It’s that time again! With a year behind us in 2011, it’s time to look forward to see what Disney has planned for 2012. If you listen to the Disney Film Project Podcast, you know which one I’m looking forward to the most, but here’s the slate of films Disney will treat us to in 2012.
January 13 – Beauty and the Beast in 3D – Not much to say about this, except that it is probably the best hand drawn animated film ever, and it did get nominated for Best Picture. The addition of 3D did wonders for the box office of The Lion King, and I’d expect the same here. This will be a must see for me, if only to see it on the big screen again.
February 17 – The Secret World of Arriety – I know I’m in the minority here but I’ve never been a huge fan of the Studio Ghibli films. Don’t get me wrong, I love the animation and the artistry, but for me, the stories are very difficult to follow and hard to understand. This latest release by Studio Ghibli follows the story of the acclaimed kid’s book The Borrowers, which is a favorite in my house, so I hope that fixes the problem. The story is about small magical creatures that are discovered by a young boy living in the house near where the small creatures call home. Bridgit Mendler of Good Luck Charlie and Lemonade Mouth fame voices the main character, with an all star voice cast behind her. This is one I’m tentative about seeing, although I know it will be a visual feast.
March 9 – John Carter – If ever there were a Disney film that carried more intrigue, I don’t know what it could possibly be. Andrew Stanton, award winning director of Finding Nemo, steps out from Pixar to film the first live action film from a Pixar filmmaker. Taylor Kitsch, best known for his role on Friday Night Lights, steps into the title role of John Carter, the traveler to Mars from the Edgar Rice Burroughs stories. This sort of special effects laden film seems like it would be a better fit for summer, but Disney has chosen to launch it in the Spring, which is risky to say the least. There is so much riding on this picture. Will Pixar directors keep doing live action? Is this Disney’s next big franchise? Can Disney produce an action film without Jerry Bruckheimer? Is Kitsch a movie star? This is a must see for me, just because of everything riding on this film.
April 20 – Chimpanzee – The latest addition to Disney’s now annual release of new nature films, similar to the old True Life Adventure series. This one obviously focuses on chimpanzees, focusing on a baby chimp the filmmakers have named Oscar. If it’s in line with the other three releases in the nature series, it will be somewhat entertaining if you’re interested in the subject matter, but as a whole, not that compelling. That’s not to say it’s bad, but just not my cup of tea
May 4 – The Avengers – This is the biggest movie release of the year for me. Not just Disney, but any studio. Bringing together CaptainAmerica, Thor, Iron Man and the Hulk in one film, directed by Buffy/Firefly creator Joss Whedon? There could not be a better geek film than this. In case you’re not familiar, this is the first time a team of superheroes will be depicted on film, where superheroes from previous Marvel Studios films team up to take on the threat of Loki, Thor’s evil brother from that film. There’s way more to the story that Marvel and Disney are not talking about, which only makes me anticipate this film more. This film should feature action, humor, great dialogue and more. People I have heard who read the script rave about it. Joss Whedon’s feature film debut, Serenity, was an amazing film. The cast of this film is unreal, capped by Robert Downey, Jr reprising his role asIronMan. This is THE movie of 2012, a must see.
June 22 – Brave – Every year now brings a new Pixar film, and after the sequel efforts of Toy Story 3 and Cars 2, 2012 brings a new original concept with Brave. After Up and Wall-E, I was extremely excited to see what original material Pixar would come up with in the future. Brave looks to be a departure for the studio, with a fantasy bent to it. A young girl named Merida takes on the role of an archer and inadvertently unleashes chaos in the kingdom. I can only presume that hilarity ensues. This is the Pixar film I’ve been waiting for, and I intend to see this one as soon as possible.
August 15 – The Odd Life of Timothy Green – Not much is known about this film other than the intriguing and quirky poster. Starring Jennifer Garner and Ron Livingston, the synopsis basically states that the film is about a young married couple who suddenly finds a child on their doorstep. Not sure what happens from there, but with Peter Hedges of What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? fame directing, there will be some surprises in store. I like Livingston and Garner, so I may catch a matinee of this one, but I’ll need more info to really hook me.
September 14 – Finding Nemo in 3D – It’s just me, I’m sure, but wouldn’t this be better served coming out earlier in the year in the Beauty and the Beast slot? That way you could promote Andrew Stanton’s involvement in John Carter. Regardless, this is the original classic film, now in 3D. I’m sure you’ve all seen it, it’s great, and most of you will go see it again. I like that about you.
October 5 – Frankenweenie – A Tim Burton stop motion animated film? Yes, please. Based onBurton’s original 1984 short about a boy re-animating his dead dog, this promises to be aBurtonfilm in the best sense of the term. Filmed in black and white and then converted to 3D, this has the potential to be the stop motion version of Avatar, taking 3D to all new levels. I can’t wait to see this one.
November 2 – Wreck-It Ralph – Here’s the wild card in the bunch. This computer animated film is from Disney, not Pixar. Disney’s last computer animated film, Tangled, was a big success for the company. This is a bit more of a departure, following an old 8-bit video game character as he jumps out of his game and into other games, taking a journey through modern games. There is tons of potential in the idea, but pulling it off is going to be VERY tricky. Notably, Disney is not releasing it Thanksgiving week, like they have done with some of their other family films (Tangled, The Muppets). Not sure what that says about Wreck-It Ralph, but I know I’ll be checking it out.
So to recap, here’s my anticipation for Disney’s 2012 slate:
Will see opening night – Avengers, Frankenweenie
Opening weekend – John Carter, Brave, Wreck-It Ralph
Matinee viewing – Beauty and the Beast 3D, Finding Nemo 3D
Will catch it if I can – Secret World of Arriety, Chimpanzee, The Odd Life of Timothy Green
What about you? What are you looking forward to?