School of Movies
Mulan

Mulan

January 26, 2018

[School of Movies 2018]

Dan Floyd joins us once again as the Disney Project continues.

The house of Mouse picked themselves up from the financial low for the 90s that was Hercules, and came back punching with this Chinese legend of a girl who steals her father's armour to take his place in the army.

Still to this day one of the most beautiful and moving of their animated classics, Mulan had its detractors, and all of them had solid reasons to admonish story decisions. However, it is also beloved and inspirational, and the kind of movie that could be made today (with a few tweaks). 

Jerry Goldsmith's soaring yet delicate score was fortunately in plentiful supply for this one.

Guests

Daniel Floyd of Extra Histories 

Hercules

Hercules

January 19, 2018

[School of Movies 2018]

Now we reach the point where Disney seemed off their game, at least in comparison with the lightning strikes of Mermaid, Beauty, Aladdin and Lion King. The fact that I really like Hercules is neither here nor their, this was a snarky yet earnest take on Greek mythology framed around an action sports movie for boys. 

It had one of the most real-feeling and grown up of Disney heroine's so far, James Woods before he revealed himself to be a complete dick, Danny DeVito on top form as a washed up boxing coach and a quick-witted, slightly-too-energetic pace which a lot of people might consider off-putting.

It was also an ideal, basic model for the superhero movies that were around the corner, and in fact it's a better Superman story than any of Kal-El's movies that have followed so far, though Thor and then Wonder Woman far exceed its reach. 

Since Alan Menken's lovely, lively score only spans a few minutes I have used other, tonally appropriate music for this one. Next week, Mulan. 

Guests

Daniel Floyd of Extra Histories 

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

January 12, 2018

[School of Movies 2018]

The year was 1996, just a few months ago Pixar had changed the face of cinema by introducing a whole new medium of 3D animated film, with Toy Story.

Disney followed up their lukewarm reception of Pocahontas with another middling-in-appreciation Broadway musical. The art is beautiful, the scale epic, the songs memorable.

The subject matter is a serious social commentary written by a man who fiercely disapproved of injustice, framed as a tragic, gothic romance, but in the all-singing, all-dancing Disney style, the jokes are witty banter mixed with fart noises made by a pig-like gargoyle (who may not have even been real) played by Jason Alexander from Seinfeld. The main villain is a judge, because executives weren't happy with him being a Catholic Priest, yet rogue animators deliberately confounded their demands and depicted him upon his knees, praying for forgiveness from Mary for the darkness inside him which he knew would imminently lead to murder, in one of the most spectacular song sequences in ANY movie. In short, it had a tone problem. 

And with the help of Dan Floyd and Nama Chibitty, we dig into how this was pulled together and what the end result was. It's one hell of a ride.  

We have covered all the Disney animated classics canon so far from Snow White up to The Lion King and they can be found of the "School of Movies Archive" which is a separate feed on iTunes or wherever else you find podcasts. Here's all the Disney ones.

Guests

Daniel Floyd of Extra Histories 

Nama Chibitty

Pocahontas

Pocahontas

January 5, 2018

[School of Movies 2018]

The Disney shows return, Daniel Floyd of Extra Credits joins us once again to continue our trek through the past of the animation giant.

And we are in the middle of the 90s renaissance, their third period of creatively blossoming (Pre-War/Post-War/90s) and the first after the box office high point of The Lion King presented a bar almost impossible to reach. Even if it hadn't been culturally troubling, deliberately historically naive and melodramatic when the audiences wanted fun, Pocahontas was going to stumble.

It became the benchmark of what happens when Disney decide they have a hit on their hands before release (everybody thought this was going to be their Cinderella and Lion King was just going to be a muck-about with animals). And yet for its faults, which we will go into, it remains a beautiful, sweeping, bittersweet Hollywood romance of the kind it's very tough to pull off successfully, even today, *especially* today. 

The music by Alan Menken is once again amazing, the voice acting is top notch, the animation might make you gasp, and it's probably the most Broadway musical-feeling of all the Disney canon, for better or worse. 

We have covered all the Disney animated classics canon so far from Snow White up to The Lion King and they can be found of the "School of Movies Archive" which is a separate feed on iTunes or wherever else you find podcasts. Here's all the Disney ones.

Guests

Daniel Floyd of Extra Histories 

Nama Chibitty