There was only one animated film last year. Well, that’s how it felt anyway. Inside Out conquered all around it, swirling and absorbing like a rainbow black hole. Inside Out snacked on Shaun the Sheep and Princess Kaguya and didn’t even notice swallowing The Good Dinosaur whole. 2016 doesn’t seem to be on the same path, as a platter of animated goodies are being served for our delectation. Big treats in the form of Zootopia, Kung Fu Panda 3 and Ice Age: Collision Course have all been offered, but some of the more succulent family-friendly animations have flown under the radar. All this talk is making me peckish, so let’s dive into the tastiest, yet quietest, cinematic morsels on offer this year.
Ratchet & Clank
Remember this kooky pair? I won’t hesitate to admit that I whittled away many an hour playing the original Ratchet & Clank on my trusty PS2. Just to make a generation of recent adults feel self-conscious, that was fourteen years ago. Ratchet & Clank came out in the same year that Daniel Bedingfield released Gotta Get Thru This. It was also before my brother was born and he’s practically a man now. It’s a crazy world. If this big screen adaptation can retain even a sliver of the original game’s humour and heart, then this foray should be overwhelmingly successful.
In the hope this will be the case, Ratchet & Clank’s developers have retained the services of the in-game voice cast for Ratchet, Clank, Nefarious and the always brilliant Captain Qwark. Joining these voice cast veterans are veterans of another kind: Paul Giamatti, John Goodman, Rosario Dawson, and Sylvester Stallone will surely bleed class and experience into the tale. The film will also tred familiar ground, retelling the exploits of Ratchet and Clank’s first adventure, hoping the film will have a nice nostalgia kick for any noughties gamers.
This one has the potential to run away and become the most enjoyable animation of the year. Let’s just hope that all the bolts have been tightened and the cobwebs have been blown out in time for the summer.
The Little Prince seems like a real gem. Instead of creating a straight adaption of the French children’s classic, the cinematic adaptation of Le Petit Prince has woven in a new line of story around the eccentric original. Through being told the story of the elegant novella, a determined, young girl learns that childhood should not be discarded without care.
Effortlessly mixing stop motion and computer animation, Kung Fu Panda director Mark Osborne looks to have helmed a truly landmark adaptation, breathing just enough life into the story to set it alight, without charring its source. Jeff Bridges, Rachel McAdams, Paul Rudd, James Franco, Marion Cotillard, Benicio del Toro and, popping up again, Paul Giamatti are all along for the ride, swaying in and out of this touching and significant animated event. I, for one, will be tagging along too.
We have very little information about Storks, but we do know that it thinks the traditional baby delivery service is “quaint”. The world of Storks is a modern utopia (or dystopia?), where children are pumped out on a decidedly cheery conveyor belt, ready for packing, shipping, feeding and burping. All this leads me to wonder: What is the P&P on a human child? Surely no more than ordering anything under £20 on Amazon.
Regardless, Kelsey Grammer confidently reminds us that child delivery is serious business. Fortunately, it seems to also be a very funny business. If the tease Warner Bros. have delivered is a signal for things to come, newborns could suddenly become rather entertaining.
Which animated features have whet your pallet for the upcoming year? Let me know in the comments! (but say Alvin & the Chipmunks at your own peril…)