Friday, March 06, 2009

Laika to live on and hopefully deliver lots more 3-D animated fun

Actually, before I get into any of that, it's that time of year, so there are a lot of TV "bubble" reports out there. The most surprising name I found on more than one of them was "Chuck," a show I just assumed was safe.

I just jumped on the "Chuck" bandwagon at the beginning of this second season, but now I'm thoroughly hooked. Sure, it gets a little old when every week Chuck "flashes" on a new Fulcrum agent he just happens to encounter, but the show is still easily the best mix of sly humor and action on TV right now.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, creator Josh Schwartz and company are now in the process of pitching a "game-changer" episode for this year's finale that will set up a third season (and hopefully more.) Stay tuned to this, fellow "Chuck" fans ...

And for those of you who still pay for HBO, there's much better news out there this morning for "Seinfeld" fans, of which you can certainly count me as one. The four principal stars - Jerry Seinfeld, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jason Alexander and Michael Richards - will be featured in a multiple-episode story arc on HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm" this fall. That show, of course, was created by "Seinfeld" co-mastermind Larry David, who is starring in Woody Allen's upcoming summer flick, "Whatever Works."

In their honor, here's probably my favorite "Seinfeld" clip of all, featuring a deliriously funny cameo by Phillip Baker Hall as library inspector Bookman. Enjoy, and try not to laugh so loud you disturb your co-workers.

But here today it's all about the future of the animation house Laika, which before the success of "Coraline" was in fairly serious danger. Before seeing that Henry Selick flick, a thoroughly enchanting ode to the imagination, I had no idea that the studio was about to (or perhaps did) declare bankruptcy.

Now, however, with "Coraline" already having hauled in $62 million at the U.S. box office and still running fairly strong, the company has restructured its executives and is moving ahead with a very full slate of flicks. Travis Knight, son of Nike founder and Laika backer Phil Knight (yes, nepotism can be nice), will now take over as president and CEO of the animation house.

So, what does that mean for us viewers? Well, Laika is reportedly now moving ahead with an ambitious slate of no less than nine flicks, including these:

"Here Be Monsters": This appears to be a rather complicated but also hopefully delightfully twisted tale by Alan Snow about a young man who lives with his grandfather in the tunnels under the English city of Ratbridge until he's forced into action to save his fellow underlings from the Cheese Guild. Or, at least that's what I can gather from 30 seconds of Googling.

"The Wall and the Wing": Based on the bestseller by Laura Ruby and set in a future New York City, it's about a girl who can't fly in a world where most everyone else can. She can, however, turn herself invisible, and gets led into a life of crime and other chicanery. Or, once again, that's what I think it's about.

And finally, "Paranorman," based on an original idea by "Coraline" head of story Chris Butler. No matter what these actually turn out to be about, it's just nice to hear some good economic news for once, especially when it's hopefully combined with a nice slate of slightly off-kilter and visually engaging animation.

The "Watchmen" get seriously cheesy

From the exact opposite end of the animation scale qualitywise but still extremely funny comes this "Watchmen" spoof that surfaced today. I'm not sure who made it, but it jumps on the premise of what would happen if our heroes were to live on as a Saturday morning cartoon crew. It's all pretty priceless, but especially Rohrschach declaring "I'm nutty!" and pining for a kiss. Enjoy, and by all means go see "Watchmen" this weekend, which I'm going to do (in IMAX!) Saturday afternoon. Peace out.


Mercurie said...

I can imagine how Alan Moore would react to a Saturday morning cartoon version of Watchmen! That was hilarious, although a bit twisted in The Comedian wanting a kiss from Laurie....

Reel Fanatic said...

Indeed ... I would have to assume that whoever made it knows exactly why that would be so perverse, but to me that just makes it all the more funny .. I"m leaving for the theater in about a half hour, and I can't wait!