Feb. 20, 2014 | 1:16 p.m.
“The Wind Rises” opens in select U.S. theaters Friday before an expanded release next week, and a new clip has been released, spotlighting a scene from what legendary animation director Hayao Miyazaki has said will be his last film. The Studio Ghibli film, which is up for an Academy Award next month, tells the story of real-life Japanese engineer Jiro Horikoshi (voiced by Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who designed the Zero fighter plane. Inspired by the work of Italian aeronautical designer Caproni (Stanley Tucci), Jiro grows up dreaming of flying and designing beautiful planes. After his nearsightedness keeps him from realizing his goal, he instead becomes one of the world’s most innovative airplane designers. The tale follows Jiro through key historical events including Japan’s devastating 1923 earthquake, a tuberculosis epidemic and economic troubles that preceded the nation’s plunge into World War II. […]
Feb. 12, 2014 | 6:41 p.m.
The upcoming animated series “Star Wars Rebels” has introduced another new character — one of the show’s heroes, the so-called “cowboy Jedi” Kanan. In the series, which is set to premiere in the fall on the Disney Channel but will air regularly on Disney XD, Kanan, voiced by Freddie Prinze Jr., is a former Jedi Knight who survived the Emperor’s massacre of the order in “Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith” and has gone into hiding. He no longer uses his lightsaber for fear of being discovered, and he’s ultimately turned from the path of the Jedi. But, as the series rolls out, Kanan just might find his way back toward the way of nobility and light. According to “Star Wars Rebels” executive producer Dave Filoni, “He’s a gunslinger that needs to put the gun away and […]
Feb. 08, 2014 | 9:20 a.m.
“The Lego Movie” features Will Arnett tacking Batman’s brooding cool guy image to its logical extreme — idiocy. Directed by “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” and “21 Jump Street” filmmakers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, “The Lego Movie” follows everybrick Emmet (Chris Pratt) as he tries to stop an evil tyrant (Will Ferrell) from gluing the universe together. Batman, the narcissistic goth boyfriend of Lego resistance fighter Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), speaks in a growl, only builds with black bricks and dismisses Emmet’s every building idea. In an interview with Hero Complex, Arnett shared how he and the filmmakers found their post-Christian Bale Batman sound, how much input DC Comics had into the character and what his personal Lego-building style is. Hero Complex: At some point in the last 10 years or so our culture started taking superheroes very seriously, and none more […]
Jan. 10, 2014 | 10:05 p.m.
Sunday’s episode of “The Simpsons” features a whimsical sequence that pays tribute to Hayao Miyazaki, the legendary animation director and animator and cofounder of animation Studio Ghibli. A clip from Sunday’s episode (watch it above) includes references to many of Studio Ghibli films: Otto Mann, the show’s school bus driver, is transformed into the Catbus from “My Neighbor Totoro”; Springfield’s police Chief Clancy Wiggum appears as a pig, like the hero of “Porco Rosso”; Marge’s sisters Patty and Selma Bouvier ride brooms like the young witch in “Kiki’s Delivery Service”; Mo resembles the scarecrow Turnip-Head from “Howl’s Moving Castle”; and the Kwik-E-Mart becomes the castle itself. The episode also includes references to “Spirited Away” and other Miyazaki films. PHOTOS: Hayao Miyazaki, an animated icon The episode, titled “Married to the Blob,” focuses on Comic Book Guy, the owner of Springfield’s […]
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 […]