We are half way through 2016 and it has already been a terrific year for the animation genre - we really have been treated to some wonderful films.

Long Way North

Long Way North

The summer season of movies is upon us and animation fans are going to be able to kick back and enjoy a whole host of fantastic films in this genre.

We take a look at some of the films that are set to hit the big screen over the next couple of months - and there really are a host of films that you cannot afford to miss. Which one are you looking forward to the most?

- When Marnie Was There - out now

When Marnie Was There hit the big screen over the weekend and marked the return of the fantastic Studio Ghibli.

Studio Ghibli has delivered some fantastic movies over the years and When Marnie Was There marks the return of Hiromasa Yonebayashi to the director's chair. This is his first film for the studio since the fantastic Arrietty.

The movie is based on the novel by Joan G. Robinson and is a touching tale of friendship and loneliness. When Marnie Was There is the story of an emotionally distant adolescent girl, who upon being sent to live with relatives in the countryside becomes obsessed with an abandoned mansion, and infatuated with a girl who lives there; a girl who may or may not be real.

If you are looking for an alternative animation movie this summer, When Marnie Was There is the film for you as it is just a stunningly beautiful film. This hand drawn animation is just exquisite and it is a welcome break from all of the CGI-driven animation movies we have seen in recent years.

When Marnie Was There really is a touching and poignant tale that will tug at your heartstrings and stay with you after the credits have rolled.

I am a huge Studio Ghibli fan and this is another gem from the studio. It was nominated for the Best Animated Feature Oscar earlier this year but lost out to Pixar's Inside Out.

When Marnie Was There

- Long Way North - released 17th June

Another alternative animation film not to miss this summer arrives this week, in the form of Long Way North.

There is a whole host of filmmakers making their directorial debuts this summer... and Rémi Chayé is one of them as he takes up the helm for the first time.

However, Chayé is no stranger to the animation genre, having worked in the animation department on the likes of The Painting and The Secret of the Kells in recent years. I am looking forward to seeing what he delivers with his first feature.

Christa Théret is set to voice the central role of Sasha and is joined on the cast list by Féodor Atkine, Antony Hickling, Thomas Sagols, and Rémi Caillebot.

Sasha, a young aristocratic girl growing up in Russia at the end of the 19th century, dreams of the Great North and anguishes over the fate of her grandfather Oloukine, a renowned scientist and Arctic explorer who has yet to return from his latest expedition to conquer the North Pole.

Oloukine has passed on his calling as an explorer to Sasha, but her parents, who have already made the arrangements for their daughter's marriage, do not approve in the least. So Sasha rebels against her destiny, flees her home and resolves to go join Oloukine... a long way North.

The film won the Audience Award at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival - where it premiered - and it looks set to charm audiences this weekend.

Long Way North

- The Secret Life of Pets - released 24th June

The Secret Life of Pets is the first of the big animation movie to hit the big screen this summer and it looks like it is going to be a film that's a lot of fun.

The Secret Life of Pets comes from the studio that brought us the Despicable Me films and sees Chris Renaud back in the director's chair.

This is Renaud's first feature since Despicable Me 2 and sees him team up with Yarrow Cheney for the first time; Cheney is making his feature film debut with this feature.

As we have come to expect, The Secret Life of Pets boasts an impressive voice cast as Louis C.K., Kevin Hart, Albert Brooks, Jenny Slate, Ellie Kemper, Lake Bell, Steve Coogan and Eric Stonestreet are all on board.

For their fifth fully-animated feature film collaboration, Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures present The Secret Life of Pets, a comedy about the lives our pets lead after we leave for work or school each day.

The Secret Life of Pets is an animation movie that I have been looking forward to since I saw the first teaser trailer last year and it is promising to be a film for all of the family to enjoy.

The Secret Life of Pets

- Ice Age: Collision Course - released 15th July

Hard to believe but it was back in 2002 when Ice Age was released and we were introduced to the characters of Manny, Sid, and Diego from the first time. Fourteen years on, and the fifth film is set to hit the big screen.

Yes, Ice Age: Collision Course is the fifth film in this popular animated series and the first movie since Continental Drift back in 2012.

So far, the film series has grossed over $2 billion at the global box office and is one of the most successful animation film franchises of all time. Collision Course could be set to be the biggest so far - I guess we are just going to have to wait and see how it performs at the box office.

John Leguizamo, Denis Leary, and Ray Romano are back as Sid, Diego, and Manny and are joined on the cast list by Adam DeVine, Jennifer Lopez, Simon Pegg, Nick Offerman, Seann William Scott, and Queen Latifah - it boasts one of the most impressive voice cast lists of the year.

Scrat's epic pursuit of the elusive acorn catapults him into the universe where he accidentally sets off a series of cosmic events that transform and threaten the Ice Age World.

To save themselves, Sid, Manny, Diego, and the rest of the herd must leave their home and embark on a quest full of comedy and adventure, travelling to exotic new lands and encountering a host of colourful new characters.

The excitement around the Ice Age movies seems to get even bigger with every release and it is great to see this popular characters back on the big screen and on a new adventure.

Ice Age: Collision Course

- Finding Dory - released 29th July

No summer is complete without a Pixar film hitting the big screen... and we are only a handful of weeks away from the release of Finding Dory.

Have to admit, I was a little surprised when it was announced that there was going to be a sequel to Finding Nemo, which was released back in 2003. The movie remains one of Pixar's most successful films.

Finding Dory sees Andrew Stanton back in the director's chair for what is his first movie for Pixar since Wall-E. As well as being in the director's chair, Stanton has also penned the film's screenplay.

Ellen DeGeneres is back to bring the character of Dory to life and reunites with Albert Brooks, who is back as Marlin. Nemo is another familiar character and Hayden Rolence has taken over the role.

We are going to be introduced to some great new characters and Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy, Idris Elba, Dominic West, Ed O'Neill, and Bill Hader complete another very exciting voice cast list.

Disney Pixar's Finding Dory reunites everyone's favourite forgetful blue tang, Dory, with her friends Nemo and Marlin on a search for answers about her past. What can she remember? Who are her parents? And where did she learn to speak Whale?

It has been over a decade since the release and success of Finding Nemo and it will be interesting to see what Stanton and co deliver this time around. Will it be as big a success as its predecessor? I guess we are going to have to wait and see. I think it will be one of the biggest films of the summer.

Finding Dory

by for www.femalefirst.co.uk
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