Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Jesse McCartney: Young Justice's Robin!

Are you ready to have more Jesse McCartney in your life? We are!

The 23-year-old musician has been working on adding his voice to the Young Justice reboot from Cartoon Network. Jesse, who will voice Robin, wedged up with JJJ to chat about the project and working with voice veterans. Check it out:

On Young Justice: “It’s so overwhelming so far. I’ve been working for about six months on the first season and almost finished with it. I play Robin, who is one of the legendary superheroes in the Young Justice league. I’m in a room full of other voice over artists who have been doing this for decades. It’s actually something I grew up wanting to do, being a huge comic book, cartoon and action hero fan. Now, I’m doing it and I get to recreate all these episodes for a new generation who get to watch cartoons on Saturday morning.”

On picking and choosing his superheroes: “I didn’t really care either way which superhero I was, I was just about to be ’super’ so it was great whichever way. The director called me up and I had worked with him before this. He just said that he had this Young Justice project with an amazing group of writers and wanted me to come in and read for Grayson. I usually play the younger guy who has to up his voice a lot. It’s such an easy-going process. I go in once a week and I’m in a room with about ten other artists. It’s been wild.”

On working alongside voice veterans: “These guys are such pros. This one guy, Kevin, I believe he voiced Scooby Doo. Some of these guys have been doing this since I was a kid. I think they were the voices in the stuff that I used to watch. Now getting to work next to them is great and they’re all so cool to me. I’m definitely the youngest in the room and the newest at it.

Monday, November 29, 2010

'Tangled' a smash: will Disney still retreat from fairy tales?

The talk before the exuberant cartoon "Tangled" opened was that Disney's 50th animated featured would also be its final full-length fairy tale. Now that this funny, beguiling expansion of the Grimms' "Rapunzel" has given the new Harry Potter movie a run for the box-office crown this Thanksgiving weekend with the long-locked heroine losing to the boy wizard by, well, a hair will Disney animation chief John Lasseter rethink his reported ban on storybook fantasy? Doesn't the success of this movie prove that with the right blend of tradition and invention animated fairy tales can still click, artistically and at the box office?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Vampire Animation Released in Russia

Full-length animation film Nosferatu. The Horror of Night created by Russian animators goes on universal release in Russia.

Its author is Vladimir Marinichev, a former officer of the Petersburg Criminal Investigation Department. He decided to try his wings as a film director after watching the animated cartoon film History of Toys. Animation seemed to him quite reasonably priced: one just needed a computer and some imagination.

The famous vampire named Nosferatu became the protagonist of The Horror of Night. After all, the former militiaman has firsthand experience in the naywards of human soul. Nevertheless, the animation film characters make one smile rather than fear. Dracula, for example, is very elegant and ironical, and a musician into the bargain.

Cartoon Network's CGI movie Firebreather Has Daddy Issues

High school, for any kid, is tough enough. But if you're half-human, half-Kaiju it’s a mess. Cartoon Network's first unique CGI movie, Firebreather, follows 16-year-old Duncan Rosenblatt as he deals with his unique appearance superhuman abilities, typical girl troubles and an estranged father the size of a skyscraper who now wants a relationship with his son.

And while the movie based on the Image Comics series of the same name is packed with exciting and complicated action sequences, it was the character of Belloc, a 120-foot giant who somehow sired a son with Duncan's mother, Margaret, which created the project's greatest challenge.

"Belloc had to be attractive and charming enough as a character would believe that there could have been that relationship between him and Duncan's mother that could result in Duncan," says director Peter Chung. "Their relationship is such a vital part of what's driving Duncan and his inner conflict." And you thought your parents were uncomfortable.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Peter Chung Takes ‘the Big Risk’ With CGI-Animated Firebreather

Infamously risky but rewarding animator Peter Chung has finally made a film for everybody in Firebreather. If his new all-CGI movie is a hit on Cartoon Network, the Aeon Flux creator hopes it will assure Hollywood that the time is right to pull the trigger on other adult-oriented animated movies.

Margaret and Belloc's carnal knowledge is something Duncan doesn't want particulars on, as one hilarious scene illustrates, but the cross-species sexual union fits perfectly with Chung's previous adult-oriented explorations in daring animated series like Aeon Flux and Reign: The Conqueror, as well as Ralph Bakshi's cult fantasy film Fire and Ice, one of Chung's earliest animation gigs.

Similarly, Firebreather, which first appearances Wednesday on Cartoon Network, finds Chung striking a confident balance between breathtaking action sequences, ranging from parkour chases to full-scale military and supernatural warfare, and the subtle shot-blocking that infuses the film's quieter moments with relatable psychodrama.

Not bad, considering Firebreather is Chung's first CGI feature film, and that he had zero contact to the comic prior to starting the project. From designing the main humanoid and demonic characters to naturally directing Firebreather's incendiary action and tender relationship sequences, Chung has proven he can do it all, for any target audience.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Kids' DVDs a symbol Christmas is heading our way

Charlie Brown Christmas Tales" (Warner, 2002, $14.97). This cute and funny animated TV special is included of five holiday vignettes featuring Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the gang from Charles Schultz's "Peanuts" comic strip.

Lucy wants Schroeder as an ice-skating partner, Snoopy becomes a bell-ringer and presents an olive branch to the cat next door, Linus writes a letter to Santa, Sally aggressively goes after a Christmas tree, and she and Charlie Brown wait up for Old Saint Nick's visit.
Not quite up to the first and best of the "Peanuts" cartoons, "A Charlie Brown Christmas," but still attractive and enjoyable.

"Peanuts Deluxe Holiday Collection" (Warner/Blu-ray, 1965-73, $69.97). This Blu-ray upgrade of the set that came out two years ago looks great, headlined by the best of the "Peanuts" cartoons, "A Charlie Brown Christmas" (1965) and "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" (1966). Also here is "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" (1973), which is good, if not quite up to the first two.

This box set comprises a "Peanuts" snowglobe lenticular with scenes of Charlie Brown and friends in snowy activities, and three window clings. "The Boy Who Cried Wolf and More Children's Fables" (Scholastic, 2010, $14.95). The title story, along with "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi," "Stone Soup" and others, animated and narrated for youngsters ages 3-8.

"Click, Clack, Moo Cows that Type … and More Fun on the Farm!" (Scholastic, 2010, $24.95). This set collects the title disc, "Giggle, Giggle, Quack" and "Diary of a Spider," with animal stories animated for ages 3-8.

"Thomas & Friends Adventure Pack" (Lionsgate, 2009-10, $24.98). This is a full set of the latest episodes as Thomas and friends learn life lessons. For children ages 2-5.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Mickey Mouse's birthday has Walt Disney's most famous cartoon rodent turning 82

Oh boy! Mickey Mouse is one old rodent! Walt Disney's most famous cartoon creatiobn turned 82 on Thursday. Mickey’s first appearance with sound and the first of his films to be distributed was in "Steamboat Willie" on Nov. 18, 1928.

The falsetto-speaking mouse appeared in "Plane Crazy" six months prior, alongside Minnie, but in that feature he was as quiet as a, well, mouse. Ub Iwerks was the main animator for both shorts as well as co-director with Walt Disney, who also provided the vocals for the star of the show .

The popular mouse first spoke actual words in "The Karnival Kid" in 1929. In 1978, Mickey became the first cartoon to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

In an effort to bring the famous mouse back into the spotlight, last year the Walt Disney Company announced they would be rebranding Mickey Mouse as a more mischievous rodent, starting with the upcoming video game "Epic Mickey."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Clone Wars: Ahsoka in New Look

When Ahsoka Tano shows up in this week's episode of The Clone Wars Friday night, you'll notice some differences. The episode "Heroes on Both Sides" will bring in all-new character models for several characters on the show, including Anakin, Obi-Wan and Ahsoka.

For Anakin and Obi-Wan, their form is much more styled after their outfits in Revenge of the Sith, with both discarding the pieces of Clone Trooper armor they've been wearing up until now
"Over the course of the series so far, our characters have been affected by the clash, so the changes we are seeing are a reflection of what they've gone through and how they've changed," says Supervising Director Dave Filoni. "We're getting closer to the events of Episode III, and the look of the series is moving toward that look and those plans." Anakin's hair is also a bit longer, heading towards the look he had in reprisal of the Sith

As for Ahsoka, her form is a bit more drastically overhauled. Not only does she look a bit older, but her new costume covers her up more than her previous tube top look did. Says Filoni, "We don't have a live-action point of comparison for Ahsoka, but her development is definitely as pronounced as anyone's. When the war began, she was just a kid; she was strong and capable, but she had a lot to learn – and she's been through a lot. She's been changed by the things she's seen and done, and now we're seeing that reflected in her look. She's older, more mature. In this episode, we see a significant step for her emotional development, in addition to her aesthetic development. Coming face to face with the enemy is going to be an eye-opening experience for her."

Filoni notes that the new character models are part of the ever-evolving animation on the series. "Our production keeps getting better; as we move forward, we're able to incorporate new techniques and improved animation. As a weekly series, we've been pushing ourselves to do things that haven't been done in TV animation, and it's always a struggle just to get it done at all. But we are learning tricks that help to streamline the process, and we continue to build our asset library. We're at a place where we can explore and develop new and improved character assets for some of our primary players. In addition to the look change, these new models are so much more expressive."

Cheburashka is Back on Russian panel

Cheburashka has returned on the Russian panel, now as a character of the Japanese animated cartoon. 3 new series about adventures of Cheburashka and Gena the Crocodile have been recently established in Moscow, at the opening of the Japanese Film Festival.

The animation about Cheburashka recreated and continued in Japan was accepted by the character’s literary father Eduard Uspenskiy, and co-creators of the original animation Leonid Shvartsman and Yuriy Norshteyn. "Cheburashka" was first time exposed in Japan almost ten years ago. All the sequences in Soviet Cheburashka animation were model shots shaped manually, without any computer aid.

The most famous Japanese animation director Hayao Miyazaki was personally busy in the digital processing of the four Soviet cartoon films directed by Roman Kachanov. The Japanese resorted for consultations to one of the most respected Russian animators - Yuriy Norshteyn. Yuriy Norshteyn: “It is an event that will probably go beyond the kingdom of animation and will perhaps somehow influence the attitude to animation in this country, if this entire story has stepped as far as the Japanese islands and created such a furore there”.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Animated Cartoon ‘Unstoppable’ fails to end ‘Megamind’ from first place

Animated films are huge and they are going to play for a long time. ’Unstoppable’ estimates in the second place .The animated cartoon Megamind stays at No-1 which stated the top spot for the second week. According to Hollywood box office the anthology for this animated cartoon is $30.1 million.Unstoppable made $23.5 million.

The film with the voices of Will Ferrell and Tina Fey, has done $89.8 million in 10 days. Tony Scott still didn’t beat the box office traffic in theaters.

Livingston says studio executives would not expect to upend Megamind, which likes most recent, big-studio animation, enjoyed replicate business from kids and parents. The movie dropped a negligible 35% from last week’s No. 1 debut.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

The first and the last book of Magoo

To the very end Millard Kaufman was telling jokes, which was some sort of hobby to him. In that job he was gently helped by his wife. They had a phone trick; both of them would be online and just at one instant in the middle of the conversation one would say a joke. In a happy environment, Millard Kaufman lasted to live for 92 years: he died in his apartment in Los Angeles on March the 17th, this year.

He is well known, first of all by giving us a nature of an old, near-sighted Quincy Magoo, the famous cartoon character. Then, he had enough guts to write and publish his first book when he was at the age of 90. It was the book “Bowl of cherries”, translated to many languages. When the novel was conventional by riders, Millard got inspirited. One year later he started with writing a new novel “Misadventure”, which will unfortunately be published posthumously this drop.

The thing which applauded up Kaufman was the fact that the publishers to whom he had offered his writing couldn’t think that the book was written by a 90 years old man. “Bowl of cherries” is a story of an American soldier who went to Iraq where he found out the secrets of an ancient architecture. Novel is filled with curses, but as well with jokes of ex American president Bush.

Born in 1917, “father” of Quincy Magoo was a journalist. He stopped his career as a journalist for attending the II World War, to fight beside Hitler. He hasn’t continued to his returning his job as a journalist. Coming back to Los Angeles he started functioning in the film industry. First job was a beat to him. He wrote a script play for a cartoon. He made up a quality of a bold, rich, short-sighted and short gentleman who is getting into troubles because of his seeing problem. The character of Quincy Magoo came lively by John Humbly and Robert Canon. Then the life of this charming gentleman found his way directly to the Oscar. After that Kaufman got a job in MGM where he worked as a writer for 15 years. One of his best movies is for sure is “Bad day at Black Rock” with Spenser Tracy.

And so that was his job until he got withdraw. That is when Millard got to his senses and comprehend that all he wanted to be for all those years was to be a writer. The last script he wrote in 1986.

“It was a magnificent experience for me”, said Millard Kaufman in one of the latest interviews. “At the commencement I believed that writing a book is not more differences from writing a script play for a movie. I was wrong. It was a real confront for me.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Primary Look: Disney going old school with new Pooh

"Winnie the Pooh" will be back to his old nature again next year.

Walt Disney Animation Studios is returning the honey-loving teddy bear and his pals to their hand-drawn animated roots for a feature film plunging into theaters July 15, 2011. The new "Winnie the Pooh," the first big-screen "Pooh" quest from Disney animators in more than 30 years, will more closely look like the classic short films from the 1960s and '70s.

"We wanted to create a movie for the big screen that had the appeal and wit of those innovative shorts," said Peter Del Vecho, the film's producer. "What originally endeared all of us adults and children to these characters was that they were distended animals that came to life in the imagination of a child. We wanted to renew that imagination in a big way."

Pooh and company will relinquish recent puppet-powered, computer-generated Disney Channel makeovers in favor of the old-fashioned illustrative style that places the silly bear and his friends among the pages of a storybook. Jim Cummings ("The Tigger Movie") returns as the voice of Pooh and Tigger, with John Cleese ("Monty Python") serving as the storyteller.

While this version of "Pooh" won't be produced by a computer or projected in 3-D, Del Vecho cautioned it wouldn't simply be a redux of past "Pooh" projects. He said the film, spearheaded by Disney and Pixar animation Chief John Lasseter, will trait five new original songs and a faster pace punctuated with humor that's fitting for modern audiences.

"We're definitely resyetting the franchise and using this film as the instance to set for the studio," said Del Vecho. "Many versions have been done, and it's been a way for the property to live on in children's minds, but we're eager this is a new phase for 'Winnie the Pooh.' It's a return to quality storytelling that's been missing in more recent projects."

Monday, November 8, 2010

World's longest cartoon revealed at Xiamen Int'l Animation Festival

The 3rd Xiamen International Animation Festival released yesterday and is hosted by the Xiamen Municipal Government. The festival drew over 100 animation companies from 12 regions of China came to partake in it.

According to the organizing group, invited by the COSPLAY organizing group, the largest cartoon in the world - Pili will be shown at the 3rd Xiamen International Animation Festival.

Pili is a marionette show from Taiwan. The TV series started in 1985, and it still persists today. The Pili marionette show is performed by many kinds of puppets, and uses state-of-the-art animation to help there its fighting art. The fragile design of the appearance and characteristics of each puppet has made Pili puppet show a well-known entertainment in Taiwan.

Apart from that, well-known animation artists will be partaking and give performances at the 3rd Xiamen International Animation Festival, including Taiwanese cartoonist Xiao Yanzhong, COSER and Xiao Xiao Bai.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

North Korea emerges as animation producer

North Korea’s information technology (IT) industry, in particular in the field of computer-based animation production, is well on its way to achieve success, according to a Dutch outsourcing specialist currently conducting IT business with North Korean companies.

The ceremony was planned by the Hanns Seidel Foundation, a German organization. “Pororo the Little Penguin,” an animated cartoon series, was an inter-Korean project finished in 2002. Also the same year, Akom, a South Korean company, also outsourced the production of “Empress Chung” to North Korea. The animation was released in 2005.

Tjia stated that some of the American Walt Disney animations were created by North Koreans, merely by accident. Politically North Korea and America have a barbed relationship and the American government prohibits the private sector from doing business with North Korean companies.

“There was a time when Walt Disney outsourced their animation production to countries in Asia like Vietnam or the Philippines. But the company didn’t have whole control over exactly which country the work was shaped, and found out later that some was produced in North Korea,” he said, adding that this was discovered after the animations had aired on TV.

An official at the Seoul Animation Center confirmed some of what the Dutchman said, confirming that Walt Disney’s outsourcing to Asia was true, and that’s accurately how South Korea’s animation industry took off. The news of a burgeoning animation industry in North Korea comes as a revelation to many who are used to hearing mainly about food shortage, human rights violations and the regime’s nuclear ambitions.