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Years ago the animation studio Imagi, which created the last TMNT film, was working on a couple different project based on classic Japanese sci-fi and television. One was Gatchaman, which would have been a CG-animated update of the Japanese anime show about five “science ninjas” who wear bird-themed costumes and end up fighting to protect humanity from a terrorist organization led by “a shape-shifting mutant hermaphrodite who acts on the orders of an alien superior.” (The story was softened and changed when imported to the US under the titles Battle of the Planets and G-Force.)

But Imagi struggled as a studio and ultimately closed in 2010, and with it the Gatchaman movie died on the vine. There’s a new live-action movie out of Japan now, just to create a sense of confusion, but every once in a while we get to see a bit of footage from the animated Gatchaman that never was. We’ve seen a couple of teasers, but now two videos are available that show the creation of a chase sequence, from pre-vis to nearly final animation. Read More »

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Escape From Tomorrow still

The first wave of films for Fantastic Fest 2013 was good. The second wave looked great. And now the third one proves why this little film festival in Austin is truly one of the best in the country.

Escape From Tomorrow (above), The Zero Theorem, Metallica Through The Never, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, Gatchaman and Jodorowsky’s Dune are just a few of the new films announced for the festival, which takes place September 19 – 26 at Alamo Drafthouse Lakeline in Austin, Texas.

Below, check out the full list of the third wave as well as some new stills. Read More »

Gatachaman

In the not-so-grand tradition of Dragonball and Speed Racer, another Japanese animated series is getting a live-action film adaptation. The first trailer for the live-action film version of Gatchaman, also known as Battle of the Planets, has just been released. From director Toya Sato (Grave of the Fireflies) the film follows “five special agents of the International Science Organization in Tokyo, as they try to protect the world from the mysterious terrorist group who call themselves Galactor.” Check it out below. Read More »

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Reports of the death of Imagi Studios may have been exaggerated. Last time we looked at the studio’s CGI animated updating of Gatchaman, it seemed like it might be our last look, as the studio was facing financial difficulties and shutdown.

But Imagi’s doors are open again and work proceeds on Gatchaman. Now there’s a new teaser that looks better than anything we’ve previously seen from the film, in part because it is a lot closer to the original anime. Read More »

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Of all the animation properties from the ’70s and ’80s that have been targeted for remakes and updated feature versions, the only one for which I feel the least bit of nostalgia is Gatchaman. It was seen in the US in heavily edited and reworked form as Battle of the Planets, which was designed to appeal to kids as, essentially, a combination of elements from Star Wars and Marvel Comics. And, for me, the worked. (Granted, at age 8, I wasn’t the most discerning audience.)

I wasn’t very choosy when the show was originally broadcast, but Gatchaman is still fun. You’ve got teenagers with high-tech watches that called forth wild bird-themed costumes, a ship called the God Phoenix (or just the Phoenix in the US) that can activate a mode that literally changes it into a bird of fire, and plenty of bizarre foes.

Imagi Studios, the same outfit behind the recent CGI Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film, was in production on a Gatchaman feature before the LA office of Imagi was shut down last year. A production trailer has been leaked that shows the best look yet at what the studio was doing with the title. It may be the most we ever see from this incarnation. Read More »

More Gatchaman Concept Art

Last week Imagi brought us a batch of concept art for their upcoming computer animated big screen adaptation of Gatchaman. These new photos give us a better look at some of the characters. I love the subdued lighting. I really think Imagi could be making something really incredible with this one. Click on the images to enlarge.

Set in a future world grappling with enviormental and technological issues, the story focuses on five reluctant heroes whose remarkable genetic code makes them Earth’s only hope of defeating extra-terrestrial invaders. Gatchaman was created in the 1970′s, airing as a Japanese television show called Science Ninja Team Gatchaman. It later aired in the U.S. as Battle of the Planets and G-Force. Scripted by Paul Dini (Lost, Batman: The Animated Series, Tiny Toon Adventures), the feature will focus on the formation of the Science Ninja Team and will have a slightly dark possibly PG-13 tone. Gatchaman is scheduled to hit theaters on April 3rd 2009.

Gatchaman Concept Art

Felix Ip, creative director of Imagi, has released a new logo and a few new concept art for Imagi’s computer animated big screen adaptation of Gatchaman.

TMNT director Kevin Munroe was originally attached to write and helm the project, however, he left the project to take on Dylan Dog. Scripted by Paul Dini (Lost, Batman: The Animated Series, Tiny Toon Adventures), the feature will focus on the formation of the Science Ninja Team and will have a slightly dark possibly PG-13 tone.

Set in a future world grappling with enviormental and technological issues, the story focuses on five reluctant heroes whose remarkable genetic code makes them Earth’s only hope of defeating extra-terrestrial invaders. Gatchaman was created in the 1970′s, airing as a Japanese television show called Science Ninja Team Gatchaman. It later aired in the U.S. as Battle of the Planets and G-Force.

Looks pretty damn cool if you ask me. Check out some of the previously released concept art after the jump.

Read More »

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We haven’t yet received clarification regarding the apparent removal of Brandon Routh‘s vampire role in The Informers, but Bloody Disgusting reports that the Superman Returns actor is a lock for the lead role in an adaptation of the supernatural comic book Dylan Dog. Director Kevin Munroe, who helmed the rather abysmal TMNT for Imagi, has apparently left the animation company and Weinstein Co.’s Gatchaman to envision a live-action feature based on this Italian comic. Dark Horse Comics brought an English version of the title to the States beginning in 1999.

First impression? The film, which begins shooting in July, might share some similarity with Constantine, in that the comic revolves around a loner paranormal investigator (zombies, Jack the Ripper-types, strange portals) who has an eccentric litany of personal troubles (hopeless romantic, former alcoholic, various phobias). Many of Dog’s cases turn up a human underbelly rather than spooky kookiness appropriate for Coast to Coast AM. This will mark the second time that Dylan Dog has made his way to the screen; he appeared in alter-ego form in the likable 1994 cult film Dellamorte Dellamore aka Cemetery Man starring Rupert Everett (who is said to have originally inspired the character’s look).

Personally, I’m a sucker for this kind of premise like I am for a raunchy road movie. And Routh deserves a cool rebound after scoring one of American cinema’s mega-star roles only to experience Singer’s epic vision hit its mark like a frog with one leg. On the other hand, Munroe still has something to prove. More on this project as it develops…

Discuss: First impressions of a Dylan Dog movie? Fans of the comics, chime in below.  

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