blinkybill_movie

An icon of Australian children’s entertainment, Blinky Bill—a mischievous but environmentally conscientious koala—is the latest enduring and beloved character to get the glossy CG treatment in a new big screen outing.

A new teaser trailer provides a first glimpse of Blinky Bill: The Movie, and of Blinky himself (voiced by True Blood’s Ryan Kwanten) on his outback quest to find his missing father.

Blinky Bill is a co-production between Belgium’s Studio100 and Australia’s Flying Bark Productions (formerly Yoram Gross Film Studios). Announcing the film in 2014, producer Barbara Stephen promised that the film would “introduce a whole new generation to Blinky Bill and his Australian bush friends.” The film, directed by animation veteran Deane Taylor (a longtime Hanna-Barbera artist and art director on The Nightmare Before Christmas), is budgeted at under US$15 million.

Blinky Bill first rose to fame in the 1930s in a series of lavishly illustrated and conservation-themed books by Dorothy Wall. A new generation of children—those most loudly declaring blasphemy at the sight of the new film—was introduced to Blinky through the classic 1990s animated series The Adventures of Blinky Bill. The series, produced by Yoram Gross Film Studio, expanded on the exploits of Blinky and his marsupial companions—his kangaroo friend Splodge, platypus friend Flap, marsupial mouse friend Marcia, and wizened mentor Mr. Walter Wombat—and doubled down on the environmentalism of the original stories with strong anti-forestry messages. An earlier live-action/puppet series was made in the 1980s called The New Adventures of Blinky Bill.

There’s no sign of a pro-environment theme or most of those characters in the new movie, though the film will introduce Jacko, a “nervous frill-necked lizard,” and promises to reveal how Blinky met Mr. Wombat.

Among the Australian actors lending their voices to the film are Toni Collette and Barry Humphries (aka Dame Edna).

(Those not enthused about any of the above might want to hold out for Larrikinsanother animated adventure starring Australian critters in the outback—to be directed by comedian Tim Minchin for DreamWorks Animation and due for release in 2018.)

Blinky Bill: The Movie will be released in Australia on September 17, 2015.

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