Tooning Up for 2012

tooning-up-2012-150

There are plenty of reasons to look forward to 2012. In this article, we use our magic crystal ball to peer into the future and see which movies are going to dazzle us next year. Yes, there will be surprise hits, unexpected winners and over-hyped disappointments, but waiting and guessing about their potential is half the fun, isn’t it?

3-D Beauty and the Beast & Finding Nemo. Thanks to the phenomenal theatrical ticket sales of the 3-D The Lion King re-release this fall, Disney decided to offer new stereoscopic versions of these two favorites in 2012. Who knew that the reboots of classic toons would be such a boon to the much-maligned 3-D technology? The Little Mermaid and Monsters, Inc. are also waiting in the wings for 2013. Beauty and the Beast: Jan. 13, 2012; Finding Nemo:  Sept. 14, 2012

Beauty and the Beast

Beauty and the Beast

Finding Nemo

Finding Nemo

The Secret World of Arrietty (The Borrowers). Mary Norton’s beloved 1952 family classic about the tiny people who live under the floorboards of a regular human family becomes a charming 2D animated feature, courtesy of the team at Studio Ghibli and director Hiromasa Yonebayashi, based on a script by Hayao Miyazaki and Keiko Niwa. Disney is offering a dubbed version featuring Bridgit Mendler as the title character, Amy Poehler and Will Arnett as her parents and Carol Burnett and David Henrie as the human “beans.” Feb. 17, 2012

The Secret World of Arrietty (The Borrowers)

The Secret World of Arrietty (The Borrowers)

Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax. Directed by Chris Renaud (Despicable Me) and Kyle Balda, this 3-D CG-animated take on the classic environmental fable by Dr. Seuss is just what the doc ordered for our planet. The voice cast—Zac Efron, Danny DeVito, Taylor Swift, Ed Helms, Betty White and Willow Smith—is pretty awesome as is the production studio—Chris Meledandri’s Illumination—which is on a roll with a killer slate of toons and live-action projects, including a biopic of Dr. Seuss himself. March 2, 2012

Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax

Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax

The Pirates! Band of Misfits. If you go by popular opinion, this is the classic stop-motion Aardman movie everyone is most excited about. Based on the book by Gideon Defoe, who also wrote the script for the production, the pic features the awesome Pirate Captain (a perfectly cast Hugh Grant) who is bent on defeating his rivals Black Bellamy (Jeremy Piven) and Cutlass Liz (Salma Hayek) in winning the Pirate of the Year Award. Aardman founder Peter Lord is co-directing this $60 million production with Jeff Newitt. Jack Sparrow, you’re yesterday’s news, Matey! March 30, 2012

The Pirates! Band of Misfits

The Pirates! Band of Misfits

Madagascar 3. Seven years after they made their cinematic debut, the lovable animals from the Bronx Zoo embark on their third major adventure. Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra and Gloria the Hippo join a traveling circus to get home in this DreamWorks outing penned by indie darling Noah Baumbach (Greenberg, Fantastic Mr. Fox) and directed by series veteran Eric Darnell. Stars Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, David Schwimmer, Jada Pinkett Smith, Sacha Baron Cohen, Cedric the Entertainer and Andy Richter are set to return. Jun. 8, 2012

Madagascar 3

Madagascar 3

Brave. Pixar fans have been buzzing for years about the studio’s first movie with a female lead. (Geez, about time!!) That means we’re all going to be lining up to see this beautifully animated tale about a courageous Scottish princess (voiced by Kelly Macdonald) who defies her parents by pursuing her love for archery but unknowingly jeopardizes her father’s kingdom. Directed by Mark Andrews and Brenda Chapman, the 3-D CG flick features the voices of Emma Thompson, Kevin McKidd, Robbie Coltrane, Julie Walters, Craig Ferguson and Billy Connolly. June 22, 2012

Brave

Brave

Ice Age: Continental Drift. After the phenomenal performance of the third Ice Age feature all over the world, Fox and Blue Sky would be crazy not to bring back the beloved critters for a fourth adventure. The plot finds Manny, Diego and Sid trying to reach the rest of their clan using a floating iceberg, after a major planetary event sets an entire continent adrift. Oh, and Scrat is still trying to get his hands on that darn acorn! Jennifer Lopez,  Wanda Sykes, Jeremy Renner, Drake and Nicki Minaj join regulars Ray Romano, John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Queen Latifah and Sean William Scott in this epic 3-D venture, directed by Steve Martino and Mike Thurmeier. July 13, 2012

Ice Age: Continental Drift

Ice Age: Continental Drift

Dorothy of Oz. When Dorothy Gale (Glee’s Lea Michele) revisits the magical world of Oz, she meets marshmallow man (Hugh Dancy), a China doll princess (Megan Hilty) and a tugboat with multiple personalities (Patrick Stewart) in this ambitious CG-animated feature directed by Dan St. Pierre (Everyone’s Hero) and produced by Alpine’s Summertime Entertainment. Dan Aykroyd, Kelsey Grammer and Jim Belushi voice Tin Man, Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion. Canadian pop star Bryan Adams is supplying the music, along with Jim Vallance and Tift Merritt. Aug., 2012

Dorothy of Oz

Dorothy of Oz

ParaNorman. A misunderstood boy (Kodi Smit-McPhee) who can speak to the dead battles spooky adversaries to saves his town in this intriguing stop-motion offering from the team at Portland’s LAIKA studio. Chris Butler, who worked on Coraline and Corpse Bride, wrote and directs the pic with Sam Fell (Tale of Despereaux, Flushed Away). Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Anna Kendrick, Casey Affleck, John Goodman and Leslie Mann lend their voices to the characters in this stylish movie, which looks quite different from your typical summer fare. Aug. 12, 2012

ParaNorman

ParaNorman

Hotel Transylvania. Toon fans celebrated when the amazing Genndy Tartakovsky (Dexter’s Laboratory, Samurai Jack, Stars Wars: Clone Wars) was tapped to direct this Sony Animation 3-D CG-animated movie about Count Dracula (Adam Sandler) and the five-star hotel he runs for famous horror flick creatures. Complications arise when a normal boy falls for the Count’s daughter. Kevin James, Steve Buscemi, Molly Shannon, David Spade, Andy Samberg, Fran Drescher and Cee-Lo Green round up the monstrous cast list. Sep. 21, 2012

Hotel Transylvania

Hotel Transylvania

Frankenweenie. Tim Burton’s 1984 short is now a 3-D, black-and-white stop-motion spectacular, produced by toon veteran Don Hahn (The Lion King). The plot centers on a young boy, who uses electricity to bring his dog Sparky back to life (a la Frankenstein) after he’s killed in a car accident. Martin Short, Winona Ryder, Catherine O’Hara, Tom Kenny and Martin Landau are all part of the perfect voice cast. The music is by—who else?—Danny Elfman! Oct. 5, 2012

Frankenweenie

Frankenweenie

Wreck-It Ralph. One of the big hits at Disney’s D23 expo this year, this clever pic centers on an 8-bit arcade villain (voiced by John C. Reilly) who tries to prove his worthy by leaving his world and visiting other familiar arcade games. The holiday movie is directed by TV veteran Rich Moore (Futurama, The Simpsons) and stars Jane Lynch, Sarah Silverman, David Hyde Pierce and Dave Foley. Yup, we’re totally game for it. Nov. 2, 2012

Wreck-It Ralph

Wreck-It Ralph

Rise of the Guardians. Santa Claus, Easter Bunny, Jack Frost, The Tooth Fairy and The Sandman join forces to fight the sinister Bogeyman in this intriguing project penned by the amazing William Joyce (Meet the Robinsons, Robots) and directed by Peter Ramsey. How can you not get excited about a movie that casts Hugh Jackman as the Easter Bunny and Alec Baldwin as Mr. Claus? Jude Law, Chris Pine and Isla Fisher round up the voice talent. Let’s not forget that Guillermo del Toro is exec producing this DreamWorks title. Nov. 21, 2012

Rise of the Guardians

Rise of the Guardians

Wrinkles (Arrugas). This poignant adaptation of a graphic novel about senior citizens has been getting raves on the festival circuit and will hopefully get a U.S. distributor next year. Ignacio Ferreras directed this 2D animated pic, based on Paco Roca’s  2007 graphic novel. Spanish studios Perro Verde and Cromosoma produced this exceptional project, which visits a subject rarely touched by animation. TBA

Wrinkles (Arrugas)

Wrinkles (Arrugas)

The Rabbi’s Cat. Not a year goes by without a stunning 2D-animated French feature dazzling true animation fans, and this year’s gem is Joann Sfar and Antoine Delesvaux’s adaptation of Sfar’s graphic novel about a brilliant cat who learns how to speak to humans after he swallows a parrot. Set in 1920s Algeria, the Annecy-prize-winning feature is said to be an impressive mix of Fleischer, Tintin and Chagall! This sounds like the perfect release for Sony Pictures Classics, who brought Sylvain Chomet’s movies and Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis to U.S. theaters as well. TBA

The Rabbi’s Cat

The Rabbi’s Cat

  • http://none. Jonathan Funnell.

    2012 looks pretty good for animation. I LOVE ANIMATION!