Our 2013 DreamWorks Animation Preview: The Croods, Turbo and Mr. Peabody & Sherman
Imagine if you will a lightning fast snail who has always wanted to race. Or a family of cavemen who are much more than growling and grunting prehistoric men. What about taking a time machine back to the French Revolution with a dog and his adopted boy Sherman? Well in 2013, all these fantastical ideas will be presented to audiences thanks to DreamWorks Animation and their recent partnership with distributor 20th Century Fox.
Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of attending a preview of what 2013 has to offer from DreamWorks Animation. From the caveman comedy THE CROODS to the big screen update on the classic animated series MR. PEABODY & SHERMAN, the press was gathered together to catch an early glimpse of next year’s line-up.
Once I arrived, I made my way to the Daryl F. Zanuck Theatre on the Fox lot with 3D glasses in hand – all three films presented will be released in 3D although only THE CROODS footage was shown as such. After a brief introduction, we were presented footage from all three feature films. While much of the material was not in its completed state, it was nonetheless very impressive.
Based on the series produced by the legendary Jay Ward, MR. PEABODY & SHERMAN was first up. Originally featured as part of one of my favorite children’s shows, “The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle,” this is the story of the world’s smartest talking dog and the human boy he adopts. Ty Burrell (“Modern Family”) stars as Mr. Peabody and young Max Charles plays Sherman. Much like the original, Mr. Peabody has invented a time machine called the WABAC (pronounced “way back”) in hopes to give his adopted son the chance to witness world-changing events up close and personal.
In the footage presented, the two heroes narrowly escape the French Revolution. It seems that Marie Antoinette didn’t appreciate Sherman’s love of cake. However, thanks to Peabody’s smarts the two adventurers are able to return to modern times unharmed. Yet there is one thing the smartest dog ever could never have planned for his son, and that is a jealous classmate of Sherman’s named Penny (Ariel Winter). When the two young students have an after school brawl, Mr. Peabody finds that he must figure out how to make nice with Penny’s parents. Things get even more complicated when Sherman – who is also trying to play nice with Penny – breaks the rules of time travel by taking her along only to leave her behind. We’ll have to wait all the way until next November 1st to see how they make things right with Penny’s parents and the fate of the world.
The next feature presented had me at the first revved up engine. TURBO stars Ryan Reynolds as a snail who dreams of being “the greatest racer in the world.” Clearly there are a couple of problems with that, first being he is a snail. The second would be his doubting realist brother (voiced by Paul Giamatti). The opening sequence features “Turbo” doing what young dreamers do, playing pretend in front of a television that is broadcasting a car race.
Director David Soren introduced his latest feature and his leading character as, “an ordinary garden snail who has dreams of racing glory.” He went on to say, “The movie itself is a mash-up of superhero and racing genres, but at its heart it’s an underdog story, in the vein of classics like ROCKY, THE KARATE KID and my personal favorite, BREAKING AWAY.”
After Soren introduced TURBO and the opening scene, we were shown the sequence where this little snail that could actually finds himself with the ability to speed across the raceway. Yes folks, this is a fantasy and this snail is left with the power of lightning fast speed after a freak accident during a street race. This sequence is a clever and exciting one, and since the film features the voice of Michelle Rodriguez, it was nice to see a little bit of FAST AND THE FURIOUS thrown in for good measure.
After TURBO develops his powers, he and his brother are snail-napped by the very funny and likable Luis Guzman. This friendly stranger has plans to place the little creatures in a “snail race” with his buddies – apparently this is a thing for them. Of course the scene is played for laughs and it is fun to see an ensemble of actors voicing the street racing snails including Snoop Dogg and Samuel L. Jackson. Let’s just say that TURBO is the only one of the crew that actually can move faster than a snail’s pace.
Finally, we were introduced to the upcoming feature film THE CROODS by Chris Sanders and Kirk DeMicco who co-wrote and co-directed the prehistoric family adventure. This of course started off on the right foot thanks to a prerecorded message from the lovely Emma Stone (EASY A, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN). She was thankful for the chance to play Eep. “I finally play a character that doesn’t have any trouble picking up guys… literally.” Is it just me or can you imagine that this charming and talented actress would have any trouble picking up guys literally or figuratively? Okay, maybe not literally, but I digress…
After the filmmakers introduced the characters, we spent the most time with this feature with thirty-five minutes of THE CROODS, starting off with the opening sequence. This caveman comedy plays on the family and their fear of the outdoors. Thus, this motley crew of a clan stays in their cave because all their neighbors seem to be killed off by everything you can imagine - from a large lizard to the common cold. Let’s just say life expectancy wasn’t too high back then. Nicolas Cage and Catherine Keener star as the parents Grug and Ugga, Clark Duke is the brother Thunk and Cloris Leachman is their crazy Gran – the filmmakers must be fans of the TV series “Raising Hope” where she plays a similar character.
After the opening title sequence, we witness the family’s shockingly dangerous hurdle they go through just to eat on a day to day basis. The music used was an inspired choice, an instrumental mash-up of Fleetwood Mac’s “Tusk” and Jet’s “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” if I’m not mistaken. While the family chases down an egg, they find themselves fighting for it against a whole slew of beasts who are also hoping for a little nourishment.
And just in case you were missing him, Ryan Reynolds shows up here as well as another caveman who, “possesses the world’s first imagination and he can make fire.” As Guy, Reynolds warns Eep that things are changing and the world is coming to an end. After her father stops her from running away with the stranger, they soon realize that he may be right as the earth begins to crumble right out from beneath them. The sanctity of their cave comes crashing down leaving them no choice but to explore this unknown territory, along with the help of Guy. Will they discover happiness and safety from an ever changing world… like you I’ll be waiting until March 22nd to find out!
With THE CROODS in March, TURBO opening July 19th and MR. PEABODY & SHERMAN arriving in theatres on November 1st, DreamWorks has what looks to be an impressive line-up for 2013. Certainly it is hard to say whether or not the finished product will live up to the footage presented, but either way I am officially looking forward to each of the three films. In the case of MR. PEABODY, the teaser trailer that they showed was an extremely fun way to reach out to audiences both young and old, by showing the original cartoon characters as the updated versions watched. However, my favorite presentation had to be TURBO. Reynolds seems like a perfect fit and I’m a sucker for a good underdog story.
|Extra Tidbit:||Which of DreamWorks Animation's 2013 line-up are you looking forward to?|