Over the years, we have seen many animations that involve plotlines about aliens, failed superheros, inventors, dragons and princesses. But they all have a few things in common — Who else but animated films could serve a lighthearted dish of colour, inspiration, heart, humour, education and a tear or two? Being a child at heart, Ctrl+GeekGirl takes a look at some of the current-upcoming animated films of 2013…
- The Croods (March, 2013 – Out Now)
Produced by DreamWorks Animation, The Croods feature the voices of Nicolas Cage, Ryan Reynolds, Emma Stone and Catherine Keener. Set in the prehistoric era of ‘The Croodaceous’, the world’s first prehistoric family goes on a road trip to an uncharted world in search of a new home when the ‘Leader of the Hunt’ is threatened by a genius who comes up with revolutionary inventions.
With recent animated films such as Disney-Pixar’s Brave and DreamWorks’ How To Train a Dragon being set in medieval and Viking eras, The Croods is a great addition to the set of films that aspires to be contextually different. After all, it’s not every day that we see animations based on actual historical timelines and it’s hard to imagine kids being interested in our Neanderthal ancestors. For many 90s kids, The Croods is a strong reminder of the 90s animated TV series ‘Gogs’ and to see this film appearing at this age of time, it’s entertaining and invigoratingly different. The Croods essentially reminds us all of how far humans have come in life, and this film becomes a perfect opportunity to educate today’s generation of kids to learn about the past and appreciate life more.
- Epic (May 24, 2013)
Produced by Blue Sky Studios and 20th Century Fox Animation, Epic revolves around a young girl named Mary Katherine who lives in a cabin in the woods with her father and dog. Her father, Professor Bomba, has long studied a group of warriors who live in the forest and believes them to be the ‘Guardians of Good’.
But when the Professor fails to return from his hike one day, Mary Katherine finds herself shrunken down to minuscule size whilst trying to search for him. Stumbling across the ‘Leafmen’ — the group of warriors that were subjects of her father’s study — Mary Katherine is forced to assist them in a war against the evil ‘Boggans’ and their villainous leader, Mandrake.
The moment Epic introduced itself to its audience, the audience are in absolute awe by its stunningly detailed visuals and impressive animation. Who could have guessed or even expected a vibrant, highly realistic film from the creators of Rio and Ice Age? Almost Avatar-esque, Epic looks to be a success that will thrill its viewers with its fantastical elements.
- Monsters University (June 21, 2013)
Since Monsters Inc‘s success back in 2001, fans of the movie have questioned whether it will receive the greenlight for a sequel, after seeing sequels of many other Disney-Pixar titles such as Cars and Toy Story. But alas! Monsters University (aka Monsters Inc 2: The Prequel) is finally here!
Monsters University sees the return of Billy Crystal and John Goodman reprising their roles as Mike Wazowski and James P. Sullivan. The film takes a look at their relationship during their days at Monsters University — when they weren’t necessarily the best of friends. While it is no secret that many fans would want to see a sequel featuring Boo’s reunion with Mike and Sulley, this prequel-sequel looks positively marvelous in true Disney-Pixar style.
After reuniting and bidding goodbye with our good friends in Toy Story 3, Monsters University is another real treat for grown up Disney-Pixar fans. The trailer’s two and a half minutes’ worth of new characters, humour and creativity evidently captures the same spirit of the first Monsters Inc film and will undoubtedly satisfy the inner child within us when it hits cinemas.
- Despicable Me 2 (July 3, 2013)
Guess who’s back?! After Despicable Me grossed over $543 million worldwide (against a budget of $69 million) and became the 10th-biggest animated motion picture in US history, Illumination Entertainment returns with…Despicable Me 2!
The all-new comedy animated adventure features the return of Gru (Steve Carell), the girls, and the unpredictably hilarious minions in another exhilarating, let’s-save-the-world fashion. Well-known for his previous evil schemes such as stealing the moon, Gru is recruited by the Anti-Villain League to help the organisation fight a super villain named Eduardo. With new gadgets and more Gru-awesomeness, Gru is determined to impress his girls and the world, fighting against evil in order to live up to his reputation as a former super villain.
Although this sequel feels unoriginal, Despicable Me 2 should attract a large following at the box office, mainly lured by Agnes’ adorable naivety and the minions’ craziness.
- Justin and the Knights of Valour (August, 2013)
A heart-warming tale about friendship, honour and courage, Justin and the Knights of Valour focuses on a young boy who embarks on a quest to become a knight. Living in a kingdom where bureaucrats rule and knights have been ousted, Justin dreams of becoming a knight of the valour, just like his grandfather once was. Unfortunately, this dream is stamped out of him as his father, Reginald (also chief advisor the the queen), wants his son to follow in his footsteps of becoming a lawyer instead.
Of course that doesn’t stop Justin at all! After an encouraging visit to his Grandmother’s house, Justin embarks on his epic journey and along the way, he meets wizards and monks who teaches him the ancient ways of being a knight. But when the banished knight Sir Heracilo returns with his army and threatens to destroy the kingdom, Justin quickly rises to the challenge of saving the country, despite being an unlikely candidate.
Strangely, the film appears to be the animated version of Hollywood’s A Knight’s Tale (Heath Ledger) and the medieval spin-off of Dreamworks’ How To Train a Dragon. Produced by Kandor Graphics (a brand new animation studio in Spain), it features an all-star cast of Antonio Banderas, Freddie Highmore, Saoirse Ronan, Mark Strong and Julie Walters. If all goes well, Justin and the Knights of Valour is guaranteed to be a bullseye hit for the newbie animation studio. After all, who doesn’t love a story about knights and dragons?
- Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (September 27, 2013)
Following the disastrous food storm, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 sees Flint Lockwood and his friends being forced to leave Swallow Falls. After accepting an invitation from his idol ‘Chester V’ to join The Live Corp Company (where the world’s best inventors create technologies for the betterment of mankind), they have been tasked to clean the island.
But upon arriving back at Swallow Falls, Flint discovers that his machine is still operating, churning out menacing hybrid mutant food beasts. Living pickles, hungry tacodiles, shrimpanzees and apple pie-thons… it is up to Flint to put a stop to the machine before the malicious army of super-food breaks free from the island and invades the entire world!
With a modest box office success of $245 million, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is one of Sony Pictures Animation’s finest works to date and this sequel is set to be jaw-droppingly brilliant with its vibrant visuals, creativity and punny humour. With this on mind, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 will be another whopper favourite (see what we did there?) amongst kids and adults if it follows the same recipe of the first film.
….And that wraps up our list! Although we would love to fit more of this year’s titles to this list, we would like to mention some exciting animated films of beyond 2013!
The Good Dinosaur (2014)
How To Train a Dragon 2 (2014)
Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return (2014)
And of course…..Finding Dory (2015)!!!