Robin, Starfire, Beast Boy, Cyborg and Raven yearn to go to Hollywood in the animated superhero movie ‘Teen Titans GO! to the Movies.’
Pretty much every other superhero has a movie, so why not the Teen Titans?
The crew of the popular Cartoon Network show Teen Titans GO! — young versions of well-known DC Comics characters — follow in the footsteps of the Justice League when they hit the big screen in Teen Titans GO! to the Movies (in theaters July 27). The animated film offers kid-friendly comedy, superhero cameos and world-saving high jinks, but also some meta-commentary on Hollywood’s obsession with comic-book do-gooders.
As the first teaser trailer (premiering exclusively at usatoday.com) astutely points out: If Aquaman can get a film, anyone can.
Going from 15-minute episodes to a full-length film also means bigger musical numbers and A-list guest stars like Kristen Bell, who voices superhero filmmaker du jour Jade Wilson. The Frozen star wanted to dive into the Teen Titans landscape because the core team has “such an amusing take on superheroes,” she says. “They’re funny, irreverent and delightful to watch. And much like the Teen Titans themselves, I thought they deserved their own movie.”
The group’s manic leader Robin (Scott Menville), of Batman and Robin fame, wants to step out of the Dark Knight’s shadow and be seen as more than just a sidekick. He has the idea to seek out Wilson and give the group their big break.
Alongside him are his friends: the bubbly alien warrior (and Robin’s frequent crush) Starfire (Hynden Walch); sarcastic half-demon Raven (Tara Strong); strong, proud and meatball-loving Cyborg (Khary Payton); and slacker shapeshifter Beast Boy (Greg Cipes).
The kids find the high-profile filmmaker a bit of a hard sell, though, because she sees them as a joke or a novelty act.
“The Titans have a dream to be taken seriously and to have a movie made about them and they go after it,” says Menville.
Their journey from Titans headquarters in Jump City to the bright lights of Tinseltown gets interrupted when they must foil plans for world domination by Robin’s supervillain arch nemesis Slade (Will Arnett).
Bell enjoys the fact her character “really looks nothing like me. That gave me a lot of latitude to voice her in a way I wouldn’t necessarily speak to people.” While she’s worked with filmmakers ranging from David Mamet to Wes Craven in her live-action career, Bell acknowledges that she didn’t base Jade on anyone in particular. Instead, “she’s definitely an amalgamation of the stereotypes one might think of when they picture a grandiose director.”
She’s a Teen Titans rookie but Menville and his fellow castmates have been playing these heroes since 2003, in five seasons of the more serious superhero show Teen Titans, a series of lighthearted New Teen Titans shorts, and the proudly madcap Teen Titans GO!, now in its fourth season. (New episodes return on Friday nights in February.)
Over the years, Menville has been able to play different aspects of Robin, an iconic character who has starred in comic books since 1940 and been featured in everything from the 1960s Batman TV show to last year’s The Lego Batman Movie.
In the original Titans series, Menville loved playing the “dark, dramatic elements” of the youngster, yet enjoys the wackiness and heart of the newer show.
“I just love watching how neurotic he can be over the stupidest things,” the actor says. “No matter how many times I’ve yelled ‘Titans go!’ I still get excited every time I get to say it.”
2018 is gearing up to be a year of probable blockbusters on the silver screen. From epic Marvel films to Lady Gaga bringing her best, it looks like there will be a lot worth seeing.
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