Animation Roundup: Wonder Park, Toy Story’s Andy Redesign, and Hotel Transylvania 4
Animation, it seems, will truly never get old. It’s thanks to the stories that the amazing writers create that help animators build a world of wonder over and over again, regardless of where in the world the viewers are or who they might be.
Some though, don’t quite get the praise and attention from people, even though they technically deserve it. While some manage to sneak their way to the top owing to a deeply-rooted nostalgia that has no plans of letting go, others stay in the game because they want to, and because they still have something to prove.
The Sinking Ship of “Wonder Park”
It’s more than a little sad that “Wonder Park” hasn’t gotten much attention after its release. There was nothing to be afraid or apprehensive about the story–it was a clean cut story of wonder and amazement that was clearly made for the children it intended on making its target audience.
According to Carlos Aguilar of Cartoon Brew, the Paramount Animation and Nickelodeon Movies production revolves around the story of a young girl’s imaginary amusement park. After dreaming it up, it suddenly comes to life if only to “help her overcome grief.” Complete with quirky-looking animals, and underscored by with the darker tones of–presumably–the girl’s own array of personal problems, what could possibly go wrong?
Well, for one thing, there was too wide a divide between critics on whether or not the movie was “good” in the aesthetic sense. This ties in with the fact that the movie also had to endure a near-debilitating cut when its director was fired last January 2018 after being involved in “inappropriate and unwanted conduct” while the project was underway.
Paramount made the right call for taking director Dylan Brown off the project in light of the investigation, but the result had very nearly done the movie in. Because of Brown’s mishap, Paramount now has the movie equivalent of a rudderless ship; what’s more, no one wanted to put their name on a movie that could be detrimental to their career.
So, Paramount took the risk of releasing it anyway, and exclusively marketing it to children since they would seem to be the only ones who could sit through the movie without wincing.
As was what IndieWire’s David Ehrlich noted in his review, predictably, he opened up about how so many animated works on the big screen right now seem to only be feeding Hollywood’s insatiable thirst for content, what with its “less refined” visuals making critics unsure of how to understand it.
Over at the Washington Post, Kristen Page says the biggest setback of “Wonder Park” was the plan to its structure. She lays out that Paramount has yet to understand how best to tell a story through animation. And it’s not through adult-marketed nearly-all-dialogue films that Paramount should go about winning children’s attentions over.
On the Andy Redesign
Another animation conundrum engulfing fans and people who were raised on Disney’s entire docket of classic movies is the return of Toy Story to the big screen, on a sequel that’s as interesting as it is–to some fans–unnecessary.
Really, so many Tumblr posts revolved around the speculation of a Toy Story 4, and almost all of them expressed wonder and slight frustration at the fact that Disney was even thinking of a fourth one. The third film wrapped everything up clearly enough; surely they know that there’s no use beating a dead horse?
Except the trailer did look a little promising. And if we’re being totally honest, there’s still a big chance we might just as well get into watching it when it drops in cinemas the same way we did when Disney said they would be bringing back the “Incredibles 2”. So what seems to be the problem?
It turns out, as AV Club reports, it’s Andy’s, the main human character who owns the titular toys, redesign that seems to tick people off. A quick look at the trailer actually shows how much the animation looks better now, but more of in an odd way.
Hilariously, Twitter user Mark Ricci describes the change accurately, writing in a tweet: “Andy from Toy Story will go down in history as the youngest child on Earth to go through intense facial reconstruction surgery four times.”
The Drac Pack is Back in Hotel Transylvania 4
Hotel Transylvania, for all its zingy and zany antics, actually still feels like a breath of fresh air, and a large part of that has to do with the fact that it has evolved into something worthwhile to watch because of its experimentation with its animation style.
There are many articles online praising the film for the uniqueness it has managed to embrace when it first started gaining traction with fans, but now that has so far waned. Despite it all, Cartoon Brew reports that Hotel Transylvania doesn’t seem to be inclined to give up so easily.
In 2021, the creators of Hotel Transylvania said that they would be releasing another Hotel Transylvania sequel and will time it with the Yuletide season, letting the story revolve around Christmas, a guaranteed first for Sony’s animated franchise.
Although there is no confirmation from Sony on whether Genndy Tartakovsky is jumping back as the director, Sony still considers Hotel Transylvania as enough of a moneymaker to keep on fleshing out stories from it.