While Revolution is on its long hiatus until March, here’s something to bide the time. NBC is releasing six webisodes that take place in the world where power is everything imagined by creator Eric Kripke and executive producer J.J. Abrams. The animated installments star Sgt. Joseph Wheatly, the Militia Corporal from the show played by Reed Diamond who turned on our rebel group and shot and nearly killed Charlie Matheson in the underground tunnels leading out of the subway in Philly. The first webisode titled “Wheatley’s Letters: May 7th” is embedded above. A new one will release every Monday through February 18; you can find them at the show’s official YouTube channel. Also available for viewing today is the pilot featuring commentary by Kripke and director John Favreau; watch it here.
Revolution returns March 25 on NBC.
The creative minds at JibJab decided to take advantage of the Mayan calendar end of the world theme when putting together their year-end animated short for 2012 appropriately titled “The End Is Here!” Somehow they manage to squeeze in most of the biggest stories that gained traction this year in under two minutes. Politics, world news, pop culture–it’s all here. So sit back, relax, and take it all in with a wide-eyed smile because that’s the JibJab style.
Happy New Year!
The next movie from Sony Pictures Animation is Hotel Transylvania, and Adam Sandler is Dracula. Here’s a nice and tidy synopsis:
Welcome to the Hotel Transylvania, Dracula’s lavish five-stake resort, where monsters and their families can live it up, free to be the monsters they are without humans to bother them. On one special weekend, Dracula has invited some of the world’s most famous monsters — Frankenstein and his bride, the Mummy, the Invisible Man, a family of werewolves, and more — to celebrate his daughter Mavis’s 118th birthday. For Drac, catering to all of these legendary monsters is no problem — but his world could come crashing down when one ordinary guy stumbles on the hotel and takes a shine to Mavis.
The talented voice cast includes Sandler, Selena Gomez, Andy Samberg, Kevin James, Fran Drescher, David Koechner, Cee Lo Green, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, and David Spade. Genndy Tartakovsky, creator of popular animated TV series like Dexter’s Laboratory, The Powerpuff Girls, and most recently Star Wars: The Clone Wars, is directing. Hotel Transylvania hits theatres in 3D on September 28.
Now jump after the break for another look at Pixar’s Brave. (Click here for more…)
The creative clan at JibJab claim that “the whole world went nuts in 2011″ and so they put together this elaborate Year in Review musical to cover all the insanity (read: Rebecca Black’s stardom) that went on. “The goal was to create the typical “JibJab-look” but to step away from the computers for a bit and do it all in-camera,” shares the team behind the clip. “Ya know… the good ole fashioned way.” So using popsicle sticks, cut paper, and hands JibJab has developed another catchy video that succinctly summarizes 2011 for the masses. Head over to JibJab’s blog to peruse their detailed making-of section.
Happy New Year!
Here’s a nice Halloween treat for us all: a teaser poster and trailer for the upcoming stop-motion animated feature ParaNorman. The movie is from Focus Features and LAIKA, the same partnership that produced 2009′s critically-acclaimed Coraline. ParaNorman is directed by Sam Fell and Chris Butler; Butler imagined and penned the original story. The voice cast includes Kodi Smit-McPhee, Casey Affleck, Anna Kendrick, John Goodman, Leslie Mann, Jeff Garlin, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Elaine Strich, Tempestt Bledsoe, Bernard Hill, and Alex Borstein. The trailer, embedded after the break, doesn’t reveal much of the plot as it includes zero dialogue, but this quick synopsis should suffice:
A misunderstood boy who can speak with the dead takes on ghosts, zombies and, worst of all, grown-ups, in order to save his town from a centuries-old curse. Norman Babcock is an outcast in his small New England town. When a horde of zombies is unleashed on the populace, Norman learns he must use his paranormal powers to make things right again. That’s not an easy task when you’re only eleven. And you’ve just been grounded.
The movie poster and teaser trailer make ParaNorman out to be a strange, dark, and visually stunning piece of work worthy of much anticipation. It releases wide August 17, 2012 in 3D. (Click here for more…)
A group of students at the Utrecht School of Arts in the Netherlands spent five months creating this visually stunning animated short titled Mac ‘n’ Cheese. They say the visuals were inspired by Valve’s Team Fortress 2 and the short film Meet Buck. The synopsis goes like this:
When you find yourself running scared and running out of energy, there’s only a few options left to outrun your opponent through the southern desert. Stopping at nothing, watch these two guys wear each other out and rip through boundaries hitherto unbroken. Enjoy the ride!
It’s trippy, man.
The talented folks at College Humor have really outdone themselves this time. They’ve transformed the HBO series Game of Thrones into a role-playing game! The video basically goes through all the major events that happened in the first season, so beware of spoilers. From the pixelated animation to the 8-bit score, Game of Thrones the RPG is simply spectacular and I want to play it right now.
[Via CollegeHumor; thanks Allie K.]
You may not have heard of London-based pop group Is Tropical, but I guarantee you will get a kick out of their music video for their latest single “The Greeks.” Directed by Megaforce (the man behind the trippy Cudder clip “Pursuit of Happiness“), the video follows a bunch of bloodthirsty kids who indulge themselves in murdering each other in the most spectacularly disturbing of ways. The cartoonish animation is provided by Seven and it helps spin the rather graphic nature of the music video into an enjoyable visual feast.
The band describes the video like this: “Part Rumblefish, part Die Hard, part Akira, we wanted to work together to create something both visually appealing and aesthetically relevant to the band. We like kids, we like gangs, we really like daydreaming and imagination; the video straddles the line between nostalgia and the visual death-porn of our generation – the action film. Don’t get carried away by politics – this is a straight-up kid brawl the way it played out in your head when you were stealing your mums mascara to be like Arnie in Predator. It isn’t a shocking rebuke to our drama queen, populist news culture either – just naive, blissful shoot-yr-mate until he’s definitely dead war-games – the way you wish it still could be.”
Sure the video is great and all, but do you also like what you hear? The single “The Greeks” is available to download for free right here, and Is Tropical’s debut album Is Native is out now in the UK.
Now that he’s no longer the Governator in real life, Arnold Schwarzenegger is ready to become Stan Lee-backed superhero The Governator in an upcoming animated TV series. Apparently Ah-nuld is prepared to bring this character to which he lends his voice not only to television but also to comic books and and film (and in 3D, mind you). Figure out whether or not you’ll be following Schwarzenegger’s career post-Terminator/political figure.
Enjoy this stop motion-enhanced Plasticine model in action!
Good morning USA! I got a feelin’ that it’s gonna be a wonderful day. That it is for animator/creator Seth MacFarlane. The man known for dominating FOX’s “Animation Domination” lineup with his imaginative and relevant comedies must be feeling an enormous sense of relief after hearing today’s news that American Dad will be joining long-time staple Family Guy and newcomer The Cleveland Show for the 2011-13 TV seasons. No, that’s not a typo and I’ll explain why. The Smiths have been guaranteed a seventh season with a full 22-episode order. However, because FOX has ordered two new animated shows Allen Gregory and Napoleon Dynamite (yes, based on the movie) for next season, scheduling only an undisclosed portion of American Dad episodes will air in 2011-12, and the remaining eps will overflow into the 2012-13 season. And believe it or not, this is the way the show has aired since the 2005 Super Bowl. So no harm done here. Packaged with this news of renewal is a hint of what’s to come later this season; upcoming guest voices include Anjelica Huston, Elisabeth Shue, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Burt Reynolds, and Cee-Lo Green.
“This is fantastic news,” said Roger the Alien in a statement. “But you do realize I’m not real, right?”
Hint: It’s not an Inception/Toy Story mashup, although it might seem like it. Find the answer after the break.
Freddie Wong is back with one of his best action-packed videos to date! It’s a video game first person shooter recreated in real life with some animations added for effect. Wong used a GoPro mounted to a helmet to get the job done. Look after the break to catch a behind the scenes look into how it all came together.
This video is disturbing, unsettling, and hilarious all at the same time. The upcoming Yogi Bear animated movie doesn’t hit theatres until this Friday, but that didn’t stop 25-year-old animator Edmund Earle from making a parody video that went instantly viral. He’s billing it as a “parody” in hopes that Warner Bros. (the studio behind the real Yogi Bear movie) do not take it down from the ‘Net. He makes it clear that the video is independently made and that he has no association with the movie. Anyway, the title of the viral hit is “Yogi Bear Alternate Ending: Booboo Kills Yogi” and it’s nearly a shot-by-shot recreation of the final scene from The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, a 2007 Western starring Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck. Taking a comically dark route in this parody was “an organic creation”, Earle told the WSJ (that’s right–the WSJ has already interviewed him and the video was uploaded to YouTube earlier today). I’m not surely exactly what it is–the music, the way this short story is told through the eyes of the characters?–but again there’s something very unsettling about watching a famed cartoon go down like this. Ah well, in the end it’s an extremely well made parody and you should watch it, unless of course you’re under the age of 12.
Using highly effective visuals in augmented reality animation, BBC’s Hans Rosling tells the story of the world in 200 countries over 200 years using 120,000 numbers, in just four minutes. More specifically, he plots life expectancy against income for every country since 1810, and the visually splendid data reveals interesting rises and drops in correspondence to major historical events such as world wars. Go on mash play and educate yourself.
Here’s an unsolved mystery as old as time: blindfolded humans cannot walk straight. If you blindfold a person and tell them to walk straight, that person will quickly begin to walk in circles and not even know it! Says Robert Krulwich in an NPR report, “Humans, apparently, slip into circles when we can’t see an external focal point, like a mountain top, a sun, a moon. Without a corrective, our insides take over and there’s something inside us that won’t stay straight.” Though many scientists have attempted to figure out what exactly that something is, no one has cracked it just yet. Watch the fun animation describing the strange phenomenon in the video above.
If you liked iPad light painting you will love this light stencil animation. ”Subcarpati”, produced by Ionut Negrila and Mihai Calota, features an animated version of the walk sign man. But you want to know how it was made. The producers share that it took 5,313 pictures of 57 stencils, 3 different light sources, many calculations, measurements, and camera settings adjustments to make it happen. They hope their video inspires the creatives of our world to push limits and produce some captivating work. Look after the break to watch a brief behind-the-scenes look at the sheer amount of work that was required to make a stop motion video of this magnitude.
By now you should know that when it comes to making music videos, rock band OK Go never holds back. From datamashing to Rube Goldberg-ing to training 12 dogs and a goat, OK Go knows how to wildly impress its fans by representing their music with imaginative and awe-inspiring visuals. For their next experiment video, the band used–drum roll, please–toast. But it’s not that simple! Using a Samsung NX100 micro four-thirds camera they took pictures of 2,430 pieces of toast (or 215 loaves of bread) and effectively used the process of laser-etching and stop motion to tell a story. They took 15 still shots for every second of video. The animation stages must’ve been painstakingly difficult to produce, and yet there’s something quite beautiful about all of it and this helps direct your mind to the final aesthetic instead of towards the blood and sweat put into it. As always, a nod of gratitude is due here. These guys can do it all.
Microsoft has finally got it right with their latest Windows 7 ad. The cutesy animation paired with an Avatar cameo captures an appropriate (albeit bizarre) aesthetic that informs viewers about Windows 7′s Blu-ray playback support in a fun, creative way. Apple, the ball’s in your court.
Check out this utterly brilliant piece of art created by Daniel Kanemoto, a long-time fan of Robert Kirkman’s graphic novel The Walking Dead. In his spare time, talented graphic designer Kanemoto used After Effects to combine Charlie Adlard and Tony Moore’s The Walking Dead artwork and music from Eels (the track is called “Fresh Blood”, how fitting) to create an animated spec title sequence for the upcoming AMC adaptation. You certainly do not have to be a fan of Kirkman’s work to truly appreciate what Kanemoto has done here.
He says: “Just so there’s no confusion, I’m not affiliated with the production in any way — I’m simply a huge fan of both Frank Darabont and Robert Kirkman, and this is my attempt at creating a cinematic introduction to one of the all time great “continuing stories of survival horror.”"
Word got out about Kanemoto’s masterpiece when Lost co-creator Damon Lindelof tweeted about it (“We are arriving at that unique moment in time where the term “fan-made” becomes moot. This is extraordinary.”) and blogger Cory Doctorow posted it on BoingBoing. The video reached an even wider audience when EW’s Jeff Jensen interviewed Kanemoto to discover his inspiration for the spec. You can read said interview here.
Now I am oh-so-interested to see if the editors and animators of the upcoming show can out-perform Kanemoto’s fan-made title sequence. We shall find out when The Walking Dead premieres October 31 at 10PM on AMC.