2011 Animation Preview
It's a new year and time to get excited for a new crop of animated features on the horizon. Disney and Paramount have four films coming. Franchise productions heavily weigh on the 2011 schedule, but that doesn't mean there aren't some interesting original properties coming too. I'm sure this list will expand as the year goes along and some indie toons jump into theaters in order to qualify for the Oscars. It looks like an interesting year for lots of reasons.
Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance (Eleven Arts, Jan. 21)
FUNimation Ent. has teamed with Eleven Arts to bring this venerable series to American theaters. Directed by Masayuki and Kazuya Tsurumaki and shepherded by series creator Hideaki Anno, this production is the second film in the Rebuild of Evangelion tetralogy, which is based on the Neon Genesis Evangelion anime series. In this adventure, a new Evangelion pilot takes the helm in the continued battle against the Angels. The word from the anime world that this is an improvement over the first installment in the remake series, but might make some hardcore fans irate, because makes changes.
This long-gestating project is finally coming to theaters. The pet project of Sir Elton John was originally in development at Disney, but John eventually took over the rights and is producing it through his Rocket Pictures. Starz Animation, who animated 9, animated the garden gnome version of Shakespeare's classic young love tale. Disney was going to release it via Miramax, but now will put it under the Touchstone label. Shrek 2 director Kelly Asbury is at the helm with a voice cast boasting James McAvoy, Emily Blunt, Jason Statham, Maggie Smith, Michael Caine, Patrick Stewart and Julie Walters.
Here is one of the most unusual productions of the year. It's from Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies, and was animated by visual effects house ILM. Directed by Pirates of the Caribbean's Gore Verbinski, the film has Johnny Depp voicing a chameleon with an identity crisis. The lizard dreams of becoming a swashbuckler and gets to play one in a Western town that is under siege by bandits. Depp is joined in the voice cast by Timothy Olyphant, Bill Nighy, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Ned Beatty, Alfred Molina, Ray Winstone, Harry Dean Stanton and Stephen Root. It's certainly one of the most highly anticipated animated features of the year.