The Animated Movies We Can’t Wait for In 2017

Pass the popcorn, chaps, 2017 is shaping up to be a bumper year for animated feature films, here’s what we’re most looking forward to hitting the theaters for!

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The Lego Ninjago Movie - Warner Animation Group

Remember when Kung Fu Panda came out in 2008? It looked really goofy and no-one really expected that it would be a massive roundhouse-kickin’ hit series. Well, Ninjago is set to make the same kind of impact in the Lego genre this year. With The Lego Batman Movie, this and The Lego Movie 2 on the horizon, the Lego film’s growing legacy is about to explode in the same way Marvel’s did.

Yeah sure, you might tut and call this yet another move by Lego to try and sell more of their Ninjago toys, but in the hands of The Lego Movie team of Dan Lin, Roy Lee, and both Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who really cares? Judging by the trailer, we’re in for another gorgeous stop-motion and photorealistic CGI 3D animation blend that I’m sure Lego and ninja fans alike will go nuts for.

The Boss Baby - DreamWorks Animation

The main offering from DreamWorks this year is definitely an eye-catcher. Fully 3D, feature-length movies are being churned out at such a rate nowadays it can be easy to dismiss them as just another sequel, remake or rehash of a story we’ve all seen before, not so with The Boss Baby.

Puppies have been stealing so much of our love and attention of late, that babies barely get a look in, at least that’s the story from the little suit-wearing fella himself. Based on the 2010 book by Marla Frazee, The Boss Baby looks to be a clever interpretation of the massive impact that a new addition can have on the family and how the power dynamics of the family shift during the following weeks. We’ve never seen a plot like this and with the guys that made Shrek on board, you already know it’s gonna be packed with that sassy, tongue-in-cheek charm. Also, Alec Baldwin voices the baby, people. That should be enough to get you to a theater.

Smurfs The Lost Village - Sony Pictures Animation

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, these little blue guys are iconic - I even went to a wedding once where each guest’s seat was indicated by a little Smurf figurine whose individual theme matched their personality or hobby! This year Smurfette is taking the limelight along with an assortment of male companions. God knows how she settled on Brainy, Hefty, and Clumsy but that’s her lot.

It might be a little jarring seeing another Smurfs movie after 2011’s mediocre outing but this one has much more endearing character models, polished rigging, great vocal talent and the visuals are leaps and bounds ahead so this will be the best you’ll get out of Sony Pictures Animation in 2017. Just try to put out of your head that they canned Popeye the Sailor Man in favour of this… We don’t talk about that Emoji movie in this office either...

The Red Turtle - Studio Ghibli

Indulge me, this is one of the deeper cuts that I’m going to be banging on about this week. Drowning amidst an ocean of 3D and stop-motion films in 2017 sits this beautiful little gem of a creation presented by Studio Ghibli. It’s the story of a castaway whose every attempt to escape from the island he’s stranded on is thwarted by a giant red sea turtle who destroys his bamboo rafts at every attempt.

I don’t want to give too much away, just take a peek at the trailer, the real anticipation builds when you realise what a beautiful spectacle The Red Turtle is turning out to be. Every frame from that trailer would look flippin’ beautiful framed on my wall. It’s going to be an incredible, colourful, dream-like amalgamation of Princess Mononoke, Life of Pi and Cast Away and I’m vibrating with excitement.

Coco - Pixar Animation Studios

At the time of writing there’s no trailer for Coco yet so you’ll have to use your imagination. Ready? For generations, the Riveras have banned music because they believe that they’ve been cursed by it, but 12-year-old Miguel Rivera secretly harbours musical ambitions and in trying to forge his own musical path, he accidentally enters the land of the dead. What follows promises to be a vibrant, lively Dua de Los Muertos-inspired musical tale.

It’s interesting to see that Pixar is retaining the musical style so well received in both Frozen and Moana but choosing a male protagonist this time. Historically young boys tend to respond less strongly to singing heroes but if anyone can pull it off, it’ll be Pixar. Let’s just hope that there’s nothing quite as catchy as Let it Go on the tracklist for this one lest all the parents of young girls go totally bonkers.

Rock Dog - Mandoo Pictures

Okay so take what I just said about Coco and imagine that it’s happening to a dog and you’ve got the basic idea of Rock Dog. A Tibetan Mastiff named Bodi decides that he isn’t cut out for a life of keeping wolves at bay and instead has big dreams about making it as a musician in the big city. Taking place in a human-free world of anthropomorphic animals is a winning move as already demonstrated by Zootopia last year and with Luke Wilson, Eddie Izzard and Lewis Black offering their vocal talent, we’re on board.

What’s really cool about Rock Dog is that it’s the first Chinese animated feature to be outsourced for production to an American Studio and it looks pretty good! It’s a Chinese story (Tibetan Rock Dog by Zheng Jun) which is being produced overseas for the sole purpose export to win universal appeal and enjoyment internationally (something Hollywood is pretty good at).

The Lego Batman Movie - Warner Animation Group

The most memorable character from The Lego Movie is back with his own spinoff this year which is riding hard on the coattails of the (still cresting) wave of superhero fever. The Lego Batman Movie uses the same enchanting blend of stop-motion, CGI 3D animation and real Lego-crafted sets and backgrounds but with that dark Gotham flair we all know and love.

My nephew is obsessed with Batman, like more obsessed with Batman than I was with dinosaurs when I was his age (which was a lot). So I’m actually looking forward to this one a whole lot more because it’s the first movie that we’re gonna get to go and watch together! Judging from the trailers it looks like there will be plenty of nods to the plentiful older Batman comics, films, and TV series so DC fans check it out.

Loving Vincent - Breakthru Films

I’ve saved something special for last - Loving Vincent is the world’s first animated film made entirely from individual oil paintings. 12 oil paintings per second, all done by over 100 painters trained in the same style. That’s enough pictures that when laid flat in the original canvas size they were painted at, they would cover London with enough spare to cover the area of Manhattan too Jesus wept, it’s so bonkers sounding that it defies belief. Well just take a peek at the trailer.

Seeing this film in motion is absolutely jaw dropping. It’s like you’ve dozed off in a gallery and slipped into a rotoscoped dream. It’s very rare that you get treated to this level of innovation and magic in film so we’re absolutely chuffed that Breakthru films are showcasing the potential possible in modern animation and motion-capture in such a stunning way.