Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Upcoming Animated Films - My Thoughts (Part 7)

Part seven, all about two November releases from Disney and DreamWorks. These two projects have a ton of potential, which is why I’m dissecting them rather than having a spot for two more upcoming animated features.

Me and My Shadow
Distributor: To be announced
Studio: DreamWorks Animation SKG
Release Date: November 8, 2013
  • What’s this? DreamWorks doing a hand-drawn animated film? Actually, this film is a hybrid of both hand-drawn animation and computer animation. This combo could prove to be groundbreaking. Disney is trying their hardest to bring back hand-drawn animation, but they keep killing it with terrible marketing and their lack of confidence. The Princess and the Frog could’ve been a Pixar-sized blockbuster if they didn’t throw it into an arena that contained a James Cameron 3D epic, an action-packed blockbuster and a sequel to a children’s film based on old cartoon characters. Me and My Shadow has so much potential. If the film is a How to Train Your Dragon-sized success, both at the box office and with the critics, then DreamWorks can help bring back hand-drawn animation. There’s so much potential in this project, it’s just exciting. The film is also being directed by Mark Dindal, who directed Disney’s wonderful irreverant comedy The Emperor’s New Groove and Warner Bros.’ Cats Don’t Dance, and Disney’s first fully computer animated film Chicken Little. (His only weak film, but we can thank executives for that debacle) Writers of Coraline, The Lord of the Rings trilogy and Ren & Stimpy are handling the project. Pixar did a fine job combining hand-drawn animation and computer animation with their brilliant short film Day & Night, this should be an extension of that while also trying several other new things. This is shaping up to be one of DreamWorks’ most ambitious projects to date, shall it follow the route How to Train Your Dragon and the Kung Fu Panda films took.

Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures
Studio: Walt Disney Animation Studios
Release Date: November 27, 2013
  • For many years, Disney always wanted to adapt Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen, but it was always on and off at the studio. For a while, it seemed like it would be Disney’s 2012 animated release after Winnie the Pooh, but it disappeared yet again. Now it’s back, and it’s slated for a fall 2013 release, but with the title Frozen. Apparently Disney is taking the Tangled route with the title, since they blindly assume that young boys will avoid a “girly princess movie”. Disney should NOT be aiming for young boys, or young girls. Like Walt himself, they should aim for mature adults while also appealing to the younger set. Walt Disney’s films were blockbusters because of this, but modern Disney has catered only to kids in the last ten years or so, alienating their fans and true audiences: Everyone. The title shouldn’t mean a thing, but it’s just another marketing move from the studio. In order for Frozen to succeed, it needs to be ambitious. It can’t just be another safe attempt to recreate the Disney Renaissance, it needs to be something completely different. Who Framed Roger Rabbit and The Little Mermaid, the two films that made the Renaissance happen, were something new and not an attempt to recreate something from the past. The Princess and the Frog was like a hybrid between a pre-1960s Walt Disney film and the Disney Renaissance films, while Tangled was more of a sweet, fun, irreverant comedy. Bolt had a good story, but it was a bit restrained. Winnie the Pooh, while it was brilliant, was simply Winnie the Pooh, nothing new. This isn’t intended as a slam on those films, they're all very good and an improvement over what we've seen in the last ten years. I believe those four films are an indication that Disney is getting back to their roots. With the rather risky Wreck-It Ralph debuting this fall, Frozen should be something different and not the same thing we’d come to expect from the Mouse House.

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