For a decade and a half, Pixar has maintained an unchallenged claim to the most sparkling reputation among its animation studio brethren. The CGI production company has earned critical favor by developing one quality film every one to two years since 1998 (with the Cars outliers in '06 and '11). It's a risky schematic — the "all your eggs in one basket" play can really make or break an outlet. Luckily for Pixar, the vast majority of their attempts have been triumphant. But DreamWorks seems to be opting for another strategy. A sort of "throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks" philosophy. The company has announced a list of 12 (yes, 12!) developing movies to be carried out over the course of the next four years; this is the largest slate of projects any animation studio has undertaken.
Among the titles are How to Train Your Dragon 2 and 3 (with the threequel being a new announcement) and B.O.O.: Bureau of Otherworldly Operations, which will star Seth Rogen (who has lent his voice to DreamWorks flicks like Monsters vs. Aliens and the Kung Fu Panda movies).
Additional project titles for DreamWorks through 2016 include sequels/spinoffs like Kung Fu Panda 3 and The Penguins of Madagascar, original concepts like Me and My Shadow, Happy Smekday!, Turbo, Trolls, Mumbai Musical, and The Croods, as well as a feature adaptation of Mr. Peabody & Sherman (based on the Jay Ward cartoon shorts that aired as segments on The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show). The slated dates for these pictures range as early as March of 2013 (The Croods) to March of 2016 (Kung Fu Panda 3).
So is this the preferable strategy? As far as attracting audiences, DreamWorks might be working the right angle — animated family films almost always perform remarkably well, franchises especially (of the 12 named projects, four are followup features to very successful movies). But Pixar's undivided dedication and attention to each film is likely what results in such outstanding quality per picture. Sure, many of the above DreamWorks projects could very well turn out to be critical favorites. But it's unlikely, due to this division of labors, that any of them will have the impact of a Toy Story or a Wall-E.
[Photo Credit: DreamWorks]
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As the old saying goes: If you love something, let it go. If it really loves you back, it'll return when you're well into adulthood, taking the form of a DreamWorks Animation feature film. So, remember everything you loved when you were a kid? Cartoons about friendly ghosts, claymation factotums, Eternia defenders, and junkyard-centric schoolchildren? Super-literal detectives, masked avengers, educational livestock puppets, and heroic collies? No matter where your adorations lie, they're included in the latest purchase of Classic Media by DreamWorks; the sale will transfer the rights of over 450 family entertainment titles to the motion picture studio.
Among them: Casper, Gumby, He-Man and She-Ra, Fat Albert, Dick Tracy, The Lone Ranger, Lamb Chop, Lassie, Where's Waldo?, Pat the Bunny, Richie Rich, Wendy the Good Little Witch, Hot Stuff, Rocky and Bullwinkle, Dudley Do-Right, George of the Jungle, Rankin Bass' Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman, Mr. Magoo, Felix the Cat, Underdog, and Mr. Peabody and Sherman, which is presently in development as a film, with Ty Burrell as the voice of the titular time-traveling terrier.
And that is only twenty-odd titles in a list of 450! Basically, everything in which you spent your younger days investing your existential philosophies should soon be a DreamWorks movie. So what are you most looking forward to?
[Photo Credit: Classic Media]
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It’s been 45 years since Peter Sellers was unleashed as the bumbling Inspector Clouseau in the delicious Pink Panther. That 1963 film spawned numerous sequels and cartoons and in 2006 the baton was passed to Steve Martin -- who hatched a worldwide hit with his version of the French detective. In this meandering gag-laden sequel Martin is assigned to join a team of other famed international detectives and crime wizards to crack a case where priceless treasures are being stolen around the globe including of course the iconic Pink Panther diamond. Again aiding Clouseau in his own cause are his partner Panton (Jean Reno) and Nicole (Emily Mortimer) for whom he still has those amorous feelings. Let’s face it no one could top Sellers in this role and it’s wise that Martin doesn’t really try instead taking the character more toward The Jerk. Whether inadvertently burning restaurants down to the ground juggling wine bottles (in a particularly lame sequence) mangling the English language imitating the Pope or spouting hopelessly politically incorrect bon mots like calling an Asian colleague “my little yellow friend ” Martin plays it broadly and safely. As the quartet of international detectives brought in to solve the case with Clouseau Andy Garcia Alfred Molina Yuki Matsuzaki and gorgeous Aishwarya Rai Bachchan do everything they can to keep from being totally upstaged by Martin’s nonstop antics but it ain’t easy for any of them. Also of note: John Cleese takes Kevin Kline's place as Clouseau’s exasperated boss and Lily Tomlin Martin’s All of Me co-star are reunited here to teach him properly correct social etiquette. With a cast of capable comic veterans like this all any director would have to do is point the camera and make sure it’s in focus. And that seems to be ALL Dutch helmer Harald Zwart (Agent Cody Banks) has done. The PP template has been dumbed down to appeal to young kids and despite its picaresque Paris and Rome locations this comes off as surprisingly flat with a lot of comic possibility left twisting in the wind.
Fox's talent competition series American Idol and NBC's freshman police drama Boomtown won the highest honors at the 19th annual Television Critics Association Awards, which were presented Saturday at the Hollywood Renaissance hotel.
The TV critics mostly rewarded original, unscripted fare from the Big Four networks rather than HBO's slate, and no one network dominated the nominations. Comedy Central, NBC and PBS each walked away with two awards, while the rest of the honors were spread out among other networks.
The TCA bestowed Idol with its program of the year award, while the almost-axed series Boomtown, starring Neal McDonough, snagged prizes for best new program and best drama series.
Boomtown producers thanked critics for their letters of support to the show, which they said helped convince NBC Entertainment President Jeff Zucker renew the series for another season, Variety reports. The hour-long drama, which won a Peabody Award earlier this year, explores a crime from the perspective of four witnesses.
Jon Stewart, meanwhile, won the award for individual achievement in comedy as host of Comedy Central's satirical news program The Daily Show, which also won best comedy of the year.
PBS's long-running investigative series Frontline won an award for outstanding achievement in news and information while LeVar Burton's Reading Rainbow was named best children's program.
Despite HBO drama The Sopranos' year-long hiatus, Edie Falco won for outstanding achievement in the individual drama category for her role as Carmela Soprano.
The Sci Fi Channel's Steven Spielberg Presents Taken, a science-fiction adventure that weaves together over 50 years of alien abductions into the story of three families' experiences, won best miniseries.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer won the Heritage Award, which recognizes programs that have a lasting influence on pop culture and society. The honor was shared between the show's two networks, WB and UPN.
The Dick Van Dyke Show creator/producer Carl Reiner, meanwhile, was honored with the career achievement honor.
The ceremony was hosted by Wanda Sykes, star of the Fox sitcom Wanda at Large. The honors are voted on by the TCA's membership of journalists from Canada and the United States.