Animation can explain whatever the mind of man can conceive – Walt Disney

Tag Archives: Dreamworks

The two biggest problems with Turbo, the latest animation from Dreamworks, both revolve around a word that is fatal to the success of a film: boring. The first is a surface problem, in that snails are boring. They are boring creatures, regardless of whether you pimp their shells or inject them with nitroglycerine. So a film in which the main character is a snail is onto a loser already. They are especially boring to look at, amorphous blobs of flesh with shells plonked on top that have to be jazzed up by the animators by making them all different colours. Only, the animators didn’t go that far in that each of the snails are just one colour, not dappled and slimy like the invertebrates in Epic. No, these are just smooth splodges of purple and orange with googly eyes tacked on. One of them has a moustache made of moss. This painful want of inventiveness becomes particularly problematic when the design of the humans is similarly uninspired, resulting in a film where not one single character holds your attention visually. In spite of using the latest animation technology, it’s an aesthetically dull film and far less interesting to the eye than A Bug’s Life or Antz, which work at a similar scale but were released well over a decade ago. This boringness suggests laziness, which is disheartening to see in animation.

Snails are exciting.

Snails are exciting.

The second boring aspect of Turbo, a thoroughly soporific film, is the story, which involves a plucky outsider wanting to compete above his league in a racing tournament. This is the same plot as Planes. He does this in order to save a run down area of shops run by some stereotypes by bringing business back. This is the same plot as Cars. When you mix the plots of Planes and Cars, two of the most snooze-inducing animations of the 21st Century, the result is a dull, thudding familiarity lacking any conviction. There are a few good jokes, mostly involving crows, but at the end of the day it’s difficult to enjoy a film that is about a snail saving a taco stand. Once again I return to this one word that summarises the film best: boring. Boring, boring, boring.

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Since Dreamworks animation was taken over by Fox, they announced a big and exciting slate that was a mixture of sequels to good films and interesting sounding new material. The quality of Rise of The Guardians and Madagascar 3, following in the footsteps of How to Train Your Dragon and Kung Fu Panda 2 led some animation fans, this one included, to hope for Pixar levels of creativity and consistency. The Croods, the first film to be released under the new partnership, arrived with a certain level of expectation; could this be the start of a new era for Dreamworks? Well, if it is, it’s a slow, unremarkable one.

croods jungle

The Croods are one of the last surviving cavemen families, living in fear and believing that this fear keeps them alive. One day their cave is destroyed, and they have to explore the outside world to try and find another cave. Young, progressive Homo Sapiens Guy (Ryan Reynolds) manages to persuade the Neanderthals to move to higher ground, to avoid the impending tectonic shifts that will change the face of the world forever. Grug (Nicholas Cage) doesn’t trust Guy or, indeed, anything. His daughter Eep (Emma Stone), however, embraces the chance for adventure and spending time with Guy. What follows is yet another film about male insecurity, framed in a beautifully animated world with hybrid animals and colourful alien landscapes.

The problem, as several critics have already observed, is one of comparison. The prehistorically inaccurate setting is trying desperately not to be Ice Age, whilst the plot follows an arc ripped straight from How To Train Your Dragon. The driving relationship of the plot is, once more, a father and their child struggling to understand each other, and the final scene feels awfully familiar. There’s a sense that we’ve seen it all before, a feeling exacerbated by the uninspired voice work. A brick-subtle script that heavily signposts major themes makes it difficult to care about yet another family that have to learn to work together; Dragons and The Incredibles did the same thing a lot better. There’s no big emotional or transcendent moment here, it’s far more pedestrian than that.

Croods stars

The character animation is, quite frankly, awful. The blank eyes and textureless skin feel like a Saturday morning cartoon or a Playstation 2 game. Compare a character like Guy to Brave’s Merida, or even North from Rise of the Guardians, and The Croods is undeniably lacking. In a film from a studio this rich and talented, such ugliness in character design is incredibly disappointing, but also baffling.

And yet The Croods still manages to be a thoroughly entertaining adventure, packed with thankfully pop-culture-free laughs. Some of the jokes are undeniably naff – the irritating, kid-friendly sloth is the worst culprit here – but for every dud there are a couple of big hits. In abandoning any kind of realism, the film makers have clearly had a lot of fun in playing around with stereotypical ideas about cavemen, mining laughs from the invention of shoes, prehistoric photography and the dangers of tectonic plates. The family’s attempts at surviving and inventing things in a hostile world are consistently funny, and children will certainly find lots to enjoy.

The film’s biggest appeal, however, is the world it is set in. This is not earth as we know it, and The Croods features some of the best, most outrageous landscape and creature design that animation has to offer. Turtle birds, flying piranha and multicoloured, misshapen tigers are just some of the bizarre, brilliant animals that inhabit the jungles and deserts they explore. My personal favourite are Siamese lemurs, joined at the tail – what possible evolutionary advantage could that offer? The landscapes are equally fun, bright, colourful and totally rejecting realism to surprise the audience with each new terrain they cross. When the family split up to work their way through a maze of rocks in the film’s most beautiful sequence, The Croods shows its potential, frustrating us with a glimpse of what it could have been.

Croods mammoth

There’s lots to enjoy about to enjoy about The Croods, but it’s a shame that in a world this inventively created, the story couldn’t have been just a little bit bolder.


Who cares about the Oscars when the Annies are in town? It’s the awards ceremony that properly cares about animation, recognising the stellar efforts of production and character designers, of voice actors and editors. There’s such a wide range of categories that it makes the keen animation fan really consider the different facets of animated films. Whilst some elements seem a bit strange – they have different level ‘sponsors’, from platinum to bronze (unsurprisingly, Disney and Pixar pay top dollar here) – these awards are a must for for any of you who love this red carpet-filled time of year.

On January 30th the awards were held and the film that came out on top was Wreck-It Ralph, taking Best Feature, Director, Writing, Voice Actor for Alan Tudyk as King Candy and even the sublime Paperman, which plays before it, picked up best short. I personally preferred a couple of other animated films from last year, but Wreck-It Ralph is undeniably an impressive achievement. It just shows that this is a strong year for animated films. Elsewhere Rise of the Guardians and ParaNorman picked up many of the technical awards such as Storyboarding and Character Design, whilst the Dreamworks television spin off Dragons: Riders of Berk swept up the small screen awards. My biggest gripe is that this is very focussed on American animation – very little mention of Britain’s Pirates! or Japan’s From Up On Poppy Hill, both of which deserved more recognition.

Bad-Anon

As to what this augurs for the Oscars, where the five nominated films are Brave, Frankenweenie, ParaNorman, Pirates! and Wreck-It Ralph, it’s difficult to say. The industry experts here appear to be endorsing Disney’s submission, but the Academy isn’t made up of as many animation buffs as this awards group is. Also, the sponsorship programme with Annies may make some difference, I’m not entirely aware of the processes there. Brave took the Golden Globe, so this is still an open race. They may even just award it to Frankenweenie just to encourage Tim Burton to stop making monstrosities like Dark Shadows.

Here are the full results:

 

Best Animated Feature

  • Brave – Pixar Animation Studios

  • Frankenweenie – The Walt Disney Studios

  • Hotel Transylvania – Sony Pictures Animation

  • ParaNorman – LAIKA/Focus Features

  • Rise of the Guardians – DreamWorks Animation

  • The Pirates! Band of Misfits – Aardman Animations and Sony Pictures Animation

  • The Rabbi’s Cat – GKIDS

  • Wreck-It Ralph – Walt Disney Animation Studios

 

Best Animated Special Production

  • Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Part 1 – Warner Bros. Animation

  • Beforel Orel – Trust – Starburns Industries, Inc.

  • Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem – Illumination Entertainment

  • Disney Tron: Uprising – Beck’s Beginning – Disney TV Animation

  • Dragons: Gift of the Night Fury – DreamWorks Animation

  • Justice League: Doom – Warner Bros. Animation

 

Best Animated Short Subject

  • Brad and Gary – Illumination Entertainment

  • Bydlo – The National Film Board of Canada

  • Eyes on the Stars – StoryCorps

  • Goodnight Mr. Foot – Sony Pictures Animation

  • Kali the Little Vampire – Folimage Studios, Ciclope Filmes, The National Film Board of Canada and Studio GDS

  • Maggie Simpson in ‘The Longest Daycare’ – Gracie Films

  • Paperman – Walt Disney Animation Studios

  • The Simpsons – ‘Bill Plympton Couch Gag’ – Gracie Films in Association with 20th Century Fox TV

 

Best Animated Television Production For Preschool Children

  • Bubble Guppies ‘A Tooth on the Looth’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • Chuggington ‘Magnetic Wilson’ – Ludorum

  • Jake & The Never Land Pirates ‘Peter Pan Returns’ – Disney TV Animation

  • Doc McStuffins ‘The Right Stuff’ – Brown Bag Films

  • Justin Time ‘Marcello’s Meatballs’ – Guru Studio

 

Best Animated Television Production For Children

  • Adventure Time ‘Princess Cookie’ – Cartoon Network Studios

  • Dragons: Riders of Berk ‘How to Pick Your Dragon’ – DreamWorks Animation

  • LEGO Star Wars ‘The Empire Strikes Out’ – Threshold Animation Studios

  • Penguins of Madagascar ‘Action Reaction’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • SpongeBob SquarePants ‘It’s a SpongeBob Christmas!’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • The Amazing World of Gumball ‘The Job’ – Cartoon Network Studio Europe

  • The Fairly OddParents ‘Farm Pit’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • The Legend of Korra ‘Welcome to Republic City’/’A Leaf in the Wind’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

 

Best General Audience Animated Television Production

  • Archer ‘Space Race, Part 1’ – Floyd County Production and FX Productions for FX

  • Bob’s Burgers ‘Earsy Rider’ – 20th Century Fox TV

  • Motorcity ‘Blond Thunder’ – Disney TV Animation

  • MAD ‘FrankenWinnie/ParaMorgan’ – Warner Bros. Animation

  • Robot Chicken ‘DC Comics Special’ – Stoopid Buddy Studios

  • South Park ‘Raising the Bar’ – Central Productions

 

Best Animated Video Game

  • Borderlands 2 – Gearbox Software

  • Family Guy – Back to the Mutiverse – Heavy Iron Studios

  • Journey – Sony Computer Entertainment America

  • Skullgirls – Lab Zero Games

 

Best Student Film

  • Can We Be Happy Now – Tahnee Gehm

  • Defective Detective – Avner Geller & Stevie Lewis

  • Head Over Heels – Timothy Reckart

  • I Am Tom Moody – Ainslie Henderson

  • Ladies Knight – Joseph Rothenberg

  • Origin – Jessica Poon

  • The Ballad of Poisonberry Pete – Adam Campbell, Elizabeth McMahill, Uri Lotan

  • Tule Lake – Michelle Ikemoto

Temp Outstanding Achievement, Animated Effects in an Animated Production

  • Andrew Nawrot, Joe Gorski, Grant Laker – ‘ParaNorman’ – LAIKA/Focus Features

  • Andrew Schneider ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift’ – Blue Sky Studios

  • Andy Hayes, Carl Hooper, David Lipton – Rise of the Guardians – DreamWorks Animation

  • Bill Watral, Chris Chapman, Dave Hale, Keith Klohn, Michael K. O’Brien ‘Brave’ – Pixar Animation Studios

  • Brett Albert – ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ – Walt Disney Animation Studios

  • Jihyun Yoon – ‘Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted’ – DreamWorks Animation

  • Joel Aron – ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ – Lucasfilm Animation Ltd.

 

Outstanding Achievement, Animated Effects in a Live Action Production

  • Jerome Platteaux, John Sigurdson, Ryan Hopkins, Raul Essig, Mark Chataway ‘The Avengers’ – Industrial Light & Magic

  • Stephen Marshall, Joseph Pepper, Dustin Wicke – ‘The Amazing Spiderman – Sony Pictures Imageworks

  • Sue Rowe, Simon Stanley-Clamp, Artemis Oikonomopoulou, Holger Voss, Nikki Makar, Catherine Elvidge ‘John Carter’ – Cinesite

  • Willi Geiger, Rick Hankins, Florent Andorra, Florian Witzel, Aron Bonar ‘Battleship’ – Industrial Light & Magic

 

Outstanding Achievement, Character Animation in an Animated Television or other Broadcast Venue Production

  • Dan Driscoll ‘SpongeBob SquarePants: It’s a SpongeBob Christmas!’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • Jennifer Dickie ‘Justin Time: Yodel Odel Day’ – Guru Studio

  • Keith Kellogg ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Revenge’ – Lucasfilm Animation Ltd.

  • Savelen Forrest ‘SpongeBob SquarePants: It’s a SpongeBob Christmas!’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • Shi Zimu ‘Dragons: Riders of Berk’ – DreamWorks Animation

  • Sihanouk Mariona ‘Beforel Orel: Trust’ – Starburns Industries, Inc.

  • Teri Yam ‘Dragons: Riders of Berk’ – DreamWorks Animation

  • Yan Jiazhuang ‘Dragons: Riders of Berk’ – DreamWorks Animation

 

Outstanding Achievement, Character Animation in a Feature Production

  • Dan Nguyen ‘Brave’ – Pixar Animation Studios

  • David Pate ‘Rise of the Guardians’ – DreamWorks Animation

  • Jaime Landes ‘Brave’ – Pixar Animation Studios

  • Philippe LeBrun ‘Rise of the Guardians’ – DreamWorks Animation

  • Pierre Perifel ‘Rise of the Guardians’ – DreamWorks Animation

  • Travis Hathaway ‘Brave’ – Pixar Animation Studios

  • Travis Knight “ParaNorman’ – LAIKA/Focus Features

  • Will Becher ‘The Pirates! Band of Misfits’ – Aardman Animations and Sony Pictures Animation

 

Outstanding Achievement, Character Animation in a Live Action Production

  • Erik de Boer, Amanda Dague, Matt Brown, Mary Lynn Machado, Aaron Grey ‘Life of Pi – Orangutan’ – Rhythm & Hues Studio

  • Erik de Boer, Matt Shumway, Brian Wells, Vinayak Pawar, Michael Holzl ‘Life of Pi – Tiger’ – Rhythm & Hues Studio

  • Jakub Pistecky, Maia Kayser, Scott Benza, Steve King, Kiran Bhat ‘The Avengers’ – Industrial Light & Magic

  • Mike Beaulieu, Roger Vizard, Atsushi Sato, Jackie Koehler, Derek Esparza, Richard Smith, Max Tyrie – The Amazing Spiderman – Sony Pictures Imageworks

 

Outstanding Achievement, Character Design in an Animated Television or other Broadcast Venue Production

  • Andy Bialk ‘Dragons: Riders of Berk: Alvin and the Outcasts’ – DreamWorks Animaton

  • Andy Suriano ‘DC Nation-Plastic Man: The Many and the Fowl’ – Big Hair Productions, Inc.

  • Bryan Konietzko, Joaquim Dos Santos, Ki-Hyun Ryu, Kim Il Kwang, Kim Jin Sun ‘The Legend of Korra: Welcome to Republic City’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • C” Raggio IV ‘Kick Buttowski: Petrified’ – Disney TV Animation

  • Derrick Wyatt, Chap Yaep, Steven Choi, Shakeh Haghnazarian ‘Ben 10: Omniverse: The More Things Change, Pt. 2’ – Cartoon Network Studios

  • Gordon Hammond ‘T.U.F.F. Puppy: Dudley Do-Wrong’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • Robert Valley ‘Disney Tron: Uprising: The Renegade, Part I’ – Disney TV Animation

  • Thaddeus Paul Cauldron ‘Secret Mountain Fort Awesome: Secret Mountain Uncle Grandpa’- Cartoon Network Studios

 

Outstanding Achievement, Character Design in an Animated Feature Production

  • Bill Schwab, Lorelay Bove, Cory Loftis, Minkyu Lee ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ – Walt Disney Animation Studios

  • Carlos Grangel ‘Hotel Transylvania’ – Sony Pictures Animation

  • Carter Goodrich ‘Hotel Transylvania’ – Sony Pictures Animation

  • Craig Kellman ‘Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted’ – DreamWorks Animation

  • Heidi Smith ‘ParaNorman’ – LAIKA/Focus Features

  • Yarrow Cheney, Eric Guillon, Colin Stimpson ‘Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax’ – Illumination Entertainment

 

Outstanding Achievement, Directing in an Animated Television or other Broadcast Venue Production

  • Howy Parkins ‘Jake and The Never Land Pirates: Peter Pan Returns!’ – Disney TV Animation

  • John Eng ‘Dragons: Riders of Berk: Animal House’ – DreamWorks Animation

  • Mark Caballero, Seamus Walsh ‘SpongeBob SquarePants: It’s a Spongebob Christmas!’’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • Mic Graves ‘The Amazing World of Gumball: The Job’ – Cartoon Network Studio Europe

  • Michael Chang ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Never Say Xever’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studio

  • Zack Keller, Ed Skudder ‘Dick Figures: Kung Fu Winners’ – Six Point Harness

 

Outstanding Achievement, Directing in an Animated Feature Production

  • Genndy Tartakovsky ‘Hotel Transylvania’ – Sony Pictures Animation

  • Joann Sfar, Antoine Delesvaux ‘The Rabbi’s Cat – GKIDS

  • Remi Bezancon, Jean-Christophe Lie ‘Zarafa’ – GKIDS

  • Rich Moore ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ – Walt Disney Animation Studios

  • Sam Fell, Chris Butler ‘ParaNorman’ – LAIKA/Focus Features

 

Outstanding Achievement, Music in an Animated Television or other Broadcast Venue Production

  • Adam Berry ‘Penguins of Madagascar: Private and the Winky Factory’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • Alf Clausen ‘The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror XXIII’ – Gracie Films in Association with 20th Century Fox TV

  • Frederik Wiedmann ‘Green Lantern The Animated Series: Into the Abyss’ – F. Wiedmann, Composer

  • Guy Moon ‘T.U.F.F. Puppy: Really Big Mission’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • John Paesano ‘Dragons: Riders of Berk: How to Pick Your Dragon’ – DreamWorks Animation

  • Michael Rubin, John Angier ‘Bubble Guppies: Bubble Puppy’s Fintastic Fairytale!’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

 

Outstanding Achievement, Music in an Animated Feature Production

  • Alexandre Desplat ‘Rise of the Guardians’ – DreamWorks Animation

  • Bruce Retief ‘Adventures in Zambezia’ – Triggerfish

  • Henry Jackman, Skrillex, Adam Young, Matthew Thiessen, Jamie Houston, Yasushi Akimoto ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ – Walt Disney Animation Studios

  • Joel McNeely, Brendan Milburn, Valerie Vigoda ‘Secret of the Wings’ – DisneyToon Studios

  • John Powell, Adam Schlesinger, Ester Dean ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift’ – Blue Sky Studios

  • John Powell, Cinco Paul ‘Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax’ – Illumination Entertainment

  • Mark Mothersbaugh ‘Hotel Transylvania’ – Sony Pictures Animation

  • Patrick Doyle, Mark Andrews, Alex Mandel ‘Brave’ – Pixar Animation Studios

 

Outstanding Achievement, Production Design in an Animated Television or other Broadcast Venue Production

  • Alberto Mielgo ‘Tron: Uprising: The Stranger’ – Disney TV Animation

  • Ian Worrel ‘Gravity Falls – Tourist Trapped’ – Disney TV Animation

  • Lynna Blankenship, Sean Coons, Hugh Macdonald, Debbie Peterson, Charles Ragins, Lance Wilder, Darrel Bowen, John Krause, Kevin Moore, Brent M. Bowen, Brice Mallier, Steven Fahey, Dima Malanitchev, Karen Bauer, Eli Balser, Anne Legge – ‘The Simpsons: Moe Goes From Rags to Riches’ – Film Roman

  • Nick Jennings, Martin Ansolabehere, Sandra Calleros, Ron Russell, Santino Lascano, Derek Hunter, Catherine E. Simmonds – ‘Adventure Time – The Hard Easy’ – Cartoon Network Studios

  • Peter Martin, Chris Grine, Ira Baker, Ramon Olivera, Scott Brown ‘hoops & yoyo Haunted Halloween’ – Hallmark

  • Brandon James Scott, Keith Lee ‘Justin Time: The Rubbery Dumplings’ – Guru Studio

 

Outstanding Achievement, Production Design in an Animated Feature Production

  • Kendal Cronkhite-Shaindlin, Shannon Jeffries, Lindsey Olivares, Kenard Pak ‘Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted’ – DreamWorks Animation

  • Marcelo Vignali ‘Hotel Transylvania’ – Sony Pictures Animation

  • Nash Dunnigan, Arden Chan, Jon Townley, Kyle Macnaughton ‘Ice Age: Continental Drift’ – Blue Sky Studios

  • Nelson Lowry, Ross Stewart, Pete Oswald, Ean McNamara, Trevor Dalmer ‘ParaNorman’ – LAIKA/Focus Features

  • Norman Garwood, Matt Perry ‘The Pirates! Band of Misfits’ – Aardman Animation and Sony Pictures Animation

  • Patrick Hanenberger, Max Boas, Jayee Borcar, Woonyoung Jung, Perry Maple, Peter Maynez, Stan Seo, Felix Yoon ‘Rise of the Guardians’ – DreamWorks Animation

  • Rick Heinrichs ‘Frankenweenie’ – The Walt Disney Studios

  • Steve Pilcher ‘Brave’ – Pixar Animation Studios

 

Outstanding Achievement, Storyboarding in an Animated Television or other Broadcast Venue Production

  • Andy Kelly ‘Doc McStuffins: Righty-On-Lefty’ – Brown Bag Films

  • Cole Sanchez, Rebecca Sugar ‘Adventure Time: Lady & Peebles’ – Cartoon Network Studios

  • Doug Lovelace ‘Dragons: Riders of Berk: Portrait of Hiccup as a Buff Man’ – DreamWorks Animation

  • Holly Forsyth ‘Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess’ – Disney TV Animation

  • Irineo Maramba, Ciro Nieli ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: I Think His Name is Baxter Stockman’’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • Robert Valley, Kalvin Lee ‘Tron: Uprising: The Reward’ – Disney TV Animation

  • Ryan Kramer, Paul Linsley, Kenji Ono, Le Tang, Alice Herring, Mike Mullen, Aaron Hammersley ‘Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness: Enter the Dragon’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • Tom Herpich, Skyler Page ‘Adventure Time: Goliad’ – Cartoon Network Studios

 

Outstanding Achievement, Storyboarding in an Animated Feature Production

  • Emmanuela Cozzi ‘ParaNorman’ – LAIKA/Focus Features

  • Johanne Matte ‘Rise of the Guardians’ – DreamWorks Animation

  • Leo Matsuda ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ – Walt Disney Animation Studios

  • Lissa Treiman ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ – Walt Disney Animation Studios

  • Rob Koo ‘Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted’ – DreamWorks Animation

 

Outstanding Achievement, Voice Acting in an Animated Television or other Broadcast Venue Production

  • James Patrick Stuart as Private ‘Penguins of Madagascar: High Moltage’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • Jeff Bennett as Keswick ‘T.U.F.F. Puppy: Pup Daddy’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • Jessica Walter as Malory Archer ‘Archer: Lo Scandolo’ – Floyd County Production and FX Productions for FX

  • Kevin Michael Richardson as Willem Viceroy ‘Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja: Gossip Boy’ – Titmouse Inc./Boulder Media

  • Kristen Schaal as Mabel Pines ‘Gravity Falls: Tourist Trapped’ – Disney TV Animation

  • Mae Whitman as April O’Neil – ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Rise of the Turtles’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • Sam Witwer as Darth Maul ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Revenge’ – Lucasfilm Animation Ltd.

  • Tom McGrath as Skipper ‘Penguins of Madagascar: The Otter Woman’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

 

Outstanding Achievement, Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production

  • Adam Sandler as Dracula ‘Hotel Transylvania’ – Sony Pictures Animation

  • Alan Tudyk as King Candy ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ – Walt Disney Animation Studios

  • Atticus Shaffer as “E”Gore ‘Frankenweenie’ – The Walt Disney Studios

  • Catherine O’Hara as Weird Girl ‘Frankenweenie’ – The Walt Disney Studios

  • Imelda Staunton as Queen Victoria ‘The Pirates! Band of Misfits’ – Aardman Animations and Sony Pictures Animation

  • Jim Cummings as Budzo ‘Adventures in Zambezia’ – Triggerfish

  • Jude Law as Pitch ‘Rise of the Guardians’ – DreamWorks Animation

  • Kelly MacDonald as Merida ‘Brave’ – Pixar Animation Studios

 

Outstanding Achievement, Writing in an Animated Television or other Broadcast Venue Production

  • Doug Langdale – Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness: Kung Fu Day Care’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • Eric Horsted – Futurama: The Bots and the Bees’ – Gracie Films in Association with 20th Century Fox TV

  • Gabe Garza – ‘Penguins of Madagascar: Endangerous Species’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • Ian Maxtone-Graham, Billy Kimball ‘The Simpsons: How I Wet Your Mother’ – Gracie Films in Association with 20th Century Fox TV

  • Kacey Arnold – ‘Robot and Monster: The Blimp’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • Mike Teverbaugh, Linda Teverbaugh – Dragons: Riders of Berk: Animal House’ – DreamWorks Animation

  • Stephanie Gillis ‘The Simpsons: A Tree Grows in Springfield’ – Gracie Films in Association with 20th Century Fox TV

  • Trey Parker – ‘South Park: Jewpacabra’ – Central Productions

 

Outstanding Achievement, Writing in an Animated Feature Production

  • Chris Butler – ParaNorman – LAIKA/Focus Features

  • Gideon Defoe – The Pirates! Band of Misfits – Aardman Animations and Sony Pictures Animation

  • Hayao Miyazaki, Keiko Niwa, Karey Kirkpatrick – From Up on Poppy Hill – GKIDS

  • John August – Frankenweenie – The Walt Disney Studios

  • Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell, Brenda Chapman, Irene Mecchi – Brave – Pixar Animation Studios

  • Phil Johnston, Jennifer Lee – Wreck-It Ralph – Walt Disney Animation Studios

 

Outstanding Achievement, Editorial in an Animated Television or other Broadcast Venue Production

  • Bret Marnell ‘Puss in Boots: Three Diablos’ – DreamWorks Animation

  • Chris Hink ‘Robot and Monster: Cheer Up Mr. Wheelie’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • Hugo Morales, Adam Arnold, Davrick Waeden, Otto Ferraye ‘Kung Fu Panda: ‘Monkey in the Middle’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • Hugo Morales, Adam Arnold, Davrick Waeden, Otto Ferraye ‘Kung Fu Panda – Enter the Dragon’ – Nickelodeon Animation Studios

  • Jason Tucker, A.C.E. ‘Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Revival’ – Lucasfilm Animation Ltd.

  • Lynn Hobson ‘Dragons: Riders of Berk: Animal House’ – DreamWorks Animation

  • Pieter Kaufman ‘Sofia the First: Once Upon a Princess’ – Disney TV Animation

  • Steffie Lucchesi, Matt Steinauer, Amy Blaisdell ‘Dan Vs Monster Under The Bed’ – Film Roman

 

Outstanding Achievement, Editorial in an Animated Feature Production

  • Catherine Apple ‘Hotel Transylvania’ – Sony Pictures Animation

  • Joyce Arrastia ‘Rise of the Guardians’ – DreamWorks Animation

  • Mark Rosenbaum ‘Secret of the Wings’ – DisneyToon Studios

  • Nicholas C. Smith, A.C.E, Robert Grahamjones, A.C.E., David Suther ‘Brave’ – Pixar Animation Studios

  • Tim Mertens ‘Wreck-It Ralph’ – Walt Disney Animation Studios

 


Last week Dreamworks Animation announced their upcoming slate and to call it busy is something of an understatement. They’ve been increasingly prolific with their output in recent years, but they have kicked it up a notch as they plan to release twelve films in four years, mostly originals with a couple of sequels and spin offs. It’s part of a new distribution deal with Fox, and whilst cynics may dismiss this as a cash grab, the variety of titles and ideas suggests that Dreamworks’ recent creative surge looks set to continue.

The future of Dreamworks Animation looks a little like this (all dates apply to the US): The Croods (March 2013); Turbo (July 2013); Mr Peabody and Sherman (November 2013); Me and My Shadow(March 2014); How To Train Your Dragon 2 (June 2014); Happy Smekday! (November 2014); The Penguins of Madagascar (March 2015); Trolls [working title] (June 2015); B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations (November 2015); Mumbai Musical [working title] (December 2015); Kung Fu Panda 3 (March 2016); How To Train Your Dragon 3 (June 2016)

The Chief Creative Officer for Dreamworks, Bill Damaschke, describes the announcement as “the result of the amazing work and devotion from DreamWorks Animation’s vast roster of directors, producers and artistic talent over many years.” The cast and crews they have assembled for these projects certainly look as promising as Damaschke’s enthusiasm suggests. The Croods is directed by one half of the Dragons directing team Chris Sanders, and stars Nic Cage, Ryan Reynolds and Emma Stone. Reynolds is also set to appear in Turbo, alongside Paul Giamatti and Richard Jenkins as well as many others (the newly named Snoop Lion will make an appearance). They’ll be voicing a script co-written by Robert Siegel, who wrote The Wrestler. Elsewhere, they’ve drafted in Lion King director Rob Minkoff, and voice talent as varied as Stephen Colbert and Alison Janney. These do not look like the efforts of a half-hearted studio merely wanting to rake in the cash. Snoop Lion (and perhaps Ryan Reynolds) aside, these are quality names assembled just  for the first two of their long list of upcoming films. Having the names of Giamatti, Jenkins and Siegel behind your film are enough to make critics round the world uncomfortably excited.

It’s not just the talent behind them that ramp up anticipation for these films, but the ideas, too. Admittedly, there are the usual themes coming through of  ‘discovering the meaning of friendship’, and more than one ‘odd couple’ scenario, but both Pixar and Dreamworks have been doing these for years and often with great success. Not only that, but there appears to be a freshness to some of the ideas that means they will hopefully rise above more standard blockbuster animations.

Most intriguing is the distant prospect of Mumbai Musical, which the Dreamworks site describes as “the studio’s first ever Bollywood-style animated musical adventure inspired by the great Indian epic tale of the Ramayana but told from the point of view of the monkeys.” It’s a premise so out-there for a mainstream animation studio, I’ll be surprised if it does actually get made.

But there’s more of interest. Me and My Shadow will combine traditional and CG animation (already something to get excited by) to tell the story of a shadow who is more adventurous than the timid boy he is attached to. There’ll undoubtedly be a standard resolution of boy and shadow working together and becoming true friends, but it sounds promising at least. The Croods will be about cavemen, and Turbo will be about a snail who dreams of racing in the Indy 500 (sounds like a premise Pixar would have once come up with). Not only that but their sequels are also part of their two best franchises, How to Train Your Dragon and Kung Fu Panda. Both have displayed the studio’s capacity for stunning animation and, in Dragons in particular, telling stories with real heart. Whether The Penguins of Madagascar is entirely necessary, however, remains to be seen.

Right at the beginning of the studio, Dreamworks made a bold choice with The Prince of Egypt; for a fledgling outfit to release a children’s film about a vengeful God who, at one point, kills lots of children, was an incredibly daring move. Their second traditionally animated film covered Spanish colonialism in central America, also not an especially easy topic. This innovation seriously petered off after a while, lost in a mass of talking animals with annoying smirks, and for a long time their films made very little impact. But recently the studio has undergone something of a renaissance, as Dragons, Pandas 1 & 2 and even Madagascar 3 have received critical plaudits, and they have returned to making story and character driven films that look amazing.

With the upcoming Rise of the Guardians, which looks set to be their best yet, it is perhaps time to reassess the position of Dreamworks on the rostrum of great animation studios. They may not be the most consistent, and their tendency towards cheap pop-culture gags so frequently lets them down, but they are definitely able to make top tier animated films, and with this latest batch of films on the horizon, it seems as though things are only going to improve.

Source: http://www.dreamworksanimation.com