Friday, November 30, 2012

Fan Art Friday

Today's fan art is from me. I did it at work. It's my imaginary line of Croods-themed candy bars. If the sugar-coated subject matter doesn't clue you in to my hunger level at the time of this drawing, the shaky ballpoint pen lines will.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

I Was Right! There IS A Croods Comic Book!

Step aside, Benedict Cumberbatch, Robert Downey Jr. and that little mouse from The Great Mouse Detective. There's a new Sherlock in the Holmes. Er, house.

Remember a week or so ago, when I used my questionable powers of deduction to speculate on the existence of a Croods comic book? Well, my dear Watsons, I was correct! Ape Entertainment has just confirmed the 2/27 release of their awkwardly titled graphic novel, The Croods Prequel Digest. Here's the press release:

Ape Entertainment proudly presents the official prequel to Dreamworks' upcoming blockbuster family film, The Croods! Join Grug, Ugga, Eep, Thunk, Gran and a host of forgotten prehistoric creatures in one family's adventures before their adventure of a lifetime! Featuring stories by Georgia Ball (Strawberry Shortcake) and art by Nathan Watson (Toy Story), this is one prehysterical tale you won't want to miss!

I don't know which part of that press release I'm more excited about. A Croods prequel comic book, or the fact that some marketing firm got a green light on the term 'prehysterical.' No matter. I'll take 'em both.

A couple of quick questions, though. If the plot of The Croods hinges on the fact that the family has never left their cave, does that mean that the prequel will take place entirely within its stony confines? Are kids really going want to read 125 pages of My Campfire With Andre? Or will the prequel be the story of how the Croods' first found their cave, and why Grug decided to lock them all inside? A "prehysterical" re-telling of  The Shining, perhaps?

Monday, November 26, 2012

500 Words On 5 Seconds Of Footage
(Or: Biased Blogger Blathers. Is There An Editor In The House?)

Commenter Bob and I have this little game going where we take turns guessing the release dates of the new Croods trailers. So far, neither of us has ever been right. EVER. Our most recent guess for a new trailer was last Wednesday, coinciding with the release of DreamWorks' Rise of the Guardians. Surprise, surprise. We were wrong again!

Well, sorta.

Turns out, DreamWorks DID debut some new footage from The Croods before ROTG. It's just that it was only a couple of seconds long, and tacked on to the end of the preexisting trailer.

NOTE: In a perfect world, I'd be embedding the new footage here. Unfortunately, it has yet to appear online. Until it does, you'll have to make do with my hazy recollection:

The Croods happen upon a small, furry monkey sitting on a rock in the forest. Grug steps forward, bravely volunteering to handle this seemingly insignificant simian roadblock. Thunk, ever the adoring son, cheers him on. SMASH CUT TO: Grug getting punched in the face again and again by the small, furry monkey. While the rest of the Croods stand there shocked and horrified, Gran steps forward and swats her son-in-law with her cane. As the monkey continues to pummel the poor, punch-drunk patriarch, Gran smiles and says something to the effect of, "I think I'm going to like this!"

It's a minor variation on a classic comedy bit, undoubtedly added to get a quick laugh at the end of an otherwise epic and awe-inspiring trailer. Is it unnecessary? Yes. Is it out of place? Fer sure. Did I hate it? Nope, not at all. In fact, I think it works on a few levels.

1. Characterization:
Seeing a large, strapping male getting beaten by a small, furry monkey is not only silliness personified, it underlines the ongoing battle between Grug's overprotective personality and the unpredictability of the outside world. As an added bonus, this new scene also tells us a heckuva lot about Gran!

2. Cartooniness:
I don't want cartoons to look or feel like real life. That's what reality and Mike Leigh films are for. Every time a new animated feature tries to woo me with its 'realistic' hair or fur or water, it makes my inner-animated-child cry large, arching streams of bulbous, blue tears. This new scene proudly proclaims The Croods to be a capital-C Cartoon. Sure, the sudden, last-minute switch in tone (from epic to slap-stick) felt a little wonky at first, but I kinda like it now. It reminds of those classic cartoon fade-outs where the villain is shown bouncing off into the sunset, getting repeatedly stung by bees or bit by a crocodile or what-have-you. After a lifetime of watching cartoons, I've gotta cop to a DNA-level love of these moments.

3. Semi-Subversiveness:
The gags themselves are nothing new, I'll grant you that. The big guy who underestimates the little guy and the third party taking cheap shots during a fist fight are comic tropes that date back to the silent film days. Heck, Charlie Chaplin used 'em both in nearly every short he did for Essanay. But there's a reason a genius like Chaplin recycled these gags. Because audiences ADORE them. I mean, who doesn't get a kick out of a joke that blends anti-authoritarian sentiment with a dash of David vs. Goliath? Giants and dictators, that's who!

4. The All-Important Audience Attraction Angle:
Everyone at DreamWorks should be delighted. THE NEW SCENE WORKED. I saw the trailer with my gal, Mishka, and five of our nieces and nephews at an early evening showing of The Rise of the Guardians. The new scene got a HUGE laugh from the audience. Two, in fact! While the kids were going nuts watching Grug get walloped, the adults were laughing loudly at Gran's merciless response. This can only bode well for the film's March 22 release.

So, Bob -- you wanna start using our sorry psychic gifts to guess grosses?

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

From everything I hear, one of The Croods' most enjoyable and emotional elements is its focus on family. Putting aside all of the historical inaccuracies and political incorrectness surrounding Thanksgiving, Turkey Day's real appeal is also the family.

And cranberry sauce.

And pie.

But mostly family.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday today. Make sure and tell your family -- whatever form of family you are spending the day with -- how thankful you are to have them in your life.

Not to sound sappy or anything, but I also want to say how thankful I am to you, the readers of this blog. I've gotten to know a few of you a little through email and the comments section. That's been a real treat, and something I'd secretly hoped for back when I began this in March. While I've yet to meet the rest of you, I do see your cities highlighted on Google Analytics' miniature map of the world, and it delights me to know you're out there.

Happy Thanksgiving! See you next week!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

3 Free Facebook Timeline Photos...Pt. 4

With all apologies to Rodgers & Hammerstein:

Obsessing over films still months from release
Finding new info (no spoilers, please!)
JPEGS and trailers and concept drawings
These are a few of my favorite things

You know the drill:
1. Click the photo you’d like to use for your Cover Photo
2. Right click the photo and choose “Save Image As…”
3. Go to your Facebook Profile
4. Click “Add A Cover/Change Cover”
5. Choose “Upload Photo…”
6. Click “Browse” and select your Cover
7. Click “Open”

Related: 3 Free Facebook Timeline Photos...Pt. 1, 2 and 3

Monday, November 19, 2012

Dear DreamWorks: No Fart Jokes, Please!

The new Croods trailer is due any day now. Word is, it's a gas. According to Chris Sanders, this trailer will "dig into the [film's] humor." But will this be a highbrow humor aimed at the artsy-fartsy animation elite, or a bunch of grotesque gut-busters geared to the Shrek set?

While I'm certainly no prude, I think I speak for everyone of refined taste and blue blood breeding when I say, PLEASE, DREAMWORKS: NO FART JOKES! A trailer is supposed to give audiences a brief whiff of what awaits. A flatulence gag could backfire, creating a lingering, unpleasant air around the film. And don't think audiences won't notice if you try and squeeze in a small one. They have a nose for these things! Remember: It only takes one stinker to clear the room.

If I've offended anyone at DreamWorks with this unsavory outburst, I ask that you please excuse me. This has been welling up inside me for a while now, and it's a relief to finally let it out. Holding it in...well, it's been making me sick to my stomach. Plus, I thought that it was time to clear the air between us. What can I say? I'm classy like that.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Is There A Croods Comic Book In The Works?

While wandering the web, looking for new Croods stuff, I happened upon the blog of Argentinian comic book artist, Horacio Domingues. Posted there, without caption or click-thru, was an extremely large, exquisitely detailed portrait of The Croods. (The tiny reproduction attached here does NOT do it justice. Click here to open the full sized version.) Unable to wait for any 'official' word as to the portrait's back-story, I decided to jump to conclusions. Printed below is what my brain generously refers to as 'the mental math.'

FACT: Horacio Domingues is a comic book illustrator.

FACT: Horacio Domingues has worked on comic book adaptations and/or spin-offs of licensed properties such as Dr. Who and Voltron.

FACT: On October 31, Horacio Domingues posted an illustration of the cast and critters of The Croods. The web address for this illustration lists it as a "color sample."

HIGHLY QUESTIONABLE HYPOTHESIS: Horacio Domingues is illustrating a comic book adaptation and/or spin-off of The Croods.

Is this logic sound? Sorta. Is it infallible? Hells nope. So why would I even think of posting an unsubstantiated rumor that was started in my own head, a head which has time and time again proved to be the progenitor of bad ideas and worse actions, a head which only moments ago gave me the idiotic idea to talk about said head in the third person?

Cuz I love comic books and I’m excited about The Croods and a possible combination of the two is up there with such genius pairings as Ren & Stimpy and peanut butter & chocolate. Plus, isn’t there some mystical, New Age-y thing about saying things aloud that you want to come true? I figure typing them out has gotta have a similar effect. I mean, it couldn't hurt, could it?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

In Lieu of News: Links

1. Click here to download a free Croods wallpaper.
(It's a cute and colorful close-up of the American movie poster!)

2. Click here to see the Russian poster for The Croods.
(Remember the American movie poster? Same thing, in Russian.)

3. Click here to see the cardboard Croods movie theater standee.
(Spoiler Alert: It's the American movie poster! Only bigger! And made of cardboard!)

4. Beginning to tire of this digital déjà vu? Skip those links and click here for an absolutely GORGEOUS collection of the watercolor backgrounds from Lilo & Stitch.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fan Art Friday

A Croods family portrait AND a Crispy Bear drawing? What is this, CHRISTMAS?!

These delightful drawings are from AndressaNerdMuniz. Looking over her deviantArt account, it appears that she and I have one creative quirk in common: We both love making stuff about the movies we're obsessed with. With me, it's this blog. With AndressaNerdMuniz, it's her super-cute, colored pencil-and-notebook paper character studies.


To view more of AndressaNerdMuniz's movie-inspired art, click here.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Croods Crewman Bids Film A Fond Farewell

Jamaal Bradley, a Senior Animator on The Croods, posted the following on his website:

Well...that's another film in the bag, and I have to say that Croods and Surfs Up were my favorite films to work on so far. I am completely grateful that I got to work with James Baxter and Chris Sanders. It's still pretty crazy to me. As you are learning animation, you find those few guys that help push yourself, inspire, and help define where you want to take your animation. James is definitely one of those guys for me.

I will cherish my experience and hopefully we will work together again on another project.

Aw...*sniffle*...I'm not crying. Honest. My eyes are sweating.

Related: Croods Crew: Jamaal Bradley

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

A Second, Similar Set Of Croods Movie Theater Merch

Two months ago, I posted pics of the Croods movie theater merchandise aimed at the American market. Today, I've got a photo of the slightly different movie theater merch that'll be available in Europe.

The main differences seem to be (1.) the addition of the elephant/mouse to the cup toppers, (2.) the soda cup cozies, and (3.) a Thunk-themed popcorn bag.

While the first two would probably do well in the States, the popcorn bags featuring Thunk would be a MUCH harder sell. My fellow Americans are already super sensitive about their ever-expanding waistlines. Putting The Croods' chubby comic relief on our bags of heavily-buttered, suicidally-salted popcorn would do little to increase concession stand sales.

That said, talk radio's inevitable outrage over this animated attack on our cultural identity would lead to a lot of free press for the film...

Today is Election Day. Vote!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Wanna Draw The Croods?

Do you stare longingly at our Fan Art Friday posts, wishing you could contribute, but scared that your skills are sub-scribble?

You're in luck! has begun posting a series of 'How To Draw The Croods' tutorials. Although they've only been at it a week, they've already completed tutorials for Grug, Eep, Guy, and Guy's sloth.

DragoArt's six step process is surprisingly simple. I reckon you could finish all four characters in less than an hour and two crayons. Once you feel comfortable with those, why not try tweaking them a little? Tilt Guy's head. Close Eeps' eyes. Dribble some drool down Grug's chin. Why, before you know it, you'll be animating your own hand-drawn, direct-to-DVD Croods sequels!

That said, don't forget to EMAIL ME YOUR DRAWINGS. Fame, riches and the respect of art critics everywhere is all well and good. But seeing your sketches in an upcoming installment of Fan Art Friday? That's the dream, innit?

Update: Since posting this, DragoArt has added tutorials for Ugga and the green saber-tooth tiger!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Fan Art Friday

Today's fan art is from Illustropencil. Dude is DEFINITELY a fan. If you couldn't tell from the FIVE FANTASTIC SKETCHES he did of Grug, perhaps this quote from him will prove my point:

"yea omg this movie looks f-ing awesome the designs i'm crying i've watched the trailer 40 times already!"

I know how he feels. That trailer IS awesome. Then again, so is Illustropencil's fan art! First off, he chose to draw Grug. No one else has done this thus far. That right there makes him a trailblazer. Second, he managed to capture a huge range of emotions with these sketches. Anger. Surprise. Joy. Apprehension. But my favorite one has gotta be the tender-looking Grug at the bottom left of the page. It kinda reminds me of Glen Keane's pencil tests of the Beast. In other words: EPIC. AWESOME. EMOTIVE.

Check out more of Illustropencil's work here.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

If You Could Scratch 'N' Sniff Computer Screens, This Post Would Smell Like Skittles Soaked In Grenadine

Here are the final, frenetic 30 seconds of the first Croods trailer. Is it just me, or does splitting it up into multiple screens somehow make it easier to take in all the details? Hmm...maybe Mom was right: Bite sized pieces are easier to digest.

Candy-colored gif set swiped from Dapplejack.