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Summer looks bright for big screen animations


Ask any movie buff or devoted fan of the big screen where their love for cinema came from and they will more than likely pinpoint it back to cartoons and animation.

Over the last decade, Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios have brought big and little kids on groundbreaking storytelling adventures that celebrate the magic of childhood, all while bringing families that bit closer together.

With a strong line up from the animation world occupying 2024 so far – IF, Kung Fu Panda 4 and Migration – the summer looks promising for keeping your little minions feeling starry-eyed.

The Garfield Movie – 24 May

Kicking off the summer blockbuster movie season is lasagna-loving, Monday-hating and all-round grumpy cat, Garfield.

Everyone’s favourite furry friend (voiced by the always charismatic Chris Pratt) sets off on a new adventure with his long-lost father – scruffy street cat, Vic, voiced by Samuel L. Jackson. It doesn’t take long for events to get cat-astrophic as the iconic orange cat and his yellow beagle best pal (Harvey Guillen) are forced from their perfectly preened life into joining Vic in a rib-tickling, high-stakes heist.

Directed by Mark Dindal (Chicken Little) The Garfield Movie brings viewers on a journey packed full of twists and turns with an abundance of delicious visual gag and impressive CGI animation that tries its best to stay faithful to the comedy and heart of Jim Davis’ beloved comic strip.

A fantastic and fun-filled tale (or tail?) for all the family, that’s bound to leave you ‘feline’ good.

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Inside Out 2 – 14 June

In 2015, Pixar broke animation boundaries with its brainy and boundary-pushing, Inside Out. Impressively grossing more than $858 million worldwide and taking home the 2016 Oscar for Best Animated Feature, it’s fair to say the gorgeously animated and powerfully astute adventure was up there with the animation studio’s best releases.

The first outing ended with Riley (Kaitlyn Dias) accepting her new life in San Fran and the swirl of emotions in her head – Fear (Tony Hale), Anger (Lewis Black), Disgust (Liza Lapira), and Sadness (Phyllis Smith) – working together in harmony.

The highly-anticipated second adventure is set roughly a year later and sees the now teenaged Riley off to spend the summer at hockey camp. With hormones raging and all of the awkward goings-on teens have to endure, poor Riley’s world gets flipped upside down.

Enter Envy (Ayo Edebiri), Ennui (Adèle Exarchopoulos), Embarrassment (former wrestler Paul Walter Hauser), and Anxiety (Maya Hawke) – to add even more chaos to proceedings.

Adding layers of complexity and humour, Inside Out 2 will no doubt bring viewers on yet another rousing adventure.

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Despicable Me 4 – 12 July

It’s time for more minion mayhem! Animation director Chris Renaud (The Secret Life of Pets 2) is back at the helm of the franchise after taking a break from the zany goggle-wearing yellow-hued henchmen for over a decade.

Renaud’s last outing with the franchise was 2013’s Despicable Me 2, and this time he shares his directing responsibilities with first-time director Patrick Delage.

After seven years of being out of the spotlight, Gru and his crew face a new nemesis in Maxime Le Mal and his femme fatale girlfriend, Valentina, the family is forced to go on the run.

Is Despicable Me 4 about to make box office history? Well, it’s on course to. The latest outing in the animated franchise from Illumination and Universal Pictures is tipped to become the first-ever $5 billion animated movie franchise. The franchise has already made $4.64 billion, and the latest jaunt only needs to bag roughly $360 million to reach the $5 billion target. Watch this space!

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Descendants: The Rise of Red – 12 July (Streaming on Disney+)

Five years after its epic last entry, the musical film franchise about the children of iconic Disney characters has made a welcome return with Descendants: The Rise of Red.

The new film was first announced at D23 Expo earlier this year under the working title Descendants: The Pocketwatch, with the official and slicker title being unveiled in March.

Based on The Isle of the Lost book series, the original Descendants trilogy pulled a decent stint on Disney Channel from 2015 to 2019, chronicling the lives of four teenage children of Disney villains – and the upcoming musical fantasy film directed by Jennifer Phang look set to hit all the right notes with its loyal legion of fans.

Following his untimely passing in 2019 at the age of 20, this will be the first franchise production without actor Cameron Boyce – who played Cruella de Vil’s son, Carlos, in the hugely-popular franchise.

In need of more nostalgia? 90s R&B powerhouse Brandy is set to make a comeback 27 years after she first featured alongside Whitney Houston in the 1997 TV movie Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella.

And if that wasn’t enough to keep viewers tuned in, chart-topping queen Rita Ora will play the Queen of Hearts. Bigger kids may want to bring some earplugs for this one!

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Harold and the Purple Crayon – 2 August

This delightful little gem is the first film adaptation of the beloved children’s classic that has captivated young readers for decades – and Sony Pictures’ live-action hybrid family adventure beautifully reimagines the story by blending philosophy with fantasy.

Zachary Levi stars as a grown up version of the title character, based on the enchanting 1955 children’s picture book beautifully written and illustrated by Crockett Johnson.

The trailer showcases Harold’s adventures using a purple crayon, which can bring anything he imagines to life. However, the power of the crayon can be dangerous if misused, potentially leading to calamitous events.

The success of Harold and the Purple Crayon led Johnson to make Harold a recurring character. Impressively, he starred in seven of Johnson’s titles, including Harold’s Fairy Tale (1956), Harold’s Trip to the Sky (1957), Harold at the North Pole (1958), Harold’s Circus (1959), A Picture for Harold’s Room (1960), and Harold’s ABC (1963).

Directed by Carlos Saldanha and with a screenplay by David Guion and Michael Handelman, Harold and the Purple Crayon is guaranteed to be another page turner, or in this case, a scene-stealer.

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