Feb. 12, 2015 | 4:41 p.m.
Jared Bush and Sam Levine, the creators of Disney XD’s “Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero,” drew inspiration from childhood memories to craft the new animated series. At the age of 12, Bush discovered that his parents worked for the Central Intelligence Agency, while Levine, the child of a New York City film projectionist, would routinely sit beside his father to watch classic movies and new releases. ———— FOR THE RECORD In an earlier version of this article, it was stated that Alfred Molina and Larry Wilmore were either guest stars or recurring actors. They are both regular cast members on the show. ———— “One of my favorites was ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark,'” Levine said in a recent interview. “I remember watching it four times back to back, and covering my eyes every time the faces melted off at the end.” Those […]
Jan. 29, 2015 | 8:00 a.m.
Studio Ghibli fans can add three new films to their collections. Walt Disney Studios is releasing “Tales from Earthsea,” “Porco Rosso” and “Pom Poko” on Blu-ray on Feb. 3. “Tales from Earthsea,” based on the fantasy book series by Ursula K. Le Guin and directed by Goro Miyazaki (“From Up on Poppy Hill”), is set in a mythical world thrown out of balance. Crops are dwindling, humanity is descending into chaos, and dragons have reappeared. The story follows master wizard Sparrowhawk (voiced by Timothy Dalton) and troubled Prince Arren (Matt Levin) as they search for the mysterious force that threatens their world. The dub also includes the voice talents of Mariska Hargitay, Willem Dafoe and Cheech Marin. The Blu-ray release features bonus material, including the original Japanese storyboards, trailers and TV spots, and behind-the-scenes featurettes. Tuesday’s release marks the first […]
Jan. 08, 2015 | 10:21 a.m.
“Song of the Sea,” an animated film inspired by the Irish legend of the Selkies, arrives in Los Angeles theaters on Friday. Hero Complex readers get an exclusive first look at some images from the film, the sophomore release from the creators of 2009’s Oscar-nominated film “The Secret of Kells.” In gorgeous, hand-drawn animation, “Song of the Sea” tells the tale of the last seal-child, Saoirse, and her brother Ben, who must race against time on a journey to awaken Saoirse’s powers and save the magical spirit world. Though not a sequel to “Kells,” which offered a magical origin story for Ireland’s treasured Book of Kells, “Song of the Sea” is a sort of spiritual follow-up, director Tomm Moore has said. The idea for the film was born during production on “Kells” on the west coast of Ireland, where Moore […]
Dec. 05, 2014 | 8:58 a.m.
Ho, Ho, Ho(dor)! It’s the time of year for geek-friendly holiday shopping. Whether you’re shopping for fans of “Game of Thrones,” “Star Wars,” Batman or Captain Marvel, the annual Hero Complex holiday gift guide has you covered. This year’s selections include some family-friendly video games for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Wii U; gorgeous hardcover books celebrating the anniversaries of Marvel Comics, Batman, the Teen Titans, “Alien” and Hello Kitty; a Godzilla toy that’s probably bigger than your dog; and a quadcopter camera drone, among other selections. Click through the gallery above for a peek at our selections. Items are listed below, sorted by cost. Under $25 “Living Language Dothraki,” $3.99 app, $19.99 audiobook, $30 online course: Athchomar chomakaan! The Khal or Khaleesi in your life must command the Dothraki language before commanding the troops, and thanks to Living Language’s new course (offered as an app, CD and guide […]
Nov. 11, 2014 | 10:36 a.m.
“Strange Magic,” a musical animated feature film inspired by William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” is coming to theaters in January, Disney announced Tuesday. The news comes after much speculation that the film would be a sequel to Disney’s record-breaking blockbuster “Frozen.” The rumor mill appears to have gotten it wrong, with nary a snowman in sight. Instead, the project — from Lucasfilm and Touchstone Pictures — is inspired by Shakespeare’s magical comedy and based on a story by “Star Wars” mastermind George Lucas, and will feature modern-day pop songs (Electric Light Orchestra, anyone?). Here’s the official description from Disney: “Strange Magic” is a madcap fairy tale musical inspired by “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Popular songs from the past six decades help tell the tale of a colorful cast of goblins, elves, fairies and imps, and their hilarious misadventures sparked […]
Nov. 07, 2014 | 4:06 p.m.
“Big Hero 6,” Disney Animation’s latest theatrical feature, is a classic superteam origin story. But what’s interesting is that the characters’ original creators function as a kind of superteam themselves. The writing collective known as Man of Action is credited on screen with the characters of “Big Hero 6,” but in reality the group consists of four individual writers: Steven T. Seagle, Duncan Rouleau, Joe Casey and Joe Kelly. They have distinct points of view, but together they share everything: both the glory and the workload. “We have a very socialist business model,” says Seagle, who co-created the “Big Hero 6″ characters with Rouleau for Marvel back in 1998. “It shocks and appalls a lot of people. At first we were all skeevy about it, whether that would work in Capitalist America, but it’s really panned out pretty well.” The […]
Oct. 02, 2014 | 1:18 p.m.
“Phineas and Ferb” is getting into the Halloween spirit this weekend with a “Night of the Living Dead”-inspired special called “Night of the Living Pharmacists.” Among the star-studded cast are horror heavyweight George Romero and actors Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, reprising their characters from Edgar Wright’s beloved zombie sendup “Shaun of the Dead.” In this latest episode, Doofenshmirtz’s newest “-inator” machine accidentally turns the citizens of Danville into contagious Doof-zombies. Phineas, Ferb, Agent P and others must work together to save the city. In the exclusive clip above, reporter Don Adaded (voiced by Romero) falls victim to the Doofenshmirtz disease. The show has been on a roll with its special projects of late. “Lost” co-creator Damon Lindelof provided the plot for “Phineas and Ferb: Lost in Danville,” which aired Monday. Earlier this year, creators Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” […]
Sept. 05, 2014 | 7:45 a.m.
Animated characters are often inspired by animals, toys or fairy-tale princesses. But in “The Book of Life,” an animated fantasy due Oct. 17, writer-director Jorge Gutierrez found his muses in an unexpected and vibrant new place — the world of Mexican folk art. The Mexico City-born Gutierrez, best known for creating the Emmy-winning Nickelodeon series “El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera” with his wife, Sandra Equihua, sets his story during the Mexican Day of the Dead, when it’s said that spirits can pass between worlds. Best friends Manolo (voiced by Diego Luna) and Joaquin (Channing Tatum) battle for the affection of Maria (Zoe Saldana), and two spirits, the motherly La Muerte (Kate del Castillo) and fearsome Xibalba (Ron Perlman) bet on who will win. Gutierrez, making his first feature film with the help of producer and mentor Guillermo del […]
Aug. 04, 2014 | 6:05 p.m.
Excited to see “Star Wars Rebels”? Tonight, you can watch the first seven minutes of the first episode online. Set about five years before the beginning of “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope,” the new animated series follows the adventures of a group of heroes desperately trying to combat the all-consuming might of the Empire, the fascistic government arisen from the ashes of the Old Republic in “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.” Although the story will recount the formation of the Rebel Alliance, the group that Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia and Han Solo would eventually lead to defeat the evil Empire, at the outset of the show the organization is little more than a ragtag band of aliens and a Jedi Knight in hiding, Kanan (voiced by Freddie Prinze Jr.), who engage in minor skirmishes with Imperial […]
July 26, 2014 | 3:51 p.m.
Travis Knight, the chief executive of stop-motion animation studio Laika wanted to be clear about something while presenting the upcoming feature “The Boxtrolls” to the fans in Hall H on Saturday. “No farts,” Knight said of the script to the film. “This ain’t DreamWorks.” Indeed, the animators responsible for “Coraline,” “ParaNorman” and now “Boxtrolls” made a point of showing just how much their work was a labor of love. The sizzle reel shown at the beginning of the panel spent ample time showing animators hand-crafting the sets, props and puppets used in the film. The film is based on British author Alan Snow’s 2005 children’s novel, “Here Be Monsters!” And Knight spoke to how the source material spoke to him. “It had whispers of classic literature,” he said. “Roald Dahl, Monty Python and Dickens.” The story is set in Victorian […]