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Tag: Animation (81-90 of 276)

'Community' misfits get in the holiday spirit with a 'Rudolph'-esque stop-motion episode

Claymation-CommunityImage Credit: NBC Photo

This season of Community has been, among other things, a confident ode to pop culture, taking on everything from the zombie genre and RoboCop to a Secret Garden/Mean Girls overlap. And now, the students of Greendale are taking on another gem: the stop-motion holiday special. We first heard about it this fall, and now, there’s a glorious photo to further whet the collective appetite. READ FULL STORY

'Cars 2' trailer: Will Doc Hudson make a cameo?

So last month’s Cars 2 teaser wasn’t a prank after all: Lightning McQueen and his rusty pal, Mater, actually steer into the world of espionage in the sequel to Pixar’s 2006 smash. The new trailer for Cars 2 has some clues, with McQueen trading the good ol’ boy NASCAR circuit for international Grand Prix racing. Somehow, this leads to intrigue when Mater and McQueen are confused for master spies, North by Northwest style. Yes, that’s Michael Caine as British operative, Finn MacMissile. READ FULL STORY

Mr. Peanut is suddenly sexy

Robert Downey Jr., the man who’s done so much wrong he can now do none, is playing yet another iconic character — the world’s most famous legume. Yes, RDJ is Kraft’s Mr. Peanut. In his first showing as the voice of the 94-year-old mascot, he hosts a Christmas party for everyone in the nut-world — except a Nutcracker with a history of belligerence (see video below). The high-profile casting is part of Kraft’s plan to modernize Mr. Peanut — who’s been silent since his debut in 1916 — and follows the launch this past January of Mr. Peanut’s naturalistic Facebook page, regularly updated with candid photos and his thoughts on topics like skinny jeans. Mr. P is also out of  his 1980s yellow shell and into an old-school pitted brown, which, coupled with a natty coat and RDJ voice, reads straight from the pages of the Wes Anderson Stylebook of Anthropomorphizing.

It’s all so damn charming, I find myself craving more of this new Mr. Peanut — his morning routine, his views on the war, maybe a feature-length biopic I could watch through my own monocle while throwing back a satisfying handful of Planters peanuts. Is this what successful advertising feels like? READ FULL STORY

'Star Wars: The Clone Wars': Is Cad Bane the coolest character? C-3PO?

clone-wars-evil-planImage Credit: TM 2010 Lucasfilm Ltd. All Rights Reserved.Star Wars: The Clone Wars’ third season keeps taking us to some pretty unexpected places. I, for one, never imagined that an episode would hinge upon Anakin and Padmé’s party-planning skills. But that’s what “Evil Plans” offered up. Don’t worry, it was a lot cooler than that description would  make out. Actually, “Evil Plans” worked for me because of three key factors—it saw the return of Cad Bane, it beautifully realized the “used future” concept of the original film, and it centered around C-3PO and R2-D2, the Laurel & Hardy of that Galaxy Far, Far Away. That C-3PO finally had his moment to shine—and believe me, he does shine with that gold plating—on The Clone Wars was particularly satisfying to me. READ FULL STORY

Funniest Animated Characters Ever: Vote now!

animated-charactersImage Credit: Disney; Pixar/DisneyYesterday, EW’s Emily Exton asked you to name your personal choice for the funniest animated movie character ever. Readers responded with a collective roar, name-checking a whole host of classic characters. The PopWatch Electoral Commission has tabulated the comments and come up with a list of finalists. Now, we’re throwing it back to you! PopWatchers, which of these cartoon characters makes you laugh so hard that you faint, and then makes you laugh so hard in your dream that you faint again and fall into an even deeper level of the dream, Inception-style? Cast your vote now in the no-holds-barred showdown: Who is the funniest animated character ever?

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Who are the funniest animated movie characters of all time?

Who are the funniest animated movie characters of all time?

animated-charactersI’ve had Friday, Nov. 5 circled, starred, and highlighted on my calendar for a while, PopWatchers (and not because it’s Guy Fawkes Night…). No, because Will Ferrell plays a deliciously evil supervillain in Megamind (along with Tina Fey, Brad Pitt, and Jonah Hill), which hits theaters tomorrow. And since Ferrell knows all-too-well how to transform himself into an evil villain (see: Zoolander‘s Mugatu), there’s a pretty good chance he’ll be as, if not more, hilarious as an animated one, right? We’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out, but could Megamind be the funniest animated movie character of all time?

Of course, the blue evil-doer does have some stiff competition. Tons of great actors have lent their voices and comedic timing to animated films, creating some of the most lovable and laugh-inducing characters: Ellen DeGeneres’ was a forgetful, whale-speaking fish Dory (“Maybe a different dialect?”) in Finding Nemo, and Eddie Murphy played an actual smart-ass in not one, but four Shrek installments. But did these recent characters tickle your funny bone as much as characters in some of Disney’s classics? Going back to the studio’s heyday, Aladdin’s loyal servant Genie had an endless supply of impressions at the ready, thanks to Robin Williams, and the singing duo/lifestyle gurus Timon and Pumbaa (Nathan Lane and Ernie Sabella) in The Lion King never failed to deliver a memorable phrase… for the rest of your days.

So tell me, what’s a motto with you, PopWatchers? Who do you think is the funniest animated movie character of all time?

PopWatch Rewind Week 11: 'It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown'

God might be dead, but the Great Pumpkin will live forever. That’s one of many important life-lessons you learn from It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown, the iconic Peanuts Halloween special in which Linus preaches his suspicious belief system to a community of big-headed skeptics. There is a lot to love about this special — the jazzy score, the gorgeously minimal animation, the lengthy tangent in which Snoopy play-acts a World War I melodrama (complete with an extended piano sequence that can only be described as Lynchian). But there’s one thing thing that sets Great Pumpkin apart from all other Halloween specials: It never tries to be scary. There are no spooky monsters, no shocks, nothing to make you afraid of the dark. There’s just a little boy, alone in a pumpkin patch, trying to fight away the creeping suspicion that humanity is actually alone in the universe. Actually, now that we think about it, that’s really scary. Join us as we read entirely too much into the story of a boy and his best friend: a pumpkin who doesn’t exist.

Darren Franich: This was the third Peanuts special. Personally, I think this blows all the other ones out of the water. (Looking at you, A Charlie Brown Christmas!) It’s fast. It’s funny. And for about seven straight minutes, it suddenly turns into The Adventures of Snoopy in Occupied France.

Keith Staskiewicz: The more I think about it, the less I think the Snoopy storyline is that divergent. Snoopy pretending to fight the Red Baron and Linus’ squash-based god-cult are both about the fine line between imagination and delusion. But while Snoopy’s pretend-time is fun, there’s something about Linus’ utter faith in the Great Pumpkin that is upsetting to the other kids. READ FULL STORY

Danny DeVito leads 'The Lorax' (with Ed Helms, Zac Efron, Rob Riggle, and Betty White)

lorax-movieImage Credit: Illumination Entertainment/UniversalIt could be the most environmentally-conscious movie since Avatar. USA Today has the first look at The Lorax, the 3-D adaptation of the 1971 Dr. Seuss book in which the gruff title character (voiced by Danny DeVito), pictured, speaks for the trees that are being chopped down by the Once-ler (voiced by Ed Helms), a naive businessman who turns disastrously greedy. Zac Efron will voice the young boy who wants to find the Lorax because even though the Once-ler destroyed the forest, there is still hope for Mother Nature. Betty White will voice the boy’s grandmother, who remembers the world when it was still green. (“They live in an outrageously artificial world where all things natural have been replaced by plastic and steel. It’s like living in Las Vegas,” producer Chris Meledandri, head of Illumination Animation, joked to USA Today.) Rob Riggle will voice another new character, described as “another industrialist who sells cans of fresh air to the polluted world the Once-ler creates and wants to keep it that way.” (Anyone else just think of Spaceballs?)

Thoughts? Sounds like perfect casting by Universal and Illumination. I remember chatting with DeVito about his 2006 holiday movie Deck the Halls for one of EW’s movie preview issues, and he spent 10 minutes convincing me to see An Inconvenient Truth, which had just hit theaters, immediately. (It worked, too: I went that night after we hung up.) DeVito’s passion — and his penchant for giving memorable interviews — should definitely garner the film some headlines when he does the media tour. Watch a clip from the 1972 TV version of The Lorax below.  READ FULL STORY

'South Park' apologizes for stealing 'Inception' parody dialogue

south-park-inceptionDid the Inception parody that South Park aired last week seem eerily familiar as you watched? Don’t worry, you (probably) weren’t being incepted. The South Park episode lifted significant chunks of dialogue from a video posted on CollegeHumor.com back in August, to such an extent that South Park has had to apologize publicly. “It’s just because we do the show in six days, and we’re stupid and we just threw it together,” South Park creator Matt Stone told The New York Times. “But in the end, there are some lines that we had to call and apologize for.”

According to the Times, it was all a big mix-up: “When [Stone and Trey Parker] could not find a movie theater showing Inception, and were unable to get a DVD of the film (or find a watchable version on BitTorrent), they turned to other parodies of the film on the Web, and found the CollegeHumor video.” Stone adds that taking CollegeHumor’s jokes “was a mistake, and it was an honest mistake.”

Check out CollegeHumor’s “Inception Characters Don’t Understand Inception” after the jump, then visit South Park‘s site to see that show’s “Insheeption” episode. The Inception parody starts around 6:30. Some key shared lines to look out for include “Sometimes my thoughts of my dead wife manifest themselves as trains” and “We need to move to the next dream level before these projections kill us”/”We need to move them all to the next dream level before the projections kill them.”

Do you buy Stone’s explanation for all this? Does this seem like just “an honest mistake” or something worse? Sound off in comments. READ FULL STORY

'Star Wars: The Clone Wars': Always in motion is the future

Star-Wars-Clone-WarsImage Credit: Lucasfilm Ltd. & TMNo disturbance in the Force here! After a couple of mildly disappointing episodes set on Mandalore, Star Wars: The Clone Wars got back on track with a brooding, mysterious installment last night. “Assassin” is the first ep this season to dive deeply into Star Wars’ underlying mythology, and, most impressively, it didn’t have to be a Skywalker-centric episode to have some Joseph Campbell-worthy heft.

Like Anakin in Revenge of the Sith, though, Ahsoka found herself having unsettling Force-fueled visions. And just like the future Darth Vader, visions of Padmé’s death, no less! READ FULL STORY

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