Thursday, March 21, 2013

An Animated Summer, Pt. 2: Disney.

While DreamWorks Animation's summer releases boast new characters and new stories, Disney is releasing two animated sequels, sort of.

The first of Disney's summer animation movies is a monster, literally. Monsters University is the long awaited sequel of Monsters, Inc. and is arguably the most aniticpated Pixar based sequel since Toy Story 2 (and 3). The story actually takes the prequel path as we follow character favorites Sculley (John Goodman) and Mike (Billy Crystal) back to the days when they met as college roomates at old MU.

Disney has a true talent and the necessary creds to easily regroup original voice casts and they've been successful here as well. In addition to Goodman and Crystal, returning vocal cast also includes Steve Buscemi and Frank Oz along with new cast voices Helen Mirren, Charlie Day, Alfred Molina, Sean P. Hayes, Julia Sweeney and Dave Foley.

Monsters University promises to be one of summer's genuine blockbusters, hitting theaters on June 21st. Here's a peak...

Disney's second animated summer movie release is a hybrid of sorts. Taking it's flight instructions from the charming and very successful Cars and its less effective sequel Cars 2, Planes is an obvious concept. Though populated with new characters, settings and story, you have to wonder just how much of Planes is simply Cars with wings?

Even on first glance, the character look and personailities will seem like you've known them for years  - a likely advantage in appealing to young audience members but a bit of a letdown in Disney originailty for the adults who accompany them. Planes looks and feels like an easy shot at bulking up Disney's summer box-office take without expending very much energy. If the story isn't a standout, that impression will get talked about and Disney will face the challenge of overcoming a growing reputation for over exploiting its creative assets.

A possible sign of its "second tier" feel may be that Planes is being released under the Disneytoon Studios banner rather than Pixar Animation Studios (which may also have something to do with where it was produced). The release is also planned for relatively late in the summer season, on August 9th; a time when Disney hopes to be bragging about the success of Monsters University as well as a likely trio of high profile live action hits led by Marvel's Iron Man 3.

Though much of the production details are yet to be released, Planes' vocal cast is lead by Dane Cook.  Here's the teaser trailer.

There's more Disney animation, of an original variety, headed to theaters late in the year so don't dismay if Planes leaves you up in the air (sorry, couldn't resist). Original Disney animation in the form of Frozen and King of the Elves are currently scheduled for November and December releases.

Tomorrow Moviedozer wraps up its Animated Summer coverage with new movies from Fox, Sony and Universal. See you then.

Thanks to Disney Studios for trailers and poster art.

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