There are two movies that came out this year based on The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi, the story of a marionette who gains life and then proceeds to, well, go on adventures. Both for all intents and purposes went straight to streaming services, but were treated on the higher "prestige" end of streaming movies, though we're still, as a culture, not sure if streaming first is on par with theatrical releases or more along the lines of straight to video trash (or are they TV movies?). Both were directed by Best Picture/Best Director Oscar winning directors. I personally found them both not actually very interesting, one being ridiculously over-hated, the other just as ridiculously over-loved.
The first was Robert Zemeckis's Pinocchio, which is less a straight adaptation of Collodi's novel than another one of those "live action Disney remakes" that everyone loves so much, this time of the 1940 version of Pinocchio. It released on Disney+ back in September, so I've been very efficient getting around to it. The second is Gillermo Del Toro's Guillermo Del Toro's Pinocchio. Normally, I hate when they do that "Director's Name's Whatever" thing to titles, it comes off as pretentious and boastful, but given the circumstances, I'm going to have to allow it this time. It released to Netflix this month.
There’s a new graphic novel out called Fox Fires, written and illustrated by Emilia Ojala. “Fox Fires is a fantasy-adventure that is inspired by Finnish folklore. ‘Fox Fires’ refers to the Northern Lights… The Fox Fires are a gate between this world and the land of the dead – it allows souls to visit their loved ones. But suddenly, the Fox Fires disappear. Our main character, a young raccoon dog named Raate, heads north to find what’s happened to Repo, the fire fox whose burning fur is said to make the Fox Fires appear in the sky. On her journey, Raate meets all kinds of interesting creatures, and also new friends.” The first volume is available in hardcover from Simon & Schuster.
Recently we made a trip to this year’s Lightbox animation industry trade-show in Pasadena, California. We met a lot of very cool and talented artists, including Shawn E. Russell. Here’s how her web site describes her: “Shawn is a wildlife and imaginative realism artist specializing in creating detailed depictions of animals melded with plants and fungi in symbiotic relationships… Shawn has worked with independent board game creators, food & beverage packaging, & private art collectors. She offers her personal work for sale online and at art fairs, comic/anime conventions across the US where she enjoys connecting with fans, collectors, and clients in person.” As you can see, the artist works a lot in highly detailed black-and-white. If you happen to find yourself in Terre Haute, Indiana, make sure to visit their personal gallery called Seek.
This game is going to be tough to review, in essence the game’s strength only remains a strength the less I say about it and what makes it so good. I suppose the best way to approach it is how it displays on its surface. A fox protagonist in a green tunic raises his sword and blue shield to go on an adventure. Many would instantly connect this iconography to the Zelda franchise.
The game can be Zelda-like for sure, but it’s important to know that not all of
Zelda’s Link’s outings are created equal. So the best way I can describe this is that it’s a Zelda-like, also known as a “Hero’s Adventure” game, that feels very much like the franchise before it went into a heavy handed narrative focus.
On March 5 this year, a large stone in the volcanic mountains near the town of Nasu in Japan's Tochigi Prefecture was found to have succumbed to what seems like a normal case of freeze-thaw weathering and split in two. Even setting aside that this occurred over two months ago (though, to be fair, that's a blink in the lifespan of your average rock), such geological processes are hardly news even for mainstream sources, much less a furry news site. But this wasn't just any rock.
The rock in question was the Sessho-seki (or Killing Stone), the rumored earthly remains of Tamamo-no-Mae, the Jewel Maiden, a legendary nine-tailed fox said to have spread chaos throughout Eastern Asia for nearly 2000 years before finally being hunted down in Nasu. Though finally killed and transformed into the stone, you can't keep a good evil fox spirit down; so her final resting place was obviously haunted by it, poisoning anyone who came near. Though she'd apparently calmed down a bit after an encounter with a Buddhist priest, the stone suddenly breaking in two is a bit ominous.
With a voice cast of personal favorites such as Sam Rockwell, Awkwafina and Craig Robinson? Full of anthropomorphic animal characters in a kid-friendly Tarantino take-off? And there's even a furry vixen in the mix? What, is it my birthday? (Actually, that's Saturday.) [Happy Birthday! --The editors]
After a television interview with the local governor, a vixen named Diane Foxington, Mr. Wolf is goaded into carrying out a ridiculously difficult heist. Which correspondingly goes ridiculously wrong. The gang are put in the care of Professor Marmalade (Richard Ayoade), a guinea pig who tries to teach them how to be good guys.
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is that thing which, as a furry reviewer, I feel like I should run into more, but actually don’t. It is a perfectly acceptable kid’s movie. Which is a bit of a problem, because that makes it the worst type of movie to review. A movie that’s just okay. It’s fine. Alright, even.
I’m tempted to write more about how the Sonic the Hedgehog movies bookend the Covid-19 pandemic, which is just a coincidence, than this movie. I'll keep it short, but I want to make clear I’m a guy who reviews kid’s movies for adults, not a virologist, so while I may feel safe enough to go back to theaters, you do what you feel comfortable with.
It’s okay enough, and the Sonic franchise has a passionate enough fanbase, if you want to spend full price for a movie ticket, I won’t judge too much. But it’s not so good I don’t still recommend waiting until it hits streaming.
New Lucky’s Tale is through and through a 3D Platformer. It’s odd to play a game that so easily fits into one game genre after playing so many hybrids, but this game is what it is and it does it well. Each level has four challenges to complete: finishing the level, finding the hidden page, collecting the hidden letters L-U-C-K-Y in one run, and collecting 100 paw coins in the level. The coins can be used to buy new clothes for your character as well.
This game has a very light difficulty. If you want to introduce someone to the 3D Platformer genre this would be a good game to do so. By the time I had finished with the game I had gained a life count in the 60s. I don’t remember any games that I was able to acquire a 1-man count that high on the first play through. Extra lives are plentiful, and even the most challenging content that comes post-credits, the difficulty never gets higher than maybe being three quarters the way through a modern Mario game like Odyssey.
But if you’re fine with a relaxing and atmospheric platformer with fun and memorable characters, this one will not disappoint.
I don't feel the need to justify bringing up David "Bunny" Garnett's 1922 short novel Lady into Fox in a furry context. As the title suggests, the story involves a lady who turns into a fox. Technically, it is not a story about an anthropomorphic animal, and is in fact about the direct opposite of that, a zoomorphic human. Of course, this is a nitpick. I doubt anyone cares.
On the point of genre, however, there is one area where I would like to make a rather more controversial "take" on the subject matter. Though the novel was a bit unclassifiable when it was first introduced, with H.G. Wells (an author known for his use of anthropomorphic animals) praising it as "a new creation, a new sort of animal, let us say, suddenly running about in the world," a phrase that I imagine had him enthusiastically punching the air at his own cleverness.
More modern takes tend to classify it as a "contemporary fantasy". However, I find it to be entirely different: it seems nothing more (or less) than a tale of the supernatural; a ghost story whose 'ghost' merely requires a few scare quotes - or, put another way, a horror story.
2017’s Rock Dog probably will never make lists of acknowledged “cult movies” published by the more “mainstream” movie press, but you could argue that just helps its cult movie street cred. Once a movie has become known enough to be catalogued and categorized, is it still really a cult object? Rock Dog, I predict, will continue to be largely forgotten in the annals of cinema, or even animation. Only the true, blue fans will remember.
Of course, those true, blue fans are furries. Rock Dog is a cult movie within the furry fandom. Put it another way, yeah, furries like Zootopia. On one hand, it makes sense furries would like it, but on the other hand it’s a beloved movie that was hailed as a classic by plenty of non-furries from it’s release. You can like Zootopia without joining the furry fandom pretty easily, but if you even saw Rock Dog and decided you liked it, you might want to check this furry thing out.
Which is not to say if you didn’t like the original, you have to turn in your conbadge. First of all, that would be gatekeeping, and that’s wrong. But second of all, Rock Dog is by no means a perfect movie. I loved it, but the sequel, Rock Dog 2: Rock around the Park, going to the 2020s equivalent of straight to video (it technically went to various streaming platforms first) makes sense.
shmuplations.com is, in its own words, "a repository of Japanese game developer translations, covering primarily (but not exclusively) older arcade and console games". Recently, they featured an interview that originally ran in the November 21, 2002 issue of Nintendo Dream with Takaya Imamura; video game character designer for the Star Fox series. The interview was designed to highlight Rare's then-recently-released Star Fox Adventures, but also covers Imamura's early work with the franchise.
For furry fans, this information is interesting, as he discusses the creation of some iconic furry characters, including Fox McCloud, Falco Lombardi, Peppy Hare and Krystal (also, Slippy Toad). Imamura also reveals how Shigeru Miyamoto not only introduced the furry aspects to the series, but also always intended the series to be a bit more "mature" than the average Nintendo game.
Mozilla has been forced to state that the increasingly-stylized fox in their browser logo is "alive and well" — despite mounting evidence of Doge influence in Nightly, the twice-a-day distribution of Firefox code.
Their blog post was a response to a series of memes decrying the ongoing march towards minimalism, implying that a 2019 re-branding exercise – in which Firefox was turned into a 'parent brand' composed of a 'swoop' design from which the browser icon and others were derived – represented elimination of the fox from the product.
Spirit of the North is a casual adventure game with light puzzle elements, where you play as a fox accompanied by a spirit. I played the Steam version which was released in May 2020, although it debuted on the Playstation in November 2019. It is listed on Steam as a Windows-only game, but I was able to play it on Linux using Steam Proton without any problems.
The game has single player & couch co-op modes; Steam's version also includes co-op remote play.
Its story is fairly simple. Two foxy parents (Rikki & Vikki) get an unexpected visit from the Misery Dragon (demon lord of inconvenience), who steals their kids, forcing them to go through 100 different levels down to the center of the earth to rescue them. What ensues from then onward is an arcade-style gameplay that looks similar to Bubble Bobble (1986), but plays more like Mario vs. Donkey Kong (2004). In some instances, the puzzle-solving is combined with quick action, with a challenging difficulty level very much in line with Cuphead (2017) and older-style arcade games.