Time to hit the theaters
It is summer again and time to beat the heat and hit the theaters for Hollywoods (and Bristols) best animated offerings. Again it is an exciting summer with some very unique and interesting features being offered. DreamWorks Chicken Run looks to be an early favorite as the inside buzz is that the film is wonderful, full of Aardman Animations delightful magic. Kudos to DreamWorks for taking the risk of bringing a stop-motion feature to the big screen in the U.S. I hope it pays off for them big time, rewarding their efforts and spirit. DreamWorks is indeed a studio that started with the promise of bringing different animated stories to the big screen and I believe they are living up to their promises well. The Road to El Dorado was a delightful buddy romp; Antz was a fun blend of animation and adult humor; and Chicken Run is bringing Aardman and stop-motion to a wider audience.We should all hope that it proves successful and increases the general publics appetite for different forms of animation.
Fox Feature Animation is back with Titan, A.E., directed by veterans Don Bluth and Gary Goldman. In Larry Laurias two part interview with the directors we will be hearing about their approaches to filmmaking and story. This is Foxs first outing after the very hopeful Anastasia. Once again Fox is promising an adventure out of the animated ordinary, and I have heard good responses to the films trailer. With Henry Selicks stop-motion feature, Monkey Bone, finishing up in San Francisco, it seems like puppetry is indeed becoming a viable option to big studio execs. Perhaps more importantly, Monkey Bone, signifies that Fox Feature Animation is still a player in the animated feature game, despite the divisions gap between their first and second features.What is even more exciting is the varied subject matter and style of the two projects.
Rocky and Bullwinkle are coming to the big screen in style this summer. With big names attached and effects by Industrial Light & Magic and Wild Brain, Rocky and Bullwinkle may be a big screen adaptation that is a delightful off shoot of an original vs. a "re-make." Nostalgia and potential are running high and I cant wait to see it. Congratulations to June Foray, a.k.a. Rocket J. Squirrel and numerous other characters, on receiving a star on Hollywoods Walk of Fame on July 7, 2000. What a marvelous way to celebrate a legendary voice-actress and the voice over craft. In addition to her acting expertise, Junes efforts over the years to promote animation has benefited us all, especially her tireless work to promote the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences short film category. Every year on Oscar night our communitys animated shorts are put on display in front of the world, helping gain attention, recognition and distribution opportunities. We can thank June for helping to protect this, our moment in the sun. It is this sort of community service that makes June, not only a star, but a true treasure.
Finally, the film everyone is talking about is Dinosaur. What a controversy! Is it the future of animation as we know it? Or is it a well-hyped re-play of Jurassic Park? I have heard it all. However, no one can deny the amount of time, energy and money that went into bringing these prehistoric beasts to life. Indeed, during a tour of Disneys state-of-the-art facility, Rick DeMott, Associate Editor, and I wondered if it might have been simpler to re-generate the creatures from fossilized DNA but then we thought about the amount of acting training it would take and decided they had probably taken the safest route.
We couldnt wait for there to be a smorgasbord of animated feature films in a variety of technique and storytelling styles. It looks like 2000 is the summer where this wish has been granted. From classic 2D cels, to cool looking 2D/3D hybrids, to CGI and live-action mixes to the purely digital, this summer has it all. Good luck to everyone and save some popcorn for me!
Until Next Time,