Rock ’Em-Sock ’Em Spring Discs

March and April re­leases are all about ac­tion, with Har­lock lead­ing the charge.

Animation Magazine - - Home Video - By Mercedes Mil­li­gan.

The latest en­try into the DC Uni­verse An­i­mated Orig­i­nal Movie canon pits the dy­namic duo against it­self in this ac­tion-packed ad­ven­ture from di­rec­tor Jay Oliva ( Bat­man: As­sault on Arkham, Jus­tice League: War). Reck­less young hero Robin, a.k.a. Damian Wayne, is fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of his Dark Knight dad, but when he en­coun­ters a mys­te­ri­ous fig­ure called Talon, who in­tro­duces him to the shad­owy world of the Court of Owls, it will set him on a dan­ger­ous path that could change his des­tiny for­ever.

Based on the Court of Owls comic arc and scripted by J.M. De­Mat­teis ( Teen Ti­tans Go!, Bat­man: The Brave and the Bold), Bat­man vs. Robin fea­tures the voices of Jason O’Mara as Bat­man, Stu­art Allan as Robin, Jeremy Sisto as Talon, David McCal­lum, Sean Ma­her, Grey DeLisle-Grif­fin, Robin come a sports en­ter­tain­ment pro­moter and throw Bar­ney into the ring with the likes of rock-hard wrestlers John Ce­na­s­tone, Mar­ble Henry and the Un­der­taker.

In ad­di­tion to an­i­ma­tion voiceover vet­er­ans Jeff Bergman, Kevin Michael Richard­son, Tress MacNeille and Grey Grif­fin, WWE char­ac­ters lend­ing their tal­ents to the spoofy smack­down are Brie and Nikki Bella, Daniel Bryan, John Cena, Mark Henry, ends and Appleseed Saga: Ex Machina, the fea­ture-length ad­ven­ture fol­lows the mys­te­ri­ous space pi­rate of the fu­ture, Cap­tain Har­lock, who is de­ter­mined to re­turn his death ship and loyal crew to a bat­tered Earth, de­clared off-lim­its by the in­ter­ga­lac­tic Gaia Coali­tion. The rogue cap­tain comes up with an in­cred­i­ble plan to go back in time to res­cue lease boasts nearly three hours of siz­zlin’ hot and su­per cool con­tent, with 16 pop­u­lar episodes from Pendle­ton Ward’s hit se­ries. Culled from mul­ti­ple sea­sons are “Frost & Fire,” “Earth & Wa­ter,” “Jake the Brick,” “The Prince Who Wanted Ev­ery­thing,” “Some­thing Big,” “Re­turn to the Nighto­sphere,” this year, so if you’ve fallen be­hind now’s the time to catch up on Un­cle G’s ad­ven­tures with his odd­ball friends Pizza Steve, Mr. Gus, Belly Bag and Gi­ant Re­al­is­tic Fly­ing Tiger.

With an as­sort­ment of 12 sur­real se­lec­tions to choose from, you’re sure to have a good mornin’ with this re­lease — no mat­ter the machi­na­tions of Aunt Grandma, Moon Man or Mous­tache Mon­ster. Keep­ing with this month’s pro-wrestling theme, in­cluded is mock­u­men­tary episode “The History of Wrestling,” guest star­ring Ric Flair and re­veal­ing the story of the nut­ti­est wrestling match to ever hap­pen.

[Re­lease date: April 7]

Steve Loter has a rep­u­ta­tion for ac­tion and ad­ven­ture when it comes to an­i­ma­tion. With a credit list in­clud­ing shows like Kim Pos­si­ble, Amer­i­can Dragon: Jake Long and Buzz Lightyear of Star Com­mand, it may come as a sur­prise to see his name at­tached to a film se­ries fea­tur­ing Dis­ney’s beloved fairy Tinker Bell.

We in­ter­viewed Loter on what at­tracted him to di­rect­ing Tinker Bell and the Leg­end of the Neverbeast to be­gin with and what his ap­proach was in bring­ing his par­tic­u­lar style to the well­known char­ac­ters and world while still stay­ing true to what they are.

An­i­ma­tion Mag­a­zine: What at­tracted you to the Tinker Bell pro­ject and how did you come to be the di­rec­tor of it?

Steve Loter: I got called in by Dis­ney Stu­dios, and ini­tially I thought I was be­ing called in for an ac­tion-ad­ven­ture be­cause that’s kind of my back­ground. But when they men­tioned they wanted me to work on a fairy story, I was in­trigued be­cause they were in­ter­ested in putting my own stamp on the fran­chise and fol­low­ing through on my vi­sion on what this story should be. So I was re­ally ex­cited to be able to open up Tinker Bell and the world of Pixie Hol­low to a more ac­tion-ad­ven­ture, cin­e­matic sen­si­bil­ity than it had been pre­vi­ously.

An­imag: What were some of the chal­lenges in crack­ing the story and mak­ing it work as some­thing that you could an­i­mate into a film?

Loter: I think that we al­ways knew the story that we wanted to tell and the theme and the mo­rals we wanted to tell. But that didn’t mean that there weren’t com­pli­ca­tions down the line. I think one of the big­gest chal­lenges we had was an­i­mat­ing Gruff, the Neverbeast, be- cause if we didn’t get him right then the whole film would of kind of fall apart be­cause you wouldn’t have be­lieved him or the re­la­tion­ship. And Gruff is an in­ter­est­ing char­ac­ter be­cause he’s com­prised of a lot of fa­mil­iar el­e­ments you may see in other an­i­mals.

An­imag: When you were an­i­mat­ing Gruff, did you just look at the ref­er­ence of all these an­i­mals or did you come up with a unique way for this one an­i­mal to work?

Loter: Choos­ing ma­te­rial is a re­ally im­port- ant thing. So we did a ton of re­search on ev­ery an­i­mal that was con­nected to Gruff in any way and even some that were not just to see if there were habits that we could kind of in­cor­po­rate. But I made the de­ci­sion pretty early on to not make him an­thro­po­mor­phic be­cause I feel like when you’ve got an an­i­mal that’s stand­ing on two legs and is singing and danc­ing, you kind of lose a real-world con­nec­tion to that an­i­mal.

An­imag: In terms of main­tain­ing con­sis­tency, did you work on this film where cer­tain peo­ple worked on the crea­ture, or worked by char­ac­ter, or was it sort of be­ing split up and passed around by se­quence or scene?

Loter: Well, we were re­ally for­tu­nate be­cause one of the story artists, Ryan Green, un­be­knownst to me when I hired him on board, was an an­i­mal bi­ol­o­gist. So I sat down with him and we talked about all kinds of mus­cle struc­tures and ba­si­cally all kinds of deep-dive an­i­mal bi­ol­ogy stuff. And though all the story artists ab­so­lutely con­trib­uted to Gruff, Ryan was ab­so­lutely a go-to guy for some an­i­mal specifics.

An­imag: Did you have any sort of dif­fi­cul­ties squeez­ing Tinker Bell in or find­ing an arc that worked for her amid ev­ery­thing else?

Loter: Well, Tinker Bell as a char­ac­ter is Fawn’s best friend. So it was good to be able to kind of ex­plore Fawn’s per­son­al­ity and just re­ally take her to places and have Tink kind of be the barom­e­ter of good or at least Fawn’s point of ref­er­ence of moral correctness or the right way to go. And Mae Whit­man as Tink, I mean, she’s a sta­ple. It was also an in­ter­est­ing facet of her role as Tink be­cause it wasn’t the same char­ac­ter. It was slightly dif­fer­ent. It was a char­ac­ter that was more wor­ried, a lit­tle more con­cerned. So it was an in­ter­est­ing turn for Mae to be able to kind of go into a dif­fer­ent zone with Tink, a char­ac­ter that she knows very, very well.

Tinker Bell and her fairy friends meet Gruff in Dis­neytoon Stu­dios’ Tinker Bell and the Leg­end of the Neverbeast. Be­low, the scout fairies take se­ri­ously their job as pro­tec­tors of Pixie Hol­low.

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