Jan. 21, 2015 | 4:00 p.m.
Forget Joseph Campbell and “The Power of Myth.” The inspiration for “Strange Magic,” the new animated feature co-written and produced by “Star Wars” mastermind George Lucas, was Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” “I thought, wouldn’t it be fun to make the movie using existing music and find lyrics from the songs to actually tell the story,” Lucas said recently during a phone conversation from New York City. “I was trying to take my archive of music that continues long after I did ‘American Graffiti’ and go through it.” Opening Friday, “Strange Magic” centers on the unpleasant Bog King (Alan Cumming), a tragic figure ruling over his dark forest with a foul temper and a distaste for anything related to love. That is, until he meets Marianne (Evan Rachel Wood), a fairy princess who has also soured on love, and many […]
Nov. 11, 2014 | 10:36 a.m.
“Strange Magic,” a musical animated feature film inspired by William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” is coming to theaters in January, Disney announced Tuesday. The news comes after much speculation that the film would be a sequel to Disney’s record-breaking blockbuster “Frozen.” The rumor mill appears to have gotten it wrong, with nary a snowman in sight. Instead, the project — from Lucasfilm and Touchstone Pictures — is inspired by Shakespeare’s magical comedy and based on a story by “Star Wars” mastermind George Lucas, and will feature modern-day pop songs (Electric Light Orchestra, anyone?). Here’s the official description from Disney: “Strange Magic” is a madcap fairy tale musical inspired by “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Popular songs from the past six decades help tell the tale of a colorful cast of goblins, elves, fairies and imps, and their hilarious misadventures sparked […]
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. 03, 2012 | 1:14 p.m.
Gary Rydstrom is a wizard with sound. In the last three decades, he’s worked with James Cameron, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Pixar, racking up seven Oscars and nine more nominations for his contributions to such films as “Titanic,” “Minority Report,” “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace” and “Finding Nemo,” among others. Although the new film “The Secret World of Arrietty,” the latest production from Japan’s revered animation house Studio Ghibli, finds Rydstrom in the director’s chair for the second time, he’s sticking close to his field of expertise — he directed the actors as they recorded the audio portion of the English-language release of the film, which Disney is opening in the U.S. on Feb. 17. Hayao Miyazaki co-wrote the Japanese screenplay for the film, which is based on “The Borrowers,” Mary Norton’s 1952 children’s book about […]