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20 Things to Look Forward to in ’07


20 Things to Look Forward to in ’07

Yeah, we know, another year is over and we’ll all be one year older! But, hey, there are plenty of cool things awaiting us in 2007’we hope! Time to put on those rose-colored glasses and cross our fingers because no refunds are given on the time we’ll spend on these movies and TV shows!

Bridge to Terabithia. Katherine Paterson’s widely read fantasy becomes a vfx-laden live-action feature, directed by toon veteran Gabor Csupo (Rugrats, The Wild Thornberrys). The plot centers on the friendship between a fifth-grader and the new girl in town who discover a magical kingdom in a nearby forest. Don’t forget your hanky for this one! [Opens Feb. 16]

Aqua Teen Hunger Force: The Movie. Never before have we had so much love and admiration for a meatball, a bag of fries and a milkshake. Yes, Matt Maiellaro and Dave Willis’ [adult swim] faves make the leap to the big screen this winter. The feature tackles the mysterious circumstances that brought Meatwad, Frylock and Master Shake together and offers guest voices such as Rush drummer Neil Peart, Jon Benjamin and Bruce Campbell. Reportedly, the movie was a huge crowd-pleaser when it opened on Pluto last year. [Opens March]

El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera. Created by husbandand-wife team Jorge Gutierrez and Sandra Equihua, this colorful new toon centers on a 13-year-old who has to figure out whether to use his superpowers for good or for not so good! The look of the show is inspired by both classic spaghetti Westerns and Latino folk art! [Premieres on Nickelodeon in March.]

300. Graphic novel guru Frank Miller says he was blown away by the first footage of director Zack Synder’s feature adaptation of his project about the epic Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C. Starring Gerard Butler, Lena Headey and Dominic West, the vfx-laden epic promises to be one of the visual spectacles of the spring season. [Opens March 9]

Meet the Robinsons. All eyes are on the Disney CG-animation team this spring to see how their follow-up to Chicken Little will fare critically and commercially. Based on the popular children’s book by William Joyce (A Day with Wilbur Robinson), the retro-futuristic movie is directed by Stephen J. Anderson, who has worked on a wide range of Mouse House projects, including Tarzan, Brother Bear and Emperor’s New Groove. [Opens March 30]

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Writer-director Kevin Munroe is bringing a darker edge to this much-anticipated CG-animated adaptation of Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s comic-book characters. Animated by Imagi and distributed by Warner Bros. and The Weinstein Co., the film finds Donatello, Raphael and Michelangelo lost and directionless in the Big Apple until Master Splinter and Leonardo unite the green pals against a dangerous tech industrialist. [Opens March 23]

My Friends Tigger & Pooh. A.A. Milne’s honey-loving bear and his colorful collection of pals get the CG treatment in Disney Channel’s new preschool toon, which also centers on a six-year-old girl named Darby’sorry, Christopher Robin, you had your share of the limelight already! Veteran voice star Jim Cummings does double duty as both Pooh and Tigger. [Premieres on Disney Channel’s Playhouse Disney block in May.]

Persepolis. Three cheers for Sony Pictures Classic for releasing this super-cool adaptation of Marjane Satrapi’s acclaimed graphic novel. Directed by Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud, the black-and-white 2D-animated movie follows the coming of age of a spirited young girl during the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran. The voice list includes Catherine Deneuve, Gena Rowlands and Chiara Mastroianni. Produced by Marc-Antoine Robert and Xavier Rigault of 2.4.7. Films, Kathleen Kennedy of Kennedy Marshall and France 3 Cinema. [Opens in the spring.]

Spider-Man 3. Could third time still be a charm for Tobey Maguire as angst-ridden Peter Parker and his web-slinging alter ego? Directed by masterful helmer Sam Raimi, this first entry in the summer blockbuster derby finds Spidey bonding with a dark entity from another world, as well as dealing with villains such as Sandman (Thomas Haden Church) and Eddie Brock (Topher Grace). Kirsten Dunst and James Franco reprise their roles as Mary Jane and Harry. Bryce Dallas Howard also stars as Gwen Stacy. [Opens May 4]

Shrek the Third. The secret weapon in this third outing for the lovable CG ogre (voice of Mike Myers) and his talented wife, Princess Fiona (the effervescent Cameron Diaz), is the little bundle of greenish joy they add to their family. Julie Andrews, John Cleese, Antonio Banderas, Eddie Murphy, Larry King, Ian McShane, Regis Philbin, Rupert Everett, Amy Sedaris, Maya Rudolph, Amy Poehler and Cheri Oteri are all part of the royal cast, directed by DreamWorks’ Chris Miller and Raman Hui. [Opens May 18]

Surf’s Up. After their fall hunting world adventure last year, the team at Sony Animation is offering a wonderful animated mockumentary about the Penguin World Surfing Championship. The totally dudalicious cast is led by Jeff Bridges, Mario Cantone, Shia LaBeouf, James Woods and Zooey Deschanel. Ash Brannon and Chris Buck are at the helm of this perfect summer offering. [Opens June 8]

Ratatouille. What would the summer be without another clever, offering from the brilliant boffins at Pixar? Co-directed by Brad Bird and Jan Pinkava, this eighth Pixar feature release tells the story of an eager rat who dreams of being a chef at a Parisian bistro! Brad Garrett, Ian Holm, Patton Oswalt, Janeane Garofalo and Brian Dennehy round up the voice cast. [Opens June 29]

Transformers. Geek alert! Action auteur Michael Bay directs this anticipated live-action version of the popular ’80s toon. Produced by Steven Spielberg, this one has major summer blockbuster potential. The ubiquitous Shia LaBeouf plays the lead, and Peter Cullen returns as the voice of Autobot leader Optimus Prime. [Opens July 4]

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Harry, Hermione and Ron are older and wiser in this fifth outing for the Hogwart wizards but their powerful adversary Lord Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) has also upped the ante by undermining their protective headmaster, Dumbledore (Michael Gambon). Helena Bonham Carter and Imelda Staunton join the cast as Death Eater Bellatrix Lestrange and the evil Dolores Umbridge. David Yates (HBO’s The Girl in the Caf’) takes over as director. [Opens July 13]

The Simpsons Movie. You must have taken a sabbatical to the moon if you aren’t aware of this summer’s hugely anticipated big-screen adventure of Springfield’s dysfunctional family. After 18 seasons on Fox, the clan (all voiced by the original stars of the show) is finally ready for its close-up! The heavily guarded plotline reportedly takes off when Homer is fired from his job after poisoning the town’s water supply and all the town folks have to flee their homes. Minnie Driver, Albert Brooks, Kelsey Grammer and Joe Mantegna are some of the guest stars; David Silverman directs. [Opens July 27]

Igor. The talented team at Exodus Entertainment have cooked up a tasty CG animated treat for all of us who have a soft spot for the hunchback assistants of evil scientists in B-movieland. Directed by Anthony Leondis (Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch), the toon features the voices of Christian Slater as the lead character, Molly Shannon as his indestructible female monster creation. John Cleese, Steve Buscemi and Jeremy Piven co-star. [Third Quarter, 2007]

Underdog. Almost 43 years after the goofy rhyming superhero made TV audiences fall for his canine charms, he gets his own movie in which he’ll be voiced by none other than Jason Lee (My Name Is Earl). The liveaction/CG-animated movie is directed by Frederik Du Chau (Quest for Camelot, Racing Stripes) and features Amy Adams as the voice of love interest, Sweet Polly Purebred. Jim Belushi, Peter Dinklage and Patrick Warburton are also on board. [Opens Aug. 3]

Tak and the Power of Juju. The hit videogame becomes a CG-animated show about a jungle boy (voiced by Hal Sparks) who acquires some magical powers thanks to some of his friends in the Juju realm. Of course, his new abilities always get him and his best friend Jeera and the Pupununu villagers into trouble. [Premieres on Nickelodeon in Oct.]

Bee Movie. The Internet is already abuzz about the clever live-action trailer featuring lead voice Jerry Seinfeld. The famous comic stars as the heroic bee Barry B. Benson who thinks there should be more to life than making honey. Ren’e Zellweger supplies the voice of a New York city florist who saves his life. The DreamWorks Animation project is directed by Steve Hickner and Simon J. Smith. [Opens Nov. 2]

His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass. Philip Pullman’s fantasy about a young girl with magical powers and a shape-shifting animal soul (Yeah, we know, it’s complicated!) who fights evil in a parallel world in the far North has been begging to be adapted into a live-action Narnialike epic. Next year’s holiday treat is directed by Chris Weitz (About a Boy, American Pie) and stars Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig as two of the film’s mystical characters. To make comparisons with Lord of the Rings even easier, it’s the first part of a trilogy! [Opens Dec. 7]

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