Nov. 19, 2013 | 12:22 p.m.
A new trailer for “The Wind Rises” is out, offering a glimpse at the film legendary animation director Hayao Miyazaki has said will be his last. The Studio Ghibli release tells the story of real-life Japanese engineer Jiro Horikoshi, who designed the Zero fighter plane. The film, based on a short story by Japanese poet Hori Tatsuo, follows Jiro through pre-World War II Japan, the country’s devastating 1923 earthquake, a tuberculosis epidemic and economic troubles that preceded the war. It’s a departure from Miyazaki’s previous work, which often relied on myth, magical realism and a strong focus on nature. “The Wind Rises,” which marks Miyazaki’s first time directing since “Ponyo” five years ago, was released briefly earlier this month for an Oscar-qualifying run. Originally in Japanese with English subtitles, “The Wind Rises” will be released for North American audiences under […]
Oct. 16, 2013 | 12:29 p.m.
Superman turns 75 this year, and the anniversary celebrations continue with a new animated video from “Man of Steel” director Zack Snyder and DC animation giant Bruce Timm. The two-minute video, unveiled during New York Comic Con this weekend, looks at Superman’s evolution since his comic book debut in the June issue of “Action Comics,” published April 18, 1938. The video opens on that iconic comic book before the character bursts from the cover and soars through his history. The animated short goes on to reference the Fleischer Studios cartoons, George Reeves, Andy Warhol, “Super Friends,” Christopher Reeve, a Superman Atari game, “The Death of Superman,” the New 52, “Man of Steel” and dozens of other moments from Supes’ prolific past. DC published a second-by-second list of all the video’s references online. Fans of Superman’s big-screen appearances will recognize the […]
Oct. 12, 2013 | 3:09 p.m.
Say hello to the Inquisitor. “Star Wars Rebels” executive producer Dave Filoni introduced the first new character from the upcoming animated series in a video appearance at New York Comic Con on Saturday, and he’s quite the fearsome-looking foe. But the image of the villain isn’t the only new artwork available from the show that is set to pick up the “Star Wars” animated mantle from “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” which aired on Cartoon Network but was canceled earlier this year. Hero Complex is pleased to debut an exclusive piece of concept art featuring some spacecraft that will look familiar to any fan. Check it out below. Set 14 years after “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith,” “Star Wars Rebels” will center on a core group of characters — with the Inquisitor serving as a major […]
Oct. 04, 2013 | 1:20 p.m.
Guillermo del Toro’s couch gag for “The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror XXIV” is nothing less than a love letter to the horror genre. Del Toro directed the show’s trademark opening sequence for this year’s Halloween special, and he pays homage to more horror franchises than we could count. Among the references in the opening, which runs just under three minutes, are tributes to Alfred Hitchcock, H. P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, Edgar Allan Poe and more. In addition to Cthulhu, Godzilla and a horde of zombies, Klaatu from “The Day the Earth Stood Still” and “Nosferatu’s” vampire Count Orlok make appearances. In one scene, Bart Simpson scrawls, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy,” the proverb made infamous in Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining.” Attentive viewers will spot the house from “Psycho,” the winged attackers from “The Birds,” Frankenstein and […]
Sept. 27, 2013 | 11:56 a.m.
A new animated video calls on J.J. Abrams, director of the upcoming and highly controversial sequel “Star Wars: Episode VII,” to handle the beloved franchise with care. Created by Prescott Harvey with the creative agency Sincerely, Truman, the animated open letter offers the director four rules “to make ‘Star Wars’ great again”: 1. The setting is the frontier; 2. The future is old; 3. The Force is mysterious; and 4. Star Wars isn’t cute. “I’ve spent most of my recent years wondering why the original ‘Star Wars’ trilogy was so awesome, and the new movies were so terrible,” Harvey told sci-fi site io9, which debuted the video. “I took an empirical approach, determining what elements were in the original movies that differed from the prequels. My first major epiphany was that, in the originals, the characters are always outside somewhere […]
Sept. 16, 2013 | 3:43 p.m.
Korra and the rest of Team Avatar returned to television Friday with the second season premiere of “The Legend of Korra.” Back on Nickelodeon after a 15-month hiatus, the animated series picks up with “Book 2: Spirits” — a new season that offers a look into the mysterious world of spirits first introduced in the show’s predecessor, the Emmy-winning “Avatar: The Last Airbender.” The premiere revealed an uneasy relationship between Korra’s father Tonraq (James Remar), leader of the Southern Water Tribe, and his brother Unalaq (Adrian LaTourelle), chief of the Northern Water Tribe. Unalaq’s offer to become Avatar Korra’s new trainer in spiritual techniques results in conflict between the brothers, between Korra and her family, and, it would seem, between the tribes. Hero Complex sat down with “Legend of Korra” and “Avatar” co-creators Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, as well as actress Janet Varney, who […]
Aug. 22, 2013 | 2:24 p.m.
Fred Tatasciore is a fun-loving guy, but he’s best known in Hollywood for bringing to life a creature fueled by rage: the Incredible Hulk. A voice actor, Tatasciore has been playing the Hulk consistently for almost a decade — working on at least six different film, TV and video game projects this year alone. He’s currently in Disney XD’s “Marvel’s Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H,” which launched in early August. Channeling the roars, grunts and howls required to give voice to the Hulk takes a special type of actor. A big one. “It’s a physical workout and requires my voice to open up a bit, but it lets me get a chance to do what a lot of others can’t,” said the tall, burly Tatasciore. “Hulk’s a good guy at heart but gets launched into a very primal, animal […]
July 16, 2013 | 8:00 a.m.
Joss Whedon’s “The Avengers 2″ won’t reach theaters until 2015, but fans looking for more from the heroes that made box office history in 2012 can catch the group — plus one new member — in animated form in Disney XD’s series “Marvel’s Avengers Assemble.” The new show, which premiered July 7, isn’t the first animated series to feature the crime-fighting team, but it is the first to use virtually the same roster of characters that appeared in Whedon’s film, the $1-billion-plus hit that inspired critics like The Times’ Kenneth Turan, who described the movie as “smartly thought out and executed with verve and precision.” The character Falcon joins the Whedon lineup for the new show. It’s one of the very few changes made by the creative team, and it plays into what’s happening in the Marvel cinematic universe without […]
July 10, 2013 | 8:01 p.m.
Wolverine is probably the most popular mutant in the Marvel Universe, and maybe one of the most popular characters ever — but there was a time when the X-Men’s resident slasher-turned-headmaster was a total enigma, his story as shrouded in mystery as his missing memory. Then came “Wolverine: Origin,” which spelled out a lot of Logan’s back story. The Shout! Factory has teamed up with Marvel once again to give the comic book an animated treatment in Marvel Knights Animation’s “Wolverine: Origin.” The story tells the tale of Logan as a boy, the circumstances of his somewhat privileged early life and how his powers tragically manifested — hundreds of years ago. It goes on to show his always-tempestuous relationship with Sabretooth, his service in many armies, his adventures from the Canadian wilderness to the back alleys of Japan, and other […]
June 19, 2013 | 1:39 p.m.
In Disney’s upcoming animated musical “Frozen,” fearless protagonist Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell) teams up with mountain man Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) to find Anna’s Snow Queen sister Elsa (Idina Menzel), who has trapped their kingdom in endless winter. As epic as their journey may be, the first trailer focuses instead on a comedic battle between reindeer Sven and snowman Olaf over the latter’s carrot-nose. “Frozen,” out Nov. 27, features songs by “The Book of Mormon” composer Robert Lopez and his wife, Kristen Anderson-Lopez. The film is directed by Chris Buck (“Tarzan”) and Jennifer Lee, a screenwriter for “Wreck-It Ralph” and, with “Frozen,” the first woman to direct a feature at Disney Animation. Buck first pitched the idea to John Lasseter, Disney Animation’s chief creative officer, in 2008, proposing an adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s story “The Snow Queen.” “One of […]