Dec. 26, 2012 | 4:02 p.m.
Gerry Anderson, the British creator of the TV series “Thunderbirds” renowned for his original and influential use of marionettes on TV, has died following a lengthy battle with mixed dementia. He was 83. Anderson’s adult son Jamie made the announcement, according to the Associated Press. He said that his father died peacefully in his sleep on Wednesday at a nursing home in Oxfordshire, England. Anderson was widely known for his “supermarionation” technique, which uses marionettes controlled by ultra-thin wires. He developed the technique for a number of British TV series in the 1960s, including “Thunderbirds,” about ex-astronaut Jeff Tracy and his sons combating evil with advanced technology and the Thunderbird planes. Other series Anderson created using the technique included “Supercar” and “Fireball XL5.” The technique proved to have a lasting influence, as demonstrated by “South Park” creators Trey Parker and […]
Nov. 20, 2012 | 7:00 a.m.
Santa and the Easter Bunny are constantly one-upping each other, the Tooth Fairy feels overworked, Jack Frost is a perpetual adolescent and the Boogeyman is having an identity crisis. These are the workplace dynamics of the childhood characters who populate the new DreamWorks Animation fantasy-adventure film “Rise of the Guardians,” which opens Wednesday. The idea to unite the different folkloric figures in one narrative began more than a decade ago with children’s author and illustrator William Joyce, who wanted to write a series of picture books and novels called “The Guardians of Childhood” that told the legends’ origin stories much the way that comic books unspool the back stories of Spider-Man and Batman. Joyce was inspired by a question his 6-year-old daughter, Mary Katherine, had asked him — are Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny friends? With movie studios hungry […]
Sept. 14, 2012 | 1:56 p.m.
It’s been a big year for Louie Del Carmen, director of Cartoon Network’s new series “Dragons: Riders of Berk” — based on the 2010 DreamWorks animated feature “How to Train Your Dragon.” He is also a story artist on the studio’s upcoming animated feature “Rise of the Guardians,” due in theaters Nov. 21. And he debuted the second installment in his comic series “Steel Noodles” at Comic-Con International this summer. Though Del Carmen began working in animation more than 15 years ago — his credits include “Rugrats,” “Kim Possible” and “Kung Fu Panda” — his entry into the world of comics has been fairly recent. Hero Complex caught up with Del Carmen to talk about “Steel Noodles,” which follows an old man and a mysterious girl who must evade would-be captors and survive on a desolate planet. HC: How did […]
June 11, 2012 | 5:01 p.m.
Tim Burton’s “Frankenweenie” won’t be in theaters until a few weeks before Halloween, but fans eager for an early look at the stop-motion animated film can get a sneak preview in San Diego in July or Anaheim in September as Disney gets set to launch a touring exhibition of original sketches drawn by Burton, as well as extensive props, sets and puppets. The black-and-white, 3-D film centers on a boy named Victor and his live-then-dead-then-live-again dog Sparky. About 200 puppets were crafted for the film — including 16 Sparkys (eight dead, eight alive), 14 Victors and some oddball creations called E (short for Edgar) and Weird Girl, both of which are voiced by longtime Burton collaborator Catherine O’Hara. Martin Short, Martin Landau, Charlie Tahan, Atticus Shaffer, Robert Capron, Conchata Ferrell and Winona Ryder are among the other actors on the […]
May 24, 2012 | 6:46 p.m.
We’re still recovering from the 2012 Hero Complex Film Festival (maybe you are too) and we’ll be posting videos soon from the long weekend of movies, memorable moments and madness, but first there’s a bit of unfinished business: Andrew Stanton promised to send over some fun behind-the-scenes Pixar photos from the “Wall-E” days and we promised to post them and … here they are. The two-time Oscar winner was the guest after our Sunday matinee screening of the most cosmic of Pixar films and he mentioned that the editorial department at Pixar had a bit of fun by taking a reference model of M-O over to the Sears Portrait Studio where warm family memories are preserved forever, um … tasteful flair? – Geoff Boucher RECENT AND RELATED Brad Bird: Hollywood won’t copy Pixar ‘John Carter’: Andrew Stanton digs into Mars ‘Rango’: Verbinski’s new approach The […]
April 03, 2012 | 6:59 p.m.
Some of the top artists at Pixar Animation Studios have donated artwork and memorabilia to an EBay auction that will benefit victims of the Fukushima earthquake and tsunami. Organized to mark the one-year anniversary of the disaster, the auction is part of an international fundraising effort by Artists Help Japan. Daisuke “Dice” Tsutsumi, the Tokyo-born art director of “Toy Story 3,” founded Artists Help Japan in 2011 in response to the destruction in northern Honshu. Artists and musicians have donated their talents to help raise over $240,000 to date. The online auction is one of a series of events taking place in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Toronto, Paris, New York and London. “Artists whom I know in various cities contacted me, asking to contribute,” Tsutsumi says. “What moved me even more than the money they raised was the idea that there […]
March 29, 2012 | 12:00 p.m.
This post has been corrected, as detailed below. With Sunday’s premiere of “Ultimate Spider-Man,” Disney XD looks to adds a new chapter to the character’s long history as an animated success. It was 1967 when ABC aired the first episode of the original “Spider-Man” series and the catchy theme song (with lyrics by Paul Francis Webster, the three-time Oscar winner who wrote “Love is a Many-Splendored Thing”) helped propel it to the status of pop-culture classic. We caught up with Marvel pioneer Stan Lee to talk about his recurring voice role in the new show and the wall-crawling hero’s sticking power. HC: You’ve been making cameos in Marvel feature films since “X-Men” in 2000 and we’ll see you this summer in Marc Webb’s “The Amazing Spider-Man” — but you’re taking it to a different level with this role in “Ultimate Spider-Man.” SL: That’s right, we’re not kidding around anymore, this […]
March 15, 2012 | 1:13 p.m.
Unless you have a young boy at home, it’s possible that Ben 10, the shape-shifting teen superhero, has flown completely under your radar. Unlike the other costumed heroes in the Cartoon Network stable — Batman, Green Lantern, Teen Titans — Ben 10 launched without an existing fan base or brand awareness, the Jeremy Lin of the superhero set. Just seven years after the animated series first aired on Cartoon Network, “Ben 10” is now the network’s top-selling franchise, setting ratings records and selling billions of dollars’ worth of show-related merchandise. At a time when studios struggle to relaunch and reboot long-running comic book properties, Ben 10 is the first new superhero in recent memory to have this sort of breakout success. On Monday, Cartoon Network kicks off “Ben 10 Week,” culminating next Friday with the premiere of the new CGI […]
March 11, 2012 | 3:19 p.m.
Groundbreaking animator Ralph Bakshi, who caused a sensation with the first X-rated cartoon feature — 1972’s “Fritz the Cat,” based on Robert Crumb’s comic strip — is 73 now. For the last decade, he has lived in a home on top of a mountain in New Mexico. He has a website created by his daughter, teaches animation and makes a good living selling his paintings. “I am very happy,” Bakshi said recently in a phone interview. But that wasn’t the case for a long time. “I was working seven days a week keeping an entire movie in my head,” Bakshi said. “It was just so hard. I thought I had failed. Let me be perfectly clear: When I left the business I was burned out. I was exhausted from the fights. So many of my films were cut up, chopped […]
Feb. 20, 2012 | 11:28 a.m.
The Grid, a world of shimmering, digital wonder, was introduced to moviegoers in 1982 film “Tron” and then taken to a new visual level in “Tron: Legacy” in 2010. Now the Grid is going to television and expanding with a wider mythology and new characters — and more of the sleek, glowing vehicles that fans love. “Tron: Uprising,” which begins this summer on Disney XD, was developed by Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis, the same tandem that wrote “Tron: Legacy,” and they say the freedom of animation is allowing to explore the Grid without the constraints of a special effects budget. “The fun thing about animation is all the stuff we couldn’t afford in [‘Tron: Legacy’], either because they were financially or technologically prohibitive, we can now do because it’s animated,” Kitsis said. The duo, now also working on its […]