Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Cartoon Summer O' Paradise

Okay, this summer, unlike the past several years, I actually plan to see more than one movie. All of these movies will be (of course) animated. I really want to see what's in store for animation this summer, so I'm planning to see these three movies: Kung Fu Panda, WALL•E, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Why? Because I can...I think. Anyway, here are what these films are about, with a few of my own added thoughts. And I will write reviews on these films after I'm able to see them.

Name: Kung Fu Panda
Director(s): Mark Osborne and John Stevenson
Running Time: 91 minutes
Release Date(s): June 6th, 2008
Summary: The movies takes place in ancient China and stars Po (voiced by Jack Black), a panda who is possibly the laziest animal in all of China. Po is an apprentice noodle-maker and also a huge kung fu fanatic. But when an evil warrior by the name of Tai Lung (Ian McShane) escapes from prison, and all hope gets been put on a prophecy naming Po as the "Chosen One" the must defeat Tai Lung and save the day. Therefore, he must go an seek training from a kung fu master, Sifu (Dustin Hoffman), who "has trained five of the greatest warriors that the world has ever known", to fulfill his destiny. Rated PG.
Thoughts: Once again, DreamWorks gives us a funny animal movie. And of course, it has kung fu. And we all know how many martial arts movies we've seen, even if many of them didn't feature animals. Anyway, I'll just be seeing this one in hope for a good laugh, and to hope it doesn't fall into the old clichés.

Name: WALL•E
Director(s): Andrew Stanton
Running Time: Unknown
Distributors: Walt Disney Pictures (produced by Pixar)
Release Date(s): June 27th, 2008 (United States); July 18th, 2008 (United Kingdom); September 18th, 2008 (Australia)
Summary: It's the year 2700, and planet Earth has long been uninhabitable due to rampant, unchecked consumerism. For hundreds of years, WALL•E (Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-Class) has been on his lonely clean-up duty, and collecting a bunch of junk in order not to be bored. However, unknown to the little robot, WALL•E has recently stumbled onto a amazing secret that could save the planet Earth, and once again make the ravaged planet safe for all humankind. When the highly advanced search robot EVE comes to Earth to check on the clean-up, she quickly makes friends with WALL•E. When she realizes the value of his remarkable discovery, she excitedly races back to let the humans know that there's hope for their home planet after all. But after centuries alone in space, WALL•E can't stand the thought of losing the only friend he's ever known (and loved), and eagerly follows her into the deepest reaches of space for the adventure of a lifetime. Along the way, this friendly trash-collecting robot who has always known what he was built for slowly begins to understand what he was meant for. Features the voices of Fred Willard, Jeff Garlin, and Ben Burtt. Rated G.
Thoughts: This film won't fail to entertain the audidence and tickle the old funny bone with it's brilliant robotic comedy. After all, this is Pixar, and they never made a movie that a majority can honestly say sunk.

Name: Star Wars: The Clone Wars
Director(s): Dave Filoni
Running Time: Unknown
Distributors: Warner Bros. (produced by Lucasfilm Animation)
Release Date(s): August 14th, 2008 (Australia); August 15th, 2008 (United States)
Summary: The Clone Wars are raging between the Separatists and the Galactic Republic. When Jabba the Hutt's son is taken by a group of renegades, two Jedi are summoned to investigate. Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi depart in search of answers: where is the Hutt's son, and who is controlling this mysterious renegade group? Yoda sends Ahsoka Tano along as Anakin's apprentice, Obi-Wan duels Asajj Ventress, and Anakin finds himself dueling Count Dooku once more. Meanwhile, the Sith plan to instigate a three-way war, including the Hutts. Rated PG.
Thoughts: At first, I was scared of adding this to my summer movie list (which is very small, these are the only three movies I'm seeing). I didn't know anything about Star Wars. In fact, I feel asleep during a movie on a bus ride to a one week sleep-away camp last summer. But after being told that it would be an enjoyable adventure and that (while it may help) I don't have to watch any other movie to understand it, I decided "What the heck!" and put it down.

And those are all the movies I'm seeing this summer! And I think it will be some pretty great fun also, to actually go to the movies more than once a year.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

The Tednut of Months Past...

Things sure change huh? I made this teaser for my webtoon Tednut way back in December. You've gotta see the official Tednut website to see how Tednut is looking right now!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Cartoon Review - Ben 10: Alien Force

Yeah, it's a bit late, but better late than ever. I finally got around to writing a review on this sequel to the series Ben 10. Now, it's not because I wasn't able to watch, it was because I was lazy. So I watched the third episode last night (the premiere was a two-parter) on Cartoon Network Video and reviewed it. And this is what I got...
Name: Ben 10: Alien Force

Running Time: 22 minutes

Rating: B+

Premiere: April 18, 2008

If you came to see this show expecting to see the light action and witty batter that the original Ben 10 series thrived on, then you should turn back, because this series is a bit different. Ben 10: Alien Force takes place 5 years from where the first series left off, with a teenaged Ben Tennyson putting on the Omnitrix once more, in search for his lost grandfather Max. Coming along for the ride is his cousin Gwen and his former nemesis Kevin Levin. Along the way, they discover this huge alien conspiracy that involves an evil group of aliens planing to takeover the Earth...or destroy it. The series takes a more serious and possibly a darker note than the first series. This may be because of the fact that Glen Murakami, a key creative force on shows DCAU shows like Batman Beyond, Teen Titans and The Batman, is the supervising producer for the show.
Glen takes the show with a different perspective, and as a result, the show is a bit different from it's predecessor, but not so different as to near impossible to compare the two. Of course, that change in the feel of the show should be expected. After all, a lot can happen in five years. There is no longer much "hate" between Ben and Gwen, in fact, they get along a lot better as 15-year-olds then they did as 10-year-olds. Dwayne McDuffie has written the three episodes I've seen so far, and he also seems to be the story editor. He seems to invoke a continuing air of mystery within each episode of the series. Unlike the first show, there are less attempts (if any) at humor, and greater focus on possible character development and the story at hand. The voice actors for the main characters are all different from Ben 10. Ben is now voiced by Yuri Lowenthal, who usually voices a character in many English dubs of Japanese anime, when it comes to animation roles. And it's ironic that Ashely Johnson and Greg Cripes (respectively) voice Gwen and Kevin, when Kevin secretly loves Gwen. Let me point to the resume of these voice actors and see that that on the shows they both voiced on, the characters they voice are in love with each other. Could this led to a blooming Kevin and Gwen romance? Maybe. Or, then again, maybe not.
Anyway, the show started off with a huge bang, being the highest rated original series Cartoon Network premiered in it's entire history. And I must say, that's quite a statement. The show is amazing, and it will surely continue to be a hit, but it does have a few flaws, but nothing I can't deal with. One flaw is the aliens. Glen's excuse for it is that the original aliens covered pretty much all the bases, and I can't help but to disagree. So I have to excuse them for the mix-matched aliens that are really parts of previous episodes. Another is the fact of Gwen not really looking like you would think Gwen would look like when she's older. But then you soon forget about that while watching the show. So I'm giving Ben 10: Alien Force a B+, for it is a real step above the first Ben 10. And I will followup this series when it reaches 13 episodes (the halfway point of season one).

Friday, May 2, 2008

Succeeding in Animation

I've recently found this really interesting online booklet on how to succeed in the field of animation. Its pretty helpful, and is a pretty darn good read also. It will help you get a start in the wonderful world of animation. It's written by a man named Gene Deitch, who is a somewhat well-known animator, who has been behind several successful animated cartoons, such as Tom and Jerry (1960-1962), and Tom Terrific. His article, "How To Succeed In Animation" is a must-read for any inspiring animator/cartoonist. 

P.S.: John Kricfalusi, creator of animated series Ren and Stimpy, is looking for artists that can help him with new George Liquor cartoons. He finally got a sponsor and now he can make up to 40 minutes worth of George Liquor cartoons. If you are interested, go see his blog: all kinds of stuff

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