Unless there’s a surprise, last-minute addition to the 2020 release schedule, I’ve seen every major animated movie of the year. (A couple have still not debuted yet on streaming platforms.) It’s time to take a look at back at 2020 in feature animation:
Warner Bros.’ “SCOOB!” premiered on VOD in May. It’s a delightful adventure comedy starring CG versions of the Mystery Machine gang and (spoiler alert) Simon Cowell. And the latest hand-drawn Scooby flick “HAPPY HALLOWEEN, SCOOBY-DOO!” became available on DVD in time for All Hallow’s Eve. The celeb appearances in this one: Elvira and Bill Nye.
The charming “SAMSAM” (now on Starz) showcases kid heroes on out of this world planets… and a fantastic sidekick bear in SamTeddy. “STARDOG AND TURBOCAT” was an animal superhero adventure featuring standout voice work from Luke Evans and an unrecognizable Nick Frost. And “HENCHMEN” asks us to question whether villains really can be the heroes?
HUNGRY LIKE THE…
The moving “WOLFWALKERS” will be on AppleTV+ next Friday Dec. 11 and “100% WOLF” is now on Digital.
One went straight to Drive-Ins and VOD (“TROLLS WORLD TOUR”). The other went right to theaters and is helping a struggling box office (“THE CROODS: A NEW AGE”).
PIXAR DOUBLE HEADER
The first duo of Pixar films in the same year since 2017 saw “ONWARD” make a splash in theaters just before the box office shutdown – and “SOUL” is about to make history as the first Disney+ Pixar release. Glad Chris Pratt and Jamie Foxx recently received well-deserved Critics Choice Best Voice Actor nominations.
NETFLIX CONTINUES TO GLOW
Glen Keane’s “OVER THE MOON”, the zany comedy “THE WILLOUGHBYS”, the hand-painted “BOMBAY ROSE” and Aardman’s “FARMAGEDDON: A SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE” are all major awards season contenders. The streaming service also debuted a version of hand-drawn “CHILDREN OF THE SEA” and saved all-star CG film “ANIMAL CRACKERS” after being in limbo for a few years.
INDIES WITH IMPACT
Smaller animated films made a name for themselves thanks to the even playing field of a VOD / TV debut, including fairy tale twist “RED SHOES AND THE SEVEN DWARFS”, “JUNGLE BEAT: THE MOVIE” (based on a popular kids TV series) and “TERRA WILLY”. GKIDS’ “MARONA’S FANTASTIC TALE” has had a lasting impression on me.
ANIMATION IN LIVE-ACTION
Ben Schwartz in “SONIC THE HEDGEHOG” and Sam Rockwell in “THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN” delivered some of the best voice performances of the year.
“PHINEAS AND FERB THE MOVIE: CANDACE AGAINST THE UNIVERSE” is a highly entertaining new chapter in the Disney franchise.