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 there are many genres within animation. Sure, a good portion of animated flicks are geared toward kids, but there is usually enough depth within the films to make them appeal to all ages. If you’ve gone back and watched the Disney movies that came out in the 90s, there are plenty of jokes that went over our heads. Even though a lot of people lump animated films into that just-for-kids category, many times these movies are created with adults in mind as well.
With Disney’s Frozen coming 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 2014 as well as the rest of 2013.
Release Date: November 27, 2013
As a girl who grew up with the Disney princesses (Jasmine was my favorite,) I am of course excited for Frozen. Additionally, Hans Christian Anderson’s “The Snow Queen” was one of my favorite fairy tales when I was growing up–I had the 1990s dubbed version of the 1950s Russian animated film, Snezhnaya koroleva, or The Snow Queen. (It’s now available on YouTube, if you want to check it out.) 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 Disney’s adaptation of “The Snow Queen,” I’m still excited to see Frozen because I always enjoy a Disney 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 build a film that included so many different franchises. Then, the trailer came out and I was 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.
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.
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 the animated musical, especially because no other studio has attempted such a movie aside from Disney in more than 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.
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. It 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 see on the big screen.
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. It’s a bit of 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 will be fantastic.
While these are the six films I’m especially excited for, there are plenty of other animated movies coming out in 2014: Mr. Peabody & Sherman, Rio 2, The Nut Job, and many others. I’ve also stuck exclusively to Western cinema without including any international films. What movies are you most excited to see next year?