Just forget the words and sing along

Monday, November 07, 2011

Monday Night Cartoons

Well, you know me, I love my cartoons, and a couple of trailers for new animated films just came my way that I need to pass along.

First up, we have The Lorax.  Based on the classic Dr. Seuss book of the same name, this tells the tale of an industrialist who comes to a magical land to start logging and making stuff, but the Lorax appears to speak for the trees and try to save the environment.

I like the criticisms of this trailer that have branded it "hippie environmentalist bullplop," to which I have to say, "Umm, have you not read the Dr. Seuss original?"

This was produced for the big screen by relatively new animation studio Illumination Entertainment, which exploded onto the scene a couple years ago with the critically beloved blockbuster Despicable Me.  Chris Renaud, the director of Despicable Me, is also directing this one.

For voices, we have Danny DeVito as the Lorax, Ed Helms (Andy on The Office) as the Once-ler, the industrialist who starts logging, and Zac Efron as the boy the Once-ler tells the legend of the Lorax too.  Taylor Swift and Betty White also pop up.

I've got to say, the track record for Dr. Seuss adaptations has been spotty at best, but at the very least, this trailer looks like candy-coated goodness.  The Lorax hits theatres on March 2.

And now, we head across the Pacific to the legendary Japanese animation house Studio Ghibli.  Their latest animated blockbuster has finally been dubbed and is getting a major North American release.  The original Japanese title...The Borrower Arrietty.  The English name...The Secret World of Arrietty.

Inspired by the world-famous series of British children's novels The Borrowers, the film tells the tale of Arrietty, a young Borrower who develops a friendship with a human named Sho.  Sho's grandmother, however, glimpsed a Borrower in her youth, and suspects something's up with Sho, and soon goes on a mission to find the Borrower's living in her house.  Can Sho save his new friend from his ruthless Grandmother?

Arrietty hit theatres in Japan in the summer of 2010, and as is the Studio Ghibli way, it kicked ass at the box office and cleaned up at all the major awards.  It was directed by veteran Ghibli animator Hiromasa Yonebayashi, who made his directorial debut with this.  And Studio Ghibli's resident living legend, Hayao Miyazaki, wrote the screenplay. 

The North American distribution is being handled by Disney, and like the past decade's worth of Ghibli films, the dub is being supervised by Pixar folks, because being a Ghibli otaku is pretty much a prerequisite to work at Pixar.  The English-language dub was directed by veteran Pixar sound designer Gary Rydstrom, who also directed the Pixar short Lifted.  The English dub voice cast includes Disney kids Bridget Mendler and David Henrie as Arrietty and Sho, Carol Burnett as Sho's grandmother, and Will Arnet and and Amy Poehler as Arrietty's parents. 

I watched this trailer and it gave me goosebumps.  I love Studio Ghibli, particularily the films of Miyazaki.  I'll definitely be going to check this out because of his involvement.

The Secret World of Arrietty hits theatres in North America on February 17.

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