Presented in chronological order are five animated films to look forward to on the big screen in the coming months. For animation enthusiasts, there’s still plenty of variety to find and bring a smile to one’s face.
Release Date: Sept 26th, 2014
Plot Synopsis: The 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 above ground to save them, where he teams with an adventurous young girl to save not only the Boxtrolls but the soul of Cheesebridge.
Why See It?: Expectations will be high when this movie is being produced by the same folks who made Coraline and ParaNorman. The supernatural elements are more grounded as it’s about what lurks beneath than in what emerges from the imagination. Gnomes are at the theme here, and the story sounds like its more rooted in folklore than with ghostly figures that go bump in the night. Fans of classical European folklore may take delight with this tale.
Book of Life
Release Date: October 17th, 2014
Plot Synopsis: From producer Guillermo del Toro and director Jorge Gutierrez comes 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.
Why See It?: The buzz here is with the colourful visuals that will no doubt create much of the sensation on the big screen. The tale told here is really nothing new, but to see how it wraps around The Day of the Dead celebration is at the core. Not everyone will have had the pleasure to experience what that’s about and this festival must be the inspiration for how this tale must have developed. To give meaning about what this cultural celebration means to the people of this world will have some fans wanting to sing olé!
Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart (2014)
Release Date: October 17th, 2014
Plot Synopsis: On a cold winter’s day in late 19th century Edinburgh, Little Jack is born on a day so cold that his heart remains frozen. In her house on top of a big hill, Madeleine the midwife replaces the defective organ with a cuckoo-clock. It will work, she warns him, as long as Jack doesn’t touch the hands of the clock, doesn’t lose his temper and, above all, doesn’t fall in love. But Jack’s encounter with a fiery-eyed little girl singing on a street corner and his decision to chase after her across Europe to Andalusia test the resistance of his makeshift heart to breaking point…
Why See It?: This film is getting a limited theatrical and video release at the same time, and to put this movie into this list must mean there is something special in this film to appreciate. In this case, there is a lesson to be learned about how fragile the heart is. The tale and music penned by Mathias Malzieu (who also crafted the soundtrack and book to which the movie is inspired from) has a haunting quality which ranks right up there with Brothers Grimm and Aesop since he is intimate with where he wants his tale to go.
The Tale of Princess Kaguya
Release Date: October 17th, 2014
Plot Synopsis: An old man makes a living by selling bamboo. One day, he finds a princess in a bamboo. The princess is only the size of a finger. Her name is Kaguya. When Kaguya grows up, five men from prestigious families propose to her. Kaguya asks the men to find memorable marriage gifts for her, but the five men are unable to find what Kaguya wants. Then, the Emperor of Japan proposes to her.
Why See It?: It’s a Studio Ghibli product. Is there more to be said? Isao Takahata (Pon Poko, My Neighbour the Yamadas) helms the last film that this studio is going to make, and although more people equate Hayao Miyazaki (the studio’s co-founder) to this company’s success, Takahata is just as important in his watercolour renderings of life. With this tale, the charm is in with how Kaguya learns about why mortal existence is not for her. The best films do not have to be fairy tale perfect.
Big Hero 6
Release Date: Nov 7th, 2014
Plot Synopsis: Inspired by the Marvel comics of the same name, and featuring comic-book style action and all the heart and humor audiences expect from Walt Disney Animation Studios, Big Hero 6, is 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.
Why see it?: This movie’s big selling point is with the humour. Baymax has all the innocent charm of PIXAR’s Wall*E, and the comedy may well be very sublime. Very little has been said about the other companions who will be joining Hiro & Baymax, so there’s not much to judge by. To see how East meets West will no doubt be another factor.
Penguins of Madagascar
Release Date: Nov 26th, 2014
Plot Synopsis: The co-stars of the 2005 film Madagascar, the 2005 short film The Madagascar Penguins in: A Christmas Caper and the 2008 film Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa finally get their big screen showdown! Their adventures may seem kosher now that there is no need to worry about zoo life (no explanations are ever given with these penguins), and when they get recruited by Northwind to contend with a mad octopus, just what happens next requires the team to give covert ops a new meaning. Maxwell Smart and Johnny English better look out!
Why See It?: Ever since these penguins stole the show with the first Madagascar movie, audiences knew they would be big and they deserved their own show. Thankfully, the television show was fast-tracked into keeping interest alive. As for why the producers took nine long years to get a feature film made, hopefully, the reason is to find the right script to make them preen their wings and shine. The wait should be worth it for audiences to see more of their hijinks in a comedy showdown of James Bond proportions.