Animation and VFX Fall Movie Preview 2013
Hunger Games: Catching Fire – November 22nd
Chris’ brother Liam will be taking over silver screens when he reunites with Jennifer Lawrence for the highly anticipated second installment in the Hunger Games series. The 75th Games, however, will bring new challenges to the table, as Katniss Everdeen is forced to fight off previous champions to stay alive. Sounds dicey. Here’s hoping Weta Digital, Gentle Giant Studios, Rhythm & Hues, Double Negative VFX, Hatch, Rodeo FX, Method Studios, Fuel VFX and Proof Inc. had a slightly less scary time collaborating on the effects.
Frozen/Get a Horse – November 27th
Disney’s 53rd animated feature is a musical focusing on a Princess’ coming-of-age journey. It’s also based on a beloved Hans Christian Andersen tale. If that doesn’t sound like classic Disney, we don’t know what does. This reimagining of The Snow Queen stars Kristen Bell (Anna) and Idina Menzel (Elsa) as Scandinavian sisters whose relationship and kingdom are torn apart when one of them loses control of her magical ice powers. And for an added treat, this CG picture is paired with an old-fashioned hand-drawn short starring Mickey Mouse. Get a Horse has earned rave reviews on the festival circuit and is probably worth the price of admission alone.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug – December 13th
The second of Peter Jackson’s three Hobbit films relies – like all of the other Lord of the Rings films – on visual effects work done by Weta Digital, which Jackson co-founded exactly twenty years ago. The movie will also be projected at the same 48 frames per second rate that created controversy when last year’s An Unexpected Journey was released. It’s doubtful that will keep audiences from lining up for this one, though. This picture does feature a massive dragon, after all.
Walking with Dinosaurs 3D – December 20th
The 1999 BBC documentary of the same name has evolved into a major motion picture which aims to bring audiences closer to dinosaurs than they’ve ever been before. Animal Logic and Wildfire VFX have teamed up to bring the hefty critters to scientifically-accurate life, though it’s anyone’s guess whether their visuals will manage to rival Jurassic Park’s in the goose bump department. We can tell you the piece is directed by Barry Cook, who lead the charge on Disney’s Mulan and was a special effects animator on a slew of other classic Mouse House titles, including The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast and even Michael Jackson’s sci-fi extravaganza, Captain Eo.
47 Ronin – December 25th
Keanu Reeves attempts to resuscitate his career as an action hero by starring in this fantastical retelling of a popular piece of Japanese lore. The 47 Ronin were a group of samurai whose love for their fallen leader prompted them to avenge his death in grand style. Similarly, first-time feature director Carl Erik Rinsch is relying on his own army of FX artists to ensure this picture succeeds, namely The Third Floor, The Moving Picture Company, Baseblack, Framestore, Digital Domain, Mill Film, Stereo D and Soho VFX. Look for Montreal’s own “Zombie Boy” Rick Genest (last seen in Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” video) to display his skeleton-tattooed body in a supporting role.
James Gartler is a Canadian writer with a serious passion for animation in all its forms. His work has appeared in the pages of Sci Fi Magazine, and at the websites EW.com and Newsarama.com.