Disney is returning to its roots with a series of 19 new Mickey Mouse shorts to air on Disney Channel beginning this summer.
It’s been quite some time since Disney gave much, if any, love to its most famous character, Mickey Mouse. While he has shown up in video games such as Epic Mickey 2, he has been completely absent from the animation field. Well, it seems the House of Mouse is about to change all that and put him back where he belongs which is in short form cartoons.
Disney released a teaser short on Tuesday entitled Croissant de Triomphe to give everyone a taste of what to expect, and while the art style is somewhat new, it just felt right. Mickey, Minnie, Daisy and assorted other characters were there, and it just felt right. I had actually commented to a friend on Monday how I’ve missed the company doing short form animation spots of its key characters, and now my wish has been granted.
It’s about time Disney paid some respect again to the character that launched the corporate juggernaught we know today. Welcome back, Mickey, we’ve missed you.
Once a staple of weekday morning kids shows, Woody Woodpecker has all but disappeared from the American memory.
… so it makes perfect sense that someone is exploring the possibility of doing a new movie based on the character.
The Hollywood Reporter is saying that Universal’s animation house, Illumination Entertainment, is looking into a new Woody Woodpecker project. This would be the first time the character created in the 1940′s would hit a movie screen in decades, and he has even been absent from television for many years. While people are certain to remember the character, it is doubtful that anyone even cares about him any more.
Universal bought the rights to the character and all of his shorts in 1985, so why they are suddenly anxious to do something 26 years later is beyond me. We’ve seen how washed up characters do in films over the past few years (the Marmaduke and Underdog movies come to mind), but apparently having a standout success such as Alvin and the Chipmunks makes everyone think they can bring old characters back for a few dollars more.
I’m telling you right now, this movie is doomed to failure. Illumination does not turn in cheap productions, (Despicable Me had a $69 million budget, but it did turn a profit) and this is almost a sure fire flop at the sort of numbers they would be talking.
Hollywood continues to show us daily that they are out of ideas, but this one is really getting down to the bottom of the barrel.
ThunderCats, the cult classic cartoon from the 1980′s is officially on its way back to the small screen. ThunderCats – Ho!
The 1980′s were inundated with cartoons that served as half-hour long commercials for toy lines. While there were varying degrees of quality, one of the true standouts of the time period was ThunderCats.
While the toy line didn’t last very long, the cartoon series ran for four seasons, concluding in 1990. There have been talk for years of the series being revived, but nothing ever came of it, but now something has.
In production from Japanese animation house Studio 4°C, the new series will be aired on the Cartoon Network. Here’s the official press release.
Series Coming Soon to Cartoon Network
Roaring to life through WBA and Studio4°C’s use of the Japanese animated artistry of anime, “ThunderCats” characters Lion-O, Mumm-Ra, Panthro, Cheetara and others will spring off the screen with realistic cat-like characteristics inconceivable in previous incarnations.
The new “ThunderCats” will appeal to viewers who have loved the characters all their lives as well as young newcomers to the franchise. A sweeping tale combining swords and science and boasting ferocious battles with the highest of stakes, the grand origin story of Prince Lion-O’s ascension to the throne – and of those who would thwart his destiny at any cost – takes on epic dimensions in this sharp new telling. As the forces of good and evil battle each other in the quest for the fabled Stones of Power, Lion-O and his champions learn valuable lessons of loyalty, honor and mortality in every episode.
“ThunderCats” is executive produced by Sam Register (“Teen Titans,” “Ben 10,” “Batman: The Brave and the Bold”). Michael Jelenic (“Batman: The Brave and the Bold,” “Wonder Woman”) and Ethan Spaulding (“Avatar: The Last Airbender”) are the producers.
If I’m looking back at another cartoon series, it means I’ve worked my way through another DVD set while working out.
It’s been a while since I reviewed an old cartoon series, but after I hurt my left arm back in Nov., I had to change my workouts for a while and that meant no watching cartoons. Now I’m back at it, and this time through it was the 1980′s syndicated series Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers.
Running for a series of 65 episodes, the series dealt with four human police agents known as the Galaxy Rangers. Each had a special power that was enhanced by their Series 5 Ranger badges that had to be charged every so often. Over the course of the series they were mainly fighting against the Queen of the Crown who would turn various creatures souls into things called Psycho Crystals that would then power her army of Slaver Lords.
Okay, I swear the series was a lot cooler than this sounds …
It started airing in 1986, and it was very clear that Japanese Animation (Anime) was influencing this series. While it had somewhat of a cheap feel at times, and some of the lip syncing could have been way better, it had some real moments of great animation.
What sunk the series was it aired very randomly due to being syndicated, and while I was crazy for it at the time, watching the complete series made it clear I had missed a large chunk of the 65 episodes. If someone who was trying to catch them all missed a lot of it, I can only imagine what it was like for casual viewers.
Do I think it would be worthwhile for someone to check out now? Actually, yes. It was a fun series, it was ahead of its time and it deserves to be remembered. Just don’t expect to be blown away.
Luckily for you, it used to be impossible to find it, but now you can find it on Adventures of the Galaxty Rangers DVDs (Affiliate link) and on Hulu. Yes … hulu … all 65 episodes can be watched for free. For those who can see it, the first episode is embedded below the cut.
Apparently Warner Brothers has a lot of faith in the Green Lantern movie because the studio is already moving forward on a sequel.
The long-awaited Green Lantern movie is currently filming, and isn’t due for release until June 17, 2011, but apparently that isn’t stopping Warner Brothers with moving ahead with big plans for the franchise.
At the end of May, Cartoon Network, another property of Warner Brothers, announced that it was working on Green Lantern: The Animated Series for release next fall. A toy line for the movie and cartoon are a given also, and already announced, but that isn’t all that’s coming.
Really? You haven’t even finished the first film, and you’re moving ahead on the second? You must have a lot of faith in this movie, and as a life-long fan of the character, I hope it works out, but man do I think this is ambitious. This character has next to no track record with the general public, and this is a whole lot of eggs to put in his basket without knowing for sure how it will go.
Count me in for the ride, I just hope enough other people follow along.
What is that old saying about everything old becoming new again? Apparently Hollywood is living by this motto.
Apparently 25th anniversaries are the time to dig up properties from the past and try to “modernize” them, usually to great failure. Being a child of the 1980′s cartoon boom, I am now getting to atch my childhood get massacred by people who think they can improve the properties. The Transformers movies are a prime example of things going wrong, and don’t even get me started on that train wreck that was the G.I. Joe movie.
Now we’re up to the anniversaries of Voltron and ThunderCats, and, yep, here we go again.
I wasn’t a huge ThunderCats fanatic, so I skipped mentioning the news last week of a new “Anime style” series coming to Cartoon Network. I rolled my eyes and moved along. Now, according to Variety, Nicktoons has struck a deal for a new 26-episode run of half-hour cartoons called Voltron Force that will “revolve around an edgier, modernized robot”.
Don’t mind em … I’m just going to be crying in the corner for a minute.
The whole reason this is happening is that a live-action feature film stalled out multiple times, and so now the current rights holders, World Event Prods and Classic Media, have decided to relaunch the property as an animated series, and then make another run at doing a film. Do a new series all you want, but why change the classic robot? It still isn’t a bad looking design!
The only good news to come out of this is Mattel has been awarded the toy license, and in addition to doing items based on the new series, they will also release some items based on the classic property. Okay, cool, I can get behind getting an all new shiny CLASSIC Voltron, but why or why do they have to modernize this thing?
Oh well, what ya gonna do? At least I have classic episodes to watch should the mood hit me, and I can skip this new abomination.
Warner Brothers announced this week that sometime after the Green Lantern movie launches on June 17, 2011, we will be seeing Green Lantern: The Animated Series on Cartoon Network. (Some are saying Nov. 2011, but that isn’t official yet) I can’t believe it has taken this long for this to happen.
After the success of Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series and Justice League Unlimited, you would have thought Green Lantern would be a natural to get his own series, but, as always, he gets bumped to second string status for some unknown reason. This has to be one of the most “toy line friendly” properties in all of the DC Comics universe, and yet the whole franchise has been shoved aside for years.
I mean, lets be blunt here folks, all cartoons are about the merchandising, so lets run down some of the reasons this has always baffled me:
The Green Lantern Corps – Hal Jordan is just one of 3600 Green Lanterns tasked with policing the universe … that’s 3600 different species of Green Lanterns … 3600 different characters/action figures you can create.
Due to the ring’s ability to make anything a Lantern can imagine, core characters can be released endlessly with different accessories.
Villains are also endless due to numerous species, Sinestro, a turn-coat former Green Lantern, uses a yellow ring with similar powers, so he can also be released with endless accessories.
Hello … ring and lantern role-play items sized for kids … duh.
Main Power Battery of Oa (homeworld of the Guardians of the Universe who created the Corps) playset.
There ya go Mattel or Hasbro, I just created at least your first two waves of toys for you. You’re welcome.
It’s the merchandising potential that always confused me why this character wasn’t getting more attention, but make no mistake, I want to see the stories. This is a concept that has enthralled me since I was a kid that the ring chooses you based on the strength of your will power. In theory, anyone with a strong will could become the next Green Lantern, and once you had the ring, you could conjure up anything you could imagine. What kid wouldn’t love this concept?
Count me in as totally watching everything they make for this property.
Running from September 11, 2004 to March 8, 2008 on the Kids WB animation block for five seasons, The Batman was faithful to the source material while also finding a way to do a re-imagninaing of the character all at the same time.
Confused? Don’t worry, so was I.
While the series kept the basics of Bruce Wayne being Batman and Alfred as his butler, pretty much everything else was turned topsy-turvey by this series: The Joker was a barefooted wild man, the Riddler had numerous henchmen and a different origin, Clayface was a police detective that was a childhood friend of Bruce and so on. There were also changes such as Batgirl appearing on the scene before Robin which threw me for a total loop as that is so outside of the normal timeline.
The animation style took some getting used to (example to the right), since I had come to love the slickness and stylized versions in Batman: The Animated Series and Batman Beyond, this was by far the most “cartoony” looking. Does it mean it was bad? Of course not, just had more of a “kid friendly” vibe to it, which is why I think a lot of people skipped it.
Of all the animated Batman series of the past two decades (not counting Brave & The Bold since I have seen a whopping one episode), this was my least favorite, but that isn’t to say it was bad, it was just the most inconsistent. Characters came and went with no real rhyme or reason (Det. Yin had a bit of a cliffhanger at the end of season 2, and then we never saw her again, although she was mentioned in a “future” episode as being the new police commissioner), continuity seemed secondary and in general the writing was very uneven. It was still watchable despite these nitpicks, but if you have to pick just one series to watch, I think it will always be Batman: The Animated Series coming out on top.
Disclosure: Hey, FTC, no one gave me a flippin’ thing to write this up, and I paid for the DVDs out of my own pocket. To my readers, if you have no idea what I’m talking about, you can read about it here.
If you’ve never heard of Batman Beyond, don’t worry, you aren’t alone.
Back in February I talked about having just completed watching all of Batman: The Animated Series, and commented how nice it was to see some form of media outside of the comic books get the Batman formula correct. Well, after completing that series I moved on to the next animated Batman project, Batman Beyond.
Running from January 10, 1999 to December 18, 2001, Batman Beyond took place approxiamtely 20 years in the future (um… yeah… flying cars, impossibly large buildings, completely AI robots, all of that’s only 20 years from now… uh-huh) after an ailing Bruce Wayne has had to retire the mantle of the Batman. Gotham City has been without a Batman for several years now, and crime is again on the rise: random crimes, teenagers who worship the deceased Joker run gangs called The Jokers, corporate crimes and a whole lot more.
Terry McGinnis is a 16-year-old that has a troubled past, but after his father is killed for discovering wrong doings at the Wayne-Powers corporation, he becomes obsessed with discovering why his father was killed. While trying to figure out what happened to his father, he questions Bruce Wayne and stumbles across his long buried secret. Terry decides to take up the idenity of the Batman against Wayne’s wishes, but he begrudgingly accepts him for training and they form a partnership where Bruce stays in the Bat Cave and directs him via video and audio feeds. (Much, much later, it was revealed in an episode of Justice League Unlimited that Bruce was actually Terry’s biological father via DNA manipulation, but even Bruce was unaware of this early on)
Having watched all three seasons I have to say it wasn’t nearly as bad as some people have made it out to be. The villians weren’t quite as strong as Batman’s original Rogue’s Gallery which leads to some moments where you feel no real challenge to Terry’s Batman. The series did seem to spend a lot more time on actual character development than Batman: The Animated Series, which as fine with me as I prefer seeing characters develop over time as opposed to just never ending fight after fight. Considering some of the views online, I appear to be pretty much alone in this opinion, but oh well, I liked it.
Apparently Comcast subscribers can check out the first season on the Kids WB on Demand service, beyond that you can pick it up fairly cheap on DVD and it’s worth a look if you missed it when it aired and are desperate for something to watch. Would I go out of my way to see it? Doubtful, but it was entertaining while I was lifting weights. Next up: The Batman (which I am already in season 2 of, just didn’t have time to write this up before)
How did a cartoon nail the real Batman formula better than any of the movies?
I recently purchased the complete box set of the 1992 Batman: The Animated Series (B:TAS) cartoon, and I’ve been working my way through the episodes as I exercise. (my workout happens to almost exactly match the length of 2 episodes) The first thing I have to say about it is that I had forgotten just how good this series was. I remember loving the heck out of it when it first aired, but it’s even better than I remembered.
The second point, and the biggest one, is how did this series get closer to the true Batman formula than any of the movies? Don’t get me wrong, I love Batman Begins and The Dark Knight, but my biggest complaint with them, and the previous series of four films, is the almost total lack of detective work on the part of Batman. Beyond his physical prowess, Batman has always been labeled the greatest detective the world has ever seen, but in the movies he always seems to solve everything either through complete blind luck, or some amazing gadget.
The closest we have seen to him doing anything in this style was in The Dark Knight when he was getting the fingerprint off the mangled bullet, and following that print to a man’s apartment. An episode of B:TAS was approximately 22-minutes in length, so you can’t chalk it up the movies not being long enough to feature such scenes when they clock in around 2.5 hours each. And I’m not talking about having like 10-minute long scenes of him researching, just have him look up from a microscope when Alfred walks in, or show him using a centrifuge to test a blood sample; any of those types of scenes could be wrapped up in just a few seconds. I really don’t think this is too much to ask from the films.
The third, and last, point about the series is that while I loved it, it became painfully obvious that they had zero sense of continuity with itself. Take the strange case of Robin, Batman’s sidekick. Through out the series he just randomly popped in and out of the show with no real sense of how the stories connected to one another. He first appeared in the second episode of the series, “Christmas with the Joker”, living in Wayne Manor with Bruce. He next appears a full 22 episodes later in episode 24, “Fear of Victory”, living in a college dorm room with a roommate. He appears randomly through out the series, and his origin isn’t touched on until the second season of the series.
Nitpicky? Yes it is, but when you are watching them in their true order, and multiple viewings per day, it kind of sticks out like a sore thumb.
Overall it is a pleasure to watch, and one I highly recommend to anyone needing a supplement to their Batman addiction while we wait for another movie to be made.