The summer movies of 2013 include quite a few films that are family-friendly fare. However, a lot of the animated movies hitting theaters in the upcoming months are sequels, so be sure to add the originals to your Netflix queue ASAP if you haven’t seen them yet.
“Epic” – May 24
This is one of the few animated summer movies that’s not part of a franchise, and it’s probably the most intriguing film out of all of the upcoming releases listed here. It’s the story of a young girl named Mary Katherine (Amanda Seyfried) who magically shrinks before finding herself involved in an “epic” woodland battle between the forces of good and evil. The film features little fairly-like folk, including humming bird-riding soldiers whose job it is to protect Mother Nature. “The Hunger Games” star Josh Hutcherson voices one of these “Leaf Men” named Nod. He and the rest of the warriors have to face off against a troll-like villain named Mandrake (Christoph Waltz) and his evil army.
The movie includes a big cast of supporting characters voiced by musical stars — Steven Tyler plays a caterpillar-like critter dubbed “the wise old man of the forest;” Pitbull voices a frog; and Beyonce is the Queen of the Forest (weirdly, her animated character looks exactly like Tyra Banks). The film seems kind of reminiscent of “Fern Gully” or Hayao Miyazaki’s “Princess Monoke,” but it’s all CGI, of course.
“Monsters University” – June 21
This movie is actually a prequel to “Monsters, Inc.” that tells the story of how Mike (Billy Crystal) and Sulley (John Goodman) first met during their college years. It pays tribute to old college flicks like “Animal House” and “Revenge of the Nerds,” which Goodman actually starred in. However, instead of competing in the “Greek Games” like the human nerds, the outcast monsters naturally compete in a scaring competition called the “Scare Games.”
“Monsters University” introduces a large new cast of crazy collegiate characters that are members of frightening fraternities and scary sororities that you can take a look at here in this yearbook-like photo gallery. Like most Pixar movies, this one definitely looks like it will be just as fun for adults as it is for kids.
“Despicable Me 2” – July 3
Gadget-creating Gru (Steve Carell) has become an old softie after adopting three girls, but his expertise as a super villain gets put to good use when members of the Anti-Villain League (Kristen Wiig and Steve Coogan) recruit him to help them fight a new nasty foe named Eduardo (Al Pacino). But will Gru have a harder time trying to save the world or trying to deal with the difficulties of raising three growing girls who are starting to get interested in boys?
Don’t worry — the adorable yellow minions also get to take part in Gru’s latest adventure, but it looks like they get minion-napped in one of the teaser trailers.
“Turbo” – July 17
Pixar’s “Cars” was a successful animated movie about the world of racing, and it looks like DreamWorks is hoping to experience the same success with this movie about a snail who dreams of competing in the Indy 500. Ryan Reynolds voices the ambitious critter that develops super speed after a freak accident involving a street racing car’s nitrous oxide engine, and he gets his first chance to compete when he’s plucked up by a human who enters him in a snail race. The voice cast also includes Paul Giamatti, Ken Jeong, Maya Rudolph, Ben Schwartz, Samuel L. Jackson and Snoop Lion (Snoop Snail?).
“The Smurfs 2” – July 31
This movie isn’t completely animated, but it’s included here since the main characters were created using CGI. In this sequel about the blue-skinned critters with a limited vocabulary, Gargamel creates a new “species” of gray-skinned creatures called “Naughties” (Christina Ricci and JB Smoove) to help him harness the magical Smurf-essence that he’s still in hot pursuit of. His creations then proceed to try to help him procure a secret spell that Smurfette knows by making her turn to the dark side, and they do this by showing her how fun it is to be “naughty.” So will Smurfette decide that she enjoys being bad better, or will she stay true to her blue family? This definitely looks like it could be one of the smurfiest movies of the summer.
“Disney’s Planes” – August 9
Disney is hoping to duplicate the marketing success of “Cars” with this movie about anthropomorphic airplanes. Adults will probably enjoy the “Top Gun” references that the movie will be peppered with since Iceman and Goose have reunited for the film — Val Kilmer and Anthony Edwards voice Bravo and Echo, two F-18 fighter jets that are members of a team called the Jolly Wrenches.
However, Dane Cook voices the main character in the movie, a plane named Dusty who dreams of being an air-racing champion. However, there’s one big problem — he’s afraid of heights. So will Disney take on talking “Trains” next, or would Thomas the Tank Engine complain if Disney tried to steal his shtick?
So which of the 2013 animated summer movies are you looking forward to seeing most?