Directed by Kenneth Branagh Starring Ferdia Shaw, Lara McDonnell, Josh Gad (Frozen II), Tamara Smart, Nonso Anozie (Pan), Colin Farrell (Total Recall) and Judi Dench (Cats)
Eleven year old Artemis Fowl (Shaw) learns of the existence of the People, a civilisation of fairy beings living in a city close to Earth’s core, when his father, Artemis Sr. (Farrell) is kidnapped by a pixie named Opal Koboi, and his abductor demands Artemis provide ‘the Aculos’ in return for his father’s life.
In a fantasy land well into its post-heroic age, magic is a thing of the past, having been abandoned in favour of the more reliable forces of science. Ian Lightfoot (Holland) is an elf high schooler who misses the presence of his late father in a family dynamic with his caring but overwhelmed mother, Laurel (Louis-Dreyfus), over-exuberant fantacist brother, Barley (Pratt), and Laurel’s new boyfriend Colt (Mel Rodriguez), a stuffy centaur police officer. On his sixteenth birthday, he and Barley receive a bequest from their father: A wizard’s staff and a spell to allow them to summon their father back to life for one day.
King Agnarr (Alfred Molina) tells his daughters about an Enchanted Forest, sealed off from Arendelle since a conflict in his youth, and Queen Iduna (Wood) sings a lullaby about Ahtohallan, a river of memories. We flash forward to some time – either fifteen or twenty-seven months, by my estimation; probably the latter – after the events of the first film, with Queen Elsa (Menzel), Anna (Bell), Anna’s boyfriend Kristoff (Groff) and Olaf the magical snowman (Gad) are celebrating the harvest festival in the utopian socialist monarchy that is modern Arendelle when Elsa is overcome by the call of a distant voice and somehow awakens the long-dormant spirits of the forest, forcing an evacuation of the Kingdom in the face of elemental turmoil.
Directed by Joachim Rønning Starring Angelina Jolie, Elle Fanning, Michelle Pfeiffer, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sam Riley, Ed Skrein, Jenn Murray, Imelda Staunton, Juno Temple, Lesley Manville, Warwick Davis and Robert Lindsay
It’s been a few years since Maleficent (Jolie) cursed, then saved her de facto goddaughter Aurora (Fanning), did for her treacherous ex (Aurora’s father) and installed Aurora as Queen of the Moors and Unnamed Human Kingdom. Aurora has continued to see Prince Philip (Harris Dickinson), who proposes with the connivance of a popular matchmaking movement among the fey of the Moors, while also dealing with the problem of fey disappearing on the border with Ulstead, the neighbouring human kingdom ruled by Philip’s father, King John (Lindsay).
Directed by Jon Favreau Starring Donald Glover, Seth Rogen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Alfre Woodard, Billy Eichner, John Kani, John Oliver, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter and James Earl Jones
Touted at the time as Disney’s first original feature film, The Lion King was the fifth film in the Disney Renaissance, and the most successful offering of that period by a substantial margin, as well as playing a substantial role in the spread of major animation studios such as Dreamworks Animation. The film is a coming of age adventure, folowing young lion Simba (Matthew Broderick) as he grows up in exile and returns to face his wicked uncle Scar (Jeremy Irons) and avenge the murder of his father, Mufasa (James Earl Jones). It caught a storm of controversy over similarities to Kimba the White Lion, the English language dub of a Japanese anime film called Jungle Emperor Leo, but remains one of the iconic products of the House of Mouse.
In 2019, The Lion King became the latest movie from the Disney back-catalogue to receive a ‘live-action’ remake, directed by the man who did the same to The Jungle Book. I use sarcastic quotes because, unlike the 2016 The Jungle Book, there is no human presence, and in fact what we have is almost – or perhaps actually – entirely computer animation.
Simba (JD McCrary) is the son of Mufasa (Jones) and Sarabi (Woodard), the King of the Pridelands and the leader of the lionesses who hunt for and defend the pride. While Mufasa and his adviser the hornbill Zazu (Oliver) try to guide Simba towards a positive model of altruistic monarchy, his brooding uncle Scar (Ejiofor) plots to seize power.
Directed by Guy Ritchie Starring Mena Massoud, Will Smith, Naomi Scott, Marwan Kenzari, Navid Negahban, Nasim Pedrad and Billy Magnussen
Come on. Do you guys really need a synopsis of this plot? It’s Aladdin! Ignoring the fact that it’s one of the classics of the Disney Renaissance (now remade in live action as part of their current binge on their back catalogue) it’s also a staple of British pantomime since about…well…forever. You know the story.
“In a place we hold dear, where wonder once lived… but soon from above, a new story begins.”
Directed by Rob Marshall
Starring Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Julie Walters, Dick Van Dyke, Angela Lansbury, Colin Firth and Meryl Streep
Faced with rebellious children and a wife more focused on the struggle for votes than on domestic life – and yet, who is not, as I recall, in any way pilloried for her choices, despite the film being made in 1964 – aptly-named banker George Banks struggles to find a nanny to take some of the pressure off a household supported by only two servants. Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews), ‘practically perfect in every way,’ comes out of the sky after all of the other candidates are blown away, and she and jack-of-all-trades Bert (Dick Van Dyke) take the children on adventures while gently nudging events to disrupt Mr Banks’ life and so make him recognise the things that really matter.
The Late Sequel
Twenty years after Mary Poppins first visited the Banks family, Michael (Whishaw) and Jane (Mortimer) are in trouble. He is a widowed artist and she an unmarried labour organiser, leaving them short of money and in danger of losing the family house. Fortunately, Mary Poppins (Blunt) arrives to care for Michael’s children – prematurely grown-up twins John (Nathanael Saleh) and Annabel (Pixie Davies), and their younger brother Georgie (Joel Dawson) – while Michael and Jane search for their father’s share certificate, which could cover the cost of the loan.
Directed by Lasse Hallström and Joe Johnston
Starring Keira Knightley, Mackenzie Foy, Jayden Fowora-Knight, Eugenio Derbez, Matthew Macfadyen, Richard E. Grant, Misty Copeland, Helen Mirren and Morgan Freeman
In Victorian London, the Stahlbaum family is struggling. Benjamin Stahlbaum (MacFadyen) is lost without his deceased wife, and trying to hold things together for his children Louise, Fritz and Clara (Foy). Clara was closest to her mother, and spurns her father’s attempts to move on as she seeks to understand her mother’s last gift, an egg-shaped box containing ‘all she will ever need,’ with the help of her godfather Drosselmeyer (Freeman). Also, it’s Christmas.
Directed by Rich Moore and Phil Johnston Starring John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman, Gal Gadot, Taraji P. Henson, Jack McBrayer, Jane Lynch, Alan Tudyk, Alfred Molina and Ed O’Neill
Six years after the events of the first movie, Ralph (Reilly) is stuck in a cosy little rut with his best bud Vanellope (Silverman). She, however, craves something new. Ralph’s attempt to help ends up wrecking the Sugar Rush machine, and the two set off into the uncharted wilds of the internet in search of a discontinued part, leaving Felix (McBrayer) and Calhoun (Lynch) looking after the bratty, and now homeless, racers.
Directed by Brad Bird Starring Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter, Sarah Vowell, Huckleberry Milner, Samuel L. Jackson, Bob Odenkirk and Catherine Keener
Picking up directly from the end of The Incredibles, Mr Incredible (Nelson) and Elastigirl (Hunter) try to keep their children Violet (Vowell) and Dash (Milner) out of their battle with the Underminer (John Ratzenberger). As a result, the battle runs out of control, and the government scraps the Superhero Relocation Program. In the Parr family’s hour of need, entrepreneur Winston Deavor (Odenkirk) and his sister, creative genius Evelyn (Keener), offer a ray of hope.