Thursday, July 2, 2009

News - 07/02/09...

Cartoon Network’s Death Knell Promo

Your name is Cartoon Network,
so you expect to see
nothing but animation when you flip CN on your TV.
But the times they are a-changing,
so don’t get left behind
because now we’ve got real people and
we’ve heard it blows your mind.

Those are the lyrics from an abrasive Andrew W.K. music video that Cartoon Network released online yesterday. We’ve been reporting on Cartoon Network’s slow, steady decline since April 2006. It’s fascinating to watch how clumsily the network is diluting their brand, and how tactlessly they’re integrating this cheap hodge-podge of live-action shows into their line-up. The first signs of a CN Real backlash are already forming: a Facebook group called Boycott Cartoon Network’s “CN Real” block was recently started and has over 1,400 members.

(Thanks cartoonbrew)

Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2nd Trailer

Also: Armand Serrano has posted some nice artwork for Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs on his blog.

(Thanks, Marcos)

(Thanks cartoonbrew)

Trailer for Jean François by Tom&Bruno

teaser jean françois from tom haugomat on Vimeo.

After graduating from French animation school Gobelins, Tom Haugomat and Bruno Mangyoku partnered up and became the directing duo Tom&Bruno. They are currently repped by Cube Creative and have been working on a short film called Jean François, the trailer for which can be seen above. The piece looks beautiful; it’s a fusion of anime filmmaking techniques and graphically inventive character design that wouldn’t look out of place in an Estonian animated short. Can’t wait to see the finished product. The filmmakers have a blog with artwork from the film.

(Thanks, Jakob Schuh)

(Thanks cartoonbrew)

Volume 2 of "The Secret Saturdays" Coming to DVD reports that Warner will release Volume 2 of the Cartoon Network show, The Secret Saturdays on DVD October 27th.

It will contain these 5 episodes:

The King of Kumari Kandam
Van Rook's Apprentice
Twelve Hundred Degrees Fahrenheit
The Swarm at the Edge of Space
The Owlman Feeds at Midnight

Fox Tells Us To Munk Ourselves!! A Teaser For Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel Is Now Online!!

Well, I guess it had to happen sooner or later...

As much as we wanted it to go away, the coming of Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel seems inexorable. Evidenced by this teaser, originating from MTV's Movie Blog

Princess And The Frog Animation Tour Featurette

When Eisner finally left and Lasseter moved in, the Mouse House's animation department was suffering big time. A lot of desks had been basically emptied and the cartoon division of Disney was struggling.

Now that the ship has been repainted with a new crew, Disney is not only looking forward with its CGI animation division, it's also going back to what made them famous in the first place - hand drawn animation.

The Disney Channel and some dorky hosts went on a tour of he animation studio located in Burbank.

The clips are in five parts and include interviews, a scene from the film and more. Check them all out below.

Ice Age Snark

I flitted through some MSM stories and reviews about Fox's new animated feature Ice Age 3. Not pretty.

Lazy, transparent, disposable and at its worst, boring, Ice Age: Dawn Of The Dinosaurs is a sometimes beautiful piece of animation consistently ruined by unfocused directing, bizarre editing choices, phoned-in voice acting, and a script which is neither witty nor filled with momentum. Of course it’s in 3D too because the extra dimension, like everything else in the prehistoric troposphere, is yet another apparatus for the film to hastily implement without foresight, planning or success. I guess the first question which comes to mind is why bother? Why bother even finishing a film all involved were clearly so ambivalent about? ...


There are so many things going on in "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs," ... why does the third installment of this animated tale often feel so glacial? ...

Even the gray lady, even while sprinkling a few compliments, gives the feature the back of its gloved hand.

A collection of short Scrat films would be much more pleasing than the elephantine “Ice Age” series ...

Owwy yeowy.

Me? I liked the first Ice Age and thought the second one told its story well. (The third one I have not seen.) But I think that the negative reviews -- and they are far from being all negative -- will have minimal impact on worldwide grosses. The earlier films did robust numbers in all corners of the globe, and by now Ice Age is a brand name.

This third incarnation is going to make Fox lots of money.

(Thanks Animation Guild Blog)

DVD And Blu-ray Art For Upcoming "Superman/Batman: Public Enemies" Animated Feature

Warner Home Video has released the cover art for the single-disc DVD, two-disc DVD, and Blu-ray editions of the upcoming September 29th, 2009 release of the Superman/Batman: Public Enemies animated feature.

Click on the thumbnails below for a closer look.

A co-production of Warner Premiere, DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation, Superman/Batman: Public Enemies will debut Tuesday, September 29th, 2009 on DVD and Blu-ray disc.

"Green Lantern: First Flight" Makes its World Premiere at Comic Con

Warner Home Video has issued a press release for the world premiere of Green Lantern: First Flight at Comic Con on Thursday, July 23rd.

Warner Home Video presents the World Premiere of
at Comic-Con on Thursday, July 23

Green Lantern: First Flight, the highly-anticipated fifth entry in the popular DVD series of DC Universe animated original PG-13 movies, will have its world premiere at Comic-Con in San Diego on Thursday, July 23, 2009.

More than 4,000 fans will have the opportunity to see Green Lantern: First Flight on the big screen five days before the latest DC Universe film is distributed on DVD and Blu-Ray™ Hi-Def. The film will premiere in the San Diego Convention Center’s Ballroom 20 at 8:00 p.m.

A panel comprised of filmmakers and voice cast will be presented on the following day, Friday, July 24. Details on that panel and its participants will be announced next week.

Acclaimed actor Christopher Meloni (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit) fills the lead voice of Hal Jordan aka Green Lantern. Meloni is joined by fellow Emmy Award nominee Victor Garber (Milk, Titanic) as the villainous Sinestro, Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica) as the voice of Boodikka, and Michael Madsen (Reservoir Dogs) as Kilowog. The cast also includes Juliet Landau (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), John Larroquette (Night Court), Kurtwood Smith (That ‘70s Show), and David Lander (Laverne & Shirley).

Produced by animation legend Bruce Timm, Green Lantern: First Flight is helmed by heralded director Lauren Montgomery (Wonder Woman, Superman Doomsday) and scripted by four-time Emmy Award-winning writer Alan Burnett (The Batman).

Green Lantern: First Flight finds Hal Jordan recruited to join the Green Lantern Corps and placed under the supervision of respected senior Lantern Sinestro. The earthling soon discovers his mentor is actually the central figure in a secret conspiracy that threatens the philosophies, traditions and hierarchy of the entire Green Lantern Corps. Hal must quickly hone his newfound powers and combat the treasonous Lanterns within the ranks to maintain order in the universe.

A co-production of Warner Premiere, DC Comics and Warner Bros. Animation, the illuminated hero’s first-ever full-length animated film is set for release by Warner Home Video on July 28, 2009. Green Lantern: First Flight will be available as a special edition 2-disc version on DVD and Blu-Ray™ Hi-Def, as well as single disc DVD.

Secret of Kells NYC Screenings has announced the first public US screening of Cartoon Saloon’s The Secret of Kells feature. The New York International Children’s Film Festival will screen the film on July 18th and 19th. Tickets are currently available.

Here’s some rough animation from the film, which is included in Alfredo Cassano’s animation reel.

City Harvest Launches Animated PSAs

City Harvest, a NYC-based food rescue program (they gather and distribute excess food), has launched an online campaign, titled Rescue Food, featuring a number of animated shorts. Here’s one by Nathan Love, who also produced the music for this piece, titled Cabbage, Interrupted.

And here’s another. High Stakes Poker is a stop-motion piece by David Michael Friend.

Astro Boy's Kristen Bell ready to win more fanboy hearts as an anime urchin

Cora (Kristen Bell) befriends Astro Boy

Kristen Bell—who has become a cult favorite for her roles in Heroes, Fanboys and Veronica Mars—is likely to extend her following as she lends her voice to the ultimate sci-fi franchise: She plays the new girl in Imagi Studios' upcoming 3-D animated feature-film version of the venerable Japanese Astro Boy series.

"I play Cora, who is a girl who befriends Astro when he comes down from Metro City onto the surface of Earth," Bell said in an interview last week at the Saturn Awards in Burbank, Calif. (She presented the award for best action/adventure film.) "She runs a little kind of like Peter Pan group of kids. She's pretty tough, pretty sassy."

Freddie Highmore voices the title character in Astro Boy

The original Astro Boy series, based on the 1952 manga by Osamu Tezuka, is often credited as the first anime-style film. Like the original series, the new English-language movie centers on the origins of the robot boy who was created by a scientist who had lost his real son. Fans got their first peek at the new CGI incarnation of Astro Boy at New York Comic Con in February. Bell has seen footage throughout the process of animation.

"I've seen a lot of it, actually," Bell said. "It looks amazing. To be involved in the process is really exciting, because you see the layers that they put on, and you see when they don't have the 3-D involved and then when they do, and you see when it's just penciled out. It was a really interesting process."

Bell's part has not changed much throughout the visual development of the film, although she has had to re-record lines based on other voice actors' performances. "Sometimes when another character comes in and records and they like something they've done, you have to match it or be at a comparable state of mind in the scene, because you don't record with other people," she said. "Overall, it was a really easy, fun process."

For all her self-professed sci-fi obsessions, Bell was a newcomer to Astro Boy. Until now. "I didn't know Astro Boy at all, but now I'm immersed and have all the little toys and stuff," she said.

Summit Entertainment will release Astro Boy in theaters on Oct. 23.

EXCLUSIVE: ‘Beavis And Butt-Head’ & ‘Office Space’ Creator Mike Judge Bringing ‘Extract’ To Comic-Con

For anyone wondering what’s next on the schedule for Mike Judge, the writer/director of “Office Space” and creator of the animated series “Beavis and Butt-Head” and “King of the Hill,” the wait is over. Judge will join MTV’s Josh Horowitz at San Diego Comic-Con on July 25 to discuss his new film, “Extract,” starring Jason Bateman, Mila Kunis, Ben Affleck and Kristen Wiig.

Judge will also be screening exclusive footage from the film as part of the panel, but anyone unable to make the trip to San Diego can check out for the exclusive premiere of the “Extract” footage. The online premiere will coincide with the Comic-Con panel, but Judge offered readers the first look at an exclusive image from “Extract” over on MTV Movies Blog. He also shared some thoughts with Splash Page about the Comic-Con experience.

“It didn’t seem to have a whole lot to do with comic books,” said Judge of his first Comic-Con, three years ago. “I’m sure it started out as this comic book convention and now it’s turned into a big film festival. I don’t know what’s next — maybe there will be a baseball card trade show there.”

As for why he chose Comic-Con for the big debut of “Extract,” Judge seemed a bit, well… uncertain.

“Why are we showing ‘Extract’ at Comic Con?” he joked. “It’s not based on a comic book. ‘Office Space’ at least started off as animated.”

For more on Mike Judge and “Extract,” head over to

EXCLUSIVE: Sam Jackson Says Nick Fury Won’t See Action In ‘Iron Man 2’

Back in early May, we got our first look at Samuel L. Jackson as S.H.I.E.L.D. Chief Nick Fury on the set of “Iron Man 2,” looking every bit the bad-ass in black leather and eyepatch — or at least, as bad-ass as someone can look when standing next to a giant donut.

Never mind the environment, we said, Nick Fury is sure to be kickin’ butt and taking names alongside Tony Stark in the “Iron Man” sequel, right? Not so, according to Jackson. In fact, when we caught up with the actor during an event commemorating the 20th anniversary of Spike Lee’s film “Do The Right Thing,” Jackson said fans will likely have to wait for “The Avengers” for Fury to see some action.

“Not this time, not yet,” Jackson told MTV News of the likelihood we’ll see his character become the action hero fans know in “Iron Man 2.” “We still haven’t moved Nick Fury into the bad-ass zone. He’s still just kind of a talker.”

Asked whether fans will have to wait until the superhero team-up in “The Avengers” to see Fury get ready to rumble, Jackson simply said, “Looking forward to that, yeah.”

Along with dropping some hints about Nick Fury’s potential brawl, Jackson also told MTV News that he’s done filming on the project, adding that most of his scenes were shot with Robert Downey Jr., but there were also a few with Scarlett Johansson, too.

With a nine-movie deal for Marvel Studios, it’s likely that we’ll see a lot more of Jackson’s character — and in more than just “Iron Man 2″ or “The Avengers.” Whether his roles in films like “Thor” and “The First Avenger: Captain America” will be similarly low on action or move Nick Fury into a more aggressive place in Marvel’s movie world remains to be seen, though.

A new Alien Nation series develops at SCI FI Channel

Looks like another fan-favorite franchise will get the reboot: SCI FI Channel is developing a new version of Alien Nation, which originated as a 1988 movie written by Rockne O'Bannon and was spun off as a TV show and a series of TV movies.

Tim Minear—the writer/producer known to fans for his work on Angel, Firefly and Wonderfalls, among others—is writing the new take on the franchise, about the arrival of a group of refugee aliens and their integration into Earth's population, with the focus on a veteran police detective and his "newcomer" partner and family.

Variety broke the news:

Alien Nation centers on the partnership between a veteran cop and his alien detective partner, set against the larger tale of alien "newcomers" who move to Earth and attempt to assimilate into society.

Fox 21 topper Chris Carlisle said he believed Alien Nation could rep the next franchise revival for SCI FI, which found huge success in dusting off Battlestar Galactica and reworking it for today's auds. Carlisle said Alien Nation works both as a sci-fi piece and a procedural drama.

"It's absolute perfect timing for this type of show," Carlisle said. "They're looking for more grounded sci-fi and close-ended episodes, and at the heart of Alien Nation, it's a cop movie. It's grounded. And it has a tremendous amount of dramatic possibilities and humor."

Alien Nation was originally envisioned in part as a metaphor for the immigration issues facing America in the 1980s; the new version would undoubtedly work in current issues facing society in the first part of the 21st century.

The new series is designed to take place in the 2020s, about 20 years after the first ship crashes on Earth, and will take place in the Pacific Northwest (perhaps to take advantage of a shooting location in Vancouver? We're just guessing here). The aliens will have multiplied to a population of about 3.5 million and would live in their own communities, analogous to the North African ghettos in France.

The news coincides with the similarly themed movie District 9, produced by Peter Jackson, which deals with the arrival of a group of refugee aliens who find themselves segregated from society and interned in camps. That movie opens on Aug. 14.

So now it's possible Smallville's upcoming ninth season may not be its last?

Justin Hartley at the Saturn Awards

The fact that The CW's Smallville is entering its ninth season has surprised its producers, let alone the fans. The show, which began with Clark Kent in high school before he became Superman, has morphed into a series with many other popular DC Comics characters in their younger incarnations. Now, Justin Hartley, who plays Oliver Queen/Green Arrow, said reports that the ninth season will be the last may be premature.

"Look, they're so busy right now, they don't know if they're doing one more season or eight more seasons or two more seasons," Hartley said last week at the Saturn Awards in Burbank, Calif. "They have no idea. So we'll see. I've spoken to them a couple weeks ago and had kind of a vague conversation with them about concept and stuff."

Hartley plays Oliver Queen/Green Arrow

Hartley returns to work in July. As season nine begins, Oliver might be doing more harm than good. "I know I'm in the episode," he said. "I know there's a couple of saves gone awry. I think Oliver might be drinking again, which is always fun to play. So we'll see what happens. I'll leave that up to the brain trust."

The show should pick up where the season finale left off, though considering how long its cast has been playing teenagers/young adults, Hartley can't be sure of the timeline.

"I don't know, but I've been going to the gym, and I've been doing a lot of moisturizing, so hopefully not too long [after], because I think actually in season nine, I'm actually going to play a little younger than I did in season eight," Hartley said. "So we'll see. Maybe we actually go back in time. I'd say I'm playing what, 14 or 15 right now, about, roughly. I don't know, maybe a couple months [have passed]."

Smallville will also introduce General Zod this year (played by Callum Blue), but it is too early for Hartley to know if Green Arrow will encounter the iconic supervillain.

"I don't know, we'll see," Hartley said. "I hope so. I always like to work with new actors. We just got this guy. I guess they hired a gentleman a couple days ago, so hopefully. We'll see what happens."

Smallville returns Sept. 25 on The CW and will move to a new timeslot, Fridays at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

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