May 28, 2013 | 6:00 a.m.
Eastern philosophy is not the first thing one associates with the Disneyland Resort, but the message of the Fantasyland Theatre’s new and quite splendid stage show “Mickey and the Magical Map” is decidedly, and surprisingly, Zen. Or as Zen as a show can be in which young men and women in rustic fantasy-wear sing and dance their way through some of the studio’s greatest hits in front of a gorgeous three-tiered screen awash in animated wonder. Like many characters of his demo, Mickey Mouse is, above all, a seeker of enlightenment. In “Mickey and the Magical Map,” he’s back in Sorcerer’s Apprentice mode, trying to prove himself by filling in the final empty space on his master’s map. The black spot, which does not want to be painted, comes to life and takes Mickey on a magical, musical, multimedia tour. […]
May 20, 2013 | 8:41 a.m.
“Star Wars” fans let out a collective howl of anguish earlier this year when it was announced that one of the casualties of Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm was the animated series “Star Wars: The Clone Wars.” But though that fan favorite series was canceled without a satisfactory conclusion, there’s still a chance to get an animation fix. Lucasfilm is now working on a new animated series, “Star Wars Rebels,” set to premiere in fall 2014 on the Disney Channel with a one-hour episode and then move to Disney XD. Set in the two decades between “Episode III” and “Episode IV,” the series will follow the adventures of the Rebel Alliance as they attempt to evade the growing might of the Empire. Simon Kinberg, writer of one of the upcoming “Star Wars” spinoff films, will serve as an executive producer of […]
May 16, 2013 | 3:58 p.m.
Two classic Studio Ghibli films are getting the Blu-ray treatment. Disney is releasing Hayao Miyazaki’s “My Neighbor Totoro” and “Howl’s Moving Castle” on May 21. This year marks the 25th anniversary for “My Neighbor Totoro,” which follows sisters Satsuki and Mei (voiced by Dakota and Elle Fanning, respectively, in the Blu-ray’s 2005 Disney dubbing) as they move to the countryside and discover their new neighbor, a furry forest spirit named Totoro. Only children can see the strange animal ghost — “a seven-foot forest spirit who looks like an outsized cross between a bunny rabbit and a fuzzy throw pillow,” critic and historian Charles Solomon wrote in his 1993 Times review of the film. “Guided by their supernatural friend, the sisters share a series of adventures, soaring over the landscape while Totoro’s roars make the winds blow,” Solomon wrote. “But the story […]
May 09, 2013 | 8:00 a.m.
Walt Disney Animation Studios is announcing its first movie inspired by a Marvel comic Thursday, an adaptation of a lesser known crime fighter series called “Big Hero 6.” Directed by Don Hall (“Winnie the Pooh”) and due in 2014, the CG-animated movie will center on a robotics prodigy named Hiro Hamada and his robot companion BayMax, who join a team of superheroes in a high-tech city called San Fransokyo. (For a closer look at the city of San Fransokyo, see the video above). Even die-hard comic book fans may have trouble recalling the Marvel series, which was created by Steven T. Seagle and Duncan Rouleau in 1998 and is something of a whimsical love letter to Japanese culture. Characters in the original comic include a samurai, an agent who invented a nanotechnology-based Power Purse and a monster born from a […]
May 03, 2013 | 4:24 p.m.
Iron Man is back in the multiplex in a big way this weekend with “Iron Man 3,” but the character also features prominently in “Marvel’s Avengers Assemble,” a new animated series set to premiere July 7 on the Marvel Universe block on Disney XD, with a special one-hour sneak preview on May 26. Hero Complex is bringing you a new look at the team. The heroic lineup, which also includes Hulk, Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye and Black Widow, is the same as the Avengers who assembled for Joss Whedon’s 2012 blockbuster, with the notable inclusion of one of Captain America’s oldest friends and partners, the Falcon. A previous series, “The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes,” offered glimpses of numerous Marvel characters, but “Avengers Assemble” marks the first time this lineup has appeared on a television show. The series stars Adrian Pasdar […]
April 24, 2013 | 8:00 a.m.
Perhaps one of the oddest and underutilized groups of characters in the Marvel Universe, the Inhumans are having a moment. The mutant family of superheroes originally created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby is starring in a new DVD offering from Marvel Knights Animation and Shout! Factory released this week, titled simply, “Inhumans” with an internal tale written by Paul Jenkins and drawn by Jae Lee. The group, led by king, Black Bolt, also promises to be one of the central players in the upcoming “Infinity” crossover saga, which Marvel editor-in-chief Axel Alonso calls “a Marvel event in every sense of the word because it narrows the gap between Earthbound and cosmic heroes.” Hero Complex recently caught up with the busy executive to talk Inhumans, Marvels’ “Age of Ultron” event and the general outlook for the company. HC: Do you […]
March 30, 2013 | 1:41 p.m.
“Superman: Unbound” is the title of the latest DC Universe animated original movie, but Lois Lane sure gives the Man of Steel a run for his money in the “unbound” department. A rude gesture having to do with Lane and Brainiac was perhaps the most memorable moment of the film’s world premiere at WonderCon on Friday night. “I think she’s the best character in the movie,” said screenwriter Bob Goodman during a panel discussion after the screening at the Anaheim Convention Center’s Arena. The film, which features Superman and Supergirl taking on Brainiac, a being that collects cities and destroys worlds, was adapted from a comics storyline written by Geoff Johns and illustrated by Gary Frank. It is rated PG-13 and slated for release on May 7 on DVD/Blu-ray and digital download. The Q&A featured producer-director James Tucker (“Justice League,” […]
March 28, 2013 | 4:11 p.m.
Not exactly a sequel, and not an entirely new franchise either, Disney’s “Planes” is hoping to capitalize on the success of the first two “Cars” films that combined earned more than $1 billion worldwide. “Planes” takes viewers back to a world where cars, planes and even forklifts have feelings, facial expressions and the ability to talk. The film will look very familiar to anyone who has seen either “Cars” or “Cars 2,” but it is produced by DisneyToon Studios, and not Pixar, which produced the first two “Cars” movies. The star of “Planes” is Dusty (Dane Cook), a crop duster who dreams of joining the air racing circuit, even if he is afraid of heights. He’s joined by a cast of characters that include a grounded old Navy Corsair who coaches him to greatness, a genial fuel truck, and an […]
March 28, 2013 | 8:38 a.m.
Superman looks good for 75. The Last Son of Krypton’s 75th anniversary coincides with the June 14 release of “Man of Steel,” easily one of the top 13 must-see movies of 2013. Superman arrived on the scene in June of 1938 in “Action Comics” No. 1, one of the most coveted comic books in history. (If you see a dusty copy of the original at a garage sale, snap it up. Only a few dozen copies are believed to be in existence. An original netted $2.1 million for actor and collector Nicolas Cage.) Quiz: How well do you know Superman? In that debut issue, Superman was introduced as a mythic hero and champion of the oppressed. The brainchild of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster proved so popular with readers that he soon landed his very own comic series. In honor of Superman’s 75th anniversary, […]
March 12, 2013 | 11:52 a.m.
Angry Birds developer Rovio Entertainment found itself in a quandary. How do you follow up the most successful mobile game in history, after more than 1.7 billion in downloads across all available platforms? The answer: “Angry Birds Toons.” Unveiled during the developer’s conference at SXSW 2013, the cartoon shorts will be broadcast by way of Comcast’s Xfinity service and Samsung Smart TVs beginning March 16, and on March 17, a button will be added to all “Angry Birds”-related apps linking to the cartoon. Rovio — whose slingshot game has included the special versions “Angry Birds Space” and “Angry Birds Star Wars” — is clear about its plans to extend its domination beyond the app store. “With over 1.7 billion downloads, we can reach a far wider and more engaged global audience than traditional distribution would allow,” Rovio Chief Executive Mikael […]