Tag Archives: Blue Sky Studios

Remembering 2015: One Animation Fan’s Retrospective

1 Jan

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)


PIXAR’s film is a strong contender come Oscar season!

The 2015 year was good for animation enthusiasts. Netflix‘s streaming service took off (and finally caught my notice) with help from DreamWorks — more of their properties appeared on this online only network even though I prefer to physically own a copy (i.e. purchase a video release down the road). Technically, Turbo FAST started the trend in 2013 and I’m glad to see that it exists for purchase at stores and on Amazon. All Hail King Julian! released late in 2014 but the rest of the programs like Dragons: Race to the Edge, Dawn of the Croods and Adventures of Puss in Boots shows that at least the studio has faith on the medium. Let’s hope these releases come to video too.

But what does that mean for other studios? Curiously, DreamWorks has not continued 2014’s Penguins of Madagascar movie. Has Nickelodeon said no to the studio making more or has Tom McGrath, the voice of Skipper, decided to move on? Currently, he’s working on Boss Baby, slated for release in 2017.

Disney/Pixar was busy with two releases, Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur, and while I favour the prehistoric adventure more than a look at what goes on inside a little girl’s head, I do see the former being a contender come Oscar season. I do have to wonder how long Minion-mania will last. It arrived in full force because of the movie and it showed no signs of slowing down over the holidays with merchandise being deeply discounted and the film put onto home video super early!

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The Peanuts Movie — It’s A Good Film, Charlie Brown!

8 Nov

By James Shaw (The Wind up Geek) and Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

snoopy_and_charlie_brown_the_peanuts_movie_ver26J: In this world, there are many dangers geeks (like me) must defend themselves against. There are certain words that will set a nerd’s heart racing and cause uncontrollable giddiness. For some, that’s Star Trek. For me, it’s Peanuts.

The thought of Charles M. Schulz’s creation sends me back to a time when a CBS television special was the event of the holidays. A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) and It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (1966) are considered some of the all time best television specials. Not satisfied with TV, Schulz brought his creation to the big screen; Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown (1977) is on my list of the top 100 animated films of all time. It is lucky that Blue Sky Studios, the animators of the Ice Age film franchise, won the rights to produce and release a Peanuts movie.

This old nerd just became a kid again.

E: So James proves he’s older than me in terms of taste. It’s a good one to suck up; I adore the team of Snoopy and Woodstock. They are the comedic duo that introduced me to this world and I love their antics.

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First Peanuts Trailer is Visually Appealing but Lacks Heart

20 Nov


First impressions are very important with any teaser trailer. If anything, the most impressionable part of the Peanuts movie trailer (due for a Christmas 2015 release) is in what a wonderful job Blue Sky Studios has done in transitioning Charles M. Schulz’s creations from hand drawn animation to computer graphics. The fact that I can see the fur on Snoopy’s paws when he forms them around his eyes to represent binoculars is representative of the painstaking work this animation studio took to bring each Peanut character to life.

With that praise aside, I’m bewildered as to why this film shows a lack of what makes the Peanuts so timeless.

The trailer opens to find Woodstock and friends decorating Snoopy’s doghouse with Christmas lighting while he sleeps. Vince Guaraldi’s beautiful composition is playing in the background. Suddenly, Snoopy wakes up to the shadow of a bi-plane flying over head. Our dog leaps into action with not only a change into a flying helmet and scarf but into a change of accompanying music with a wholly out-of-place pop song.

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Going to Rio for Carnival is better than seeing Rio 2

12 Apr

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

Rio 2 Poster (2)

The city of Rio is best known for its carnival and the revelers of this six-day party can certainly live it up. It’s such a shame the movie Rio 2, a tale about a domesticated blue macaw learning how to live life freely, cannot live up to the same name and previous hype. It tries — especially with all its high-spirited musical numbers — but it fails when the concepts it tries to extol on are far too formulaic.

Blu (Jesse Eisenberg) has a happy life with Jewel (Anne Hathaway) in the city. But when their owners Linda (Leslie Mann) and Tulio (Rodrigo Santoro) discover a flock of their kind deep in the jungles of the Amazon, they decide to track the humans down and find that life is not as golden. Jewel’s father, Eduardo (Andy Garcia) does not take an immediate liking to Blu, and with even more enemies to come, just which antagonist becomes important is muddled in a quagmire of who wants to climb up the ladder of being an alpha male. The story may be too complex for a young mind to handle and even for an adult, they may ask why is the message of saving Earth’s rain forests not engrained better in this film.

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