Here’s another one of those European animated features, from 2009, that was somehow unable to achieve a release in the United States. Submitted for your approval, The True Story of Puss In Boots:
Your daily dose of bad:
From the people who brought you The Sissy.
Tracy Mark Lee, through his studio Electric Tiki Design, has been working on a maquette based on one of Freddy Moore’s always-appealing girl sketches. Here’s the finished painted piece, above. It’s just under 10″ tall and was sculpted by Kent Melton. Electric Tiki be offering limited edition reproductions in a few months; the price is not set but Lee says it will probably be in the $124.99 range. Check this page for further updates – but in the meantime, we have this little beauty to stare at. Me like!
Directed by Courtland Lomax
Music by Brian Young
Compositing by Ethan Metzger
Backgrounds and Character Designs by Brigette Barrager
Animation: Jennifer Hager, Jules Soto, Destiny Wood, Matt Pugnetti, Philip Vose and Courtland Lomax.
This is an unabashed plug for one of my all-time favorite TV shows. Nickelodeon just released the complete Invader Zim on DVD in two volumes and they were kind enough to send me Season One to review.
I always thought highly of this series, but watching it again this weekend reminded how good it truly was. And in light of the last ten years of subsequent shows on Nick, Disney Channel and Cartoon Network, it now plays like a TV animation masterpiece. I laugh long and hard at incidents, situations and visuals on this show, and if there is any justice it should be ranked alongside the likes of South Park and The Simpsons. I mean it.
Invader Zim barely lasted two seasons and has been relegated to cult status among animation buffs and devotees of Jhonen Vazquez’s comic book work. The show was too dark and subversive for Nick’s core demographic — and much of the humor flew past the heads of their younger viewers — but in retrospect Vazquez and his director Steve Ressel did everything right. The episodes never play it safe, nor are predictable. It marches to its own drummer – and that’s as it should be. And I can’t let this review end without mentioning the contributions of two personal friends: Richard Horvitz, who is perfectly cast as the manic voice of Zim; and my Cartoon Dump partner, Frank Conniff, who served as Story Editor.
Invader Zim was one of the last of the era of truly creator driven series and deserves to sit beside The Ren & Stimpy Show and Spongebob Squarepants as one of Nickelodeon’s best. These new DVDs sets are presented raw – no frills, no bonus materials – but deserve a place on your DVD shelf. I highly recommend it. Amazon link: click here.
This week, from the top: Close To Home (5/12) by John McPherson; three from The Quigmans (5/12, 5/13, 5/14) by Buddy Hickerson; Chuckle Bros. (5/14) by Brian and Roy Boychuk; Brevity (5/9) by Guy Endore-Kaiser and Rodd Perry; Moderately Confused (5/10) by Jeff Stahler.
(Thanks Jim Lahue, Jed Martinez, Charles Brubaker, Kurtis Findlay and Uncle Wayne)
Last night the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences opened it’s incredible Chuck Jones exhibit – a must-see for any animation fan living in or visiting the Los Angeles area this summer – but I’ve neglected to mention here the Academy’s equally incredible Ray Harryhausen installation. Located in the 4th Floor Gallery, this is a vital show for anyone with the slightest interest in animation, special effects or fantasy films.
Harryhausen’s original storyboards, paintings and production sketches from just about all his films are on view, along with video clips, behind-the-scenes photographs, original movie posters and of course – the stars of the show – the actual models themselves: the Kraken, the Cyclops, the Skeletons, the flying saucers and dinosaurs we’ve admired all our lives.
The Fantastical Worlds of Ray Harryhausen is free and open to the public to view during business hours Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on weekends, noon to 6 p.m. through August 22nd. The Academy’s galleries are located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills and will be closed for the Memorial Day (May 29 and 30) and Independence Day (July 3 and 4) holiday weekends. Go!
This is one of those “love it or hate it” experimental pieces. London based designer/director Andy Martin has just completed a new animated short called Dry Fish. Martin details his thought process on his blog:
“Sometime you find yourself in a place that you just can’t explain and quite often it can be a little bit worrying. This animated short tells of one such occasion as our hero tries to express his feelings in the only way he can…via the medium of song.”
Here’s a nice little animated opening title sequence from Henchin’, an otherwise live action short film by Javier Badillo. Badillo, an animator / filmmaker from Venezuela now living and working in Vancouver, wrote and storyboarded the sequence. He then gathered a team of local animation artists, including director Jeff Agala (Atomic Betty), to help produce the cartoon prelude:
If you are curious, you can watch the rest of the short here
This Friday, May 14th, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences will host its annual Marc Davis Celebration of Animation. This year the focus is on music in animated films. Oscar winning composer Michael Giacchino (The Incredibles) will lead a discussion on the subject with guests Pete Docter (Up) and composer Bruce Broughton (Rescuer’s Down Under; Tiny Tunes).
Presented in conjunction with the opening of the Academy’s Chuck Jones exhibition, the evening will include big-screen presentations of the animated shorts Music Land (1935), A Corny Concerto (1943), The Rabbit of Seville (1950) and more. If you haven’t got tickets, it may be too late. Standby tickets are available, numbers will be distributed at 5:30pm.
Good news if you live in Kentucky or the Greater Cincinnati, Ohio area. The Kentucky Symphony Orchestra is also featuring a program this weekend dedicated to cartoon scores. Steve and Julie Bernstein (composers for Animaniacs) and voice actor Rob Paulsen will appear along with author and cartoon music expert, Daniel Goldmark, who will moderate a discussion and host the program.
Looney Tuneage will begin at 8:00 p.m. Friday & Saturday May 14 & 15, at Notre Dame Academy’s Frances K. Carlisle Performing Arts Center (1140 Madison Ave. in Covington, Kentucky). For more information and tickets click here.
(Thanks, Chuck Rekow)
In 2005, a group of students at ESRA made a short film called Above Then Beyond. It has just surfaced on the internet and is worth a look. It sorta reminds me of another film… can’t think of the title. Can you?
Read more about the controversy at You Thought We Wouldn’t Notice.
Disney has just announced that it will theatrically release Goro Miyazaki’s Tales from Earthsea (Gedo Senki) in the US on August 13th under its Touchstone Pictures banner. This marks the second fully animated feature to be released under that label — the first being Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas (Who Framed Roger Rabbit, another Touchstone picture, was live-action/animated).
Hayao Miyazaki’s son, Goro directed this adaptation of Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea novels in 2006. The film was held up from US distribution due to an existing non-compete arrangement with Sci-Fi Channel, over their live action mini-series based on the same material. The voice cast in Disney’s dub includes Timothy Dalton, Willem Dafoe, Cheech Marin and Mariska Hargitay.