By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
Every year, I’m more excited about what new animated films are coming. This medium offers more storytelling potential than live-action and the budget to realise it shouldn’t be as expensive as trying to create it in live-action. Not every work has its plot known, and for the sake of not spoiling, I won’t go into a lot of detail unless absolutely necessary.
The following 12 Animated Films are organised according to release date from specific to general.
Belle: The Dragon and the Freckled Princess
This anime about a shy high school girl who finds freedom in virtual reality will certainly speak about today’s obsession with this technology. But as for whether she’s ready depends if she can break free from that digital world and be herself.
The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild
With Simon Pegg (the voice of Buck Wild) leading the charge in this spin-off series. Sadly, he wasn’t involved in writing this film. If he had, we’d be certain to get some quality humour. Instead, it’s done by the talents behind The Fairly Oddparents. I have confidence Ray DeLaurentis, Jim Hecht and William Schifrin have many hijinks in store!
PIXAR may well have a solid hit since they’re looking at Chinese life. The tale about a tween who turns into a big red panda whenever she gets excited concerns a different kind of transition, than just dealing with puberty.
As with previous films, this tale will be about how she can maintain her composure as she deals with life. The mystic angle doesn’t look prominent here, but it’ll be cool to see what kind of Chinese connections exist to explain her shape-shifting abilities.
The Bad Guys
Pierre Perifel gets to direct DreamWorks latest. He’s one of many talents who has done a lot of animation for this company, like Monsters vs Aliens and Kung Fu Panda, and now he’s helming this project based on Aaron Blabey’s popular children’s books, The Bad Guys.
It’ll follow in the path of five crooks wanting to do bad, but ultimately will do good instead.
DC League of Super-Pets
During the golden age, many of the DC comics heroes had a pet to help them in their crime-fighting, and The Legion of Super-Pets is not as well known. This animated film hopes to bring in new fans as this time, Krypto is in charge instead of Superboy and we may get to meet Ace! Few readers know Batman had a canine partner too…
At long last, the “true to life” origin story of Buzz Lightyear is getting told! The first film was funny and sad in that the toy believed he was real. As for who the genuine hero is, could we be getting a tale that’ll recall the Apollo missions, or is he just a Duck Dodgers in disguise?
Minions: The Rise of Gru
All fans of the Despicable Me/ Minions franchise can do is wait, and eat bananas. The Rise of Gru faced a lot of delays because of the pandemic. This prequel to the series will see how Gru becomes the most heinous of villains, and maybe finally explain why this world is without heroes.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Part One)
Miles and Gwen are going to travel to various infinite Earths and divert a lot of crises. It’ll be exciting to see how this one can top the first film that sets a younger African-American teen as the titular Spider-Man, who gets a girlfriend with similar powers.
I don’t see it being part of the coming MCU madness given the title. Instead, it might be on giving Peter Parker back his identity!
Wendell and Wild
Henry Selick hasn’t created anything noticeable since Coraline in 2009, and this latest should be interesting as it deals with a pair of demons attempting to evade a monster hunter. As a master of the stop-motion medium, I’m more excited to see what he’s thought of for new creatures!
The Sea Beast
Chris Williams’ passion project is headed to Netflix! This director of Big Hero 6 will see pirates facing monsters. What’s known is that the drawings of krakens and other strange beasts on those old nautical maps are being brought to life. This tale may well give the Pirates of the Caribbean films a run for its money.
My Father’s Dragon
Cartoon Saloon is the only detail anyone needs to know about this movie based on Ruth Stiles Gannett’s children’s novel of the same name. The book published in 1948 is praised for showing how Elmer Elevator is super brave and able to fend for himself. He’s off to rescue a baby dragon. But in what he finds, and what the dragon represents, that’s left for the other books–a trilogy–to explain.
Suzume no Tojimari
Makoto Shinkai is better known for the anime hits like Your Name, and his latest will be similar. He likes to look at how magical girls’ manipulation of the elements can affect the lives of many. This latest introduces Suzume, a door in the middle of nowhere, and the effects it can cause whenever she touches it. Other parts of Japan suffer.
This work may well be part of the same universe as Weathering With You, but unlike other works (thinking of M. Night Shayalman’s Unbreakable trilogy), is less about the emotional baggage the heroes have to deal with.