Written by: Rich Grady
Instead of talking about the Disney parks, or offering planning tips, I am going to discuss something happening outside the parks. As you may be aware, Disney, from time to time, puts out a movie or two. Or, in the case of the next year, almost a film every month. I do not have the space to talk about all of them here, but I am going to mention a few I am anxious to see.
In March, Walt Disney Pictures will release a live action version of “Cinderella“. Just as they did with “Malificent”, this movie will offer a new take on a timeless classic. Directed by Kenneth Branaugh, the previews seem to indicate the new version of the story will have a much more Shakespearean feel, which should be interesting. The fact that the new Frozen sequel short (titled “Frozen Fever”) will play before “Cinderella” doubtless helps nudge this into the “must-see” category for most people.
In May, Disney continues its string of Marvel movies with “Avengers: Age of Ultron“. The original cast from Avengers will return in this highly-anticipated sequel, with James Spader giving voice to the mad robot, Ultron. This story arc is not exactly canon with the Marvel universe as it appears in the comics, but the movies have certainly captured the feel of the comics, and this one appears that it will follow that pattern.
June will bring a new Pixar film, “Inside Out“. I cannot speak for anyone else, but when I saw the trailers, I thought of two things – a (very) old sitcom, “Herman’s Head,” and the much more recent, and sadly missed, Cranium Command attraction. While details on the story are still not known, the basic idea of peeking inside the head(s) of the characters and seeing the interplay between their emotions seems promising.
In July, Disney and Marvel studios really begin the next phase of their story arc, with the release of “Ant-Man“. “Ant-man” is not exactly a well-known character outside of the comic book community, so this might be the first real risk since they began doing these movies back with “Iron Man”. I’m cautiously optimistic, even though little is known about this film, and a full length trailer has yet to be released.
October has another live-action version of a classic Disney story, but this time, they revisit “The Jungle Book“. As is the case with any movie almost a year away, details are still sketchy, but the known voice cast includes Scarlett Johansson, Christopher Walker, Ben Kingsley, Bill Murray, and Idris Elba. Kipling’s original “Jungle Book” was much more than just the story of Mowgli with which we are all familiar, so I am interested to see what, if any, of the other material will make its way into this new version.
Pixar has a second film coming out next year, “The Good Dinosaur“. At the moment, all we really have to see are some stills of the artwork and a (very) basic idea of the concept. The basic idea appears to be a what-if scenario: What would happen if the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs never hit and humans and dinosaurs had to live together. Sadly, the artwork released just does not wow me. Instead of looking like what we have come to expect from Pixar, the art looks more like one of the classic Golden Books. It’s not bad, but it seems to be such a break from the Pixar tradition that it leaves me wondering what is going on with the film. Hopefully, there will be at least a teaser put out before the end of this year.
We round out the year with this little sequel to an existing franchise: “Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens“. The first trailer of this is already out and fans are (predictably) obsessing over it and fighting over the little details. Fans have been waiting for years for a new Star Wars film, and for many of us, this will be the first time to take our children to the theater to see the Millennium Falcon on the big screen. I’m already looking forward to it, though as an adult, I may have to pass on camping in line for several days before it comes out.
I did not include every movie for the next year. Space prevents me from doing much more than mentioning “Tomorrowland”, “Monkey Kingdom”, or “McFarland, USA”. Still, I think looking to the movies can give us a good hint as to what may come to the parks in 2016 or 2017 – perhaps more Marvel or Star Wars events, or a revamp of Cranium Command.
Editor’s Note: Throughout the year Rich will be our resident movie reviewer. Look for Rich’s movie reviews in future blog posts.