ENJOY THE SHOW
"I want to learn the ways of the Force and become a Jedi, like my father." Disney + Lucasfilm have debuted the first set of animated shorts films for a new series they're calling Star Wars Galaxy of Adventures. These shorts feature key moments from the Star Wars cinematic franchise re-told in short form animation, in order to "introduce the classic themes, pivotal moments, and iconic characters from the Star Wars saga to the next generation." In addition to the new series of shorts being debuted online, a new Hasbro toy line is debuting at Walmart in December and expanding nationwide in January 2019. The first six of the 1-minute shorts are available now, and explore Luke's meeting with Obi-Wan, Vader's pursuit of Leia and his reign, plus introductions to R2-D2 and Chewbacca. These are pretty cool - even if they are made for kids. Enjoy.
The holidays are just around the corner, which means new holiday ads to get you in the mood to spend more money. Apple released their holiday ad last week titled Share Your Gifts, which is a 3-minute animated short film about a girl who makes wonderful things but is afraid to share them with the world. Until one day her greatest creation gets blown out the window and ends up in the hands of locals, who love it. The short features practical hand-made sets, with CG animation for all the characters - a mix of stop-motion-esque set design and computer animation. This is one of Apple's first ever fully animated ads, and it's quite charming. I love the set design, and the oversized sweater she wears, and her big shaggy dog. This is delightful - enjoy.
"An overflow of doubt became a burden on their back." This is a short film that is beautifully made and just as powerful in getting a message across. The Ostrich Politic is an outstanding animated short directed by filmmaker Mohamad Houhou, about a world made up of ostriches, with a society and culture just like our own. The story is about how they are unable to deal with change, visualized by the ostriches and the way they bury their head when ther're afraid. If that isn't a clear reference for what's happening with humanity, then I don't know what is. But the honest storytelling, and impressive animation to go along with it, makes this so soothing and persuasive. Featuring narration by Kester Lovelace & Fabrice Ziolkowski. Enjoy.
"Will you help me rescue my friends?" Warner Bros has released the second official trailer for The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, the sequel to the wildly successful and highly acclaimed original The Lego Movie released in 2014. This one isn't directed by Phil Lord & Chris Miller, but they did write the screenplay and they did produce it, so this is still very much their work. This time around, the citizens of Bricksburg must fight off Duplo invaders from outer space. The main voice cast includes Chris Pratt, Alison Brie, Stephanie Beatriz, Elizabeth Banks, Channing Tatum, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman, Jonah Hill, and Tiffany Haddish. WB already made two other Lego "spin-off" movies about Batman and Ninjago in the meantime, but they're bringing it back to the original story about Emmet Brickowski and Wyldstyle. The first teaser was great, this trailer is even better. I'm already totally sold on this, thankfully not long of a wait.
"I wonder what other sounds I can make?!" Catnip is some potent stuff! Ha ha. Universal + Illumination Entertainment have released the second teaser trailer for Chris Renaud's The Secret Life of Pets 2, the sequel to the animated hit from a few years ago about pets and the life they have after their owners leave for work. This is a teaser focused entirely on the cat Chloe, voiced by Lake Bell, who was also in the original. The first teaser was focused more on the main dog, Max, so expect more character teasers for the other pets as well. The main voice cast also includes Patton Oswalt, Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart, Dana Carvey, Albert Brooks, Hannibal Buress, Bobby Moynihan, Kylie Hart, Nick Kroll, and Pete Holmes. I'm enjoying the multiple first looks at the big animated movies next year (like Toy Story 4). Gimme more.
"Becoming a space explorer takes time. And money." If you're looking for something to cheer you up, bring a bit of joy to your day, this might just do the trick. Coin Operated is an animated short film written & directed by Nicholas Arioli. An engineer by training but an artist at heart, Nicholas spent years in the technology industry before making the jump to filmmaking. "Proudly made by independent artists" it says in the credits at the end, a short film made without any agenda, just a desire to tell a good story. This reminds me a bit of the opening in Up, and the other recent young astronaut animated short One Small Step, but still has its own feel to it as well. It's a delightful story, plus the animation is top notch - definitely worth a watch.
"What are you doing in my swamp?!" Comedy group 3GI has release an official trailer for their upcoming Shrek remake, titled Shrek Retold. This unofficial recreation of the original classic (right?) animated film from 2001 is a scene-for-scene re-telling of the same story. 3GI, self-proclaimed "professional Shrekheads" who also host the annual Shrekfest celebrated in Wisconsin, went out and recruited over 200+ animators and filmmakers to tackle each scene from the film. This trailer gives us a little taste of what to expect and it's totally weird and wacky and creative and fun and twisted. I don't even know what to make of all of this, there's so many different styles and ideas packed into this Shrek Retold trailer. You have to see for yourself.
"Welcome to the park - have a nice day!" Paramount Animation has debuted the full, official trailer for their latest creation, an animated adventure movie titled Wonder Park taking us to a magical amusement park called Wonderland. There isn't much known about the story, except that it involves this park "where the imagination of a wildly creative girl named June comes alive." This seems like a mash-up of Zootopia and Tomorrowland, with everything being so imaginative, plus all the talking animals. Brianna Denski voices June, and the primary cast includes Jennifer Garner, Matthew Broderick, John Oliver, Mila Kunis, Kenan Thompson, Ken Jeong, Norbert Leo Butz, and Ken Hudson Campbell. This looks like a ton of fun, though I'm not sure about the infighting in the park, but the rest of it seems thoroughly entertaining.
"They did make three movies, this is number four!" Disney has revealed a fun follow-up to their first teaser trailer for Pixar's next sequel Toy Story 4, arriving in theaters in June next summer. This "teaser trailer reaction" introduces us to Ducky & Bunny, voiced by Keegan Michael-Key & Jordan Peele, who provide us with some amusing commentary on our introduction to Forky. This teaser also includes a few Easter Eggs hidden in the background, like the guitar from Coco and more. I despise trailer reaction videos, but this one is a good mockery and in-world which makes it all the better. All the other regular voices are back: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Kristen Schaal, and Bonnie Hunt. This is a fun and playful way to get us back into the Toy Story mood, especially considering there is so much negativity about Forky already.
"There was a time when it was always summer, and life for the animals was peaceful and worry free. Then, one day, winter came to the forest for the very first time…" Baobab Studios has released a trailer for an indie animated short film titled Crow: The Legend, being distributed on VR platforms and also on YouTube this month. Inspired by the original Native American tale of the Crow, the short film features a bright and colorful crow who must make a sacrifice when winter arrives to save his friends. John Legend voices Crow, and the cast includes Oprah Winfrey, Constance Wu, Tye Sheridan, Diego Luna, and Liza Koshy. Executive produced by Baobab Studios, Get Lifted, and Native Americans in Philanthropy. This is one of a few high profile VR shorts, interesting to see this story being told in this way. Worth a look.
"I'm not a toy!!" Disney has unveiled the first teaser trailer for Pixar's next sequel Toy Story 4, arriving in theaters in June next summer. This continuation of the beloved Toy Story series, which has been solid even two sequels in so far, introduces us to another new "toy" that will cause problems with the old friends. This little guy is called "Forky" - voiced by Tony Hale - and he's a spork craft project gone awry. With a while until release, this teaser is just a tiny bit of footage - more of an introduction. And it's quite something. Other headlines about this are great: "One of These Toys Is Not Like the Others". Ha, yep. All the voices are back: Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Kristen Schaal, and Bonnie Hunt. I like this so far, but I'm not really sure where they're going to take the story. This must just be the beginning. Have a look below.
"But how do I get home?" GKids has debuted another official US trailer for the animated film Mirai, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in Directors' Fortnight this year. This new trailer features an English-language dub, to compliment the other two US trailers with the original Japanese voices. The latest film by master Japanese animation filmmaker Mamoru Hosoda (The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Summer Wars, Wolf Children, The Boy and the Beast), the film is a delightful adventure following a young Japanese boy living with his parents. His life is disrupted by the arrival of a newborn baby girl, named Mirai, which his parents bring home one day. He soon after discovers a magical garden in his home which enables him to travel through time and meet his relatives from different eras. He's guided by his younger sister from the future. The English-language voice cast includes John Cho, Rebecca Hall, and Daniel Dae Kim. Enjoy.