Dreams, Made Real

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The chance to work with Stu­dio Ghi­bli lured ac­claimed short-film maker Michael Du­dok de Wit into the fea­ture world, re­sult­ing in the dialog-free majesty of The Red Tur­tle. By Charles Solomon.

ven­tures of a lone man ship­wrecked on a small is­land some­where in the South Seas. The chal­lenges of mak­ing a fea­ture were fur­ther com­pli­cated by the de­ci­sion to make the film with­out dialog, an idea that evolved as he re­fined the story with his co-writer, French film­maker Pas­cale Fer­ran.

“When I de­cided to present a cast­away, alone in na­ture on a de­serted trop­i­cal is­land, I im­me­di­ately de­cided not to have him talk to him­self, as Tom Hanks does so beau­ti­fully in Cast­away,” he said. “But I thought the story needed some dialog, es­pe­cially when the man and the woman meet. I imag­ined the woman would be silent be­cause she is from na­ture, but the man would say some­thing.

“We have no idea where the pro­tag­o­nist is from; which cen­tury, which cul­ture, which back­ground, which place in so­ci­ety,” he says. “We know noth­ing about him, but if he opens his mouth and says some­thing, it makes us jump, ‘Oh, he speaks English?’ ‘Oh, he’s French?’ It didn’t feel nat­u­ral.”

As they con­tin­ued to de­velop the story, Du­dok de Wit and Fer­ran re­duced the dialog to a few sen­tences. “I got an un­ex­pected phone call from Stu­dio Ghi­bli — I later found out it was mostly Suzuki’s idea,” he says. “They said, ‘We’ve looked at the sen­tences and the an­i­matic, and we think the film would be even stronger with­out dialog.’ We talked about it for a lit­tle while, and I felt re­ally ex­cited: If they think we can do with­out any dialog at all, I’m in­ter­ested in the chal­lenge.”

The lack of words put more em­pha­sis on the an­i­ma­tion than the project would have oth­er­wise de­manded. “To com­pen­sate for the ab­sence of dialog, the act­ing had to be beau­ti­ful and clear at the cru­cial mo­ments,” Du­dok de Wit says. “When the man and woman meet — when any­one else would speak — the body lan­guage had to be elo­quent enough to com­pen­sate for the ab­sence of dialog.”

Credit to the Crew A slight note of cha­grin crept into Du­dok de Wit‘s voice when he ad­mit­ted he didn’t do any of the an­i­ma­tion, un­like his ear­lier films. “I re­touched some an­i­ma­tion here and there. I also re­touched a lot of back­grounds, be­cause the per­fec­tion­ist in me wanted to add a lit­tle bit of color here and take away a bit color there,” he says. “But I didn’t an­i­mate a sin­gle scene or paint a sin­gle back­ground. I didn’t have time. I was the di­rec­tor and de­signer of the film, and all of the questions came to me. All the im­ages on the screen were done by the crew, not me.”

Although he takes pride in hav­ing made The Red Tur­tle to length and on bud­get, he sounds more ex­cited by the ex­pe­ri­ence of work­ing with the Stu­dio Ghi­bli artists than by the rave re­views and awards buzz the film is earn­ing: “There were nu­mer­ous mo- ments where I would sit there and I say to my­self, ‘Do you re­al­ize you’re sit­ting in Ja­pan at a ta­ble with Isao Taka­hata and Toshio Suzuki talk­ing about the film you’re go­ing to di­rect?’”

The re­sponse from Taka­hata, who served as artis­tic pro­ducer on The Red Tur­tle, in­di­cated that the re­spect is mu­tual: “Af­ter Fa­ther and Daugh­ter, Michael has suc­ceeded again in de­pict­ing the truth of life, simply yet pro­foundly, and with real heart. It is an as­ton­ish­ing ac­com­plish­ment.” [

young men and women who served at Gal­lipoli. Af­ter we chose the six in­di­vid­u­als we were go­ing to use, my edi­tor and co-writer, Tim Wood­house, and I turned their writ­ten ac­counts into in­ter­views. The in­ter­views stuck closely to the words as they were writ­ten in the di­aries. I then cast six ac­tors to play the real peo­ple, and I in­ter­viewed them as I would in a tra­di­tional doc­u­men­tary. The ac­tors wore the VICON Cara mo­tion-cap­ture rig, and we used the data recorded to an­i­mate the in­ter­views, bring­ing those who served in Gal­lipoli back to life, as it were.

We then cut these in­ter­views into what was a lit­tle like a 90-minute ra­dio doc. Around the in­ter­views, as per a tra­di­tional doc­u­men­tary, there were scenes that il­lus­trated the sto­ries be­ing told. We sto­ry­boarded ev­ery one of these scenes, cre­at­ing an an­i­matic of the movie. The an­i­ma­tors them­selves worked with me on the sto­ry­boards so it was a col­lab­o­ra­tion through­out.

Once we com­pleted the an­i­matic, an­i­ma­tion be­gan. Ev­ery back­ground (aside from on the hospi­tal ship) was drawn by hand and a num­ber of tech­niques (2D and 3D) were used to an­i­mate the ac­tion in­ter­spersed be­tween the mo­tion-cap­ture in­ter­views.

An­imag: How did you de­cide on the vis­ual style of the an­i­ma­tion?

Poo­ley: I wanted the film to have a grown-up feel, I didn’t want it to look in any way like a chil­dren’s car­toon. I de­cided very early on that it should have a graphic novel feel, and that was the re­mit through out. I wanted to em­brace the fact that the film was an­i­mated. My main note was that we should see the brush strokes, as it were. With that in mind, there are scenes that are re­al­is­tic and stick closely to the archive footage that ex­ists. Along­side these, and be­cause we were an­i­mat­ing, I was able to use fan­tas­ti­cal im­agery to ex­plore vis­ual metaphor. As a film­maker, this was in­cred­i­bly ex­cit­ing. I didn’t want to over do it and thus un­der­mine the im­pact of the more sur­real im­agery, but, where I thought the story war­ranted it, I told the an­i­ma­tors to em­brace their in­ner Sal­vador Dali. These mo­ments punc­tu­ate the film and, I be­lieve, al­low the au­di­ence to find a deeper mean­ing in what was a hellish sce­nario.

An­imag: Who an­i­mated the movie? How long did it take to com­plete?

Poo­ley: From writ­ing the treat­ment to its pre­miere at the Toronto In­ter­na­tional Film Festival was un­der two years. The film was an­i­mated en­tirely by Flux An­i­ma­tion Stu­dio in Auck­land.

An­imag: What, for you, was the most un­ex­pected as­pect of work­ing in an­i­ma­tion on this movie?

Poo­ley: What I hadn’t ex­pected was that the an­i­ma­tors would ap­proach each scene just like an ac­tor would. If I said I needed a soldier to walk along the beach, my an­i­ma­tion di­rec­tor would want to know where that soldier was go­ing. Was he in a hurry? Was it hot? Ba­si­cally, what his his mo­ti­va­tion was. Com­ing from a doc­u­men­tary back­ground I found this hard work at first but I soon learned that if the “char­ac­ters” in my film were go­ing to be­have in a truth­ful man­ner, these questions re­ally needed to be an­swered.

An­imag: Do you ex­pect to work in an­i­ma­tion again? Why?

Poo­ley: I would love to work in an­i­ma­tion again. I re­ally en­joyed the process. The dis­ci­pline (we couldn’t af­ford to an­i­mate a whole pile of scenes we weren’t go­ing to use), the slow un­fold­ing of the work it­self, and the cre­ative smor­gas­bord that en­abled me to ex­plore themes and ideas I would oth­er­wise strug­gle to il­lus­trate. It was a won­der­ful ex­pe­ri­ence. [

An­i­ma­tion Mag­a­zine #261 Stu­dio: Pixar Dis­trib­u­tor: Buena Vista Re­lease Date: June 17 Box Of­fice: $1 bil­lion world­wide ($485 mil­lion U.S. do­mes­tic) Di­rec­tor: An­drew Stan­ton Cast: Ellen DeGeneres, Al­bert Brooks, Ed O’Neill Rot­ten Toma­toes: 94 per­cent fresh Crit­ics’ View: “In the end, the real value of Find­ing Dory lies in its goofy ef­fer­ves­cence. Although DeGeneres’ Dory, with her breath­less stream-of-con­scious­ness pat­ter, is un­avoid­ably lik­able, the cast of sup­port­ing char­ac­ters here may be even bet­ter. Ed O’Neill sup­plies the voice of Hank, a self­ish, iras­ci­ble oc­to­pus who uses his gift for cam­ou­flage in some out­landish ways — when we first see him, he’s mas­querad­ing as the dan­gling kit­ten in the clas­sic Hang in There! poster, a jux­ta­po­si­tion of weird vis­ual ideas that shouldn’t go to­gether at all but qualifies as a small flash of ge­nius.” — Stephanie Zacharek, Time. Be­hind the Scenes: Stan­ton says he al­ways knew Dory’s back­story, even though he had never re­vealed it even to peo­ple who worked on Nemo. “I knew she had trav­eled the ocean many, many, many years, didn’t re­mem­ber a thing and, be­cause of her short-term mem­ory loss, had prob­a­bly lost any­one she had ever con­nected with, or they ditched her be­cause she drove them crazy,” he says. “And she prob­a­bly had this mas­sive sense of aban­don­ment with­out any abil­ity to place it. It’s sort of why she al­ways apol­o­gizes.” But build­ing a story that worked with Dory at its core was ex­tremely dif­fi­cult given that she was cre­ated to be the ul­ti­mate side­kick in Nemo. Stan­ton says it took a year and half for the Dory team to fig­ure out that the big­gest prob­lem with the char­ac­ter was that with­out the abil­ity to self-re­flect there was no way to track her growth through the story. Hav­ing iden­ti­fied the prob­lem, the so­lu­tion turned out to be many small ad­just­ments to the story, which fi­nally be­gan to come to­gether in the last eight months of its four-year jour­ney — much like Nemo did, Stan­ton says. Awards Chances: Pixar is al­ways a threat when it comes to awards — though as a se­quel Find­ing Dory is less of a lock than the stu­dio’s orig­i­nal fea­tures. De­spite Toy Story 3, which hand­ily won Best An­i­mated Fea­ture in 2011, or Find­ing Nemo, which won in 2003, there’s Mon­sters Uni­ver­sity to show that Pixar can be passed over. The tech­ni­cal achieve­ment of cre­at­ing Hank the sep­to­pus is sure to im­press an­i­ma­tion in­sid­ers, as is Pixar’s abil­ity to use story to evoke tears from even the most jaded movie­goer. Earn­ing an Os­cars nom­i­na­tion is likely more than half the bat­tle for Dory. If it can make it past the large field of com­peti­tors to the fi­nal five, its pop­u­lar­ity — plus that of Ellen DeGeneres, again de­liv­er­ing a knock-out voice-over per­for­mance — gives it a strong shot with the wider, ac­tor-heavy vot­ing body of the Academy.

An­i­ma­tion Mag­a­zine #258 Stu­dio: Kai­bou Pro­duc­tions, LPPTV, M6 Films, On An­i­ma­tion Stu­dios, Onyx Films, Or­ange Stu­dio, TouTenKar­toon Dis­trib­u­tor: Net­flix Re­lease Date: Aug. 5 (U.S.) Box Of­fice: $98 mil­lion world­wide ($1.4 mil­lion U.S. do­mes­tic) Di­rec­tor: Mark Os­borne Cast: Mackenzie Foy, Jeff Bridges, Rachel McA­dams Rot­ten Toma­toes: 93 per­cent fresh Be­hind the Scenes: How to make a film that ef­fec­tively moves from CG to stop-mo­tion and back again was the first big chal­lenge for the show. “It was a com­pelling idea con­cep­tu­ally but very com­pli­cated to work out, and to be hon­est it was a no­tion that only be­came real once (stop-mo­tion cre­ative di­rec­tor) Jamie Caliri joined the project,” says di­rec­tor Mark Os­borne. The most dis­tinc­tive el­e­ment of the stop-mo­tion is that all the el­e­ments look like they are made of paper. “I wanted to link the two worlds by hav­ing the paper that the lit­tle girl is read­ing the story on in­spir­ing her, and that imag­i­nary world that she cre­ated,” Os­borne says. Pup­pets were built with a ball-and-socket ar­ma­ture and cov­ered in all kinds of paper. “Ev­ery­thing that you see on screen in the stop-mo­tion world, al­most ev­ery­thing, is made out of paper,” says Os­borne. Awards Chances: A very strong con­tender that suc­ceeded all over the world be­fore U.S. dis­tri­bu­tion plans were set, then can­celed, and then were re-set via Net­flix. That de­lay may make the film look less cur­rent to some, but to over­look it would be a shame be­cause it’s a truly touch­ing and heart­felt movie. It’s also a great ex­am­ple of a true global in­de­pen­dent, made com­pletely out­side the tra­di­tional Amer­i­can stu­dio sys­tem, and an ideal ex­am­ple of how an­i­ma­tion has be­come a har­bin­ger of the fu­ture of film pro­duc­tion. De­spite all that, The Lit­tle Prince is still charm­ing enough and de­light­ful enough to over­come its ob­sta­cles and make a solid run for an Os­car nom. An­i­ma­tion Mag­a­zine #264 Stu­dio: Sacre­bleu Pro­duc­tions, Maybe Movies, 2 Min­utes, France 3 Cin­ema and Nør­lum Dis­trib­u­tor: Shout! Fac­tory Re­lease Date: Sept. 30 Di­rec­tor: Rémi Chayé Cast: Chloe Dunn, Viviene Ver­mes, Peter Hud­son Rot­ten Toma­toes: 100 per­cent fresh Be­hind the Scenes: Pro­duc­tion on the movie was very col­lab­o­ra­tive, with Chayé open to in­put and con­tri­bu­tions from ev­ery­one. Pro­ducer Henri Ma­ga­lon says the pro­duc­ers and crew were all in­volved in work­ing on the script, the an­i­ma­tion and on fin­ish­ing the fi­nanc­ing. “We worked to­gether jointly on all the de­ci­sions of the line pro­duc­tion: Where to lo­cate the stu­dios, what team to hire, how to ac­com­pany Rémi the best,” he says. The look of the movie came slowly to Chayé, whose ex­pe­ri­ence is mostly with nar­ra­tive el­e­ments like sto­ry­boards and lay­out in­stead of de­sign. “I had no per­sonal style to work with and I had to de­fine it,” he says. “I looked at the in­flu­ence of the peo­ple I was work­ing for, like Tomm Moore on Bren­dan and the Secret of Kells and Jean-François Laguionie on Le Tableau. … Fi­nally, at one point, I dis­cov­ered that if I re­move the line of my draw­ings, the re­sult was some­how in­ter­est­ing, so I de­cided to go along with that idea.” With the story prob­lems solved and the an­i­matic work­ing, an­i­ma­tion was a rel­a­tively smooth 18-month process for the fea­ture. “Liane-Cho Han was the su­per­vi­sor of the whole thing, an­i­ma­tion wise,” says Chayé. “The main thing for me was to make sure they caught the emo­tion and Han made a very beau­ti­ful job on that part.” Awards Chances: Car­toon Saloon proved Euro­pean indies can earn Os­car nom­i­na­tions, as it did for The Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea. That gives Long Way North a road map to fol­low for awards sea­son, a path that will surely be made clearer by the en­gross­ing tale of a young girl’s search for her ex­plorer grand­fa­ther and the de­light­fully col­or­ful and ex­pres­sive 2D an­i­ma­tion Chayé and his team de­liver. An­i­ma­tion Mag­a­zine #264 Stu­dio: Pro­duc­tion I.G. Dis­trib­u­tor: GKIDS Re­lease Date: Oct. 14 Di­rec­tor: Kei­ichi Hara Cast: Anne Watanabe, Yu­taka Mat­sushige, Shion Shimizu Rot­ten Toma­toes: 95 per­cent fresh Be­hind the Scenes: Hara, who is al­ready at work on his next film, sees only a ten­u­ous link be­tween the Hoku­sais’ graphic vi­sions and con­tem­po­rary an­i­ma­tion. But he finds that for the artists who make those films, lit­tle has changed in the two cen­turies since Hoku­sai cre­ated “The Great Wave” and other sem­i­nal wood­block prints. “Print­mak­ing of the Edo pe­riod is strik­ingly sim­i­lar to the pro­duc­tion process of hand-drawn an­i­ma­tion,” he says. “They are both the re­sult of tight team­work among very spe­cial­ized crafts­men aimed at mass au­di­ences; no orig­i­nal art sur­vives, only re­pro­duc­tions. Pub­lish­ers in the Edo era would de­cide on the project, select the staff, do the mar­ket­ing — ex­actly like to­day’s an­i­ma­tion pro­duc­ers. And like an­i­ma­tors, Edo pe­riod print­mak­ers, in­clud­ing Hoku­sai, were con­sid­ered ‘ar­ti­sans’ rather than ‘artists.’ I cer­tainly don’t com­mand Hoku­sai’s cre­ative pow­ers, but I like to con­sider my­self an ar­ti­san, striv­ing to make my way through an end­less wilder­ness of white paper, hold­ing noth­ing but my pen­cil.” Awards Chances: Os­car has a soft spot for art-house style Ja­panese an­i­ma­tion, as shown by the nom­i­na­tions it has be­stowed upon the likes of The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, The Wind Rises and When Marnie Was There. Miss Hoku­sai, un­like those fea­tures, is not a Stu­dio Ghi­bli pro­duc­tion, even though it has a sim­i­lar style. But given the high ac­claim the fea­ture has re­ceived, that may mat­ter lit­tle to the nom­i­nat­ing com­mit­tee, given the depth of emo­tion, the his­tor­i­cal con­text and the ex­cel­lent craft on dis­play in this movie.

An­i­ma­tion Mag­a­zine #266 Stu­dio: Walt Dis­ney An­i­ma­tion Stu­dios Dis­trib­u­tor: Buena Vista Re­lease Date: Nov. 23 Di­rec­tor: John Musker and Ron Cle­ments Cast: Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne John­son, Je­maine Cle­ments Rot­ten Toma­toes: 98 per­cent want to see Awards Chances: There’s lit­tle doubt Moana is beau­ti­fully an­i­mated. What re­mains to be seen at this writ­ing, with its re­lease still a month off, is how well the story holds up. Musker and Cle­ments are beloved by an­i­ma­tion and Dis­ney fans as the direc­tors of The Lit­tle Mer­maid, Aladdin and Her­cules. But the duo’s films since the mid-1990s have strug­gled to find the same level of suc­cess and Dis­ney has not made an­other 2D an­i­mated the­atri­cal fea­ture since the duo’s dis­ap­point­ing 2009 movie Princess and the Frog. For Moana, Musker and Cle­ments enter into CGI for the first time — and whether the re­sult in­spires au­di­ences to the level of a nom­i­na­tion re­mains to be seen. Re­mem­ber, any­thing is pos­si­ble: the last Dis­ney movie that came out at the hol­i­days with lit­tle ad­vance word was a lit­tle thing called Frozen …. An­i­ma­tion Mag­a­zine #265 Stu­dio: Why Not Pro­duc­tions, Wild Bunch, Stu­dio Ghi­bli, CN4 Pro­duc­tions, Arte France Cinéma, Belvi­sion, Prima Linea Pro­duc­tions Dis­trib­u­tor: Sony Pic­tures Clas­sics Re­lease Date: Jan. 20 Di­rec­tor: Michael Du­dok de Wit Rot­ten Toma­toes: 90 per­cent fresh Be­hind the Scenes: “When I de­cided to present a cast­away, alone in na­ture on a de­serted trop­i­cal is­land, I im­me­di­ately de­cided not to have him talk to him­self, as Tom Hanks does so beau­ti­fully in Cast­away,” says Du­dok de Wit. “But I thought the story needed some di­a­logue, es­pe­cially when the man and the woman meet. I imag­ined the woman would be silent be­cause she is from na­ture, but the man would say some­thing. “We have no idea where the pro­tag­o­nist is from; which cen­tury, which cul­ture, which back­ground, which place in so­ci­ety,” he says. “We know noth­ing about him, but if he opens his mouth and says some­thing, it makes us jump, ‘Oh, he speaks English?’ ‘Oh, he’s French?’ It didn’t feel nat­u­ral.” Awards Chances: Os­car likes art house, but The Red Tur­tle will put that tol­er­ance to the test in a way no an­i­mated fea­ture ever has be­fore. Un­doubt­edly a beau­ti­ful and touch­ing film, The Red Tur­tle’s lack of di­a­logue and a story that un­rav­els more like a poem than a nar­ra­tive will test some view­ers’ pa­tience. That said, there is no doubt this is an al­ways­beau­ti­ful and fre­quently mov­ing movie sure to earn more than a few awards-vot­ing cham­pi­ons. An­i­ma­tion Mag­a­zine #266 Stu­dio: Il­lu­mi­na­tion En­ter­tain­ment Dis­trib­u­tor: Uni­ver­sal Re­lease Date: Dec. 21 Di­rec­tor: Garth Jen­nings Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Reese Wither­spoon, Scar­lett Jo­hans­son Rot­ten Toma­toes: 88 per­cent fresh Re­ac­tion: “For the first half of the movie, the sto­ries come fast and fu­ri­ous, and so do the snip­pets of dozens of pop songs. It’s not fran­tic in the overly adrenal­ized man­ner of many an­i­mated films, but it’s some­thing of a jum­ble none­the­less. “But when the char­ac­ters hit rock bot­tom, the movie qui­etly gets more emo­tional and more sure-handed. It’s not easy to make us feel for an­i­mated char­ac­ters who we’ve been laugh­ing at, but we do. … Sure, a cou­ple of those songs are pretty overused — but as a post-screen­ing per­for­mance by Jen­nifer Hud­son and Tori Kelly showed, the darn things also work. “And so does Sing. In an ex­tremely strong year for an­i­ma­tion, Il­lu­mi­na­tion has taken a big step up.” — Steve Pond, TheWrap.com. Awards Chances: This late-year en­try will be closely watched as Il­lu­mi­na­tion chief Chris Meledan­dri is now also over­see­ing DreamWorks An­i­ma­tion since it’s been ac­quired by Com­cast-NBCUniver­sal. The big ques­tion for this movie — and for Il­lu­mi­na­tion — is whether they can go be­yond the fi­nan­cial suc­cess of the Min­ions to also achieve the crit­i­cal suc­cess that Pixar ex­em­pli­fies in this in­dus­try. Early word is strong, but in a year full of strong com­peti­tors that alone may not be enough to stand out from the crowd when it comes time for vot­ers to cast their bal­lots.

An­i­ma­tion Mag­a­zine #265 Stu­dio: DreamWorks An­i­ma­tion Dis­trib­u­tor: Fox Re­lease Date: Nov. 4 Di­rec­tor: Mike Mitchell, Walt Dorhn Cast: Anna Ken­drick, Justin Tim­ber­lake, Jef­frey Tam­bor Rot­ten Toma­toes: 50 per­cent Be­hind the Scenes: “CGI tech­nol­ogy is so so­phis­ti­cated now and so re­al­is­tic, you can make any­thing look su­per real,” says Mitchell. “So for this, we wanted to take that tech­nol­ogy and go a dif­fer­ent way. We made these crea­tures like Gummi Bears that have been flocked in vel­vet. In­stead of mak­ing a re­al­is­tic tree … we wanted to cover that tree in felt, and ev­ery leaf in felt and maybe the ground is car­pet and even the rocks are felted and even the dust and all the ef­fects kind of fol­low this kind of hand­made nat­u­ral fiber ma­te­rial look that is ba­si­cally just sur­fac­ing, but it’s sur­fac­ing I haven’t re­ally seen ex­plored.” Awards Chances: Cute, fun and beau­ti­ful to look at, Trolls is DreamWorks’ top push this year. The movie looks gor­geous and is filled with en­ter­tain­ing songs — both orig­i­nal and clas­sic — that are sure to charm young and old au­di­ences. What re­mains to be seen is how much depth the movie has and its abil­ity to draw in adults with­out chil­dren — and it’s un­likely to ex­pect gold with­out that. An­i­ma­tion Mag­a­zine #266 Dis­trib­u­tor: GKIDS Re­lease Date: TBD Di­rec­tor: Claude Bar­ras Cast: Michel Vuiller­moz, Paulin Jac­coud, Nat­acha Koutchoumov Rot­ten Toma­toes: 100 per­cent fresh Awards Chances: This film took the top fea­ture honor at An­necy, and is based on a pop­u­lar book and delves un­flinch­ingly into some se­ri­ous child­hood is­sues. Its late re­lease and low pro­file at this point look dif­fi­cult — though not im­pos­si­ble — to over­come. An­i­ma­tion Mag­a­zine #261 Stu­dio: Rovio En­ter­tain­ment Dis­trib­u­tor: Sony Re­lease Date: May 20 Box Of­fice: $347 mil­lion world­wide ($108 mil­lion U.S. do­mes­tic) Di­rec­tor: Clay Kaytis, Fer­gal Reilly Cast: Ja­son Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Danny McBride Rot­ten Toma­toes: 42 per­cent Stu­dio: Je Suis Bien Con­tent and Stu­dioCanal Dis­trib­u­tor: GKIDS Re­lease Date: March 25 Box Of­fice: $295,000 U.S. do­mes­tic Di­rec­tor: Chris­tian Des­mares, Franck Ek­inci Cast: Angela Galuppo, Tony Hale, Tony Robi­now Rot­ten Toma­toes: 98 per­cent fresh An­i­ma­tion Mag­a­zine #261 Stu­dio: Il­lu­mi­na­tion En­ter­tain­ment Dis­trib­u­tor: Uni­ver­sal Re­lease Date: July 8 Box Of­fice: $849 mil­lion world­wide ($365 mil­lion U.S. do­mes­tic) Di­rec­tor: Chris Re­naud Cast: Louis C.K., Kevin Hart, Eric Ston­estreet Rot­ten Toma­toes: 75 per­cent fresh Awards Chances: A global hit and an ap­peal­ingly fresh look would in many years be more than enough to earn this ami­able movie a se­ri­ous shot at a nom. But in 2016, with no short­age of box of­fice ti­tans and crit­i­cal dar­lings — and com­bi­na­tions of the two — there’s likely lit­tle room for Pets to squeak through. An­i­ma­tion Mag­a­zine #262 Stu­dio: Blue Sky Stu­dios Dis­trib­u­tor: Fox Re­lease Date: July 22 Box Of­fice: $404 mil­lion world­wide ($64 mil­lion U.S. do­mes­tic) Di­rec­tor: Mike Thurmeier Cast: Ray Ro­mano, Denis Leary, John Leguizamo Rot­ten Toma­toes: 13 per­cent An­i­ma­tion Mag­a­zine #258 Stu­dio: DreamWorks An­i­ma­tion Dis­trib­u­tor: Fox Re­lease Date: Jan. 29 Box Of­fice: $520 mil­lion world­wide ($144 mil­lion U.S. do­mes­tic) Di­rec­tor: Jen­nifer Yuh Nel­son, Alessan­dro Car­loni Cast: Jack Black, Bryan Cranston, Dustin Hoffman Rot­ten Toma­toes: 87 per­cent An­i­ma­tion Mag­a­zine #264 Stu­dio: Warner An­i­ma­tion Group Dis­trib­u­tor: Warner Bros. Re­lease Date: Sept. 23 Box Of­fice: $107 mil­lion world­wide ($50 mil­lion U.S. do­mes­tic) Di­rec­tor: Nick Stoller, Doug Sweet­land Cast: Andy Sam­berg, Katie Crown, Kelsey Gram­mer Rot­ten Toma­toes: 61 per­cent Awards Chances: A sweet movie, with some ter­rific an­i­ma­tion, fun char­ac­ters (Pi­geon Toady, brah!) and a solid story, it none­the­less seemed a lit­tle lost in the crowd when it was re­leased. Also, if Warner couldn’t get a nom for The LEGO Movie, Storks is go­ing to need a lot of luck in so com­pet­i­tive a year. An­i­ma­tion Mag­a­zine #263 Stu­dio: Tit­mouse Dis­trib­u­tor: Sa­muel Gold­wyn Re­lease Date: De­cem­ber Di­rec­tor: Chris Prynoski Cast: Paul Rudd, Pat­ton Oswalt, Kate Micucci Rot­ten Toma­toes: 17 per­cent An­i­ma­tion Mag­a­zine #260 Stu­dio: Rain­maker En­ter­tain­ment Dis­trib­u­tor: Fo­cus Fea­tures Re­lease Date: April 29 Box Of­fice: $8.8 mil­lion world­wide Di­rec­tor: Kevin Mun­roe Cast: James Arnold Tay­lor, David Kaye, Bella Thorne Rot­ten Toma­toes: 16 per­cent An­i­ma­tion Mag­a­zine #258 Stu­dio: Carpe Diem Dis­trib­u­tor: Shout! Fac­tory Re­lease Date: Feb. 19 Di­rec­tor: Jean-Fran­cois Pouliot, Fran­cois Bris­son Cast: Angela Gallupo, Lucinda Davis, San­dra Oh Rot­ten Toma­toes: 70 per­cent [

An early ver­sion of a scene fea­tur­ing the cast­away in the is­land for­est.

Michael Du­dok de Wit

Toshio Suzuki

Isao Taka­hata

A nurse cares for the wounded aboard a ship sta­tioned off the coast of Gal­lipoli in 25 April.

Leanne Poo­ley

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