Last Week in Animation: September 18th
By: F. Alexander Bonilla-Chacon
Welcome to Overly Animated’s Last Week in Animation! This is a recurring series where we aggregate the news items most relevant to fans of the shows we cover regularly, as well as interesting tidbits on other animated television and film projects.
LEGO Getting More Ambitious on Gender?
In a press event for The LEGO Ninjago Movie, producers Dan Lin and Chris McKay raised some eyebrows when they discussed the direction The Lego Movie 2 will be taking in its plot. At the event, they confirmed that Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, directors of The LEGO Movie, are currently rewriting the script to put a heavier focus on the dual perspectives of Finn, the male protagonist from the first movie, and his younger sister, who appears to have more of a prominent role in the sequel. The money comment made by McKay concerning the ideas they’re tinkering with was: “Now, she’s coming in, and that’s the major thing that the movie is about. What’s different and similar about gender, when a boy plays vs. how a girl plays?… I’m really excited about where the movie is gonna go because it’s about these things that are actual notions that people have that might even be unconscious biases, where people don’t even realize that’s the way they’re looking at the world.”
While Lord and Miller have shot to the forefront for being excellent comedy directors, receiving critical praise for their work on the 21 Jump Street franchise and earning enough cachet to be hired onto (but subsequently fired from) the Star Wars cinematic universe, they don’t actually have a lot of writing experience one can point to to determine if they’re capable of handling this topic with the nuance one would hope for. The only wide release films Lord and Miller have written were The Lego Movie and the two installments of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs. As for television, aside from journeyman work, the only major writing experience they got was on the short-lived 2002 animated series Clone High. Suffice it to say, people who are hoping from progressivism from the Lego universe are hesitant to go all in on supporting this, while the intentions sound interesting enough to keep an eye on going forward. The LEGO Movie‘s sequel is expected to premiere in theaters February 8, 2019. [Collider]
OK KO Calls Back to the 90s
On an upcoming October 9th episode of OK K.O.! Let’s Be Heroes!, Cartoon Network is bringing back the 1990s property of Captain Planet to make an appearance on the show. In particular, David Coburn (the titular Captain Planet) and LeVar Burton (Kwame) have been confirmed as voice actors on the episode. It is unknown if the rest of the crew from the 1990s show will at least make cameos on the OK K.O. episode. [Mashable]
Other News and Notes
In a Heartbeat, the short film portraying a young gay romance profiled by Overly Animated in the past, won one of three Student Academy Awards handed out in the animation category. All Student Academy Award winners are eligible for the 2017 Oscars, so this paves the way for In a Heartbeat to at least earn an Animated Short Film nomination. [Animation World Network]
The Venture Bros., most famous for having exceptionally long hiatuses, has whetted the appetites of its fans via an Adult Swim bumper saying “422 days until Season 7.” That would place the season’s premiere in November 2018. [Screen Crush]
In continuation of the marketing campaign for Blade Runner 2049, Sony will release an anime short serving as a prequel to the film. The short will be directed by Shinichiro Watanabe, who is most famous for his work on Cowboy Bebop. The short will be available on YouTube on September 26. [Engadget]
The Moomins, which are a popular group of characters in Finland, are getting a serious animated adaptation expected to come out by 2019. How serious? Big voices such as Kate Winslet (Titanic) Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl), Matt Berry and Richard Ayoade (The IT Crowd) and Taron Egerton (Kingsman: The Secret Service) are already attached to the project. The series’ early plans are to produce 13 episodes of 3D animated characters on 2D backgrounds, which should make for an interesting visual experiment. [Variety]
Universal Kids, formerly known as Sprout, has acquired Masha and the Bear and will be the channel to premiere the internationally popular show in the United States. Masha and the Bear premiered in Russia in 2009 and has produced three seasons plus two spin off series that have aired in various non-English-speaking countries over the years. It is also popular among American children because of the show’s presence on YouTube; the episode “Recipe For Disaster” alone has over 2 billion views and is currently the most-watched non-music video of all time on YouTube. [Hollywood Reporter]
And finally, in this edition of Weird Animation of the Week, here is a trailer for the English dub of Don Gato: El inicio de la pandilla, a Top Cat origin film that premiered in Mexico in 2015. Despite terrible reviews of its dub after it was released in the United Kingdom last year, it will be getting a U.S. theatrical release on September 29.