Remembering 2015: One Animation Fan’s Retrospective

1 Jan

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)

inside-out-poster

PIXAR’s film is a strong contender come Oscar season!

The 2015 year was good for animation enthusiasts. Netflix‘s streaming service took off (and finally caught my notice) with help from DreamWorks — more of their properties appeared on this online only network even though I prefer to physically own a copy (i.e. purchase a video release down the road). Technically, Turbo FAST started the trend in 2013 and I’m glad to see that it exists for purchase at stores and on Amazon. All Hail King Julian! released late in 2014 but the rest of the programs like Dragons: Race to the Edge, Dawn of the Croods and Adventures of Puss in Boots shows that at least the studio has faith on the medium. Let’s hope these releases come to video too.

But what does that mean for other studios? Curiously, DreamWorks has not continued 2014’s Penguins of Madagascar movie. Has Nickelodeon said no to the studio making more or has Tom McGrath, the voice of Skipper, decided to move on? Currently, he’s working on Boss Baby, slated for release in 2017.

Disney/Pixar was busy with two releases, Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur, and while I favour the prehistoric adventure more than a look at what goes on inside a little girl’s head, I do see the former being a contender come Oscar season. I do have to wonder how long Minion-mania will last. It arrived in full force because of the movie and it showed no signs of slowing down over the holidays with merchandise being deeply discounted and the film put onto home video super early!

The Peanuts also showed they could not be contained either.

Even Shaun the Sheep showed he was not shy with a summer release. In the international front, Ghost in the Shell New Movie is noticeable to show anime is not forgotten. Studio Ghibli’s When Marnie Was Here finally got a State-side release last year. To round out the list, Anomalisa is unique in this recap of what films were released from last year.

In the home front, my personal favourite, Song of the Sea, finally debuted in Ireland in 2015 after touring elsewhere in 2014. As unusual that is, this film deserves special mention as it became available for purchase just prior to it screening in the country it pays tribute to.

DC Entertainment was certainly out in full force with three home video releases: Batman: Animal Instincts and Monster Mayhem with Justice League: Gods and Monsters showing a different kind of superhero behind the cowl and cape. Three episodes premiered alongside the movie online on Youtube and more are planned in 2016.

Two films that have escaped notice is Bilal, a film that uses the backdrop of the Middle East to tell the tale of a young boy who gets taken away and forced to fight for causes that he’s not fully supportive of. In some ways, this film has the potential to recall moments from Lawrence of Arabia, but only time will tell when this film gets a North American release — which is slated for sometime in 2016! The hope for me is that it will take some notes from Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet to make this film stand out as notable.

Hell & Back challenges the norm by being stop-motion and it looks like Bill & Ted’s Adventure meets South Park with animated moments from Corpse Bride. It will become available on iTunes USA January 5th, to make the new year look absolutely sinful.

With such a strong presence world-wide, just what will 2016 bring?

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