Cartoon Network kickin’ butt and taking Emmys

I always thought that the Emmys weren’t announced until all the famous people put on their slinky dresses and got made fun of by Joan Rivers, but it turns out that some awards are announced prior to the televised event. Imagine! I mean, it’s almost like how many thousands of dollars of jewelry people can borrow is not actually the point. I was surprised, too.

Anyway, I am a bit behind, but last week the winners of the individual achievement in animation Emmys were announced, and Cartoon Network took plenty of the honors.

(Oh, by the way, the article also enlightened me as to the timing: “Because the awards are juried categories, there are no nominations; the categories might have one, more than one or no winners each year. There were no Emmys awarded in the voice-over performance juried area this year.”)

Check out the list of Cartoon Network honorees:

– Sue Mondt, art director for Cartoon Network’s “Camp Lazlo,” episode “Squirrel Secrets,” from Cartoon Network Studios;

– Dave Dunnet, background key designer for Cartoon Network’s “Good Wilt Hunting” (“Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends”), from Cartoon Network Studios;

– Narina Sokolova, background painter for Cartoon Network’s “My Gym Partner’s A Monkey,” episode “The Big Field Trip,” from Cartoon Network Studios;

– David Colman, character designer for Cartoon Network’s “Class of 3000,” episode “Eddie’s Money,” from Cartoon Network Studios;

– Phil Rynda, character designer for Cartoon Network’s “Billy & Mandy’s Big Boogey Adventure” (“The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy”), from Cartoon Network Studios

Other notables include Sang-Jin Kim, an animator on Avatar: The Last Airbender (okay, that one’s with Nickelodeon, but you can’t fault a gal for being pleased at Avatar getting some recognition), and Cartoon Network animators Sihanouk Mariona and Thomas Smith pulling down awards for projects with ShadowMachine films.

On a related-but-not-really note, I keep forgetting to mention that Ben 10: Secret of the Omnitrix (the recent hour-long animated movie) dominated the ratings for boys ages 6-11 on its premiere night (Friday, August 10th). I wasn’t all that surprised, but the press release I received about it used lots of exclamation points and a large font, so I guess it’s even more exciting than I thought.

Clearly, Cartoon Network is on a roll. Congrats to the Emmy winners, and let’s see what you come up with next!

More on animation gone live action

(Pictured to the side, there: He-Man. If it goes live action, can you really picture him being played by anyone other than Arnold Schwarzenegger??)

It’s been said that there’s a finite number of plots, and all stories are merely different retellings of those basic premises. Wait a minute; I’m getting the feeling I’ve talked about this before. Oh, that’s right, I have! But we’re going to talk about it again, because shockingly, Hollywood continues to insist upon recycling material.

What? Erm, I mean, Hollywood continues to innovate the movie industry with its daring use of, um, storyline recycling. Yes, that’s it.

From IGN we have a decent rundown of upcoming cartoons-turned-live-action movie projects currently underway, and to say that even they have mixed feelings would be an understatement:

Hollywood has been busy mining TV animation for more potential live-action feature film adaptations. This trend of turning cartoons into live-action films is nothing new, of course, but it’s been a crapshoot so far. For every hit like Scooby-Doo or The Flintstones there’s been a Josie and the Pussycats, Fat Albert or Aeon Flux. Remember Dudley Do-Right, Mr. Magoo, George of the Jungle, Casper and Inspector Gadget? Did you want to?! No, you did not!

(Awwww, come on. I sort of enjoyed Matthew Broderick as Inspector Gadget.)

Their list starts out with Alvin and the Chipmunks and Avatar: The Last Airbender, both of which we’ve discussed before. (In fact, I was hoping for some new Avatar news, but no such luck.)

Then they veer off into (to me) unknown territory. A project based on G.I. Joe?

The largest roadblock (no pun intended) facing the project is the challenge of bringing the characters and premise to the screen without seeming ridiculous, as well as the fact that America’s wars overseas might make a movie about the U.S. military unappealing to international audiences.

Gee… ya think?

Other titles include He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, The Jetsons, Johnny Bravo (really?? isn’t the cartoon annoying enough?), Jonny Quest, Neon Genesis Evangelion (who?), Speed Racer, Star Blazers, Thundercats, Voltron, and—of course—Transformers 2.

That seems like plenty to keep Hollywood busy, no? They shouldn’t have to come up with an original storyline until well into 2017 or so, at this rate….

2007 prime-time Emmy nominations announced

Yesterday marked the announcement of this year’s prime-time Emmy nominees, and so this seems like a good time to confess that I’m a total awards show junkie. Can’t get enough of ‘em. I mean, there are always shows I love which are overlooked by the awards committee(s), but sometimes the right show is recognized and there’s nothing quite like seeing something you really enjoy being recognized for the hard work that goes into it.

(The fact that you can also see a bunch of expensive dresses, outrageous hairdos, and funny commercials doesn’t hurt, either.)

Anyway, Animated News was on the scene immediately with the list of animation nominees.

Outstanding Animated Program (Programming Less Than One Hour)
Avatar: The Last Airbender – “City Of Walls And Secrets” (Nickelodeon Animation Studio)
Robot Chicken – “Lust For Puppets” (ShadowMachine Films)
South Park – “Make Love, Not Warcraft” (Central Productions)
SpongeBob SquarePants – “Bummer Vacation / Wig Struck” (Nickelodeon Animation Studio with United Plankton Pictures, Inc.)
The Simpsons – “The Haw-Hawed Couple” (Gracie Films with 20th Century Fox)

My take: I think Avatar deserves to win, but I don’t know that it will. There’s been a lot of buzz about Robot Chicken, and with the Simpsons movie about to come out—despite the series having been around forever—people are sort of rediscovering it. So I just don’t know.

Outstanding Animated Program (Programming One Hour Or More)
Foster’s Home For Imaginary Friends – “Good Wilt Hunting” (Cartoon Network Studios)
Hellboy Animated: Sword Of Storms (Starz Media with Revolution Studios)
Secrets Of The Deep (Impossible Pictures with Discovery Channel)
Camp Lazlo – “Where’s Lazlo?” (Cartoon Network Studios)

My take: If Foster’s doesn’t win this one, my faith in a just deity will be shaken. I know I went into that one already loving Foster’s, but Good Wilt Hunting was even better than I expected it to be. To me, it’s the clear front-runner. But I don’t get to vote. (Which is a travesty in and of itself. Clearly.)

The 2007 Emmy Awards Show will air this year on Sunday, September 16th at 8:00 PM. Mark your calendars and get ready to make fun of famous people. (Oops. Did I say that last part out loud? My bad.)

Avatar, Avatar everywhere

Avatar Spirit site for all of the latest news. But just in case you forgot to check it out recently, I’m here to help. Because I care. (And because it makes my obsession with all things Avatar seem like something work-related instead of just me being overly invested in a cartoon.)

Anyway. There’s a few things I want to draw your attention to.

First of all, Avatar Spirit is holding their Spring Avatar Haiku Contest. Who doesn’t like to ‘ku? No one fun, that’s who. 17 measly syllables can get you one of two fabulous prizes, so check it out.

Second, seems like folks have a lot to say about the upcoming Avatar live-action movie, and opinions vary, but now we have it from the horse’s mouth: The creators of Avatar couldn’t be more excited about the film. Though Bryan Konietzko’s comment about getting to hang out with Momo for real did worry me just a little.

Last—but not least—there’s bit of news about season 3 that might pique your interest. In addition to specific plot hints, I loved this bit:

The creators intended Avatar to be both whimsical and edgy. “Bryan and I wanted to create a show that had a lot of heart and integrity, and we wanted to create a show that we would like to watch,” DiMartino said. “Like Aang trying to balance the four elements, we try to balance comedy, action, drama and spirituality in every episode so there is something for everyone. Also, there is a message of balance that is pervasive throughout the series: characters trying to balance their lives.”

See? That sounds very much like entertainment intended for grown-ups like me, rather than just kids. My infatuation is totally justifiable. Stop looking at me like that.

Snoopy has left the mall

Have you ever been to the Mall of America? I suppose folks living in the greater Minneapolis area go there as a matter of course. Me, I visited for the first time just a few years ago and thanked my lucky stars that the kids weren’t with me at the time—I doubt they ever would’ve wanted to leave. (Not that I would blame them. When I got to the Lego area I didn’t much want to leave, myself.)

Anyway, I guess it was bound to happen: MOA is going to be Nick-ified.

The Mall of America has signed a branding-rights deal with the cable television network Nickelodeon for the megamall’s indoor amusement park, according to the Star Tribune.

The park used to be called Camp Snoopy, but the mall’s 13-year partnership with the “Peanuts” gang ended last year. Since then, the amusement park has been simply named, “The Park at MOA.”

Hmmmm. I wonder what they’ll call it now. Nickelodeon at MOA? Major Network Branding at MOA (MNB at MOA!)? Don’t Be Scared Of This Here Giant SpongeBob at MOA? The possibilities are endless, really.

And should you be taking the time to mourn the loss of the “Peanuts” characters, you might be interested to know that Avatar is moving in along with SpongeBob, Jimmy Neutron, and Dora:

A new roller coaster is planned based on the animated series, “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” Construction on the upside-down roller coaster will begin this year.

I… don’t really understand how you make a rollercoaster themed. It’s based on the Avatar? Do people come shoot fire at you while you’re riding it? Do the cars resemble flying bison? Does the track get bent right before your eyes? (I am a wealth of fabulous ideas, no?)

My guess is that some of these more “modern” characters will increase the appeal of the place, sure. Though I can’t help wondering if anyone will miss Snoopy and Woodstock. And also if I’m the only person who thinks that the SpongeBob in the photo above looks more like a hunk of cheese than a sponge.