While it’s been a busy summer at the movies, particularly for animation fans, the Hollywood studios aren’t stopping with the animated feature film releases now that fall is upon us. Here are the big three animated movies (and one live action) to look forward to this upcoming season.
- Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2
- Studio: Sony Pictures Animation
- Directed By: Cody Cameron and Kris Pearn
- Voice Cast: Bill Hader, Anna Faris, Will Forte, Neil Patrick Harris, Andy Samberg, Terry Crews, James Caan, Benjamin Bratt, and Kristen Schaal
- U.S. Release Date: September 27, 2013
- What It’s About: From the official Cloudy 2 website:
“’Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2′ picks up where Sony Pictures Animation’s mouth-watering comedy left off. Inventor Flint Lockwood thought he saved the world when he destroyed his most infamous invention—a machine that turned water into food causing cheeseburger rain and spaghetti tornadoes. But Flint soon learns that his invention survived and is now creating food-animals—‘foodimals!’ Flint and his friends embark on a dangerously delicious mission to battle hungry tacodiles, shrimpanzees, hippotatomuses, cheespiders and other foodimals to save the world—again!”
- Why We’re Excited About It: From all appearances, Cloudy 2 follows the same manic comedy approach as in the original (which is a good thing). The “foodimals” look to be very clever and it’s just great to see these characters back on the big screen again. This film looks like it’s going to be a ton of fun.
- Free Birds
- Studio: Relativity Media and Reel FX
- Directed By: Jimmy Hayward
- Voice Cast: Owen Wilson, Woody Harrelson, Amy Poehler, George Takei, Colm Meaney, and Keith David
- U.S. Release Date: November 1, 2013
- What It’s About: From the official Free Birds Facebook page:
“In this hilarious, adventurous buddy comedy for audiences of all ages, directed by Jimmy Hayward (‘Horton Hears a Who!’), two turkeys from opposite sides of the tracks must put aside their differences and team up to travel back in time to change the course of history – and get turkey off the Thanksgiving menu for good.”
- Why We’re Excited: I was unsure about this film until I watched the most recent preview. Although the character designs aren’t particularly inventive, the jokes in the preview made me laugh and the story appears to be a quite an original one (thankfully). I’m planning to give it a try come this November.
- Studio: Walt Disney Animation Studios
- Directed By: Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee
- Voice Cast: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff, Josh Gad, Alan Tudyk, and Santino Fontana
- U.S. Release Date: November 27, 2013
- What It’s About: From the official Frozen website:
“Fearless optimist Anna (voice of Kristen Bell) sets off on an epic journey—teaming up with rugged mountain man Kristoff (voice of Jonathan Groff) and his loyal reindeer Sven—to find her sister Elsa (voice of Idina Menzel), whose icy powers have trapped the kingdom of Arendelle in eternal winter. Encountering Everest-like conditions, mystical trolls and a hilarious snowman named Olaf, Anna and Kristoff battle the elements in a race to save the kingdom.”
- Why We’re Excited: Don’t be fooled by Disney’s U.S.marketing campaign—Frozen is a princess musical! But in this case, it appears to be a good thing. With its action/comedy story, stunning animation, clever songs by the songwriting duo of Robert Lopez (Avenue Q, The Book of Mormon, 2011’s Winnie the Pooh) and his wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez (In Transit, 2011’s Winnie the Pooh), and a stellar voice cast (Idina Menzel’s rendition of “Let It Go” should be worth the price of admission alone), I can’t wait for Thanksgiving to get here to see this film.
And don’t forget that the “never before seen” Mickey Mouse short Get a Horse! is playing in front of Frozen, too.
While we’re at it, there’s one more film to highlight for our fall preview–Disney’s live-action film Saving Mr. Banks. Although it’s not animated per se, it tells the story of how Walt Disney got the rights to make his classic 1964 live-action and animated film Mary Poppins.
- Saving Mr. Banks
- Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
- Directed By: John Lee Hancock
- Cast: Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson, Jason Schwartzman, B.J. Novak, and Colin Farrell
- U.S. Release Date: December 13, 2013 (limited); December 20, 2013 (wide)
- What It’s About: From the Saving Mr. Banks website:
“When Walt Disney’s daughters begged him to make a movie of their favorite book, P.L. Travers’ ‘Mary Poppins’, he made them a promise—one that he didn’t realize would take 20 years to keep. In his quest to obtain the rights, Walt comes up against a curmudgeonly, uncompromising writer who has absolutely no intention of letting her beloved magical nanny get mauled by the Hollywood machine. But, as the books stop selling and money grows short, Travers reluctantly agrees to go to Los Angeles to hear Disney’s plans for the adaptation. For those two short weeks in 1961, Walt Disney pulls out all the stops. Armed with imaginative storyboards and chirpy songs from the talented Sherman brothers, Walt launches an all-out onslaught on P.L. Travers, but the prickly author doesn’t budge. He soon begins to watch helplessly as Travers becomes increasingly immovable and the rights begin to move further away from his grasp. It is only when he reaches into his own childhood that Walt discovers the truth about the ghosts that haunt her, and together they set Mary Poppins free to ultimately make one of the most endearing films in cinematic history.”
- Why We’re Excited: This definitely sounds like a story worth telling. And how cool is it to see Tom Hanks play Walt Disney, not to mention all of the location shooting done on the famed Disney Studios lot and Disneyland park? Can’t wait for this one, too.
Which one of these animated feature films are you most excited to see in theaters? Let us know in the comments below.