Twelve years after Monsters Inc. told us the story of two scary guys, Mike and Sully, they're back in this weekend's Monsters University, and this time, we're going back to college with the beloved characters. The Pixar prequel gives us an origin story, but is the animated family film worth checking out, even if you're not a kid? Find out from our video movie review.
We're huge animated-movie fans, and so are our kids, so it was beyond exciting when we got an invitation from DreamWorks for a behind-the-scenes look at the making of The Croods, the soon-to-be-released caveman film from the makers of Shrek, How to Train Your Dragon, and Kung Fu Panda. Hitting movie theaters this weekend, March 22, and featuring the voices of Emma Stone, Ryan Reynolds, and Nicholas Cage, The Croods is a classic family story — overprotective dad, feisty grandma, rebellious teen — mixed with fantastic creatures, a fierce, feral toddler, and a heavy dose of impending doom. Set sometime after the dinosaurs and before the rise of mammals, the movie is full of awesome action sequences, extraordinary settings and creatures, and even a bit of romance.
The 3D film builds on the studio's impressive three-dimensional resume, truly bringing audiences into the action. "There is more 3D knowledge, experience, and movie making here within the studio than any other place on the planet today," studio founder Jeffrey Katzenberg told us. "The goal always has been transporting you into that world, really make you feel as though you're in the center of it. That's the best use of 3D. It's less about gimmicks and things that kind of poke out of the screen as opposed to immersing the audience in it."
The innovative 3D experience is just one of the reasons we think moms, dads, and kids will all love The Croods. Keep reading for more reasons why you should journey into the "Croodaceous" era on March 22.
Source: DreamWorks Animation
In Wreck-It Ralph, John C. Reilly voices a video-game villain who's tired of being a bad guy. He sets out on a quest to lose the label, and in doing so, he encounters lots of other characters who are also more than what their two-dimensional selves seem. It's candy-colored and cute, but even if you're not a child yourself, there are plenty of reasons to head out to theaters to see it. Check out my reasons below to find out why Wreck-It Ralph is more than just kids' stuff.
- It's worth seeing for the video-game references alone. While Wreck-It Ralph does have some made-up games in it, like Sugar Rush, there are plenty of references to old-school video games you'll recognize. There's Q*bert, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Bowser, just to name a few. Be prepared to feel a flood of nostalgia as you remember playing those games as a kid — and feeling like a kid while watching Wreck-It Ralph is a big reason why it's so fun.
- There's enough grown-up humor. Kids will get a kick out of silly jokes like the double entendre of "Hero's Duty" lobbed by Vanellope (Sarah Silverman), but there's plenty of humor for big kids, too. Not only do the jokes make you laugh, but also, the idea of the video-game world as its own society makes you smirk, especially when you see what the characters do in their off-hours, like drink at bars and attend self-help meetings. Plus, the voices of supporting characters like Jane Lynch and Jack McBrayer recall their usual, funny, prime-time characters.
- There are deeper themes than your average kids' movie. The fact that protagonist Ralph is a bad guy alerts you early on that this isn't going to be your traditional Disney movie, and while we ride along on Ralph's journey to prove himself, the themes that emerge are pretty mature. There's the frustration in having a reputation you don't like, and the necessity of self-acceptance (as well as a lesson in bullying), but don't worry — it doesn't get overly preachy.
If you're a Tim Burton fan, I have got great news for you. The Frankenweenie trailer has officially come to life! After the young budding scientist Victor's beloved dog passes away, he brings good old Sparky back to life, and mayhem ensues. Re-imagined from his 1984 live-action short, this stop-motion flick oozes all things creepy, artistic, and utterly Tim Burton.
I love that just like the original short, all of Frankenweenie is in black and white — only perpetuating the freaky retro vibe. And along with other big names like Catherine O'Hara, Martin Short, and Martin Landau, I was so happy to see that Winona Ryder lends her voice for the film, as she's a staple of a couple of my fave Tim Burton films from the past. Check out Frankenweenie's creepy goodness, after the jump.
For the past five years, Wes Anderson's wide fan base has been waiting for his first fully animated film. Would his adaption of Roald Dahl's children's book, Fantastic Mr. Fox appease the same crowd that holds Bottle Rocket and The Royal Tenenbaums near and dear to their hearts? The answer is an emphatic yes, and the best news is that you don't even have to enjoy Anderson's other work to fall in love with this film.
The story follows the wily Mr. Fox, a professional robber turned family man (er, fox) who just isn't satisfied with his quiet life working as a newspaper columnist. Even a move to prime real estate isn't enough to satiate his appetite for a little trouble making, and Mr. Fox (or "Foxy" as his friends call him) decides to take on the biggest adventure of his life. That's just the tip of the iceberg though, so read more
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences issued a press release today, announcing that 20 films have been submitted for Best Animated Film consideration at this year's Oscars. This means there could be five movies competing at the awards show in March. (In the history of the category, there have typically been only three.) So who is up for the honor?
Some are obvious choices. Up, for example, comes as no surprise thanks to its huge accolades. I also think Coraline stands a chance, as well as Fantastic Mr. Fox (look for my review on Friday!). But Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel seems like a long shot — even though it hasn't hit theaters yet, so I'm just making an early prediction. (Sorry, Alvin.)
With 10 movies in the Best Picture category, I wouldn't be surprised if some of these films end up with more than one nomination. Check out the full list of animated film contenders, and tell me which you think is most deserving of an Oscar when you read more
The same guys who brought us the Ice Age franchise are back to create another potential hit with the 3-D CGI Despicable Me. Seems like every animated movie nowadays wrangles A-list names, but the Despicable roster is even starrier than most. Steve Carell, Jason Segel, Will Arnett, Kristen Wiig, Mindy Kaling, Jack McBrayer — it's like a laundry list of my favorite comedy people. And while I sort of wish we could see them all acting together in the flesh instead of just lending their voices, their involvement really has me hyped.
The story follows the world's No. 2 villain Gru (Carell) on his plot to steal the moon — a plan that gets thwarted by three little orphan girls who challenge his evil ways when they want him to be their dad. The trailer doesn't reveal much, but I'm sure we'll get more footage as we near the June release date. In the meantime, check out the cute preview when you read more
Marmaduke, the comic strip about a giant-sized Great Dane and his owners, finally has a voice. Owen Wilson — who's no stranger to working with dogs, given Marley and Me — has just signed on to lend his voice to the trouble-making pooch in the half CGI, half live-action film set to hit theaters next Summer.
Generally speaking, I'm not a huge fan of the animated and live-person combo. It rarely works when actors are talking to cartoons (one exception being Who Framed Roger Rabbit?), but obviously I'm not the target audience here. Plus, Marmaduke does have some of my favorite people in it, including Judy Greer and Lee Pace who both play humans in the film, and hopefully the movie will offer us adults a dose of humor, too.
Do you think Wilson is a good choice to voice Marmaduke? Anyone you would've rather seen in the role?
Obviously I haven't outgrown cartoons, because I'm secretly stoked for this animated film news. Anne Hathaway and Neil Patrick Harris are reportedly in talks for Rio, which follows a macaw who breaks out of his Minnesota cage for the lively city of Rio de Janeiro. Sounds like a cute concept, right?
The film already has a release date of April 8, 2011, and it will be filmed in 3D digital animation. No word yet on who the actors will be voicing, but I sort of imagine Hathaway putting on her best "don't cha know" Minnesotan accent as the macaw's owner, and NPH delivering the laughs as a Brazilian parrot in a samba costume. (Hey, just a thought, producers.)
As many of you likely discovered over the weekend, Pixar's new blockbuster Up is a total tearjerker. Who would have thought a funny-looking movie about a grumpy old man, talking dogs, and an inquisitive little kid could make me bawl like a baby?!
I was wondering how little kids are handling some of the sad scenes in Up, and then I remembered that animated movies have been making kids (including me) cry for years now. An obvious example is Bambi with — spoiler alert! Ha ha — the mom dying and all. Personally, I will never ever
forgive forget the brutal emotional experience of watching Mufasa plummet to his death as his little baby cub looks on in The Lion King. Seriously, when it comes to this scene, I still cannot keep the tears back.
Which animated movies have done you in?