The Most Anticipated Animated Films of 2013-2014 - Screen Week


By Molly Freeman

Anyone who says animated films are only for children is either lying or hasn’t opened themselves up to an entire selection of fantastic movies. I have a hard time saying animated films are a genre of their own because so many genres exist within animation.

Sure, a good portion of animated flicks are geared toward kids, but there is usually enough depth within these films to have them appeal to all ages. If you’ve grown up and re-watched the animated Disney movies that came out in the 90s, there are plenty of adult-oriented jokes that went over our heads. People who lump animated films into the just-for-kids category may not realize the ways that these movies are created with adults in mind as well.

With Disney’s Frozen out this week, I thought now would be a good time to talk about all the animated films I’m excited for in the coming year. Originally, Pixar’s The Good Dinosaur was on this list, but unfortunately the film’s release date was pushed back to 2015. Since The Good Dinosaur was meant to be Pixar’s only release next year, there will be no Pixar films in 2014.

While it’s tragic, that’s not to say there aren’t any good animated movies coming out. Plus, it means there will be two fantastic Pixar movies in one year–The Good Dinosaur and Inside Out. (I’m actually looking forward to the latter movie more.)

Now, let’s take a look at my most anticipated animated films of 2013 and 2014.

Release Date: November 27, 2013

As a girl who grew up with the Disney princesses (Jasmine was my favorite), Frozen is of course exciting to me. Additionally, Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Snow Queen” was one of my favorite fairy tales as a child–I owned the 90s dubbed version of the 50s Russian animated film, Snezhnaya koroleva, or The Snow Queen.

Frozen seems to be an interesting take on the old tale: Elsa (Idina Menzel) and Anna (Kristen Bell) are the two princesses of Arendelle, but when Elsa creates an eternal winter and goes into hiding, it’s up to Anna to find her and save the kingdom. Anna receives help from Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), a mountain man, as well as Olaf (Josh Gad) the snowman, and Sven, the reindeer.

Although I’m not sure about how Disney will adapt “The Snow Queen”, I’m still excited to see Frozen because I always enjoy a Disney movie.

The LEGO Movie
Release Date: February 7, 2014

When I first heard about The LEGO Movie, I was definitely skeptical. Since LEGO tends to create toys in connection with films, I was confused as to how Warner Bros. would be able to produce a film that included so many different franchises. But when the trailer came out, it made me officially excited for The LEGO Movie.

From what I can tell, the creators of this animated flick have definitely found a way to integrate well-known DC Comics characters like Batman (Will Arnett), Wonder Woman (Cobie Smulders), and the Green Lantern (Jonah Hill) with new characters like Wildstyle (Elizabeth Banks), Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman), and President Business (Will Ferrell).

Meanwhile, the movie is grounded by the main character, Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt), who is a regular LEGO guy. The amazing cast also includes Alison Brie, Liam Neeson, Charlie Day, and Nick Offerman.

The LEGO Movie comes from the same team that wrote and directed Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs as well as 21 Jump Street so if nothing else, it should be hilarious. I’m also expecting it to be nostalgic in the same way as Wreck-It Ralph.

The Pirate Fairy
Release Date: March 3, 2014

I wasn’t going to include the newest installment of the Disney made-for-TV Tinker Bell movie series because I wanted to hide the fact that I’ve seen every single one of these films (there are five so far). But then I saw the cast of The Pirate Fairy: Tom Hiddleston and Christina Hendricks have joined the already star-studded roster–Mae Whitman, Lucy Liu, America Ferrera, Raven Symone, and Megan Hilty.

In this installment of the Disney Fairies franchise, a pirate’s curse switches all the fairies’ powers so the gang searches for the pirates in order to break the spell. They find Zarina (Hendricks) and young Captain James Hook (Hiddleston).

Personally, I’m surprised it’s taken so long to include Captain Hook within the fairy films, although they haven’t mentioned Peter Pan yet either so maybe it’s not entirely shocking. Anyway, I’m excited to see Hiddleston lend his voice to the film – though his version of Hook is sure to be much more kid-friendly than the classic character.

Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return
Release Date: May 9, 2014

To be honest, I was looking forward to Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return. I loved The Wizard of Oz as well as 1985’s Return to Oz. I even read the book series with my mom when I was a kid.

The cast of Dorothy’s Return is fantastic: Lea Michele, Patrick Stewart, Hugh Dancy, Kelsey Grammer, Dan Aykroyd, Megan Hilty, Bernadette Peters, Martin Short, and James Belushi. With so many stars lending their voices to this film, there’s no way it could be horrible, right?

Well, given that it’s a musical (as if the three main stars–Michele, Hilty, and Peters–weren’t a huge hint) I’m not so sure. After watching the trailer, I’m not convinced Dorothy’s Return will be able to pull off a good animated musical – especially because, aside from Disney, no other studio has attempted such a movie in over 10 years. It’s hard to tell, though, because the trailer doesn’t feature any musical numbers from the film. Maybe they’re trying to hide that it’s a musical, which doesn’t give me a lot of hope that they’ll pull it off.

How to Train Your Dragon 2
Release Date: June 20, 2014

I loved the first How to Train Your Dragon film. A nerdy, gawky outcast who feels out of place in a macho dragon-hunter world befriends supposedly the most dangerous dragon in existence, who is also an outcast.

The original was a wonderful movie so of course I’m excited for the sequel. Although we’ve only seen a teaser trailer (which was really cool and makes me excited to see How to Train Your Dragon 2 in theaters), the plot summary has also been released.

The second film picks up five years after How to Train Your Dragon ended with humans and dragons coexisting on the island of Berk. However, while exploring and charting new territories, Hiccup and Toothless stumble upon an ice cave that is home to new and wild dragon species as well as the Dragon Rider.

After their discovery, the duo must fight to protect the peace they worked so hard to achieve. As far as animated sequels go, How to Train Your Dragon 2 looks to be among one of the best. I can’t wait to see what has happened to my favorite characters, and I’m sure this movie will be fantastic to watch on the big screen.

The Boxtrolls
Release Date: September 26, 2014

From the same production studio as Coraline and ParaNorman comes The Boxtrolls, which is based on Alan Snow’s children’s novel, Here Be Monsters!

The Boxtrolls tells the story of an orphaned child, Eggs (Isaac Hempstead-Wright), who grew up in a network of underground caves beneath the fictional city of Ratbridge. Boxtrolls are exactly what they sound like: trolls that wear boxes as clothes.

In the film, the Boxtrolls are being hunted by an evil exterminator named Archibald Snatcher, voiced by Ben Kingsley. Eggs must save his friends from the evil exterminator. The Boxtrolls is another movie that has a fantastic cast; in addition to Hempstead-Wright (who plays Bran Stark on Game of Thrones) and Kingsley, the film stars Elle Fanning, Simon Pegg, Toni Collette, Jared Harris, Nick Frost, Richard Ayoade, and Tracy Morgan.

Though I haven’t read the book on which it’s based, I’m excited for The Boxtrolls. The movie fosters a different concept than we’ve seen in a while and since it’s from the makers of Coraline and ParaNorman, I have no doubt the stop-motion animation will be fantastic.