Thanks to Cartoon Brew, we found out about several interesting new animated films coming soon to Netflix. Among them is Thelma the Unicorn. “Thelma is a small-time pony who dreams of becoming a glamorous music star. In a pink and glitter-filled moment of fate, Thelma is transformed into a unicorn and instantly rises to global stardom. But this new life of fame comes at a cost.” Don’t know much about this one otherwise, but it’s directed by Jared Hess (Napoleon Dynamite, Nacho Libre) and Lynn Wang (Unikitty!), and it’s due on May 17th.
We stumbled across this announcement in Variety recently: “Germany’s Studio 100 Media and Spain’s 3Doubles Producciones have teamed to develop animated adventure comedy Flamingo Flamenco. The script has been written by Rob Sprackling, whose credits include Shaun the Sheep Movie, Gnomeo & Juliet, and The Queen’s Corgi. Flamingo Flamenco follows the journey of Rosie, a young and exuberant flamingo, as she navigates personal loss and seeks to rediscover the joy of dance. The action is set against the backdrop of the beautiful Fuente de Piedra lagoon in Andalucía, Spain… The family-friendly entertainment feature ‘promises an enchanting and passionate blend of adventure, comedy and heartwarming moments’, according to a statement from Studio 100 Film, adding that the film ‘…emphasizes the importance of perseverance, self-discovery and the power of determination’. ” No word yet about any possible distribution in North America, but the film’s not scheduled to be completed until the fall of 2026. In the meantime, check out that poster! (Girl!)
When writing this article for 2022's works, my thought was to help present short furry animations in a way that’d promote organic discussion. I enjoyed doing it, so will try to make it an annual tradition. As I was going through the Ursa Major recommended list, I found these entries had become a bit longer than last year; there were also more of them, so they took more time to review, but for most it was well worth the time.
These are the eleven I felt were most worth a view, plus a bonus, lightly-viewed short not on the Recommended list that I felt worth talking about.
White Fang, and
The Bears' Famous Invasion of Sicily.
All of these films successfully blend 3D and 2D animation in their own different styles.
White Fang is the most 3D, applying a brush-like texture to characters to create a 2D, painted look.
After 16 years since his first movie and eight years since his last, in Kung Fu Panda 4, the titular panda Po will return March 8 of next year. He's been holding something back for a while now, and as this trailer shows, he's finally going to get it all out of his system. (People might have been expecting it to be bit bigger, actually.)
The Boy and the Heron was released earlier in the year in Japan by Studio Ghibli, with no trailer and minimal advertising, the point being made that it is a movie by Hayao Miyazaki from Studio Ghibli. Like, if you know, you know, and if you don't, keep mum because the people who know will judge you. In America, GKIDS is the distributor, and they mostly kept to this same strategy, though as it had already been out in Japan over half the year and had it's Western debut at the Toronto International Film Festival, so they did eventually release a trailer. The film is available in Japanese with English subtitles, or English dubbing; both versions were available at my local cinema, so unless you're situated in a very rural area, it shouldn't be that hard to find your preference. This review is based on the English dubbed version; Ghibli films have traditionally had good English dubbing, and this film is no exception.
Hello you! Welcome to the last Digging Up Positivity of the season and trust me, we are ending with a bang... or shall we say squeek? With the Mother of the Dutch Angel Dragons, the Matriarch herself: Telephone. And we also have more charity news, animation, creativity and much more. I just can’t wait to show you all the things! But first the charities.
Captain Laserhawk: Blood Dragon Remix is a Netflix animated series from Ubisoft Film & Television. The executive producer, Adi Shankar, previously worked on Castlevania, another Netflix animated series. The show is loosely based off of Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon. In fact, this show references multiple Ubisoft franchises, which has led to the show gaining interest online. Most of the notoriety that this show has been gathering has been its depiction of Ubisoft's former mascot, Rayman. I know seeing Rayman swear like a sailor piqued my interest for the show. Luckily, the show is a lot more than just showing beloved gaming mascots swear.
What's become clear is that thanks to Covid, film distribution is a mess. Some animated films are endlessly delayed, some get shown early at film festivals before getting a limited release up to a year later in their home country, and some just... show up, and it's anyone's guess which streaming services will carry them, or for how long.
For many of the films below, I can't find streaming versions yet - this might be because I'm in Canada. If you find out they're available in your area, let us know in the comments. (Justwatch has been a great help.)
I'll provide ratings from IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes with [I=] and [RT=], if available. This list relied largely on Wikipedia. It's an okay source for older films, but isn't especially reliable for upcoming titles. So this is definitely an incomplete list. For babysitting films, Sturgeon's Law usually applies (90% of everything is crud). But perhaps there will be a few unexpected surprises - time will tell! So first, let's talk trends.
Found this thanks to our friends at Animation World Network: “Jellyfish Pictures’ kids and family content division, Jellyfish Originals, has acquired rights to adapt Dermot O’Leary’s book series Toto the Ninja Cat into an animated series. The book series, illustrated by Nick East, is inspired by Dermot’s own cats. The show will be based on Toto, a partially sighted cat with razor-sharp senses, a nose for danger and a crime-busting spirit of adventure, incorporating themes of friendship, inclusivity, and winning in the face of adversity.” No word yet on when and where we’ll see it, as production has only just begun.
Better late than never, but a release frame and streaming service has finally been announced for Hazbin Hotel, sister series of the Ursa Major Award-winning adult animated web-series Helluva Boss. This is the one creator Vivienne "Vivziepop" Medrano and her SpindleHorse animation studio are not giving away for free.
After the series pilot released to YouTube all the way back in 2019, it was picked up by cult distributor A24 (Hazbin Hotel is not their first demonic rodeo), and the series has found a home on Amazon Prime, to begin streaming next January, with a second season planned.
Bear with us here, as if you just watch the following trailer, you may be a bit confused as to what it actually has to do with the furry fandom. You'll just have to take our word that there is actually a fairly important, fun furry character in this series, despite the fact she's in less than a second total of the trailer. (If the video below isn't visible, try this link.)
Star Trek: Lower Decks is the eighth television series (if you count streaming series as such) and the second animated series in the long running Star Trek franchise. The first three seasons of the show are available from the Paramount+ streaming service; the fourth season will begin airing September 7. In a tribute to the original animated Star Trek series's catperson alien Caitian crewmember Lt. M'Ress, Lower Decks's supporting cast includes Dr. T'Ana.
The Great Wolf Pack ®: A Call to Adventure is a 45-minute 2D animated mini-movie produced in 2022 by Great Wolf Resorts, an American chain of family-friendly hotels featuring indoor waterparks. Most of the animation was outsourced to Mexico, directed by Chris Bailey and written by Kent Redeker. The IMDB page mentions an additional writer I couldn't find in the closing credits, M.J. Offen.
The movie is for young kids and can pretty much be skipped. There's a group of young animal friends in the forest: Violet the wolf and Sammy the squirrel (action girls), and Oliver (a raccoon tinkerer who always talks using the most loquacious and unnecessarily wordy vocabulary), who are joined by newcomer Wiley (the
coyote wolf), and finally Brinley, a young bear with self-confidence issues, who of course gets chosen as the Special One by a spoon-wielding spirit and is given the Magical Rock to guide them on their quest.
The Amazing Maurice (trailer) is a 93-minute UK-Germany computer-animated film released in late 2022. Directed by Toby Genkel and Florian Westermann, the screenplay by Terry Rossio (Shrek, and many others) is an adaptation of the 2001 children's fantasy novel The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents by Terry Pratchett.
"One day, when he was naughty, Mr. Bunnsy looked over the hedge into Farmer Fred's field and it was full of green lettuces. Mr. Bunnsy, however, was not full of lettuces. This did not seem fair."
-- from Mr. Bunnsy has an Adventure
Set in Pratchett's Discworld comedic fantasy universe, The Amazing Maurice is the story of a cat (Maurice, voiced by Hugh Laurie) and a group of rats who have acquired speech and intelligence. Together they travel from town to town with a young human musician named Keith, running a pied piper scam. Maurice wants them to make as much money as possible, but the rats would like to move on and find a place where they can live in peace and harmony, finding inspiration in their revered text, Mr. Bunnsy has an Adventure.
Lackadaisy, from Iron Circus animation, based on the webcomic by Tracy J. Butler, has put out a teaser trailer for a first season of episodes. This season of episodes will be crowdfunded through BackerKit, which has currently reached the million dollar total donations mark, which is enough to fund the full goal of five episodes.
The comic Lackadaisy (sometimes known as Lackadaisy Cats) tells the story of the titular speakeasy in a fictionalized version of St. Louis, Missouri during the Prohibition Era of United States history. The cast is comprised entirely of fictional cats, so it is furry. The crowdfunding campaign is prominently mentioning it's 2011 nomination for an Eisner Award in the category for Best Digital Comic, but it also has won the Ursa Major Award for Best Graphic Story. A pilot episode of the show was released earlier this year to YouTube.