FEA­TURES LAIKA to Ex­pand Ore­gon Stu­dio Space by 70 Per­cent

Animation Magazine - - Frame- By- Frame -

Stop-mo­tion house LAIKA, the Hills­boro, Ore.-based stu­dio be­hind The Boxtrolls, ParaNor­man and Co­ra­line, has an­nounced plans to in­crease the size of its fa­cil­ity by 70 per­cent.

The stu­dio, which is headed by Travis Knight (son of Nike co-founder Phil Knight), had been toy­ing with pur­chas­ing a new fa­cil­ity but has de­cided to build on its cur­rent 150,000-squarefoot ren­o­vated ware­house lo­ca­tion af­ter find­ing noth­ing suit­able in the area.

1Iron Man and com­pany face a new foe in Joss Whe­don’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. On disc to­day: Maya the Bee Movie; .hack// Roots: The Com­plete Se­ries; Mickey Mouse Club­house: Min­nie’s Pet Sa­lon; Team Umi­zoomi: Meet Shark Car.

The world of anime is fast-paced and keep­ing up with it can seem like a daunt­ing task. So fans and scholars should be thank­ful for this re­vised edi­tion, which is fully up­dated and in­cludes all the cor­rec­tions made for the 2012 Kin­dle edi­tion and more than a thou­sand new en­tries cov­er­ing ti­tles re­leased since the last print edi­tion in 2006. That alone would make this a mas­sive and in­valu­able tome as it is, but Jonathan Cle­ments and He­len McCarthy also have added the­matic en­tries to this edi­tion, cov­er­ing top­ics rang­ing from fandom to voice act­ing to piracy and var­i­ous gen­res. With the print edi­tion com­ing in at a whop­ping 1,200 pages, there’s no more thor­ough English-lan­guage anime re­source on the planet. And the ebook edi­tion, in ad­di­tion to be­ing a bud­get-con­scious al­ter­na­tive, of­fers hy­per­link con­nec­tions to of­fi­cial sites, fo­rums and more. Say­ing it’s in­dis­pens­able is an un­der­state­ment.

A tale of an un­likely in­ter-species friend­ship, steers DreamWorks An­i­ma­tion into new cre­ative and tech­no­log­i­cal ter­ri­tory. By Tom McLean.

DreamWorks An­i­ma­tion vet­eran Tim John­son says his path to di­rect­ing the stu­dio’s new film, Home, be­gan — where else? — at home.

John­son had picked up a copy of Adam Rex’s novel The True Mean­ing of Smek­day af­ter read­ing a pos­i­tive re­view of it in The New York Times. He started read­ing it to his kids, but con­tin­ued on to the end af­ter they had gone to bed.

“The mo­ment I said ‘Wow!’ was a scene mid­way through the book — and we have a ver­sion of it mid­way through the movie — where this ar­ro­gant alien turns to the young girl and says, ‘I think I am ow­ing sor­ries to you,’ and he apol­o­gizes for the in­va­sion,” says John­son. “And she says, ‘Don’t call me Gra­tu­ity any­more, call me Tip.’ That scene in the book made me choke up.”

As soon as he fin­ished read­ing the book, John­son emailed DreamWorks An­i­ma­tion chief Jeffrey Katzen­berg at 2 a.m. say­ing the stu­dio had to make Smek­day into a movie.

The end re­sult is Home, which hit the­aters March 27 and is look­ing to be the big box of­fice hit DreamWorks An­i­ma­tion has been seek­ing for a while.

Home be­gins with the alien race called the Boov, which con­sid­ers cow­ardice a pos­i­tive trait and there­fore takes over Earth as peace­fully as pos­si­ble. They re­lo­cate all hu­mans safely to Aus­tralia, and hope to evade their galac­tic en­e­mies, the Gorg on their new home planet.

All goes ac­cord­ing to plan un­til a mis­fit Boov named Oh ac­ci­den­tally in­vites the en­tire gal­axy — in­clud­ing the Gorg — to his house­warm­ing party. On the run from his own race, Oh runs into a young girl named Gra­tu­ity “Tip” Tucci, who is the only hu­man to have es­caped the Boov’s re­lo­ca­tion and just wants to find her mother. To­gether, Oh and Tip form a ten­u­ous part­ner­ship that takes them around the world to a fi­nal con­fronta­tion with the Boov and the Gorg.

The fea­ture is DreamWorks An­i­ma­tion’s sole fea­ture film re­lease for 2015 af­ter re­cent shake­ups at the stu­dio that shuf­fled its re­lease sched­ule and in­cluded cut­backs. John­son di­rects from a script by Tom J. As­tle and Matt Ember. Suzanne Buirgy and Mireille So­ria, a vet­eran of the Mada­gas­car fran­chise and the stu­dio’s re­cently pro­moted co-pres­i­dent of fea­ture an­i­ma­tion, pro­duced Home. Jim Par­sons, the Emmy-win­ning star of the CBS com­edy The Big Bang The­ory, voices Oh, while in­ter­na­tional mu­sic star Ri­hanna voices Tip. Round­ing out the cast is com­edy leg­end Steve Martin as Cap­tain Smek, leader of the Boov.

John­son’s early-morn­ing email to Katzen­berg led the stu­dio to op­tion the film rights to Rex’s book, and John­son be­gan to de­velop the pro­ject with Emil Mitev, who be­came art di­rec­tor on the movie.

Vary­ing the Genre One thing John­son was es­pe­cially in­ter­ested in was find­ing a fresh look for the genre. “As a lover of science fic­tion, I wanted to make sure our movie didn’t have laser blasters and space ships that looked just like ev­ery other science-fic­tion movie,” he says.

Be­gin­ning with the art in Rex’s book, John­son found in­spi­ra­tion on a trip to Comic-Con in San Diego, where he bought some pop vinyl toys from Asia. “I bought a bunch of them and re­ally kind of was moved to cre­ate the same sort of tac­tile, adorable qual­ity (in the movie that) I saw in a lot of col­lectible vinyl toys,” he says.

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