QUOTE Another Banner Year OF THE MONTH
As I’m writing this, 2016 is winding down. This has been a strange year in many ways, but for animation it’s clearly a notch in the win column as 2016 is going out on a real high note.
Just check out our cover story on Sing, from Illumination Entertainment. This is Illumination’s second film released this year, once again winning over critics and shaping up to be a strong box-office performer. With the success earlier this year of The Secret Life of Pets, Illumination has come a long way in a short time and clearly sits among the major studios.
I have to admit, though, that my favorite animated movie covered in this issue is the underdog anime awards contender Your Name. I had no idea what to expect when I caught this movie during its Oscars-qualifying run in Los Angeles, but it was stunningly beautiful and told an original story that impressed me in a way I haven’t been impressed in a long while. Director Makoto Shinkai, who was at that screening and again appeared at a press event a few days later, is typically modest about his movie, but he has real potential to lead the way for Japanese animated features in the wider world in years to come.
Of course, I was excited to see another new Star Wars movie and happily took in Rogue One at a press screening over at Disney. There’s a lot to like in this new movie, and a few things I cared less for, but no one can deny this movie looks fantastic, and the effects work blending this movie into the iconic opening moments of the original Star Wars (I’ll always have a hard time calling it Episode IV or A New Hope), was really outstanding. Check out our in-depth talks with the supervisors at ILM who brought this epic vision to life and see if you don’t agree.
And then on the TV side (sort of), is Trollhunters. Guillermo del Toro is one of the best in the business, and this cool new DreamWorks series available now on Netflix is yet another win for him. The quality of work put into this series is getting lots of attention — from the fans who can’t wait to binge it over Christmas to ASIFA-Hollywood, which nominated it in four categories in this year’s Annie Awards! (By the way, this issue includes the full list of nominees, so be sure to check it out.)
Any way you look at it, animation and VFX are driving so many fantastic projects that it’s hard to be grumpy, even with so many strange things happening in the wider world. All of which means I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store. Until next time,