‘Puss in Boots’ and ‘Kung Fu Panda 2’: 2011 in animation

Animation lovers of the world rejoice as Paramount sends over not one but two new trailers for their forthcoming films, Puss in Boots and Kung Fu Panda 2. We also take a look at some of the other animated favourites, and by that we largely mean sequels and remakes, coming up on the big screen this year.

Puss in Boots

The Shrek franchise has well and truly worn at this point, with no less than four films to the cash-cow franchise. The most recent installment, Shrek Forever After, boldly tagged itself as “The Final Chapter”. This didn’t stop Friday the 13th: The Final Chapter, Final Destination or Star Trek: The Final Frontier (or the entire Final Fantasy series for that matter), and nobody said anything about spin-offs or prequels. Case in point: Puss in Boots.

Antonio Banderas reprises his role as the titular kitty, and is joined by the likes of Salma Hayek, Billy Bob Thornton, Amy Sedaris and Zach Galifianakis (as Humpty Dumpty!). The film will be a prequel to the Shrek films, and tell the back story of the swashbuckling cat and how he came to meet up with the big green ogre and his donkey.

Puss in Boots is due out in cinemas in Australia on 8 December 2011 from Paramount Australia.

Puss in Boots – Trailer by Paramount_Australia

Kung Fu Panda 2

The surprise hit (of sorts) of 2008, the tale of an overweight panda named Po (voiced by Jack Black) was given a deceptively simple and old-fashioned story. Eschewing the kind of pop-song centric approach that many of the Dreamworks stablemates had taken, Jack Black as Po was believable as the everyman in a way he hasn’t been able to pull off in a live-action film in a number of years. The sequel looks promising with the return of the already excellent voice cast that includes Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, Jackie Chan, Lucy Liu, Seth Rogen, David Cross, and the addition of Michelle Yeoh, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Gary Oldman to the mix.

Kung Fu Panda 2 is due out in cinemas in Australia on 23 June 2011 from Paramount Australia.

Kung Fu Panda 2 – Trailer G by Paramount_Australia

2 Other Animated Films We Are Looking Forward To…

2011 looks to be the year of birds, cars, bears, cats, penguins and chipmunks – and whatever the hell a Smurf is. (Delicious, apparently). Yet of those films, only the recent Rango and the forthcoming Rio are original creations. Almost all of the forthcoming animated films in 2011 are part of a larger franchise, and it makes us a little worried for the sake of the Best Animated Film category at the Oscars next year.

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn (2011)The Adventures of Tin Tin: Secret of the Unicorn – If the thought of a CGI-animated Tin Tin doesn’t already float your boat, perhaps the state-of-the-art motion capture technology will. Or maybe that the legendary Steven Spielberg is directing a script by Steven Moffat  (Doctor Who), Edgar Wright (Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World) and Joe Cornish (The Adam and Joe Show). Hergé’s most famous creation should have lovers of animation and film-lovers alike wetting their pants in anticipation, especially when the voice (and motion) talents of Simon Pegg, Jamie Bell, Daniel Craig, Cary Elwes, Nick Frost and Andy Serkis grace the cast list. The Adventures of Tin Tin: Secret of the Unicorn is due out in Australia on 26 December 2011 from Paramount.

Winnie the Pooh (2011)Winnie the Pooh – The multi-billion dollar franchise may have already overstayed its welcome for some, especially those who still believe it was sacrilege to tamper with the works of A.A. Milne. However, Disney’s red-shirted version of the bear of very little brain has become iconic in its own right, and this gentle reminder of all things great about being simple may be just the ticket in these dark times. To make things more interesting, Disney’s first 2D theatrical short, The Ballad of Nessie, will screen before the film making this a double-feature of sorts for Disney animation buffs. Winnie the Pooh is due out in the US on 15 July 2011, and 22 September 2011 in Australia from Walt Disney Pictures.

… and a Couple We Aren’t Looking Forward To

Alvin and the ChipmunksAlvin & The Chipmunks: Chipwrecked – It baffles the mind that this has made it to a third installment, but at least one other franchise on this page has made it to an official fifth, so go figure. While this is technically only part-animated, with live action and CGI elements mixed together, the principle ‘cast’ are all animated characters so we think it counts. We just really wish that it didn’t. The title-puns are still bad, but this is marginally better than ‘The Squeakquel‘. The similar-looking Hop is coming soon, although that does look as though it has a bit more depth than a record being played at high-speed. Alvin & the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked is due out in Australia on 15 December 2011 from Fox.

Cars 2Cars 2 – This may be a surprise from a website that has long favoured anything that comes from the House of Mouse or Pixar, but the original 2006 John Lasseter/Joe Ranft vanity project is one of the few misfires in the Pixar canon. There was so much wrong with the overlong and complete unmagical first installment, and adding more cars and the convoluted ‘spy thriller’ storyline only seems likely to compound the problem. We will remain cautiously optimistic in the wake of Up and Toy Story 3,  but reserve our excitement for 2012’s Brave. Cars 2 is due out 23 June 2011 in Australia from Walt Disney Pictures.

The Reel Bits is the cinema arm of DVD Bits. DVD Bits can be found on Twitter @DVDBits and The Reel Bits @The_ReelBits. DVD Bits is athttp://www.dvdbits.com.