By Michael Berick
Summertime is one of the prime seasons for family movies, and this year is no exception. Soaring into cinemas June 13 will be How To Train Your Dragon 2. It has been four years since audiences met the gawky teen Viking named Hiccup and Hiccup met the cute dragon named Toothless. The sequel finds the duo exploring the world beyond their island home of Berk, and encountering some less-than-friendly dragons. Jay Baruchel will again voice Hiccup in this DreamWorks/20th Century Fox release, with Gerard Butler, Jonah Hill, America Ferrera and Kirsten Wiig returning to their voice roles, and Cate Blanchett voicing a new character who is quite important in Hiccup’s life.
A new Planes film will land in theaters July 18. Planes: Fire & Rescue is the latest in Disney’s line of Cars and Planes movies. This 3D film follows the story of a famous air racer plane who must retire from competition due to engine damage. While containing plenty of humor, the film looks to be slightly more serious minded as it concerns the heroics of planes that save lives and nature by putting out dangerous wildfires.
Disney Studios also has a live-action film aimed for a slightly older family audience. The PG-rated Earth To Echo is a sci-fi adventure about three boys whose friendship is threatened because their families are moving. However, they make a discovery that has even larger consequences on their lives. This Relativity Media release, directed by David Green, recalls the Spielbergian tween sci-fi adventures from E.T. to Super 8.
Another film for older kids is The Giver, the long-anticipated adaption of the Newberry Award-winning book by Lois Lowry. Set for an Aug. 15 release, the film tells the story of a young boy living in a society that might not be as utopian as it appears. The star-studded cast includes Meryl Steep, Katie Holmes, Taylor Swift and Jeff Bridges in the title role.
The end of summer also finds the latest adventures from Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo in the reboot of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, which is scheduled to come to cinemas Aug. 15. At the end of August, the Weinstein Co. will release Underdogs, an Argentinean animated film about a magical foosball table.
Michael Berick is Calendar Editor of L.A. Parent