School of Movies
Lilo & Stitch

Lilo & Stitch

August 31, 2018

[School of Movies 2018] 

While there are still some good Disney films left before they hit their modern fourth renaissance this one is special. Either the swansong of the 90s era or the strongest example of how the studio COULD have been amazing during this muddled 2000s period, had they married creativity with heart and focus more often rather than wildly attempting six different things at once in an attempt to stay relevant. 

Creator Chris Sanders (who cut his teeth on the best of the 90s fare working on Beauty & the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King and Mulan) was bound for big things. How to Train Your Dragon was in the distance, and it's very easy to draw a line between that series and this, with its focus on drawing alarming, dangerous creatures into families that don't realise they need these new members. He also directed The Croods, which is probably the best movie about neolithic people, despite being a family comedy.

Lilo & Stitch, the tale of how a creature of mass destruction finds a place in a little, broken family on a peaceful, beautiful island with no cities to destroy is a rightful favourite of many. We attempt to do it justice here. 

Next week: Treasure Planet.

Guest

Daniel Floyd of New Frame Plus

Atlantis: The Lost Empire

Atlantis: The Lost Empire

August 24, 2018

[School of Movies 2018]

This project began life when its creators mused over why nobody made Indiana Jones style adventures any more and Disney certainly hadn't attempted an animated film along those lines.

And when you look at the chemistry at play here; a script begun by Joss Whedon (The Avengers), directed by Gary Trousdale & Kirk Wise (Beauty and the Beast) starring Michael J. Fox (Back to the Future), art design by Mike Mignola (Hellboy) score by James Newton Howard (Batman Begins) with a support cast of amazing old, now all sadly-departed actors (Leonard Nimoy, James Garner, John Mahoney, David Ogden Stiers and Jim Varney) it's hard to see how it could have been anything other than a roaring success.

Atlantis made okay box office, not quite doubling its budget, and it set a dangerous trap by somehow conveying to general audiences that Disney's boys-own adventures were going to be mediocre movies to stay away from, which then hit them HARD with Treasure Planet the next year. 

But it's got some really good stuff in there, even if it is a bit of an uneven mess with missed opportunities left and right. 

Next week: Lilo & Stitch.

Guest

Daniel Floyd of New Frame Plus

The Emperor’s New Groove

The Emperor’s New Groove

August 17, 2018

[School of Movies 2018]

The Disney shows return. And this time we are entering their dark age. A period of creative freedom and box office flops, when the house of mouse was going through a serious identity crisis.

Thanks to Pixar and the evolution of 3D graphics animation had changed in a big way over the previous few years and the world was about to be flooded in barnyard adventures as studios began popping up doing cheap and cheerful, yet cynical animal comedies, and growing more successful than Disney who kept veering about, reactively changing direction, unsure of what it wanted to be.

An epic Prince and the Pauper drama set in Mesoamerica was halted part-way through production and The Emperor's New Groove was what it became.

Unlike any other Disney this film is a madcap comedy steeped in absurd, mid-20th century cartoon illogic, arch absurdism and fourth-wall-shattering canny narration. 

The people who love it REALLY love it, because for them it succeeds triumphantly. 

Guest

Daniel Floyd of New Frame Plus

Fantasia 2000 + Dinosaur

Fantasia 2000 + Dinosaur

August 17, 2018

[School of Movies 2018]

Fantasia 2000: Probably not many people's favourite Disney movie unless there's some deeply personal story attached what this is represents an attempt to resurect Walt's idea for an ever-changing roster of musical sequences with Disney animation. If you figure it would have changed and evolved over the years, had the original proved successful, and gone with the original model of adding new sequences in place of old, some might say that 59 years later it would resemble this movie. Then again, some wouldn't. We also debate what a third movie in this style could be like, and what it would take to finally start drawing in the crowds. Daniel Floyd once again joins us for a talk about this contentious battle between artists and money men. 

 

Dinosaur: [Found at the 1h 24m mark]. Disney's attempt to enter the 3D animation markert involved computer animated model dinosaurs set against real world environments. It could have been spectacular and transportive... if they hadn't simply swallowed and regurgitated Don Bluth's Land Before Time without any of the heart or special moments. 

Guest

Daniel Floyd of New Frame Plus

Wrestlemania XXX

Wrestlemania XXX

August 10, 2018

[School of Everything Else 2018]

Do not adjust your phones, you are reading this one correctly. Despite barely ever mentioning wrestling in over eleven years of podcasting we are now doing an epic-length show on what for newcomers might be the most instantly satisfying event in WWE history.

This isn't a show for wrestling fans (though you lot will get a kick out of it anyway) it's for people who aren't familiar with wrestling and have never really seen the appeal. We started watching these superbowl-style annual extravaganzas this year as a way to spend Sunday and take our minds off the awful shit that's happening in the world with some athletic soap opera, and this one in particular was a high point.

So pick it up on blu ray and watch it with friends, then listen to why it's so strong as an example of sports entertainment. OR listen to our show first (though we will spoil who wins each match) and we will talk you through what we've learned over these past months.

With us is a longtime fan and something of a wrestling historian to keep us on track whilst not wildly diverging, so we can all focus on why Wrestlemania 30 rocks!

Guest:

Neil Taylor of TheKidDogg

The Orphanage

The Orphanage

August 3, 2018

[School of Movies 2018]

To close out our triumphant Guillermo del Toro season we give you our deep exploration of the 2007 ghost story he produced, directed by Juan Antonio Bayona; The Orphanage.

Exquisitely, meticulously constructed as a mystery, this is one of the finest of its kind. Threaded through with intrigue, riven with suspense, punctuated with trauma with a heartbreaking yet uplifting conclusion you will never forget. 

Next week: Wrestlemania 30 (Yes, you read that correctly. Track it down and watch it on blu ray with friends, *especially* if you don't like wrestling.)

My Audio Drama: Let Them Go

Guest:

Lorin Grieve