Today is the first day of 2014, which means it’s time to wave goodbye to the 2013 and get excited for the new animated movies that will release this year. 2013 was great year for animation with the releases of great movies such as Frozen, Despicable Me 2, The Croods and Monsters University. However, now it’s time to set our sights to the future and learn more about the all the animated movies that will release in 2014.
The Nut Job
Studio: ToonBox/Red Rover
Release date: January 17
It seems 2014 will start with the release of a terrible movie. That sounds harsh, but there isn’t much appealing about this film. Watching the trailer of this movie makes me everything but excited. The story looks weak–I mean, seriously, it looks the entire movie will be about stealing nuts? I don’t like the humor and animation is TV quality. I don’t know what you guys think of this movie but I know I definitely won’t see it in theatres and I’ll probably also skip it when it releases on DVD and Blu-Ray.
The Nut Job has a decent all-star cast featuring Will Artnett, Brendan Fraser, Gabriel Iglesias Katherine Heigl, Liam Neeson, and Maya Rudolph, among others. The film marks the theatrical directorial debut of Peter Lepeniotis, who actually adapted his 2005 short, Surly Squirrel, into The Nut Job. Maybe the squirrels-stealing-nuts plot worked in a short, but it just seems too stereotypical for a feature.
Excitement level: 2/10
In animated 3D, THE NUT JOB is an action-packed comedy in fictional Oakton that follows the travails of Surly (voiced by Will Arnett), a mischievous squirrel, and his rat friend Buddy, who plan a nut store heist of outrageous proportions and unwittingly find themselves embroiled in a much more complicated and hilarious adventure.
The Lego Movie
Studio: Animal Logic
Release date: February 7
A lot of people are really excited for The Lego Movie and that’s great. Animation and story-wise, the movie looks really spectacular. The Lego Movie seems to be capitalizing on the incredibly popular trend online of people making their own stop-motion Lego videos. While stop-motion feature films are still popular, this film was is completely computer animated. The trailers are also really funny; The Lego Movie has a lot of self-referential humor that pokes fun of the toys, its pain points, and more. For example, the Lego characters in the movie come from all walks of life, from Batman to , almost as if they were scraped from the bottom of someone’s toy box and
The Lego Movie has a pretty impressive voice cast including Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Banks, Will Arnett, Morgan Freeman, Channing Tatum, Will Ferrell, Liam Neeson, Nick Offerman, Alison Brie, Charlie Day, Jonah Hill and Cobie Smulders. The film is directed by the duo of Phil Lord and Chris Miller. Personally, I’m not a big Lego fan so the film’s concept doesn’t appeal to me, but I’ll definitely check this movie out when it’s released on DVD and Blu-ray. Expect The Lego Movie to be a big hit among people both young and old, from those who currently play with Lego to those nostalgic movie patrons wanting to relive their childhood memories.
Excitement level: 6/10
The 3D computer animated adventure tells the story of Emmet, an ordinary, rules-following, perfectly average LEGO minifigure who is mistakenly identified as the most extraordinary person and the key to saving the world. He is drafted into a fellowship of strangers on an epic quest to stop an evil tyrant, a journey for which Emmet is hopelessly and hilariously underprepared.
Mr. Peabody & Sherman
Studio: DreamWorks Animation
Release date: March 7
I’m so excited for DreamWorks’ Mr. Peabody & Sherman, what I’ve seen in the trailers looks really good, I like the characters and I’m looking forward to see more of them, the animation look great and I like the voice actors and I’m really excited to see time-traveling (back in time, not forward) in an animated movie, a lot of historic characters were shown in trailers and posters of the movie which makes me even more exciting to see. DreamWorks did a great job in turning these classic 2D characters into 3D characters because this movie is inspired by the classic characters from the 60s The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.
I really like Ty Burell and Max Charles as Mr. Peabody and Sherman, respectively, Ariel Winter, Stanley Tucci and Alisson Janney will also voice characters in the movie and Rob Minkoff, co-director of The Lion King is directing this so it can’t be bad, right?
Excitement level: 8.5/10
Mr. Peabody, the most accomplished dog in the world, and his mischievous boy Sherman, use their time machine – The Wabac – to go on the most outrageous adventures known to man or dog. But when Sherman takes The Wabac out for a joyride to impress his friend Penny, they accidently rip a hole in the universe, wreaking havoc on the most important events in world history. Before they forever alter the past, present and future, Mr. Peabody must come to their rescue, ultimately facing the most daunting challenge of any era: figuring out how to be a parent. Together, the time traveling trio will make their mark on history.
Studio: Blue Sky Studios
Release date: April 11
I really liked the first Rio and, even though a sequel wasn’t really necessary in my opinion, I’m still pretty excited for Rio 2. The trailers are coloful, vibrant and continue to play off the party atmosphere of Brazil. I also like some of the new characters such as Charlie the anteater and Gabi the frog.
That being said, story wise the film looks pretty weak. In the first movie, Blu and Jewel were incredibly endangered and were the only two blue macaws left in the world. But in Rio 2, just kidding! We discover that there was a hidden colony of blu macaws hiding in the Amazon the entire time. That aside, I’m I’m excited to see how this movie turns out.
Rio 2 continues the trend of having a celebrity-packed voice cast by starring Anne Hathaway, Jesse Eisenberg, will.i.am, Jemaine Clement, Tracy Morgan, George Lopez, Leslie Mann, Rodrigo Santoro, Jamie Foxx. Andy Garcia, Rita Moreno, Bruno Mars, and Kristin Chenoweth. The film will be directed by Carlos Saldanha, who is a veteran director at Blue Sky having directed many of the Ice Age films.
Excitement level: 6.5/10
”It’s a jungle out there for Blu, Jewel and their three kids in RIO 2, after they’re hurtled from that magical city to the wilds of the Amazon. As Blu tries to fit in, he goes beak-to-beak with the vengeful Nigel, and meets the most fearsome adversary of all – his father-in-law.”
Studio: Summertime Entertainment
Release date: May 9
Let’s just say this outright: I am not excited for this movie. From what I’ve seen in the trailers so far, Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return looks terrible: I don’t like the character designs, I hate the animation and it just looks very cheap. The titular character, Dorothy, looks very flat and inexpressive compared to the rest of the characters. The film has had a rocky production history: originally it was scheduled for a 2013 release, but was pushed back nearly a year to 2014. Hopefully that extra year gave the crew time to polish the story, songs and animation.
The film is a musical and features songs written by Bryan Adams (yep, that Bryan Adams), which will be sung by a cast filled with many Broadway greats. Regarding the story, it looks like the film will incorporate some lesser-known Oz elements, characters and plot lines such as Wiser the owl, the China Doll princess and the Great Royal Marshmallow.
One of the only things going for this movie is the voice cast, which includes quite a few Broadway stars. The cast includes Lea Michelle, Bernadette Peters, Martin Short , Jim Belushi, Dan Aykroyd , Kelsey Grammer, Megan Hilty, Hugh Dancy, Oliver Platt and Patrick Stewart . While this movie has a great cast of actors, it’s kind of sad to see them in a movie like this. The film is directed by animation veterans Daniel St. Pierre and Will Finn.
Hopefully, the musical and songs will be fantastic and this film will be a surprise hit. If the songs are off the charts spectacular, then I think a lot of people will see past the rudimentary animation and give it a chance. But I’m not betting on it: I definitely won’t be seeing this movie in theatres nor when it releases on home media.
Excitement level: 4/10
In LEGENDS OF OZ: DOROTHY’S RETURN, Dorothy returns to Kansas to find it devastated by the tornado that had whisked her away to Oz. The home she has been so desperate to return to is severely damaged, and the townspeople are packing up and moving out. But shortly after arriving in Kansas, Dorothy is magically transported back to Oz.
She finds out that Oz is in trouble, and the people there need her help. Dorothy’s old friends – the Scarecrow, Tin Man and the formerly Cowardly Lion – have disappeared and Oz is in a state of decay. As Dorothy journeys to find her friends, she encounters a number of new companions and problems including a man made of marshmallows who can’t think for himself; a china doll princess whose bossiness is a cover for her fragility; and a tugboat with as many personalities as he has pieces. Dorothy must help this odd group band together against a new villain – a wicked Jester who thinks all of Oz should be under his control.
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Studio: DreamWorks Animation
Release date: June 13
Words can’t describe how excited I am for How to Train Your Dragon 2. I loved the first movie and it definitely is one of DreamWorks’ best and most popular movies to date. A few weeks ago the first full-length trailer released and this movie looks like an instant classic with the beautiful visuals, animation and the story.
This film is set five years after the first How To Train Your Dragon, film. As a result, the characters are no longer kids, but rather teenagers and young adults. We also will mee new characters including Valka, a great new character who will bring with her an interesting story line, a lot of action and a mysterious secret. Also the new villain is Drago Bludvist, although we haven’t seen too much of him, making him even more intriguing.
How to Train Your Dragon 2 will keep its original voice cast of Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, Craig Ferguson, America Ferrera, Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, T.J. Miller, and Kristen Wiig, as well as newcomers Kit Harington, Cate Blanchett, and Djimon Hounsou. The film is directed by Dean DeBlois, who co-directed the first Dragon film.
The thrilling second chapter of the epic “How to Train Your Dragon” trilogy brings back the fantastical world of Hiccup and Toothless five years later. While Astrid, Snoutlout and the rest of the gang are challenging each other to dragon races (the island’s new favorite contact sport), the now inseparable pair journey through the skies, charting unmapped territories and exploring new worlds. When one of their adventures leads to the discovery of a secret ice cave that is home to hundreds of new wild dragons and the mysterious Dragon Rider, the two friends find themselves at the center of a battle to protect the peace.
Planes: Fire & Rescue (Planes 2)
Studio: DisneyToon Studios
Release date: July 18
Planes is an extension of Pixar’s incredibly successful Cars franchise and many thought the first film was just an easy money grab for Disney. Well, let’s be honest. It was. That film was quite a success, raking in over $219 million internationally. It’s no wonder that Disney was to continue to capitalize on that cash cow by making a sequel.
In a smart move, Planes : Fire & Rescue, or unofficially just Planes 2, moves away from the racing theme that was uncannily similar to the plots of Cars and Cars 2 and instead focuses on other types of aircraft in the aviation universe. This time we get to learn more about rescue planes who risk their lives putting out forest fires. Dustry Crophopper makes a return as our hero and most likely he’ll be able to help stop the fires since he’s a crop duster. The comedy in the trailer is actually pretty funny. Near the end, the film plays off the famous Marine’s tagline by changing it from “The few, the proud, the Marines” to “The crew, the proud, the planes.”
Bobs Gannaway will direct the film and Dane Cook and Julie Bowen are the only voice talent currently listed for Planes: Fire & Rescue, but expect to see more revealed as the months inch closer to the film’s release date.
“Planes: Fire & Rescue” features a quirky crew of elite firefighting aircraft devoted to protecting historic Piston Peak National Park from a raging wildfire. When world famous air racer Dusty (voice of Cook) learns that his engine is damaged and he may never race again, he must shift gears and is launched into the world of wildfire air attack. Dusty joins forces with veteran fire and rescue helicopter Blade Ranger and his courageous air attack team, including spirited super scooper Lil’ Dipper (voice of Bowen), heavy-lift helicopter Windlifter, ex-military transport Cabbie and a lively bunch of brave all-terrain vehicles known as The Smokejumpers. Together, the fearless team battles a massive wildfire, and Dusty learns what it takes to become a true hero.
Release date: September 26
I’m really excited for LAIKA’s The Boxtrolls. LAIKA is a fledgling studio, but already has a great track record for producing fantastic films like Coraline and ParaNorman. There’s three main things that I love about LAIKA and this film: 1) The film’s style is fresh, yet still very LAIKA. 2) This movie features a completely original and new concept. 3) It’s a stop-motion feature rather than CGI.
That being said, stop-motion films haven’t performed the best in recent years. So LAIKA is actually pretty smart in the newest trailer for The Boxtrolls because it not only introduces us to the story, but it also gives audiences a behind-the-scenes look at the art and creation of this film. We get to see just how much painstaking work goes into making stop-motion films, which hopefully will help audiences have a greater appreciation for the art form and film when the release date rolls around.
The Boxtrolls features the voice talents of Isaac Hempstead-Wright, Ben Kingsley, Elle Fanning, Simon Pegg, Toni Collette, Jared Harris, Nick Frost, Richard Ayoade and Tracy Morgan. The film is directed by Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi.
Excitement level: 8.5/10
”The new 3D animated feature from Laika Studios tells the tale of the Boxtrolls, monsters who live underneath the charming streets of Cheesebridge, who crawl out of the sewers at night to steal what the townspeople hold most dear: their children and their cheeses. At least, that’s the legend the townspeople have always believed. In truth, the Boxtrolls are a community of lovable oddballs who are raising as one of their own an abandoned and orphaned human boy named Eggs. When the Boxtrolls are targeted by a villainous exterminator who is bent on eradicating them, Eggs must venture aboveground to save them, where he teams with an adventurous young girl to save not only the Boxtrolls but the soul of Cheesebridge.”
The Book of Life
Studio: Reel FX
Release date: October 10
Reel FX is another newcomer in the animation playing field. Last year, it released Free Birds, which unfortunately for them was neither a commercial nor critical success. However, the studio’s newest offering, Book of Life, seems to offer redemption. The Book of Life is a Romeo-and-Juliet love story set against the backdrop of the Mexican holiday, Día de los Muertos holiday. There is a lot of Mexican talent on board to help culturally guide the film, including Guillermo del Toro and Jorge R. Gutierrez as producer and director, respectively.
Pixar is currently developing a Día de los Muertos-themed film, but luckily for Reel FX, their film will hit theatres years before that film. Hopefully the story and animation of this film are top notch because the premise and theme is very interesting.
Excitement level: 6/10
”An animated comedy with a unique visual style, THE BOOK OF LIFE is the journey of Manolo, a young man who is torn between fulfilling the expectations of his family and following his heart. Before choosing which path to follow, he embarks on an incredible adventure that spans three fantastical worlds where he must face his greatest fears. Rich with a fresh take on pop music favorites, THE BOOK OF LIFE encourages us to celebrate the past while looking forward to the future.”
No official stills, trailers or posters available.
Big Hero 6
Studio: Walt Disney Animation Studios
Release date: November 7
Disney meets Marvel! Big Hero 6, directed by Don Hall, is based on a less popular Marvel comic of the same name and will be first animated Disney movie based on a Marvel series. Not much has been revealed about the film; however, the first concept art looks promising and the logo looks really cool as well. We don’t know too much officially about the plot, but what we do know is that it’s about boy genius named Hiro, who with his a fighting robot Baymax, forms a band of superheros to help save his city. Morgan got access to some leaked character and plot details and the cast of characters seems diverse and fun. Even though we don’t know much, we can already tell that it’s going to be a movie with great characters and an emotional story.
Disney already released a short teaser trailer that gives us a better look at San Fransokyo, the fictional city crossover between San Francisco and Tokyo where the movie is set. The animation and design looks beautiful and the buildings and other locations look like perfect battle scene locations. With the success of the more boy-centric Wreck-It Ralph, you know Disney is hoping to hit it big time with Big Hero 6, catapulting a brand new superhero franchise to fame in the process. And I have a feeling that they already have a home-run on their hands.
Official trailer (first look):
From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes “Big Hero 6,” an action comedy adventure about brilliant robotics prodigy Hiro Hamada, who finds himself in the grips of a criminal plot that threatens to destroy the fast-paced, high-tech city of San Fransokyo. With the help of his closest companion—a robot named Baymax—Hiro joins forces with a reluctant team of first-time crime fighters on a mission to save their city.
Studio: DreamWorks Animation Studios
Release date: November 26
There isn’t much to say about DreamWorks’ Home. The film was formerly titled Happy Smekday!, but was changed the more nondescript and boring Home. This film is hard to explain or wrap your mind around because we don’t have much to go off, but basically it’s an alien buddy comedy where an alien befriends a human girl.
A few months ago, the final characters designs were leaked and I didn’t really like what I saw. Also, am I the only person who doesn’t like the idea of Rihanna voicing a kid character? It seems so bizarre. Alien movies aren’t my thing, but I think I have to wait until DreamWorks releases the first stills, concept art or trailer before I judge if Home is really as bad as it sounds.
Home is directed by Tim Johnson and stars Jim Parsons, Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez and Steve Martin.
Excitement level: 4/10
”DreamWorks Animation’s “Home” is not your standard post-apocalyptic-alien-invasion-buddy-comedy. When Earth is taken over by the overly-confident Boov, an alien race in search of a new place to call home, all humans are promptly relocated (Captain Smek optimistically declares “Relocation is fun and mandatory!”), while all Boov get busy efficiently reorganizing the planet (“You’re welcome”). But when one resourceful girl, Tip, (Rihanna) manages to avoid capture, she finds herself the accidental accomplice of a banished Boov by the name of Oh (Jim Parsons). Equally stubborn and set in their ways, these two fugitives realize there’s a lot more at stake than intergalactic relations as they embark on the road trip of a lifetime. Good thing they have a flying car.”
No official stills, trailers or posters available.
So there you have it–the 2014 animation calendar. When more information, trailers, posters, stills or anything else from these movies pops up, you better be sure that we’ll report it and keep you up to date. The entire Rotoscopers team wishes you a Happy New Year and we hope 2014 is going to be a great year for animation!