Warner Slates Animated ‘Superman: Man of Tomorrow’ Movie

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the animated movie Superman: Man of Tomorrow through digital retailers Aug. 23, and on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Sept. 8.

The latest entry in the DC Universe movie line from Warner Bros. Animation deals with young Daily Planet intern Clark Kent (Darren Criss) in his early days as Superman, as Metropolis is introduced to a new age of heroes. As the budding hero fights for good, he confronts the intergalactic bounty hunter Lobo (Ryan Hurst) and the power-hungry alien Parasite (Brett Dalton).

The cast also includes Zachary Quinto as Lex Luthor, Alexandra Daddario as Lois Lane, Ike Amadi as Martian Manhunter, Piotr Michael as Perry White, Neil Flynn as Jonathan Kent and Bellamy Young as Martha Kent, plus Cristina Milizia, Eugene Byrd, April Stewart, Cissy Jones and David Chen.

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Blu-ray and digital extras include the featurettes “Lobo: Natural Force of Chaos” and “Martian Manhunter: Lost and Found,” the “Superman: The Animated Series” episodes “The Main Man” parts one and two, and previews of other DC Universe animated movies.

Animated Movie Based on DC Comics’ ‘Deathstroke’ Coming in August

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the animated movie Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons through digital retailers Aug. 4, and on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Aug. 18.

The film offers a new take on the DC Comics character Deathstroke, a mercenary and master assassin named Slade Wilson. The film finds him living two lives, one as a relentless killer, the other as a dedicated family man. When his worlds are forced together by the terror group known as H.I.V.E., the killer in Slade must fight to save his loved ones.

The voice cast includes Michael Chiklis as Slade Wilson/Deathstroke, Sasha Alexander as Wilson’s wife, Chris Jai Alex as The Jackal, Faye Mata as Jade/H.I.V.E Queen, Griffin Puatu as Joseph/Jericho, Imari Williams as President Nichols, Asher Bishop as Young Joseph, Colin Salmon as William Wintergreen, Delbert Hunt as Bronze Tiger, Panta Mosleh as Lady Shiva, Noshir Dalal as Kapoor, Castulo Guerra as General Suarez, and Minae Noji as the Secretary of State.

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The latest entry in the DC Animated Movies line was produced by Warner Bros. Animation, DC and Blue Ribbon Content, Warner’s specialty arm for digital platform programming. Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons was originally presented as a series of animated shorts that appeared on CW Seed. The movie version includes 50 minutes of never-before-seen footage, including the climax.

The Blu-ray combo pack will include a digital copy and the featurette “Deathstroke: One-Man Death Machine.” Bonus material is also offered with the digital edition through select retailers.

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‘Scoob!’ Arrives on Disc July 21

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the animated movie Scoob! on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray July 21. The film is already available through digital retailers.

The film recounts the meeting of Scooby-Doo and his best pal Shaggy, and how they joined with young detectives Fred, Velma and Daphne to form Mystery Inc. Now, after hundreds of adventures, Scooby and the gang encounter the larger world of the Hanna-Barbera universe, teaming with Blue Falcon and Dynomutt to stop Dick Dasterdly from unleashing the legendary ghost dog Cerberus upon the world.

The voice cast includes Will Forte, Mark Wahlberg, Jason Isaacs, Gina Rodriguez, Zac Efron, Amanda Seyfried, Kiersey Clemons, Ken Jeong, Tracy Morgan, Simon Cowell and Frank Welker.

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Scoob! was set to be the first “Scooby-Doo!” animated feature film released theatrically May 15, but with the coronavirus pandemic shutting down theaters it was instead released through premium VOD and digital sellthrough.

The discs will include a digital copy and bonus materials previously released with the digital version. The DVD and Blu-ray versions will include a “How to Draw Scooby-Doo” featurette. The Blu-ray editions will also include bloopers, deleted scenes, and the featurettes “New Friends, Newer Villains” and “Puppies!!”

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The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray of Scoob! will feature HDR10+, HDR technology that optimizes brightness levels and contrast for each scene, making bright areas brighter and dark areas darker to deliver a lifelike viewing experience.

Scoob!

DIGITAL REVIEW:

Warner;
Animated;
$19.99 VOD, $24.99 EST;
Rated ‘PG’ for some action, language and rude/suggestive humor.
Voices of Will Forte, Mark Wahlberg, Jason Isaacs, Gina Rodriguez, Zac Efron, Amanda Seyfried, Kiersey Clemons, Ken Jeong, Tracy Morgan, Frank Welker, Iain Armitage, Mckenna Grace, Simon Cowell.

In upscaling “Scooby-Doo!” for what would have been the long-running franchise’s first big-screen outing, the filmmakers behind Scoob! have sent the Mystery Inc. gang far beyond the trappings of their typical adventures.

Instead of a mere ghost story to unravel, the team finds itself entangled in an Indiana Jones-style globetrotting adventure that involves unlocking the gates of hell to uncover vast treasures left behind by Alexander the Great. Along the way they encounter enough characters from other classic cartoons to make this seem less like a “Scooby-Doo!” movie and more like phase one of a Hanna-Barbera cinematic universe.

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It begins simply enough, with a flashback of young Shaggy meeting his talking-dog pal Scooby for the first time — and the pair in turn joining forces with the junior versions of Fred, Daphne and Velma to conquer a haunted house on Halloween. Cut to the present, and the fully fledged mystery-solving team we all know and love is looking for their next case. The client turns out to be none other than Simon Cowell, voicing himself in the grand tradition of the Scooby celebrity crossover, though things hit a snag when he questions the value of Shaggy and Scoob to the team, causing the pair to sulk off.

Once on their own, the pair are attacked by an army of robots and rescued by famed HB superheroes Blue Falcon and Dynomutt, who reveal the villain is none other than Dick Dastardly of HB’s “Wacky Races” fame.

Since Scooby is descended from the trusted dog of Alexander, Dasterdly needs his DNA to unlock the gates, and kidnaps the rest of Mystery Inc. to set a trap. But to unveil the gates, he must retrieve the three skulls of the guardian Cerberus from their hiding spots around the world.

The bizarre story beats, while putting a spin on timeless Scooby tropes, offer an excuse for some wild, colorful animation, as the classic characters are modernized through CGI, while Dasterdly and his army of diminutive robots are no doubt meant to evoke the flavor of Gru and the Minions from Despicable Me. It’s a splashy distraction for the little ones that delivers a warm message about friendship as it brings a touch of nostalgia for older viewers.

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The home video presentation offers 20 minutes of deleted sequences (featuring even more Hanna-Barbera characters) with introductions by director Tony Cervone.

Additional extras include a 10-minute “How to Draw Scooby-Doo” instructional video with Cervone, a four-minute voice-cast blooper reel and a one-minute promotional video in which the cast plays with puppies.

Apple TV offers a six-minute “New Friends, Newer Villains” featurette about all the Hanna-Barbera characters in the film. Vudu has an additional one-minute “Welcome Aboard the Falcon Fury” video, which is just a clip from the film.

‘Playmobil’ Movie Available on Home Video March 3

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment and STX Entertainment will release the animated Playmobil: The Movie on DVD and digitally March 3.

Based on the “Playmobil” toy line of figurines with themed playsets, the film features secret agent Rex Dasher (voiced by Daniel Radcliffe) teaming with smooth-talking food truck driver Del (Jim Gaffigan) and the savvy Marla (Anya Taylor-Joy) to rescue the citizens of different lands who vanish into thin air as a result of the actions of a top-secret organization.

The film grossed $1.1 million at the domestic box office.

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Animated Elseworlds Adventure ‘Superman: Red Son’ Flying to Home Video in 2020

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the DC Universe animated superhero adventure Superman: Red Son through digital retailers Feb. 25, 2020, and on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray March 17.

The film is an adaptation of the 2003 graphic novel Superman: Red Son, part of DC Comics’ “Elseworlds” imprint that provides alternate histories and settings for some of the company’s famous characters. The story takes place in an alternate reality in which the spaceship bearing the last survivor of Krypton crash lands not in America, but in Stalinist Russia, and is raised to defend the ideas of the Soviet Union.

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The cast includes Jason Isaacs as the Soviet Superman, Diedrich Bader as Lex Luthor, Amy Acker as Lois Lane, Vanessa Marshall as Wonder Woman, Phil Morris as James Olsen, Paul Williams as Brainiac, Roger Craig Smith as Batman, Sasha Roiz as Hal Jordan, Phil LaMarr as John Stewart, Jim Meskimen as John F. Kennedy, Travis Willingham as Superior Man, William Salyers as Joseph Stalin, and Winter Ave Zoli as Svetlana.

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The Blu-ray and digital versions will include the new DC Showcase animated short Phantom Stranger, by Bruce Timm. Set in the 1970s, the short follows young adult Jess as she joins her friends at a party in a dilapidated mansion hosted by the mysterious Seth, when odd things begin to happen. Peter Serafinowicz voices Phantom Stranger, and Michael Rosenbaum provides the voice of Seth. The voice cast also includes Natalie Lander, Grey Griffin and Roger Craig Smith.

Other extras include the featurette “Cold Red War,” two episodes from Superman: Red Son – The Motion Comics, and a preview of the next DC Universe movie, Justice League Dark: Apokolips War.

Toy Story 4

BLU-RAY REVIEW: 

Street 10/8/19;
Disney;
Animated;
Box Office $433.06 million;
$39.99 Blu-ray/DVD, $44.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘G.’
Voices of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Annie Potts, Tony Hale, Jordan Peele, Keegan-Michael Key, Keanu Reeves, Ally Maki, Joan Cusack, Bonnie Hunt, Kristen Schaal, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Blake Clark, June Squibb, Carl Weathers, Jeff Garlin.

While the prospect of a fourth “Toy Story” movie was exciting news for fans of the franchise, there were some questions about whether the adventures of Woody, Buzz and the gang might have run their course. After all, the third movie from 2010 was an emotional rollercoaster that seemed to provide a decent, if bittersweet, sense of closure for the characters.

Of course, the question about what stories were left to tell had already been answered long before the fourth movie was announced, not only through three short films, but also two half-hour television specials. So, yeah, there’s more than enough material to mine.

There would still be the challenge of making any new film feel like an event worthy of the franchise. The movies should at least be somewhat transformational, redefining the status quo of the characters beyond what can be accomplished in a short film.

Well, the team at Pixar Animation Studios certainly achieved that goal, and then some. Toy Story 4 isn’t the best film in the franchise, but it might be the most cathartic. Where the previous film was a bit of a gut punch, this one offers more of a natural progression for the characters.

After a flashback that shows how Woody’s love interest, Bo Peep (Annie Potts) was given away (mentioned in Toy Story 3), we check in to see how the toys are doing with their new owner, Bonnie. While she exhibits a rich imagination, she tends to leave Woody (Tom Hanks) sidelined, leaving him to wonder what his place in her life is.

Bonnie then creates a new toy, named Forky (Tony Hale), out of trash at school, and when he would rather return to the garbage than play with Bonnie, Woody assigns himself the task of educating the new toy and making sure he’s available for her. Woody’s task gets more complicated when Forky manages to jump out of the RV on a family road trip. In retrieving him, Woody comes across an antique shop and reunites with Bo. But Forky is captured by a doll at the shop who wants to trade him for Woody’s pull-string voice box to replace her own defective one, hoping the fix will help entice a kid to want to play with her.

Bo, on the other hand, presents another option for life as a toy: roaming free, with no owner, never worrying about being played with or not and determining her own fate. Meanwhile, Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) sets out on a mission to find Woody, bolstered by a hilarious running gag of him activating his own voice feature so he can get advice from his “inner voice.”

So, yes, the movie does return to the “recover a lost character” motif that has been a staple of the franchise (and, indeed, most Pixar films), putting a few new spins on the formula along the way. The antique shop and a nearby carnival are wonderful settings for toy-level adventures with inventive new characters, such as Canadian motorcycle-jumping daredevil Duke Caboom (Keanu Reeves), and a pair of game-prize plushes voiced by Key & Peele.

The only area of concern, really, is that each passing movie runs the risk of potentially piercing the suspension of disbelief about the toys being alive, which some of the characters actually joke about in this one. One need to simply look no further to the living vehicles of the world of “Cars” to see how much such questions can distract, and detract, from the narrative.

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The “Toy Story” movies have all been visual marvels, and the fourth one is no exception, advancing the state of CGI to render fantastic textures and details on the toys and their environments. The carnival offers a great excuse for bright colors and warm lights, while the antique shop provides a trove of subtle references.

The Blu-ray is loaded with a lot of great behind-the-scenes material, including an insightful feature-length commentary track by director Josh Cooley and producer Mark Nielsen in which they discuss all sorts of challenges to crafting a fourth “Toy Story” film.

Some of the more pivotal sequences get their own callout in the form of “Anatomy of a Scene” videos in which the filmmakers discuss and joke about making them. The disc includes a nine-and-a-half-minute look at the playground scene, while a seven-minute deconstruction of the prologue serves as a digital exclusive.

The disc also includes 28 minutes of deleted scenes, still in storyboard form, that show some of the unused concepts for the film, including an unused ending that would have pretty much negated the film’s message of finding your own place in the world.

The digital version of the film includes an additional seven-minute alternate opening sequence depicting Bonnie’s playtime fantasy using the toys.

The various featurettes included offer interesting glimpses of the production with the usual interviews with cast members and filmmakers, but often show them interacting in ways not typically presented in such videos.

There is a six-minute “Bo Rebooted” video about how Bo’s character was expanded into a major role for the film. Another, three-and-a-half-minute piece, spotlights the relationship between Woody and Buzz.

The new characters are shown off in a series of “Toy Box” videos that run 13 minutes, while an additional six-minute featurette focuses on new castmember Ally Maki and her pint-sized character.

One of the more nostalgia-infused featurettes is a five-and-a-half-minute “Toy Stories” piece in which several of the cast and crew recall the toys they played with as children.

Among some of the more random video bits are a few minutes of animation showing off the carnival and the antique shop roof from the toys’ perspectives, plus a series of promotional videos including character vignettes and trailers from around the world.

Some digital retailers, such as Vudu, also offer a two-and-a-half-minute “Toy Story Rewind” video in which the cast and crew reflect on the previous movies.

 

Warner Releasing ‘Wonder Woman: Bloodlines’ Animated Movie in October

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the latest DC Universe animated movie, Wonder Woman: Bloodlines, digitally Oct. 5, and on Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Oct. 22.

The film finds Wonder Woman (voiced by Rosario Dawson) helping a troubled young girl against a deadly organization known as Villainy Inc., whose criminal members have their sights set on invading the Amazon warrior’s home island of Themyscira.

The cast includes Jeffrey Donovan as Steve Trevor, Marie Avgeropoulos as Silver Swan, Adrienne C. Moore as Etta Candy, Kimberly Brooks as The Cheetah and Giganta, Courtenay Taylor as Dr. Poison, Constance Zimmer as Veronica Cale, Nia Vardalos as Julia Kapatelis, Michael Dorn as Ferdinand, Cree Summer as Hippolyta, Mozhan Marno as Dr. Cyber, and Ray Chase as Lead Bandit.

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Extras include the “DC Showcase” animated short Death, inspired by Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman”; the featurette “The Cheetah: Ferocious Archenemy”; and a sneak peak at the next DC Universe animated movie, Superman: Red Son.

The 4K combo pack will include UHD and Blu-ray versions of the movie and a redeemable digital copy. The Blu-ray combo pack will include the movie on Blu-ray and DVD, plus a digital copy.

 

Warner Releasing Supersized ‘Death and Return of Superman’ Animated Movie

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release The Death and Return of Superman on Blu-ray Disc, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and digitally Oct. 1.

The 166-minute movie is the combination of the previously released DC Universe animated movies The Death of Superman and Reign of the Supermen.

The comprehensive The Death and Return of Superman Complete Film Collection Gift Set will include never-before-seen footage, 45 minutes of new bonus features and an exclusive pack-in Steel figurine.

An adaptation of the “Death of Superman” comic book storyline from the 1990s, the movie features Superman sacrificing himself to stop Metropolis from the rampage of an unstoppable alien menace named Doomsday. In his absence, four new super-powered individuals arrive to carry on the legacy of Superman, while the disappearance of his body leads to speculation that he may still be alive.

The voice cast includes Jerry O’Connell as Superman, Rebecca Romijn as Lois Lane, and Rainn Wilson as Lex Luthor.

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The home video will include the new featurette “Long Live Superman,” a look at how the iconic character has become a symbol for hope across the world.

Returning extras from the previously released disc of the individual movies include the featurettes “The Death of Superman: The Brawl That Topped Them All” and “Lex Luthor: The Greatest Nemesis,” plus bonus cartoon episodes “Dark Victory: Parts 1 & 2” from “Legion of Superheroes,” “Heavy Metal” from “Superman: The Animated Series,” and “Panic in the Sky” from “Justice League Unlimited.”

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack will include The Death and Return of Superman on both a 4K Blu-ray disc with HDR and a regular Blu-ray disc, plus a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray version of Superman: Doomsday, the abridged version of the story that served as the inaugural DC Universe animated movie in 2007.

Animated ‘Batman: Hush’ Due July 20 Digitally, Aug. 6 on Disc

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release Batman: Hush, the next installment of the DC Universe line of animated movies, digitally July 20 and on Blu-ray, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and the DC Universe streaming service Aug. 6.

An adaptation of a popular comic book storyline from 2002 and 2003, the film centers on a shadowy new villain in Gotham City known as Hush who uses Batman’s rogues gallery to attempt to destroy his crime-fighting career, as well as Bruce Wayne’s personal life, which has become complicated by a relationship with Selina Kyle, the alter ego of Catwoman.

Batman: Hush is the 35th film in the DC Universe animated movie brand and the 14th film in the DC Animated Movie Universe, a shared continuity started by Son of Batman and Justice League: War.

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The voice cast includes Jason O’Mara as Batman, Jennifer Morrison as Catwoman, Jerry O’Connell as Superman, Rebecca Romijn as Lois Lane, Rainn Wilson as Lex Luthor, Vanessa Williams as Amanda Waller, Jason Spisak as Joker, Peyton List as Poison Ivy (reprising her role from the “Gotham” TV show), Peyton R. List as Batgirl, Geoffrey Arend as the Riddler, Sean Maher as Nightwing, Maury Sterling as Thomas Elliot, Bruce Thomas as Jim Gordon, Adam Gifford as Bane, Sachie Alessio as Lady Shiva, Stuart Allan as Robin, James Garrett as Alfred, Hynden Walch as Harley Quinn, Chris Cox as Scarecrow, and Tara as a reporter.

The home video release will include the “DC Showcase” animated short Sgt. Rock, based on DC Comics’ gritty World War II hero.

Other extras include the featurette “Batman: Love in Time of War,” about the relationship between Batman and Catwoman; audio commentary executive producer James Tucker, director Justin Copeland and screenwriter Ernie Altbacker; a preview of the upcoming animated movie Wonder Woman: Bloodlines, starring Rosario Dawson; and the episodes “The Underworld Underground Caper” and “Partners in Peril” from the 1968 animated series “The Batman/Superman Hour.”