Friday, October 5, 2012

Marvel Back to Animated Features

It's been a very long time since Thor: Tales of Asgard. Did you catch that film? Neither did I. That was 2011. Now, fresh from the success of The Avengers with legions of fans wondering what a company like Disney might do with a blockbuster stable of characters and access to animation technology that is, no doubt, the best on the planet..Marvel answers the call for new direct to DVD animated features....or ANYTHING awesomely animated!

The project is called "Iron Man and Hulk: Heroes United". ~snore~ The title just smacks of the Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes cancellation in favor of something more kid friendly...even though they also cancelled Super Hero Squad..which was specifically for kids. ~grumble~ reports the pair of heroes will take on Zzzax, a creature of pure energy you may remember from pas Hulk comics.

“We see his origin in the movie. It’s what would happen if the entire Eastern seaboard [electrical grid] went out,” says Jeph Loeb, executive VP of Marvel’s TV division, which is overseeing the movie. “The two heroes meet up, thinking of each other as to blame.”

Voice work is handled by Adrian Pasdar ( Heroes) as Iron Man, Fred ­Tatasciore (our favorite Hulk) as Banner and the jade giant, and Dee Bradley Baker as Zzzax. The article goes on to talk about the characterizations being offshoots of their live screen counterparts..meaning we can expect a RDJ impersonation. They also mention Hulk will have a bit more to say besides "SMASH" or "Puny God." Sadly, to me, this all smacks of desperation to get more product out there mirroring the films that have been most successful for them, but this leaves a wealth of incredible material locked in a closet as they overlook YEARS of killer comic stories. Once more, they pass over an opportunity to introduce kids to the award winning stories we grew up loving and the iconic characters they could continue reading about in monthly comics.

A short while ago, Bleeding Cool ran a story about some clandestine scouting of a comic shop by WB reps. The crew asked employees what they thought of DC Comics films and were ultimately told, if they want to succeed, they should do what Disney/Marvel did. With that in mind, I beg Disney to do what Warner Brothers is doing with their direct to DVD animated features. WB knows what the fans want. They understand what stories are most loved and how to approach them. They tackle each project individually and with the sensibilities of a die hard fan...which is to say the love shines through, but without any fanboy fanaticism. Disney has a real problem trusting the work...but the people they've been choosing to head up their projects do not. Watching The Avengers and Amazing Spider-Man tells us each project was created by a person who LOVES the source material and understands what about it makes it cool. More than that, they remember how much fun it was to read those comics and found a way to translate that to the big screen. This is something even WB falls flat on a lot of times. It isn't enough that you are translating our favorite stories. It should be FUN as well! Re-watch Hulk vs Wolverine. Healthy doses found in there! If Disney can inject this magic element back into their DVD projects..and quite frankly..steer clear of whatever is happening in the art above..they can't help but win all day long.

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