mva-logoMy review of current Disney animated hit Bolt should be landing on this here front page any time now, so stay tooned for that (it should be up before the day is out). But I wanted to jump in today to play up James’ take on DreamWorks’ latest, Monsters Vs. Aliens, the almost $60m box-office hit that seems to be raking it in and playing well to most audiences. James actually has pretty much the same reaction as I did, being that I thought the film represented a hopping on the spot rather than any great leaps forward for the Studio.

After the magic of Kung Fu Panda I was hoping for MvA to be much more clever, witty and knowing, but it turns out to be more along the lines of Shrek: a movie that wanted to spoof a genre but ultimately found itself wanting to be included in that genre too. I would say that James probably didn’t enjoy it as much as I did, where I was willing to let a few more things slip, but we’re in agreement over the excellent opening scenes and the tone of the comedy. For those suggesting that 3D is the only way to see this film, fair enough…but I’ll stick by my remark that a gimmick shouldn’t be a substitute for lazy storytelling.

Also new today, Rand’s latest review covers The Zeta Project: Season One, an animated update, of sorts, to the classic 1960s man on the run series The Fugitive, here rebooted as a robot on the run and set in the Batman Begins universe (its main character being spun off from that show). For a Kids WB program, it all sounds enjoyably complex in nature, something that Rand praises in the episodes themselves: a “charming blend of humor, conflict and brains, The Zeta Project manages to be appealing to viewers young and old, not to mention both male and female”. With a featurette and two significant Batman Beyond bonus episodes, the extras sound cool too!

cap-toontasticLastly today, just a quick note on something interesting we got an email on just before this update: it seems Disney’s not the only one getting back into hand-drawn animation with The Princess And The Frog, as the news starts to leak out that France’s Studio 1 Animation is apparently prepping the traditionally animated superhero comedy Captain Toontastic for Warner Brothers.

Under a different name, the character – as seen right – has apparently been a popular animated host in linking classic cartoons on the French equivalent of the Boomerang channel for a number of years now, and the Studio hopes a big screen outing would introduce him around the world, leading to further television appearances on other channels (Cartoon Network in the US, anyone?) or possibly a new film franchise.

Seems Warners has been on the comic superhero path for a while now, what with the reinvented Loonatics aiming for a similar audience, but maybe this time they’ll come up with the goods? A bumbling superhero played strictly for laughs could still be bright and original, and even if we have been inundated with such similar fare recently, the look of the character seems quite purposely mismatched to me: I’m seeing some typical WB Marvin The Martian touches in there along with the 60s Space Ghost and impossibly over-ripped Mr Incredible vibe.

With Monsters Vs. Aliens proving audiences are ready for knowing, retro-styled laughs, Captain Toontastic could find a welcome spot in spoofing the recent onslaught of dark, introverted caped crusaders that take themselves way too seriously. Maybe, at the very least, he could save Cartoon Network!?

Stay tooned! — Ben.