Animation

May 09, 2013 | 8:00 a.m.

Exclusive: Disney Animation announces first Marvel movie, ‘Big Hero 6′

This concept art for “Big Hero 6” showcases the Bridge to San Fransokyo. Credit: Disney.
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 08, 2013 | 2:24 p.m.

Ray Harryhausen: Pixar’s Pete Docter on the monster king

Characters in Pixar's "Monster Inc." dine at Harryhausens. Credit: Pixar
In the 2001 Pixar movie “Monsters, Inc.,” Mike, the one-eyed green orb voiced by Billy Crystal, takes his scaly, snake-haired girlfriend Celia out for sushi at a local haunt called Harryhausen’s. The name of the restaurant was a nod to a man who influenced “Monsters, Inc.” director Pete Docter — special effects pioneer Ray Harryhausen, who died Tuesday in London at age 92. Before the kind of computer animation pioneered at Pixar became Hollywood’s standard tool for crafting its fantasies, Harryhausen used the methodical, frame-by-frame technique of stop-motion animation to place dinosaurs in New York City in 1953’s “The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms,” to pit Jason against an army of skeleton warriors in “Jason and the Argonauts” (1963), and to release the kraken in the 1981 version of “Clash of the Titans.” It was an approach that captured the imaginations […]
May 07, 2013 | 7:10 p.m.

Ray Harryhausen: A tribute to the king of featured creatures

Model animator Ray Harryhausen, who brought monsters and dinosaurs and all manner of critters to life, frame by frame, in feature films from “Mighty Joe Young” (1949) to “Clash of the Titans” (1981), died Tuesday in London at the age of 92. Inspired by Willis O’Brien, who animated “King Kong,” he was himself the stated inspiration for generations of sci-fi and fantasy filmmakers. And he scared a lot of little kids, which I know for a fact. It’s not quite right to call his passing the end of an era, because Harryhausen’s era predeceased him by some time, buried in an avalanche of increasingly sophisticated computerized special effects from which the actual hand of man has been all but erased. To be sure, it was his own goal to make his effects invisible, to seamlessly mate his miniatures with the […]
Feb. 20, 2013 | 12:42 p.m.

Oscars 2013 host Seth MacFarlane: ‘I’m the wrong guy’ for the job

Academy Awards host Seth MacFarlane (Credit: Getty Images)
Academy Awards host Seth MacFarlane has a message for the Oscars: Be careful what you wish for ’cause you just might get it. The raunchy-minded creative genius behind TV’s “Family Guy” and “American Dad” and the summer box office hit “Ted” says the 85th annual Academy Awards on Sunday will be “a very thin-skinned room” for his ribald sense of humor. “It’s a really bad match,” MacFarlane told CNN. “I’m the wrong guy to do this.” Oscars 2013: Complete coverage What do you think? Is MacFarlane a good match for the Oscars? Will the Academy Awards regret turning over the reins to him? Will he push the envelope? MacFarlane was joking, of course, in his comments to CNN. Or was he? Let’s not forget MacFarlane’s surprising appearance at the announcement of the Academy Awards nominees last month. (MacFarlane is the only […]
Feb. 08, 2013 | 9:21 a.m.

Nemo the monster: Powerful blizzard named for cute fish rolls in

Nemo-and-shark
Powerful blizzard Nemo — predicted to be the biggest winter storm in a century in some cities — was bringing heavy snow to the Northeast on Friday morning, interfering with travel and school and basically causing chaos. Wait. Nemo? Isn’t that the cuddly Disney/Pixar fish? The Weather Channel chose the name, and its website helpfully defines it. “Nemo: A Greek boy’s name meaning ‘from the valley,’ means ‘nobody’ in Latin.”  But to the rest of us, Nemo is the adorable clownfish with the overprotective single dad. PHOTOS: Snowpocalypse and more Only outside the Nemo zone do people have time to ponder this blizzard name. Friday morning brought a beehive of activity to the Northeast, according to media reports, as residents stockpiled supplies and tried to get where they wanted to go before mass transit was suspended. Flight Aware reported thousands […]
Feb. 05, 2013 | 5:00 a.m.

Studio Ghibli’s ‘Poppy Hill’ trailer: Love, secrets in a bygone era

A scene in "From Up on Poppy Hill." (Studio Ghibli / GKids)
Studio Ghibli fans can get a glimpse of the Japanese animation studio’s latest film “From Up on Poppy Hill” in a new trailer released Monday. “Poppy Hill” follows high school students Umi (voiced by “Once Upon a Time” actress Sarah Bolger in the English-language version) and Shun (“Star Trek Into Darkness” actor Anton Yelchin), who find love when they team up to save a historic building from demolition in 1963 Yokohama. The film deals with nostalgia for a bygone era and hope for a modern future, as the country heals after World War II and prepares to host the 1964 Olympics. The film is based on a 1980s manga by Tetsuo Sayama and Chizuru Takahashi. Studio Ghibli’s co-founder Hayao Miyazaki wrote the screenplay and his son, Goro, directed. “Poppy Hill” was a box office hit in Japan and went on to win […]
Jan. 30, 2013 | 7:10 p.m.

‘Paperman': Oscar-nominated Disney short takes a page from classics

Disney's Oscar-nominated short film 'Paperman'
If you missed it in theaters, Disney’s Oscar-nominated romance “Paperman” is now online, in time for Valentine’s Day. The animated short film screened before “Wreck-It Ralph” in theaters last fall and debuted on YouTube Tuesday, already garnering more than 26,000 “likes.” “Paperman” is about a young office worker in midcentury New York who meets his soul mate while waiting for the train. The train arrives and the girl is gone, but he gets a second chance at a meet-cute when he looks out his office window and sees her in the skyscraper across the street. Cue the paper airplanes. It’s a love story rendered in gorgeous black and white, harking back to the days of hand-drawn animation — which is exactly what first-time director John Kahrs was aiming for. When Kahrs served as animation supervisor on Disney’s “Tangled,” he worked […]
Jan. 28, 2013 | 7:00 a.m.

‘Dark Knight Returns': Mark Valley talks Superman, ‘Human Target’

Mark Valley plays Superman in "Batman: The Dark Knight Returns Part 2." (Warner Bros.)
Frank Miller’s genre-shaking graphic novel “Batman: The Dark Knight Returns” is getting the movie treatment. The second installment in the two-part animated adaptation premieres Monday evening at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills. The premiere includes a panel discussion moderated by filmmaker and geek personality Kevin Smith, featuring director Jay Oliva, dialogue director Andrea Romano, executive producer Bruce Timm and screenwriter Bob Goodman. The panel will be live streamed from PaleyCenter.org beginning at approximately 8:30 p.m. The film — which doesn’t stray far from Miller’s classic 1986 story — features the voice talent of Peter Weller (“Robocop,” “Dexter”) as a time-worn (and probably psychopathic) Bruce Wayne who becomes so disturbed by Gotham’s worsening crime that he decides to come out of retirement against the wishes of local and national government. The president turns to none other than Superman to […]
Jan. 11, 2013 | 9:40 a.m.

‘Croods’ sneak peek: Emma Stone heroine more parkour than pinup

Eep (Emma Stone) in 'The Croods' (featured image)
From Betty Boop to the Little Mermaid, young female characters in animation nearly always share the same silhouette — an exaggerated hourglass shape. But Eep, the prehistoric teenager voiced by Emma Stone in the Dreamworks Animation movie “The Croods,” sports a decidedly different physique. More Olympian than pinup, Eep has the shoulders of a swimmer, the legs of a gymnast and the strength and speed to survive the apocalypse — or at least some major continent shifting. The Crood family — including Eep’s dad, Grug (Nicolas Cage), mom, Ugga (Catherine Keener), and brother, Thunk (Clark Duke) — live in a fictional time period called the “Croodaceous Era,” when the Earth is populated by exotic, dangerous creatures and the most useful animal instinct is fear. It’s when Eep meets Guy (Ryan Reynolds), a lanky loner from a more highly evolved, Homo […]
Jan. 09, 2013 | 1:25 p.m.

‘The Blue Umbrella': First look at Pixar’s rainy day love story

'The Blue Umbrella' (featured image)
A rainy twilight sets the stage for two umbrellas to fall in love in a clip from “The Blue Umbrella” — a short film set to debut before Pixar’s “Monsters University” this June. Pixar has become nothing short of a hit machine, churning out many of Hollywood’s most popular and critically acclaimed animated features over the last 15 years. But equally beloved are the Pixar Shorts — the animated short films that have accompanied each Pixar theatrical release since old Geri played a game of chess against himself in “Geri’s Game,” which debuted before “A Bug’s Life” in 1998. The shorts have become known for originality and charm, and have garnered three Oscar wins plus seven nominations collectively, including a nod for “La Luna,” which screened before last year’s “Brave.” “The Blue Umbrella” looks to follow suit, if the adorable […]
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