The exquisitely imaginative cinematic work of Georges Méliès as interpreted by 360 Google Doodles

(image via YouTube (c) Google Spotlight Stories)

 

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A charming illusionist, an adventurous queen of hearts and an evil green man journey through early cinema, film magic and love. Back to the Moon is an animated, interactive Doodle celebrating the artistry of film director and prestidigitator Georges Méliès.

The Google Doodle, Google Spotlight Stories, Google Arts & Culture, & Cinémathèque Française teams have collaborated to create the first-ever Virtual Reality (VR) / 360° interactive Doodle to celebrate the life and artistry of French illusionist and film director Georges Méliès. Produced by Nexus Studios.

Known for films like A Trip to the Moon (1902) and The Impossible Voyage (1904), Marie-Georges-Jean Méliès, more popularly referred to as Georges Méliès, was a pioneer filmmaker who has long fascinated and entranced me.

His technical achievements aside, and they are considerable, Méliès possessed a rich and expansive imagination that found exquisite perfection is his adventurous, brave and increasingly sophisticated films that saw beyond film’s only envisaged use as an educational tool and decided the sky, or rather, the moon was the limit!

One thing I love about him is that he made films for the sake of filmmaking, for the purity of creation; yes he wanted audiences, what creative person doesn’t, but it was the act of storytelling that excited and enthralled him.

Google’s recognition of a man who did so much to expand not just how films were made, but why, warms my heart since it acknowledges once again a towering talent who was instrumental in creating the film industry we know today.

 

Off he goes! All the times Rick went rogue #RickandMorty

(image via YouTube (c) Adult Swim)


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Part of what makes Rick who he is, is by doing whatever he wants when he wants. Here are all the times Rick went rogue in Rick and Morty! (synopsis (c) GameSpot Universe)

Let’s face it – apart from the clever writing, outrageously imaginative stories, gobsmackingly creative world-building and eye-catchingly good visuals, what really makes Rick and Morty such a thrill to watch, not to mention lots of crazy fun, is when Rick, who gives a flying f**k Rick, goes totally and utterly rogue.

Like full-on, apologise to no one, get the job done, fix the mess in whatever way works rogue.

Which, be honest, is pretty much all the time!

Drop a bomb on everyone? Rogue. Subjects the Vindicators to a Saw-like reckoning? Most definitely rogue! Wreaks havoc at the Council of Ricks? As rogue as you can drunkenly get.

It’s a joy watching Rick’s off the charts whatever approach to every situation in life, whether terrestrial, or more than usually not, antics in one video, and who knows, you may be tempted to go rogue a little more often yourself

After all, life is too short and who really wants a customs scan all the way up their butt?

 

Jabberjaw and Aquaman together fighting dystopian nightmares? You better believe it!

Aquaman/Jabberjaw and The Flash/Speed Buggy. (image: Paul Pelletier and Andrew Hennessey (DC Comics), Brett Booth and Norm Rapmund (DC Comics)

 

You have to hand to DC Comics – they may not have had much success with their foray into moviedom, save for the stellar success of Wonder Woman, but they sure know they’re away around comic book adaptations of old, beloved Hanna-Barbera characters.

Following hot on the heels of the likes Adam Strange/Future Quest, Booster Gold/The Flintstones, Green Lantern/Space Ghost and Suicide Squad/The Banana Splits, comes all-new fantastic cross-fertilisations between the likes of Jabberjaw and Aquaman (my favourite combo to be honest), Black Lightning with Hong Kong Phooey, Dynomutt with Super Sons, and The Flash with another one of my enduring favourites, Speed Buggy.

What makes these updates of classic characters work so well is that the various creators – the full details of writers, artists and bios can be found at DC Comics – keep enough of the classic characters to make the update accessible and familiar while adding all kinds of new, highly-compatible facets.

It’s a highly-imaginative gambit but it works and works beautifully, and I can’t help but agree with IO9 when they say “These books are always a damn hoot.”

That they are, and we’ll find out how hoot-a-licious they are on 30 May when the one-shot issues are released.

 

Black Lightning/Hong Kong Phooey and Dynomutt/Super Sons. (image: Denys Cowan, Bill Sienkiewicz and Jeromy Cox (DC Comics), Fernando Pasarin and Oclair Albert (DC Comics)

Star Wars: A New Hope ended in just 60 seconds? Totally could’ve happened

(image via YouTube (c) Dorkly)

 

Don’t get wrong – I love Star Wars: A New Hope (or as it was known when I was kid and saw it in a one-screen cinema in Ballina, NSW, Australia, Star Wars).

I could quite happily watch it again and again and again and have done just that many times over the years.

But this hilarious animated video from Dorkly, which comes complete with some killer lines and one hell of a considerably shortened new ending for the film, makes me wonder if a truncated version of the film might not be just a little fun to watch.

After all, OB-Wan Kenobi really knocks it out of the park. Or the Death Star. Same same.

Pity about the daycare level though …

(source: Laughing Squid)

 

Jasmine the greyhound and the healing power of a gentle soul

(image via YouTube (c) Feeln Network)

 

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In 2015, The Feeln Network posted a beautiful animation that told the amazing story of Jasmine the greyhound. In 2003, police in Warwickshire, West Midlands England came upon a locked barn from where they heard the pitiful whimpering of a young greyhound who had been abandoned and starved. The compassionate officers brought this skittish little dog to the Nuneaton Wildlife Sanctuary, where she was given her name and provided with the care she needed. Jasmine was still wary of humans, but she settled in to a routine of caring for other animals at the preserve including dogs, cats, rabbits, squirrels, foxes and even an owl. As Jasmine brought healing to these animals, she allowed herself to relax around humans thus healing herself. Jasmine remained at the sanctuary, amongst all of her friends until her death in 2011. (wording (c) Laughing Squid)

It’s been long recognised that animals bring with them an amazing ability to heal.

Everyone from people with Alzheimers to military veterans with PTSD, kids on the autism spectrum and disabled people and many more besides have found comfort, love and emotional nourishment with all manner of creatures great and small.

The story of an abandoned greyhound called Jasmine who found love and a purpose at a Nuneaton Wildlife Sanctuary in England is a profoundly-moving example of how lives of not just people but other animals, many from traumatised backgrounds, are changed by the presence of just the right animal.

It’s a gorgeous story and though Jasmine is gone now, her memory lives on in the lives of all the animals she helped.

 

Serving up a Pixar appetiser: Delightful Bao to precede Incredibles 2

(image courtesy Pixar via EW)

 

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The seven-and-a-half-minute short is a culinary fable about a Chinese-Canadian woman suffering from the depression of an empty nest, who gets a second shot at motherhood when one of her handmade dumplings comes alive. (via EW)

Pixar has oft proven itself in the past as not simply the creator of emotionally resonant, complex but accessible and character-rich animated films but of delightfully immersive short films too.

In some ways, these shorter efforts, which usually precede their longer-form creations (with the exception of 2017’s Coco which was introduced by a Frozen cartoon featuring Olaf) are even more impressive since they have to do what their feature counterparts in a considerably reduced amount of time.

While we have yet to see any footage of Incredibles 2 opener Bao (which refers to steamed, filled-buns common to Chinese cuisine), this first image premiered exclusively via Entertainment Weekly, it looks like another superlative entry to Pixar’s line of opening short films, all heart, rich characterisation and humanity.

 

(image courtesy Pixar via EW)

 

Domee Shi, whose directed the film, had this to say about the Bao:

“Often times it felt like my mom would treat me like a precious little dumpling, wanting to make sure I was safe, that I didn’t go out late, all that stuff. I just wanted to create this magical, modern-day fairy tale, kind of like a Chinese Gingerbread Man story. The word ‘bao’ actually means two things in Chinese: Said one way, it means steamed bun. Said another, it means something precious. A treasure.” (via EW)

 

 

I suspect that with the all expected effort that has gone into Bao, that we are indeed looking at another treasure from the animation powerhouse which makes the wait for Incredibles 2, which opens 14 June in Australia and 15 June in USA.

 

 

To infinity and beyond! Go behind the scenes with Toy Story’s voice actors

(image courtesy IMP Awards)

 

Often times, pulling back the curtain and seeing what lies behind the glittering facade, the alluring mystique can be a disappointment.

But sometimes, and this is most definitely the case with this delightful behind-the-scenes video courtesy of ScreenSlam, taking a peek at the building blocks of a beloved pop culture icon such as 1995’s Toy Story, which kicked off Pixar’s enviable run of success, simply adds another wonderful level of magic.

In this short but sweet compilation that features Tom Hanks as Woody and Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear and a host of other actors such as Don Rickles as Mr. Potato Head, we are given a lovely look at how these characters first came to be, seemingly vibrantly alive from the get-go.

It’s worth watching this and then going back to watch Toy Story all over again; and then watching it again and again because really you can never too much of Andy and his wonderfully alive toys.

(source: Laughing Squid)

 

You’re a curmudgeonly one Mr Grinch? (poster + trailer)

(image courtesy IMP Awards)

 

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For their eighth fully animated feature, Illumination and Universal Pictures present The Grinch, based on Dr. Seuss’ beloved holiday classic. The Grinch tells the story of a cynical grump who goes on a mission to steal Christmas, only to have his heart changed by a young girl’s generous holiday spirit. Funny, heartwarming and visually stunning, it’s a universal story about the spirit of Christmas and the indomitable power of optimism.

Academy Award nominee Benedict Cumberbatch lends his voice to the infamous Grinch, who lives a solitary life inside a cave on Mt. Crumpet with only his loyal dog, Max, for company. With a cave rigged with inventions and contraptions for his day-to-day needs, the Grinch only sees his neighbors in Who-ville when he runs out of food.

Each year at Christmas they disrupt his tranquil solitude with their increasingly bigger, brighter and louder celebrations. When the Whos declare they are going to make Christmas three times bigger this year, the Grinch realizes there is only one way for him to gain some peace and quiet: he must steal Christmas. To do so, he decides he will pose as Santa Claus on Christmas Eve, even going so far as to trap a lackadaisical misfit reindeer to pull his sleigh.

Meanwhile, down in Who-ville, Cindy-Lou Who—a young girl overflowing with holiday cheer—plots with her gang of friends to trap Santa Claus as he makes his Christmas Eve rounds so that she can thank him for help for her overworked single mother. As Christmas approaches, however, her good-natured scheme threatens to collide with the Grinch’s more nefarious one. Will Cindy-Lou achieve her goal of finally meeting Santa Claus? Will the Grinch succeed in silencing the Whos’ holiday cheer once and for all? (synopsis via Coming Soon)

 

(image courtesy IMP Awards)

 

I love animation.

Perhaps it’s my inner child still flexing his considerable imaginative muscles or maybe I just love the escapism that comes with made-up worlds, drawn and illustrated, that are so different and so much more free than my own.

Whatever the basis, I have loved animated films and TV shows since I was a kid and I don’t see the love affair ending anytime soon, as long as Pixar and Disney keep releaseing wonderful films, Laika and Aardman keep making gorgeously well-realised stop-motion films and Studio Ghibli’s superlative output is still there to stream.

One rung down from these A-gamers is Illumination Entertainment and while I enjoy their films on a reasonably superficial level, films like Sing and the Despicable Me series, while lovely and cute in their own way, never really hit the heights of Pixar or Laika. (The Secret Life of Pets aside which was actually quite moving and delightfully realised.)

So the fact that they’re behind the latest iteration of The Grinch means you can expect quick easy jobs, sparklingly colourful animation and lots of cute moments to distract from the lack of robustness in the story.

 

 

Now as Boss Baby, which somehow managed to snag an Academy Award nomination, illustrates all too painfully, kids care not often about robust storylines nor particularly fetching animation.

The big plus for Illumination’s films is that they do have a knack for catchy animation and memorably arresting characters, even if the narratives in which they exist aren’t as complex nor philosophically or emotionally dense as Pixar or Laika’s efforts.

All that to say that The Grinch looks like it will be amusing and fun as far as it goes but I can help agreeing with IO9 when they say:

“… this time around, it looks like the Grinch is less a public menace who seeks to destroy Christmas, and more a disgruntled humbug who’d take 11 items into the 10-item lane at the grocery store. I’m shaking in my fur pants.”

Still, while this is likely one for parents, and for guncles (gay uncles) like me, it could be amusing enough to pass the time and if they’re doing their job right, and let’s face it generating festiveness shouldn’t be that hard, get us in the Christmas spirit.

The Grinch opens in the USA and UK on 9 November and Australia on 29 November.

Why are there so many stairs?! Final Space hilariously asks the important questions

(image courtesy TBS)

 

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The intergalactic escapade follows an astronaut named Gary and his planet-destroying sidekick, Mooncake. Together, the two embark on serialized journeys through space in order to unlock the mystery of where the universe actually ends, and if it actually does exist. (synopsis via Wikipedia)

Begone shrivelled carcasses of depression!

Gary Space and his “cute innocent ball of pureness” friend Mooncake (both voiced by series creator Olan Rogers), who is more powerful than appearances might suggest – OK he’s a Planet Killer bur lordy what an adorable one! – have no time for looking back or auto self-destruct as they do their level best to outrun the evil Lord Commander (David Tennant).

Small snag – Gary is, um, a prisoner onboard a ship and going nowhere which makes valiant, evil-defying adventuring a tad problematic, and he’s dumb as a post.

No matter – he’s surrounded by people who do know what they’re doing and when he becomes the captain and not the prisoner, all bets are off.

 

 

It would be easy to assume Final Space is all guffaws and giggles and no substances but not so, according to Monkeys Fighting Robots:

“Final Space is dense with plotting, but the plot moves with many hilarious gags along the way. The animation is sharp, and the jokes fly a mile a minute. The series threads its unique voice through even the most dramatic moments of the first two episodes.”

So substance and laughs and even some Rick & Morty lunacy! I’m in.

Best to watch it somewhere though, I think, with not too many stairs …

After previewing the first episodes on Reddit and the TBS app and website, Final Space officially launched on 26 February.

 

The beat goes on: Trolls explodes with season 2 colour and fun

(image via YouTube (c) Dreamworks / Netflix)

 

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The newest season follows Poppy (Amanda Leighton), Branch (Skylar Astin) and the Snack Pack as they live it up with all new glitter-rific festivities and adventures, like taking part in the Annual Party Games, battling in an epic village-wide pillow fight, and rapping in an open mic compliment battle. As they celebrate Troll Village with new critters and new songs, the party is just beginning. (Coming Soon)

Trolls is one those animated films that turned out way more substantial and lovely than you might have supposed from the trailer.

While it did look appealing in just about every respect – colour! glitter! fun! Anna Kendrick and Justin Timberlake voicing the two main characters! – it didn’t look like it was going to be as much fun as it actually was.

Sure it’s no Pixar or Laika but goddamn didn’t you leave it feeling good about, well, practically everything, and honestly if that’s the main takeaway in our cynical world, then I’m just fine with that.

Happily the movie lives in a Netflix animated series with season 2 following relatively hard on the heels of season 1, and while only Ron Funches and Walt Dohrn, who voiced Cooper and Cloud Guy respectively, remain from the original cast, the spirit and fun lives on which my inner child is more than happy to immerse itself in, glitter and all.

Trolls season 2 premiered on Netflix today, 9 March, with season 1 also currently available.

(source: Two Kids and a Coupon)