ENJOY THE SHOW
"Take an amazing journey to an enchanted world that holds a secret…" There's a new animated film hitting theaters later this month, for those who are curious about indie animated features. Ice Dragon: Legend of the Blue Daisies is directed by Bruce Stacey, and it's a musical adventure set in a mystical land. The story follows Melody, voiced by Rheal Rees, a gifted young dreamer and her friend Leif, voiced by Justin Debé. They must set aside their differences and use the power of magical Blue Daisies and an ancient song to save their world from an evil Ice Dragon. The voice also cast includes Bill Bray. The film is the first of a planned trilogy of films that will follow the adventures of Melody and Leif as they unlock the secrets and power of the song. This looks super low budget and not very impressive, but it may be entertaining to some.
"And we are online…!" Disney has released the first teaser trailer for the highly anticipated animated sequel Wreck-It Ralph 2, titled in full Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2, the latest from Disney Animation in Burbank. John C. Reilly returns as the voice of Ralph, the "bad guy" who is really a good guy, from the first Wreck-It Ralph released in 2012. This time he follows Vanellope, voiced again by Sarah Silverman, into the internet and there they meet the "netizens", getting in all kinds of trouble and, as the title says, they wind up breaking the internet. The full cast features Taraji P. Henson, Kelly Macdonald, Kristen Bell, Mandy Moore, Alan Tudyk, Jane Lynch, Idina Menzel, Jack McBrayer, and Jodi Benson, with rumors that a bunch of classic Disney characters might show up as cameos as well. This is just a teaser, but it's a nice re-introduction to Wreck-It Ralph and the web he's stuck in this time. Have fun.
Dogs rule! There's really nothing else like a Wes Anderson-directed stop-motion animated film. That is especially true for Isle of Dogs, the latest one-of-a-kind stop-motion animated creation from the mind of this master filmmaker. Isle of Dogs is a very Japanese film, set entirely in a retro-future Japan where dogs have been outlawed by cat-loving government villains. It's endlessly imaginative, unlike anything I've ever seen before, with incredible detail in every single frame. So much so, that it's almost hard to keep up with all of it - I want to pause and study each frame/set/scene before continuing. The film is amusing and funky, sometimes a bit clunky, with plenty of Anderson's typical quirky humor and wacky characters galore. It's so funky that some may not connect, but there's an undeniable charm that definitely won me over by the end.
"I have my mind, my spirit, and all of you." Warner Bros has unveiled an official US trailer for the Japanese anime movie Batman Ninja, which re-imagines Batman as a samurai warrior who must save a town. We posted two awesome trailers for this movie late last year, and it looks seriously badass. WB also confirmed an official US release date - April 24th on VOD, then May 8th on Blu-ray/DVD for those who still need a hard copy. Batman Ninja is directed by Junpei Mizusaki with character design by Takashi Okazaki, and is about Batman defending a town in feudal Japan after being transported there by Gorilla Grodd's time displacement machine. The English voice cast includes Roger Craig Smith as Batman and Tony Hale as the Joker, plus Grey Griffin, Tara Strong, and Fred Tatasciore. That voice cast is pretty good, making this actually sound slick in English. I'm excited to see this no matter what, hope it's as awesome as it looks.
"True love may fly into your heart!" GKids has debuted a new official trailer for their upcoming released of the Korean animated movie Satellite Girl and Milk Cow, or The Satellite Girl and Milk Cow / Uribyeol Ilho-wa Eollukso, from "the brilliant and slightly twisted mind" of writer & director Chang Hyung-yun. This film was actually released back in 2014 in Korea, and played at a few film festivals in 2014 and 2015, but is just now getting released in US theaters four years later. Satellite Girl and Milk Cow is described as "a heartfelt and wildly entertaining commentary on the possibility for human connection in the crazy, mixed-up, post-modern world we live in." GKids' president David Jesteadt is also excited about showing it to US audiences, saying it's "a truly original, fantasy anime sci-fi rom-com, just bursting with humor and heart. I'm hoping as many people as possible get the opportunity to see this remarkable film." This looks crazy fun.
"Home stay home." Universal has debuted a new TV spot to promote the Olympics featuring footage from the new animated version of The Grinch. We still haven't seen an actual trailer for this movie yet, so this is our first look and it's a fun 30-second spot showing off the furry green character. This version of Dr. Seuss' The Grinch is being made by Illumination Entertainment (of Despicable Me, Minions, Pets, The Lorax) and stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the voice of Christmas meanie The Grinch. No other official voice cast has been revealed yet. The footage is all themed specifically for the Olympics and likely won't show up in the actual movie, but at least it's something to start with for now. I'm also not sure why the teaser poster shows a very young Grinch - perhaps we'll see his origin story in this, too? We'll have to wait to find out. For now, check out the new TV spot below and enjoy your first look at The Grinch movie in theaters this November.
The latest stop-motion animated movie made by Aardman Animations is now playing in cinemas in the UK, and opens in theaters in the US in just a few weeks (starting February 16th). Early Man is their latest creation, directed by Nick Park (watch the final trailers). For a glimpse behind-the-scenes, Tested's Adam Savage got to visit Aardman in Bristol, England and take a look at their process of creating clay models and animating them to make a movie. The video he released focuses specifically on the modeling clay they use, and how they make it so the colors are perfect every single time. "Just what kind of sculpting material is used in making the stop-motion animation characters at Aardman?" Find out in the inside look video below.
"Do you know what makes a real hero?" Warner Bros has debuted the first teaser trailer for the big screen, feature version of the "Teen Titans" animated superhero series, titled Teen Titans Go! To The Movies, hitting theaters this July. "Teen Titans Go! to the Movies finds our egocentric, wildly satirical Super Heroes in their first feature film extravaganza — a fresh, gleefully clever, kid-appropriately crass and tongue-in-cheek play on the superhero genre, complete with musical numbers." The voice cast includes Will Arnett and Kristen Bell, plus Greg Cipes as Beast Boy, Scott Menville as Robin, Khary Payton as Cyborg, Tara Strong as Raven, and Hynden Walch as Starfire, reprising their roles from the series. This looks very funny, as expected. The Wonder Woman gag in this is pretty good, along with all the meta-jokes. Enjoy.
"Humankind vs. the largest Godzilla ever." Netflix Japan has released an official trailer for the anime movie Godzilla: Monster Planet, which will be available for streaming worldwide from Netflix later this month. Thankfully not long of a wait after opening in Japan in November. Japan's big movie studio Toho produced that new live-action Godzilla movie Shin Godzilla in 2016, and followed it up with this new anime movie. The two could not be more different, with this one being set in the far future. After half-century of the war against gigantic monsters, the human race, deciding to escape the planet Earth for safety, creates a small group to go on a exhibition mission back to the planet. Only to return to a world dominated by Godzilla. The voice cast includes Kana Hanazawa, Ken'yû Horiuchi, Yuki Kaji, and Kenta Miyake. Watch below.
"Being a warrior won't make you a great man. Being a great man means living without chains." Vertical Entertainment has debuted an official trailer for an animated movie titled Bilal: A New Breed of Hero, which premiered back in 2015 and 2016 at film festivals but is just getting a theatrical release in the US in February of 2018, this year. Long delay, but this received some positive reviews so maybe it's worth the wait. The film comes from the Middle East and is made by animation studio Barajoun Entertainment, telling the story of a boy with a dream of becoming a great warrior who is abducted into slavery. The voice cast for the English-language version of the movie includes Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Ian McShane, Jacob Latimore, China Anne McClain, Cynthia Kaye McWilliams, and Michael Gross. This looks like an entertaining animated adventure, telling a story that we don't normally see on this side of the world. Enjoy.
"Without third generation Emily, my brain is now an obsolete storage drive without a purpose." Alert! It's time to watch the highly anticipated, super-intelligent, sci-fi sequel World of Tomorrow Episode Two. Acclaimed filmmaker Don Hertzfeldt is back(!) with another of his one-of-a-kind animated shorts called World of Tomorrow Episode Two (in full the title is World of Tomorrow Episode Two: Burden of Other People's Thoughts), the sequel to his highly successful World of Tomorrow from a few years ago. We posted a teaser trailer last month, and now the full short film is available to rent on Vimeo (please support indie filmmakers like Don Hertzfeldt). This initially premiered at Fantastic Fest to many rave reviews, including a rare A+ from David Ehrlich at Indiewire. If your brain needs a reboot and refresh, this film will help. Enjoy.
"I mustn't give up… I made a promise…!" GKids has unveiled an official US trailer for the Japanese anime Mary and the Witch's Flower, made by Studio Ponoc. This film already opened in Japan in July, and we featured the Japanese trailers leading up to that release. Studio Ponoc is the spiritual successor to Studio Ghibli started by a bunch of former Ghibli animators. Their first film tells the story of a girl who discovers a broomstick and goes to a witches school only to learn that the animals are being kept in cages. Directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi, with music by Takatsugu Muramatsu, based on "The Little Broomstick". This trailer features English language voices, since it will be released for one night in theaters dubbed in English. Check it out below if you're still interested. The English language version features the voice talents of Ruby Barnhill (from Spielberg's The BFG), Kate Winslet, and Jim Broadbent. Still looks wonderful to me.