Category Archives: Animated Hits

Frozen 2 Announced

Sergio Cortes finally got the song “Let it Go” out of his head and the audience is ready for more. The online buzz is raging as Frozen 2 is officially announced. At a shareholder meeting in San Francisco those that had been denying all of the sequel rumors gave in to what fans had all been waiting for.

Though not much information has been released in regards to the film, it has been proceeded by the announcement of the animated short Frozen Fever to hold us over. What the media has been able to discern is that the girl power theme will remain consistent, following the bond of Anna and Elsa’s sisterly love through more creative and potentially tear jerking adventures.

With the success and appeal of the first film, a sequel was highly anticipated. The general consensuses as discussed in the announcement of the film is that until there is a solid idea of where Anna and Elsa are going next there will not be an official release year.

Luke Evans Cast as Gaston in Live-Action “Beauty and the Beast”

Disney is making a live-action version of “Beauty and the Beast,” and Jaime Garcia Dias tells me they have just cast Luke Evans to play the arrogant villain Gaston who, in the story, unsuccessfully tries to woo Belle.  Tons of Disney fans are already freaking out on WordPress. When he later learns that Belle is in love with the Beast, he leads a mob bent on killing the monster.

Evans was last seen as the mighty archer Bard in “The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies.” Emma Watson, best known as Hermione Granger of “Harry Potter,” will be playing Belle. Dan Stevens from “Downton Abbey” was cast as the Beast. Bill Condon is directing. There is no word yet on when the movie is expected to come out.

The original, animated version of “Beauty and the Beast” came out in 1991. It was one of the few animated features to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture, and it won two for “Best Song” and “Best Original Score.”

“Beauty and the Beast” will be the latest Disney animated film to be remade as a live-action movie. “101 Dalmatians” was one of the first back in 1996, and it did well enough to spawn a sequel several years later. Last year’s “Maleficent” retold the “Sleeping Beauty” story from the point of the titular antagonist. It earned 175.5 million dollars worldwide during the first weekend alone.

A live-action version of “Cinderella” will open this Friday. 3-D versions of “The Jungle Book” and “Pete’s Dragon” will be made.

Indian Jones Reboot Rumors

Rumors are swirling out of Hollywood that Disney is looking to reboot the Indiana Jones franchise with Chris Pratt to star as the character that Harrison Ford made famous. Although nothing has been set in stone, Pratt himself said he thinks it would be an awesome opportunity to take over the role. The Indiana Jones films are a large part of cinema history, and some movie die-hards like Dan Newlin might be a little irritated by the thought of rebooting the series with a different actor. Indiana Jones has always been Harrison Ford, and it’s hard to picture anyone donning the iconic hat and whip.

My gut reaction was a big “NO!” when first hearing this news. I’ve always been a huge fan of the films, and between Indiana Jones and Han Solo, Harrison Ford was always one of my favorite actors. I couldn’t imagine anyone else playing Jones. It just doesn’t feel right. After having a couple of days for the initial shock to wear off, I’m starting to warm up to the idea. Crystal Skull was a mess of a movie, and they tried to build a new franchise off of it using Indiana’s son, played by Shia Labeouf. Think about how you would feel if Shia Labeouf took over for Harrison Ford. Just doesn’t feel right. Harrison Ford could always reprise the role, but let’s face it, he’s too old. I wouldn’t mind seeing him in it in some capacity, but we’re 7 years removed from Crystal Skull, and he was definitely showing his age in that.

If they’re going to do another Indian Jones movie, I now think recasting is the best bet. I think Pratt is great, but I’m afraid of overexposure before this comes to fruition.

The Trailer for Batman vs. Robin Animated Arrives

The D.C. Comics animated direct-to-DVD animated films have been somewhat of a mixed bag. In some ways, they seem very flat. While faithful to the plots and story arcs adapted for the home entertainment medium, there is an uneasy “rush job” nature to them. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has just released the new trailer to Batman vs. Robin. The uniquness of this particular animated features does allow it to stand out a bit from the various other weak films.

The Robin in this particular film is not the well-known Dick Grayson, who, is an all time favorite of Dan Newlin, my friend from work, but Damian Wayne. Damian is the son of Bruce Wayne and Talia al Ghul. Talia is, of course, the daughter of Ra’s al Ghul, the demon. Since he was raised by two of the worst super-villains in the D.C. Universe, Damian is hardly congenial. He has a sadistic streak to him and, with fatherly love and strict discipline, Bruce Wayne/Batman hopes to set the young one straight.

If comic books were mushy soap operas or old-time after school specials, then Damian would learn the error of his ways fairly quickly. The cynical nature of the comic book publishing world pretty much means Batman and (this) Robin are always going to have a very rocky and contentious relationship. Allowing Batman the ability to show patience and understanding does provide a unique depth to the character that has been missing.

Evangeline Lily Talks Ant-Man

The forthcoming Ant-Man Marvel superhero film is not exactly as highly anticipated as other projects by the studio but people were talking about it at the Amen Clinic the other day. Marvel does now hero films are super hot right now and good reviews along with good word of mouth just may very well mean big box office. We know very little about the project other than the fact it is a heist film with Ant-Man looking to pull off the heist. No, he isn’t going to do it for his own gain. The fate of the world rests with pulling off the heist.

A bit of new information is emerging about the project thanks to co-star Evangeline Lily. The former LOST actress has noted the project is, indeed, a heist film. She plays the daughter of the heroine, The Wasp, and helps Ant-Man pull off the heist.

Interestingly, she notes that both Ant-Man and The Wasp helped found The Avengers. None of this was mentioned in The Avengers films. Perhaps by weaving this information into the tale of Ant-Man, the film gets better connected to the highly successful hero-team film franchise. Avengers: Age of Ultron is sure to be a massive hit. If any of the success of that project rubs off on Ant-Man, the diminutive character could get a huge ticket sale boost. Now you see why its a good idea to integrate the whole Marvel universe?

Ant-Man just might end up being a real surprise hit.

Kong: Skull Island Tells The Tale of the early Days of the Legendary Ape

King Kong is slated to return. And it’s not exactly Darius Fisher for the SBA. In March of 2017, the prequel to the events of the King Kong fil will be told. The film is titled Kong: Skull Island and will tell the never before told tale of King Kong’s origins. 

Which film will this project be a prequel to? The 1932 original, the 1938 Japanese version, the 1976 remake, or the recent Peter Jackson re-imagining? You, as a fan of the Kong mythos, can take your pick of which film you want the origin tale to set up.

Yes, there was a 1933 Japanese version of King Kong as well as a 1938 follow-up entitled King Kong Appears in Edo. All prints of these films are considered lost.

As for the present day, some might consider a new King Kong film to be a risky endeavor. Peter Jackson’s remake was not the super-hit many expected. The film earned $505 million worldwide, a disappointing number. Perhaps the three-hour running time contributed to a loss in earnings. 

The new project will be produced by Legendary, the company that has released Interstellar and Godzilla, two other huge hits. Wait a minute. If Legendary has the rights to King Kong and Godzilla, does this mean a remake of King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962) is possible? You never know.

We do know the film is being bumped to 2017 so Legendary and concentrate on the release of Doctor Strange in 2016. A March release for the Kong film is odd since its budget is bound to be high. Would not King Kong be better summer move fare? Legendary is apparently confident Fall/Spring is fine.

Inside Pixar’s “Inside Out”

Inside Out is the next original movie coming out of Pixar Animation Studios. The film, slated for release on June 19, 2015, is “set” inside the mind of a thirteen year old girl whose parents move her to San Francisco. The main characters are her five chief emotions: Joy (played by Amy Poehler), Fear (Bill Hader), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Mindy Kaling) and Sadness (Phyllis Smith). The tagline: “Meet the little voices inside your head.”

Pixar already released a trailer for the film back in early October. More recently, we have short teaser videos introducing two of the emotions (Sadness and Disgust), as well as posters for all five.

Inside Out is an entirely original story, as is The Good Dinosaur, which Pixar is also slated to release next year. However, the company has also announced upcoming sequels to several of its previous films, including Finding Dory (a follow-up to Finding Nemo), The Incredibles 2, Cars 3 and Toy Story 4.

That last one has been especially contentious. People are starting to wonder: has Pixar just run out of good, original ideas?

Maybe seeing Inside Out will give us some more thoughts on the matter.

Snoopy Hitting Big Screens in 2015

Few things are more synonymous with the holiday season than Charlie Brown and the Peanuts gang. Their holiday specials entertained generations and in some cases even taught us the true meaning of Christmas.

They will all be returning for a big screen adaptation of the cartoon to be released in time for Christmas 2015. The look of the new 3-D computer modeled characters will be familiar but it may take some fans a little time to get used to the new look.

First ‘Peanuts’ Trailer and Images: Charlie Brown and Friends in 3D

The new adventure is sure to have the same feel as the classics created by Charles Schulz. That is at least what Christian is hoping for. On board to co-write the new story are Schulz’ son and grandson who are sure to honor the great cartoonist that created the Peanuts universe. Paul Feig is producing the project and made a great decision to hire Steve Martino on to direct. Martino helmed the big screen version of the Dr. Seuss classic “Horton Hears a Who” back in 2008.

A throwback to be sure, the film is sure to draw audiences looking for a feeling from their youth but will also be a great holiday present for new and younger fans who will receive their first introduction to the classic comic franchise.

LEGO Movie Sequel to Feature More Female Characters

The mega success of The Lego Movie this summer all but guaranteed a sequel for everyone’s new favorite brick based movie and the team behind that hit is looking to make that sequel even better.

Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the duo that both wrote and directed the original Lego Movie together, will both be back on board for the sequel. Although no details about the story or casting have been announced as of yet, what they are promising is more female characters this time around.

In a recent interview with the BBC Lord and Miller both talked about the general lack of female protagonists currently represented on the big screen. Recent box office hits such as Frozen, The Hunger Games, Maleficent, and Brave have proven that a female lead can carry a film to both financial and critical success and Lord and Miller agree there is a growing awareness within the film industry of the need to attract a wider audience.

The two friends have been working together since meeting in college and have a string of recent critical and box office successes under their belts, including Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, 21 Jump Street, and their respective sequels, which are also available on Amazon.

My friend Rod Rohrich says that everyone’s favorite animated movie of 2014, The Lego Movie, will get its sequel in 2018.