Animation Fall Preview 2010
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole (Warner Bros., Sept. 24)
Can Legend of the Guardians repeat the success Warner Bros. and Animal Logic had with Happy Feet? Image courtesy of Warner Bros.
The last time Warner Bros. and Animal Logic partnered on an animated feature, they produced the Oscar-winning Happy Feet. Based on the first three books in Kathryn Lasky's popular YA book series, the film follows a young barn owl who is sent to an orphanage where they brainwash the children into serving as soldiers. Like with Happy Feet and George Miller, this production brings in a helmer from the live-action ranks in The Watchmen's Zack Snyder. The Australian heavy voice cast includes Jim Sturgess, Geoffrey Rush, Emilie de Ravin, Hugo Weaving, Sam Neill, Helen Mirren, and Abbie Cornish. Sight unseen, many wonder if this one is a real contender for the Oscar race or not. The theatrical run will also feature the second CG Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner short of the year titled Fur of Flying.
Megamind (DreamWorks, Nov. 5)
Megamind taunts his prisoner who has seen all his tricks. Image courtesy of DreamWorks.
With Universal's Despicable Me already a monster success, can DreamWorks' super-villain spoof stand up? The story here follows the rivalry between hero Metro Man and villain Megamind, whose evil plots are getting tiresome. But what happens when one works? What does it mean to be a supervillain without of superhero? The existential questions abound in this film directed by Tom McGrath (Madagascar). As with any DreamWorks production, the voice cast shines with stars, including Brad Pitt, Will Ferrell, Jonah Hill, Tina Fey and David Cross. A fun game to play during the film would be spotting the superhero references. A few include Metro Man's suit modeled after Captain Marvel, Hal's sad face pin a nod to Watchmen's Comedian, Megamind's blue skin an ode to Freakazoid! and baby Megamind crashing into a prison instead of a happy home tips its hat to Red Son, a series of comics that wonder what would happen if Superman had landed in Soviet Russia instead of the Kent farm.
Tangled (Walt Disney, Nov. 24)
Can Tangled bring back princesses in a big way to theaters? Image courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures.
Walt Disney's long-in-the-works debut CG princess film will arrive this fall. After Glen Keene had to step away from directing due to non-life threatening health issues, Nathan Greno and Byron Howard took up the mantle of crafting this edgier take on the classic Rapunzel tale filtered through the visuals of a Romantic era painting. Mandy Moore voices the girl with the really long hair, while Zachary Levi lends his voice to Flynn Rider, a thief who "rescues" her from her tower. The leads will be joined by Ron Perlman, Jeffrey Tambor and Brad Garrett. It is yet to be seen whether Tangled will appeal to boys more than Rapunzel would have, but one thing is for sure animated fairytale princesses should be wishing on a star for a hit after the less-than-blockbuster performance of The Princess and the Frog.