Year 2015 has been a fairly quiet year for animation — it is a shame to see that not all projects could make the cut to be screened on the cinematic screen. With this in mind, it is our sole purpose to encourage fans of animation to support the industry we love by acknowledging these forgotten animated films . Here we go!
FROG KINGDOM (GRINDSTONE ENTERTAINMENT GROUP)
When The Frog King (Keith David) announces that the winner of the Froglympics will win his daughter’s hand in marriage, Princess Froglegs (Bella Thorne) runs away instead. Disguised as a commoner, the Princess befriends street vendor, Freddie (Cameron Dallas), and begins training with him for the games—determined that she will win and thwart her father’s plans of marriage. Meanwhile, the villainous serpent has ideas of his own to ruin the Froglympics to take over the kingdom. Together, Freddie and Princess Froglegs set out to save Frog Kingdom from the evil serpent.
Surprisingly, Frog Kingdom is a Chinese animated film that had actually been released in 2013. It was then given an American dub that recently released via video on demand in United States. Despite the characters’ laughable names like ‘Princess Froglegs’, the concept reminds us of Disney’s Mulan where the heroine of the story sets out to prove herself to the world.
MUNE: THE GUARDIAN OF THE MOON (MIKROS IMAGE)
From the French animation studio behind Mark Osborne’s Le Petit Prince, Mikros Image is back with its second feature ‘Mune, Guardian of the Moon’. Based on an original story idea by Benoit Philippon, this fantasy film revolves around a universe in which the sun and moon are protected by guardians.
Just looking at the poster and trailer, Mune seems like a real fantastical treat, especially with its vibrant colours and fantasy setting. For a film to be done on a small budget, we are absolutely excited to see Mune, and what it has to offer the industry and its fans.
UNDERDOGS (100 BARES, ANTENA 3 FILMS, CATMANDU BRANDED ENTERTAINMENT, JEMPSA, PRANA STUDIOS)
Underdogs is a 2013 Argentinian animated film co-written and directed by Juan J. Campanella. Inspired by Roberto Fontanarrosa’s short story Memorias de un wing derecho (Memoirs of a Right Wing), Underdogs is about a young man named Amadeo who sets off on an unexpected adventure with the players of his beloved Foosball game.
Labelled as Latin Argentina’s most expensive animated film of all time, Underdogs has been given various dubs, including its original Argentinian dub, UK dub, and most recently, a US dub. While the US dub is headlined by super stars such as Ariana Grande, Nicholas Hoult, and Matthew Morrison, this animated film keeps getting pushed back with no confirmed US date as of yet.
KAHLIL GIBRAN’S THE PROPHET (VENTANAROSA)
Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet is among the most popular volumes of poetry ever written, selling over 100 million copies in forty languages since its publication in 1923. With a joint collaboration between The Lion King‘s writer and director, Roger Allers, and actress / producer Salma Hayek, this animated feature explores the concept of freedom and the power of human expressionism.
Set in a Mediterranean sea-side village, Kamila (Salma Hayek) cleans the house for exiled artist and poet Mustafa (Liam Neeson). But that’s not the difficult job — keeping her young, free-spirited daughter out of trouble proves to be the ultimate challenge. But when the three embark on a journey that was meant to end with Mustafa’s return to home, they must first of all evade the authorities who fear that the truth in his words will incite rebellion.
It is not often that we see an animated film based on old literature. We hope this animated film inspired by Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet give fans the chance to celebrate old literature in modern times, and hopefully it will attract new readers to the book.
A MOUSE TALE (GRINDSTONE ENTERTAINMENT GROUP, RED POST STUDIO, SIMKA ENTERTAINMENT, VISTA SUR FILMS S.R.L)
In order to save their kingdom from evil rodents, Sebastian (Drake Bell) and Samantha (Miranda Cosgrove) are sent on a quest by the King of Rodencia (Jon Lovitz) to obtain a legendary magical crystal which has the power to defeat the rodents. With the help of two trustworthy knights, they must venture deep into the forest and enter the forbidden world of giants in order to accomplish their mission and restore order to the kingdom.
A strong reminder of The Tale of Despereaux, it is sad to see animated films like A Mouse Tale being given the boot straight to DVD release, despite having big names such as Miranda Cosgrove and Drake Bell leading the film. Nevertheless, A Mouse Tale looks like a fun animated film for young kids.
ALL CREATURES BIG AND SMALL (ULYSSES FILM PRODUCTION, FABRIQUE D’IMAGES, SKYLINE ENTERTAINMENT, MOETION FILMS, STUDIO RAKETE)
All Creatures Big and Small (also known as Two by Two) is an animated comedy that tells the “untold story of the animals that didn’t get on the ark”. With the flood coming, an Ark has been built to rescue all animals, including Dave, his son Finny, and a couple of clumsy Nestrians.
But as it turns out, Nestrians aren’t allowed. Sneaking on board with the involuntary help of Hazel and her daughter Leah, they think they’re safe. All was well until Finny and Leah wander away from the Ark, and they soon embark on a struggling journey to survive the flood and protect themselves from hungry predators. In order to save them, it is up to Dave and Hazel to put aside their differences, and save their kids. We always see Hollywood live-action film adaptations of Noah’s Ark so to see an animated film based on the story will be different to see.