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DreamWorks Animation: Spirit Untamed, Puss in Boots 2 and The Bad Guys


DreamWorks Animation had a more successful 2020 than most media companies. Trolls World Tour had a successful and ground-breaking release debuting as a premium rental at the same time it would have hit cinemas had they been open. And come holiday season, stone-age sequel The Croods: A New Age pretty much had the family market to itself when it arrived in re-opened cinemas. 

This September, The Boss Baby: Family Business will arrive- hopefully under much better circumstances. Another DWA will arrive in US cinemas before then, however, and it's one that you probably were not aware of until now. Unlike the rest of their 2021-21 slate, however, it is not a direct sequel to one of their previous theatrical features. Instead Spirit Untamed is a film spin-off of one of the Studio's Netflix TV series Spirit: Riding Free, which is itself a spin- of their 2002 hand-drawn feature Spirit: Stallion Of  Cimarron.

The feature is based on the plot of the series and features a free-spirited young 19th-century girl named Lucky who is taken from her metropolitan city home to a sleepy frontier town, much to her chagrin. She warms to her new home when she finds a soulmate in a wild Mustang named Spirit. When a dastardly horse wrangler sets his sights on Spirit, Lucky and her new-found friends must set off on an adventure to rescue him and reunite him with his family.

As seen in the first TV trailer, Spirit Untamed features upgraded animation from its TV predecessor, dropping the cel-shaded look for a more conventional visual style. It has also dumped the voice cast from the original, replacing them with better-known on-screen talent.  Isabela Merced, who previously starred in the live-action adaptation of Dora The Explorer,  voices Lucky, while the rest of the cast features Jake Gyllenhaal, Eiza Gonzalez, Julianne Moore, and Walton Goggins as the villain.

Elaine Bogan, a veteran of several of DreamWork's TV series makes her feature debut as director, while Ennio Torresan is credited as co-director.  Karen Foster and Timothy Pauer will produce.

Spirit Untamed is set to hit US cinemas on June 4, 2021. Watch the first trailer, below.

DWA's parent-company NBCUniversal has also confirmed two films for release in 2022. Some 11 years after the original, Puss In Boots is finally getting a sequel. The first film- itself a spin-off from the Shrek franchise- was a box-office hit and nominated for the Best Animated Feature Oscar, so a sequel was quickly announced. But is had been so long since we'd heard anything about it, we'd wondered if it had been quietly shelved.

Apparently not, as Puss In Boots: The Last Wish is set to arrive in US cinemas on September 22, 2022. Anthony Banderas will reprise his role as the titular feline adventure embarks on an epic quest to find the last wish to restore his nine lives.

Joel Crawford- director on The Croods sequel- is in the director's chair in this one, reuniting with producer Mark Swift.

It's not all sequels and spin-offs (or sequels to spin-offs) at DWA as their second release of 2022 is an original. Even still. that's original as in "not a sequel or spin-off" not 100% original as The Bad Guys is based on a series of bestselling books from Scholastic. But that never did How To Train Your Dragon any harm.

The story stars five notorious bad guys- Mr. Wolf,  Mr. Shark, Mr. Snake, Mr. Pirahnah, and Ms. Tarantula as they attempt to go straight. Director of the award-winning short Bilby, Pierre Perifel makes his feature debut, with Damon Ross and Rebecca Huntley producing.

The Bad Guys is slated to hit cinemas in the United States on Friday, April 15, 2022.