We Need to Talk About Anakin

February 16, 2018

[School of Everything Else 2018]

A very special show where we go back to the Star Wars Prequels and ask ourselves one question; If these were in fact not poorly written films, if they were instead historical documents, then who is responsible, for the eventually tragic actions of Anakin Skywalker?

The easy answer is to say Anakin himself, and that we should all be ultimately held accountable for our behaviour, and that's absolutely valid, but there were others who misled him, ignored the danger signs and in fact encouraged some truly unhealthy ways of thinking. It was by no means only Palpatine doing so, he was simply the one to see an angry young man, willing to be used as a weapon. 

In this serious look at a truly broken system we re-examine Lucas' Galactic Republic and perform a deep and disturbing psychological autopsy. 

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Fantasia 2000

February 9, 2018

[School of Movies 2018]

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. 

Next week we take a little break from Disney to bring you a new show re-appraising the Star Wars Prequal Trilogy in a new and unique way. It's called "We Need to Talk About Anakin". 

Guest

Daniel Floyd of Extra Histories 

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Tarzan

February 2, 2018

[School of Movies 2018]

This time we go deep and we go long. Tarzan is for me one of the absolute greats of the Disney canon and so rarely talked about with the reverence of Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King, so this time that's what we did.

It's been hugely influential on my writing and stands as maybe the crowning spectacle of the marriage between 2D characters and luscious 3D backdrops utilising the "Deep Canvas" technique. 

Daniel Floyd joins us once again to explore the last of the 90s renaisance. After this it was Fantasia 2000 and Dinosaur and while they occasionally put out something amazing, Disney lost their way until Tangled established the new normal. 

Guest

Daniel Floyd of Extra Histories 

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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 

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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 

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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

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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

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Return of the Jedi [Ultimate Edition]

December 31, 2017

[School of Movies 2017]

We round off our Orij Trij redux episodes with the most divisive of Star Wars movies until Revenge of the Sith came along, then The Force Awakens, then The Last Jedi, look Star Wars makes a lot of people happy and a lot of people very mad! 

This one had more cut out then the other two, partly because so much had already been said about the massive influence upon cinema, the craft of making them and the overall story and character arcs, and ultimately this movie is a two hour framing device for Luke and his Father to have a long chat with lightsabers. 

I pulled out all the stops to boil this down to only everything important and entertaining about ROTJ, and it ended up, a show to be proud of.

Guests:

Neil Taylor of TheKidDogg 

James Batchelor of the Bond and Beyond Podcast

Voice Actor Alex Eding

Chris Brown of The Married Gamers 

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The Empire Strikes Back [Ultimate Edition]

December 30, 2017

The special re-edited and polished up special edition of our original 2010 podcast on what a hell of a lot of people consider to be the greatest Star Wars movie ever filmed. 

As with the Episode IV show the original footage was mixed with the best sections best bits of our 2015 blu ray commentary, blended with the music of John Williams. 

We look at how and why this 1980 science-fantasy classic is still as dark, bright and fresh today as it was nearly four decades ago, how many new aspects were introduced (because that's how expanding mythology works!) and how Star Wars would not still be the phenomenon it was, without it. 

Guests:

Neil Taylor of TheKidDogg 

James Batchelor of the Bond and Beyond Podcast

Voice Actor Alex Eding

Mike Phillips of The Fanboys Lunchcast

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Star Wars [Ultimate Edition]

December 29, 2017

[School of Movies 2017]

This is a special re-edited and polished up special edition of our original 2010 podcast on the 1977 movie that started it all. 

Mixed with the best sections of that show are the best bits of our 2015 blu ray commentary, all bound together with the glorious score from John Williams. 

You can still listen to the earliest version, it's available for all on the School of Movies Archive podcast feed, but this one is way better and has 55% less jibber jabber. 

Guests:

Neil Taylor of TheKidDogg 

James Batchelor of the Bond and Beyond 

Voice Actor Alex Eding

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