Okay, guys! Next year is coming quickly upon us, and soon, the theaters will be up to their old antics and trying to get your money and your vote as to the best of the year! This series of articles are dedicated to 2015, which will be full of new (but I am not sure if ORIGINAL ideas) but at any rate, it's looking to be a good year from the way that things are shaping up.
In this series, I am going to go into each category as well as my opinions on whether or not htese films will be an actual hit or a miss. So far, from what I have been researching, it is very hard to tell at this point. We'll be seeing a lot of sequels next year from a lot of the popular franchises, but we'll also see a few original concepts that may or may not make the grade. So, without further ado, here we go:
1) Strange Magic
Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' gets the animated musical makeover from Touchstone. So far, it has been boasted to be using some very remarkable songs that we all know for the soundtrack, as well as a bevy of characters including goblins, elves, and the what-not. The basic storyline talks of a battle over a magical potion, but so far, not much else. Release Date: January 23rd, 2015
Dave's Take: Maybe. So far, Touchstone has not done any animation that I am fully aware of, and on top of that, we're talking about classic literature here. WE"RE TALKING ABOUT SHAKESPEARE, PEOPLE! While I am a person who believes in sharing such stuff with younger audiences, I am hoping that they did not push too far in the creation of this film. For me, it's a 'wait and see'.
2) Spongebob: Sponge Out Of Water
Okay, while I am not a huge fan of SpongeBob myself, I cannot argue with the popularity of this franchise. On for seems like decades on Nickelodeon, this series took the airwaves by storm and had made every kid to adult fall for his antics. Not much has been released on the film yet, but what I do know is that the original cast will be coming back. I'll let the trailer below do the talking....
Dave's Take: Sorry guys, but with the first movie barely making it, I have my skepticisms on how well this movie is going to do. It's going 3D. SO WHAT? They did the same thing for the Smurfs, and those movies tanked at the box office. So, what should make this one so special? ABSOLUTELY NADA! So, for all you die-hards, go ahead, but as for me, I'm saving my twenty bucks! The film releases February 6th, 2015 from Nickelodeon Films.
Dreamworks and Steven Speilberg at at it again, trying to make another blockbuster to add to their animation creds. With successes like the Kung Fu Panda and How To Train Your Dragon franchises, Home may or may not make the grade. The story revolves around an invasion of planet Earth by the alien race, the over-confident Boov. But, when a reluctant relationship between one of the aliens and a human girl develops, intergalactic relations as well as something else ends up becoming more and more dangerous. With Jennifer Lopez and Rhianna heading up the voice cast, it could stand a chance. The film releases to theaters March 27th, 2015.
Dave's Take: Okay, here's what I can tell you: there has been so much done in animation considering comedic alien conquest stories (such as Escape from Planet Earth to name one), that I am hoping that this one will give something more than the usual, 'oh, here's the aliens, he's the two odballs making a friendship, and then the two oddballs save Earth by showing how much they have in common'....blah...blah...blah! Rhianna and J-Lo will definitely have a lot of work cut out for them, and so far Steven has been a hit-and-miss when it comes to his cartoons. My hopes is that this one will be a winner.
4) Underdogs (aka The Unbeatables)
This next film is from Vertigo, and its main characters are those little men that you find from a foosball table. SAY WHAT???? Starring the voice of Rupert Grint ( Ron Weasley from the Harry Potter blockbusters) , the story of a relcutant hero having to settle a grudge with an old rival is as timeless as movies themselves. But, using that plot line using foosball characters? The film releases April 10th, 2015.
Dave's Take: This film may stand a chance, simply on originality. The fact that they are using soccer as a backdrop along with the foosball also makes this another good point. Based on these alone, there might be a chance that it could be in Oscar contention for the 2015-2016 season. I mean, they gave it to a French cartoon called The Triplets of Belleville (which I had never even heard of until then), so why not this one? It's not the usual or the norm, so they may stand a good chance.
5) Monster Trucks
Paramount looks like they're trying to compete against the popularity of the Cars and Planes franchises with this one, so they went a completely different direction. So far, there has been no trailer released and very little information released as well on the project . The film is scheduled for release by the studio on May 29th, 2015, at the beginning of the summer blockbuster run.
Dave's Take: No way to know. With Paramount keeping tight-lipped about it, there's no way to make a call. Based on previous successes of previously mention franchises and studios, it could work. But, again, I don't know.
6) Inside Out
Pixar and Disney have decided to get a little bit cerebral with this new film due out June 19th, 2015. The story revolves around a little girl name Riley, who has moved from all of her friends in a small Midwestern town to the big city of San Francisco after her father is transferred for work. Now trying to adapt, her emotions now are hard at work trying to help Riley adapt to her new life situation.
With the voice talents of comedians Amy Poehler, Lewis Black, Bill Hader, Mindy Kalling and Phyllis Smith, Pixar is now taking us from the wide open spaces to the wide inner spaces.
Dave's Take: Okay, Pixar we know is a major (and I mean MAJOR) animation powerhouse that a lot of theother studios have had to keep uopwith over the years. The constant Oscar nods (and wins for music and such) and the popularity of their titles, they never seem to cease to amaze moviegoers as to what they are going to do next. I am also seeing another few Oscar nods (including Best Animated Film for this one). Now, with Toy Story 4 on the way also, Pixar could very well still be the steamroller of animation as it has always been, giving the other studios a great deal to think about this year.
7) B.O.O.- Bureau of Otherworldy Operations
In this second film from Dreamworks, the voice talents of Seth Rogen, Bill Murray, and Melissa McCarthy are put to this action comedy about a group of spooks who join a counter-haunting unit in order to stop the world's greatest haunter (played by Murray). The film releases June 5th, 2015.
Dave's Take: Ghostbusters told from the ghost's point of view. It could work, but they will have to work hard to make it work. Murray and Rogen, by far, are great comedians, and Jenny McCarthy is really starting to make quite a name for herself these days with successes with The Heat ( co-starring with Sandra Bullock) and Identity Thief (oppositre Jason Bateman). If these three can make it meld, then it's going to be pretty good I think. Just like with regular movies, chemistry is everything!
Sony decides to take the success of Disney's Wreck-It Ralph and give their screenwriters a project involving video games. In this one, though, they have broken out and are destroying New York City! Starring Kevin James, Adam Sandler, Michelle Monoghan, and Jane Krakowski (starring as computer programmers brought in to stop the crisis), the studio has decided to see if this success in this genre can be repeated. The film releases July 24th, 2015.
Dave's Take: Adam Sandler and Kevin James have starred in quite a few movies together, and they have done well somewhat. This, however, looks more like a homage to geekiness for those that just cannot let go of the old classics when it comes to video games. Wreck-It Ralph truly pioneered this and to me, said it all. As for this, I personally won't be going to waste my money on this one. While I do love Sandler and James, this to me does not fit the two's comedy styles. For me, I'm out!
Gru's yellow little helpers who cause mayhem wherever they go are finally getting their own movie on July 10th. Minions follows three of the yellow crew: Kevin, Stuart, and Bob, as they go in search of a new master in this prequel from Illumination Studios. The film follows them from the time that they were created (they crawled out of the ooze like anything else! ) to 1968, the Age of Aquarius. Soon, after much failure and falling into depression, they finally find their master: super-villianess Scarlet Overkill (*played by Sandra Bullock). But, the trio also soon learns that they have another mission of greater importance: to stop the complete and total annihilation of their species! The film also sports the voicce of Jon Hamm as Scarlet's husband, Herb.
Dave's Take: IT WAS ABOUT TIME! The Minions were what made the Despicable Me franchise despite Steve Carell's noteriety! No matter where you go, there's someone wearing a T-Shirt or carrying a stuffed or talking Minion toy. This is one that I think is going to end up being a contender for 'Family Film Of The Year'!
9) Hotel Transylvania 2
Drac and the gang are coming back on September 25th! No news on the wire has been released yet about the upcoming film, including the cast, so when I know something more, I will definitely let you know!
Dave's Take: I have always been a huge fan of the first film, and I have a feeling that it's going to be something that we are not going to be expecting. If everyone comes back (keeping fingers crossed and praying), Sony will definitely have a shot at having another feather in their cap as this one seems to be their most popular franchise.
10) The Good Dinosaur
Disney and Pixar are throwing their hat back into the pool with the dinosaur-theme again with this new animated film coming November 25th, just in time for the holiday rush!
The story revolves around Arlo, a seventy-foot-tall Apatosaurus with a huge ticker. Arlo lives in a world where the dinosaurs never actually went extinct as the asteroid that was supposed to have destroyed them never came! But, when a tragedy rocks Arlo's quiet community, Arlo goes on a journey to bring about peace and along the way makes an unlikely ally- a human caveboy wom he calls 'Spot'!
Featuring the voice talents of Lucas Neff, Bill Hader, Judy Greer, Neil Patrick Harris, John Lithgow, and Frances McDormand, Pixar will take us into the 'what if' of prehistory!
Dave's Take: Disney has done a great deal with dinosaurs, and I mean a lot! They did Dinosaur back in the 90's. Dreamworks did The Croods recently (which included...uh huh.... dinosaurs!) We have the Jurassic Park series of films (and the soon-to-be released Jurrasic World). Hmmm..... very very curious? Okay, will say it, and I quote: Enough with the blasted dinos already!
On November 6th, Blue Sky and 20th Century Fox will be releasing the first Peanuts CGI-movie ever! Needless to say, I am surprised the kids of their creator, Charles M. Schultz, broke the will that there would never be anymore when he died. But, what can I say? They sold the rights to Disney and then there was I Want A Dog For Chrismas, Charlie Brown on ABC that was released.
In this movie, we're going to be getting a real treat! The WWI flying ace has returned, and the gang must help him seek him out in order for him to finally take him down after all of this time! Then (though there has not been much said), there will be the usual crisis that Charlie Brown will have to deal with in the background while all of this is going on.
Dave's Take: Peanuts, to me, is like the Holy Grail of animation. The innocence, the love, and the memories that all of us had following Charlie Brown and his gang have been very cherished to me since I was young. While I am very excited over the project, my hopes is that they will treat it with the respect that it duly deserves. But, I have found that two of the Schultz children, Bryan Schultz and Chris Schultz. are two of the executive producers on this. So, with any luck, they will keep it the way that Dad had wanted (RIP Charles M. Schultz). I cannot wait!
12) Kung Fu Panda 3
Po is back and so is Jack Black as the kung-fu fighting Dragon Warrior in this newest installment of the franchise.
Releasing on December 23 ofnext year from Dreamworks, Po is against great odds as he must fight a supernatural force on one front and an evil real one on another that comes from his own home!
The entire cast is coming back, as well as some new voices in the voice-over department that include Rebel Wilson, Mads Mikkelson, and Bryan Cranston.
Dave's Take: From the trailer, it is looking very promising. I was a large fabn of the original, and not so much the second, but this third one is going to get back to the essence of what this is about. Now, I have some concerns with the new voice-overs from the new characters, but as long as it does not detract from the main esence of the franchise.
Now, for the MIA's that do not have a relase date yet:
1) Ratchet and Clank
2) High In The Clouds
Sorry guys! Nothing yet! When I know, you'll know!
Same here !
Needless to say, next year is definitely going to be rocking the animation market for everybody. I am still thinking about who may get the nod for the 2015-2016 season. But, that is way off, but I wonder,,,,,