Animation and VFX Summer Movie Preview 2013
Colorful as they may be, this summer’s animated and action-packed blockbusters have an awful lot of familiar faces, voices and concepts. See if you can spot the repeat offenders in this rundown of releases from July to September.
Despicable Me 2 – July 3rd
2010’s CG animated flick Despicable Me saw a villain named Gru (Steve Carell) adopt three young girls and attempt to take over the moon with the aid of his tiny yellow minions. Now the former bad guy is being recruited by the Anti-Villain League, who need his understanding of the criminal element to help them save the world. This sequel automatically loses points for apparently neglecting to bring back Julie Andrews as Gru’s mother Marlena, though Ken Jeong, Russell Brand and Kristin Wiig (voicing a new character) do return for another go, along with directors Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud. Fans of those wacky minions will also be happy to hear they’ll have a spin-off of their own in theatres come December.
The Lone Ranger – July 3rd
Just in time for his 80th birthday, the enduring American icon is getting a brand-spanking new feature film courtesy of Walt Disney Pictures. The big question is whether anyone will turn out to see it, given the other contenders at the box office…and something we’ll call the “Double Depp Factor”. Like the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, this Jerry Bruckheimer/Gore Verbinski bonanza features Johnny in another make-up heavy role (that of the Potawatomi native sidekick Tonto). It also reteams Depp with his frequent costar in Tim Burton’s films, Helena Bonham Carter. Will déjà vu undermine the appeal of this reboot? Or will Armie Hammer’s Ranger ride straight into our hearts with the assistance of The Moving Picture Company, ILM, Lola Visual Effects, New Deal Studios, Match the Motion, LiDAR VFX, Hydraulx, Gentle Giant and Atomic Fiction? We’ll know come July 4th weekend.
Pacific Rim – July 12th
Sci-fi nerds – prepare yourselves. Guillermo del Toro’s latest oeuvre pays serious homage to the Japanese Kaiju (monster) movie genre by having giant Mechas (man-operated robots) face off against Godzilla-like creatures rampaging around the world. So essentially, this one is a glossy, big-budget version of those Power Rangers battles of yore. The trailers alone make it clear that the visual effects teams did the heavy lifting in this one, so let’s take a moment to applaud ILM, Mirada Studios, Hybride, Stereo D, Legacy Effects and Rodeo FX for their considerable efforts.
Turbo – July 17th
If you were impressed by the tortoise’s fabled victory over the hare, this one might just blow your mind. Canadian animator David Soren has devised a story in which a snail not only gains the ability to move with the speed of a drag racer, but then goes on to compete in the Indy 500. The trailers for this DreamWorks flick – which marks Soren’s directorial debut – play up the comedic charms of Ryan Reynolds as Turbo, though Bill Hader, Luis Guzmán and (wait for it) Ken Jeong are also along for the ride. Here’s wishing a fellow Canuck luck in the race for a first place finish at the box office.