'vi, and he eventually learns to call the planet home.

It was no wonder everyone was talking about it. This film is 60% dazzling CGI, unlike anything I have ever seen on screen before. The moviemakers spent 15 years and $280 million putting this movie together, not just the visuals, but also the art direction, sound, and the beautiful score composed by James Horner. I also don't think anyone liked the plot more than me. Everyone's been saying that the plot is nothing new. We've seen it in "Dances with Wolves," "Pocahontas," etc., but, although I don't think many others would agree, I considered the plot this time to be used in a different way. Of course someone might transfer to a different part of the world, but another world altogether? That's scary stuff to me. And I saw a lot of spiritual content, including the Na'vis philosphy that every member of the Na'vi are born twice, and the second time they're part of the people. Does that sound familiar?

This was one I wanted to give four stars to, however it does have an environmental theme. In fact, Ey'wa, the deity of the Na'vi people, is meant to be a mixed-up pronounciation of Yahweh. But although some might say that this movie is just flat out against Christianity, some of the spirituality that doesn't involve their goddess was interesting to me.

Rated PG-13 for intense battle sequences, sensuality, and unneccesary language.

Three and a half stars (out of four) for the stunning cinematic experience, "Avatar."

Review by Alex Popp for The Animation Empire blog.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Movie Review - Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel

by Alex Popp

The chipmunks, voiced by Justin Long, Matthew Gray Gubler, and Jesse McCartney, are back in "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel."

When Alvin, Simon, and Theodore go back to school, they are given the task of saving their school's music program that is in jeopardy when Ian, the boys' evil ex-manager, introduces "The Chipettes," a gain of female chipmunks who Alvin, Simon and Theodore fall for. Now the battle of the bands is on.

I have a short review here, but I encourage you to choose a different movie. Like in the first "Alvin," the chipmunks are cute with their sped-up voices, but the plot is just a bit dumb and flat.

Rated PG for some mildly suggestive humor.

Two stars (out of four) for "Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel."

Review by Alex Popp for The Animation Empire blog.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Movie Review - Extraordinary Measures

by Alex Popp

Don't hope for a miracle. Make one.

"Extraordinary Measures" tells the true story of John Crowley, portrayed by Brendan Fraser, who went against all odds to find a cure for Pompe Disease that his children had. John contacts Dr. Robert Stonehill, played by Harrison Ford from the "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones" sagas, on an enzyme treatment. He has little money to pursue his research and a thorny personality that drives away colleagues and funders. John and his wife Aileen, played by Keri Russell from "Bedtime Stories," raise money to get Stonehill going, and then John takes on the task full time, working with venture capitalists and then a rival team of researchers.

The trailers and tagline made it look like a moving flick, but to tell you the truth, I turned off the TV dry-eyed. It was a lot more foul than it needed to be, and I almost would have made it PG-13 rather than PG. It was more interesting than moving. (SPOILER WARNING!) These were actual events about how two men together found a cure for a deadly disease.

Rated PG for the fairly mature theme, plenty of language, a crude reference to the male anatomy, and a mild sex moment.

Two and a half stars (out of four) for "Extraordinary Measures," which goes to the average measure of movie quality.

Review by Alex Popp for The Animation Empire blog.

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