Brave

So as Pixar fans (like me) know already, Brave will be released on the 22nd of June (which is also my birthday!), 2012. For those who haven’t seen them yet, here are the trailers, and a sneak-peek from “La Luna” (which has been nominated for animated short oscar) which will be shown right before Brave.

Additionally, the synopsis of Brave has also been released for those who want to know more:

“Since ancient times, stories of epic battles and mystical legends have been passed through the generations across the rugged and mysterious Highlands of Scotland. In “Brave,” a new tale joins the lore when the courageous Merida (voice of Kelly Macdonald) confronts tradition, destiny and the fiercest of beasts. Merida is a skilled archer and impetuous daughter of King Fergus (voice of Billy Connolly) and Queen Elinor (voice of Emma Thompson). Determined to carve her own path in life, Merida defies an age-old custom sacred to the uproarious lords of the land: massive Lord MacGuffin (voice of Kevin McKidd), surly Lord Macintosh (voice of Craig Ferguson) and cantankerous Lord Dingwall (voice of Robbie Coltrane). Merida’s actions inadvertently unleash chaos and fury in the kingdom, and when she turns to an eccentric old Wise Woman (voice of Julie Walters) for help, she is granted an ill-fated wish. The ensuing peril forces Merida to discover the meaning of true bravery in order to undo a beastly curse before it’s too late.”

Tangled

Tangled will be the newest Disney movie. It will be the 50th animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, planned for release on November 24, 2010. The story is loosely based on the classic German fairy tale Rapunzel by the Brothers Grimm.

The movie’s visual style will be based on the painting “The Swing”, by the French Rococo artist Jean-Honoré Fragonard.

Disney’s previous animated feature The Princess and the Frog in 2009, although being highly critically acclaimed and taking in nearly $270 million worldwide, was not as successful as Disney had hoped. Disney expressed the belief that the film’s emphasis on princesses may have deterred young boys from seeing the film. In order to market the film to both boys and girls, Disney changed the film’s name from Rapunzel to Tangled, while also emphasizing Flynn Rider, the film’s prominent male character. Disney was criticized for altering the classic title and story as a marketing strategy. Floyd Norman, a retired Disney and Pixar animator, said, “I’m convinced they’ll gain nothing from this except the public seeing Disney as desperately trying to find an audience.”

Shaun the Sheep

My friend Emre, told me about Shaun the Sheep, which is a British stop-motion animated children’s television series produced by Aardman Animations. I immediately recognized the style as Wallace and Gromit‘s, which was part of my childhood.  The first series of Shaun the Sheep was deemed a success worldwide and Aardman is currently producing a third series.

Apparently Shaun the Sheep first appeared in the 1995 Oscar-winning Wallace and Gromit short film A Close Shave. Sucked into Wallace’s Knit-o-matic contraption, the sheep is accidentally shorn, so Wallace names him “Shaun” (a pun as “Shaun” sounds identical to “shorn” when spoken with a non-rhotic accent). Shaun later appeared in the 2002 series Cracking Contraptions episode, “Shopper 13”, ostensibly to rescue a wayward wheel of cheese.  The popularity of the character, as expressed in the success of Shaun the Sheep merchandise, led to this spin-off series of 40 seven-minute episodes, which made me really happy to hear about. Here is the sixth episode from the first season, “Still Life”.