Princess Mononoke

Princess MononokeFor our 53rd episode we review the Studio Ghibli and Hayeo Miyazaki film, Princess Mononoke.  Princess Mononoke came out in 1997 and is still, in the opinion of this podcast, Studio Ghibli’s best film.  It is Miyazaki’s most adult film that explores deep and often unanswerable questions.  There are no easy answers in this film and the story takes great lengths to explore both sides of issues.  There are strong pro-environmental themes running through this film but it doesn’t disregard the reality.  Sometimes, destroying a forest is vital to someone’s life and livelihood.

We attempt a serious in depth discussion of the film in this episode.  I don’t know how well we succeed.  Neither of us are film scholars or are scholars in general.  However, we gave it our best and hopefully it’s still entertaining.

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Snow White and the Huntsman

Snow White and the Huntsman Movie PosterSnow White and the Huntsman is a 2012 fantasy film directed by newcomer Rupert Sanders.  The film stars Kristen Stewart, Cherlize Theron, and Chris Hemsworth.  There is defintily more style to the film then substance.  However, the film isn’t as shallow as it would first appear.  It does some very interesting things with the evil queen’s back story. Charlize Theron steals every scene she is in.  Kristen Stewart and Chris Hemsworth do the best with what they’re given, but they’re largely archetypal compared to Kristen’s Stewart’s fascinatingly broken queen.

The film is worth watching alone for its imaginative portrayal of magic.  There’s a scene for instance, where the evil queen slowly drags herself from a pile of raven ichor until she slowly solidifies into a woman once again.   She doesn’t rise magically or form from a mist… She has to painfully drag her broken body from a pile of corpses.  Her magic is dirty, bloody, primal and comes at a drastic cost.

Overall, the film isn’t a study on the human condition, but it isn’t a shallow special effects fest either.  Want to hear more? Listen to the podcast below!

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Eragon

Eragon is a 2006 film based on the book series The Inheritance Trilogy by Christopher Paolini. The movie was touted as the beginning of this epic trilogy, but there was never a trilogy because the first movie kind of sucked. The movie is about a young guy who finds a dragon and then rides it into battle against the forces of evil. This should have made a pretty decent movie, but the plot is a mess. When it’s not being generic it’s confusing the hell out of the viewer.  Kasey watched the movie three times and was still unsure who the bad guys actually are.  Still, the movie is worth watching once for the sheer awesomeness of the dragon visuals.  The cgi holds up well, and the visual design of the evil dragon is badass.  Riding dragons is portrayed in a real jaw dropping way. It’s fun to watch the movie and simply insert yourself into Eragon’s place riding a totally awesome dragon who is your BFF FOR EVAH while you kill some evil dudes.

Because come on, you know you’ve day dreamed that before.

Links to Stuff we mentioned:
Nostalgia Chick - reviews of retro tv shows, movies, and toys. She’s kind of our hero.
An American Tail – there are no cats in America.
Inheritance Cycle – The books Eragon was very loosely based on.

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The Hobbit (1977)

Hobbit DVD CoverThis time around we review the 1977 animated film The Hobbit.  The Hobbit was adapted from a 1937 Tolkien book of the same name by Rankin-Bass.  Rankin-Bass were the same production/creative team that also created The Last Unicorn, and all of the stop motion holiday classics that ABC Family shoves down Americans throats every winter.

This production was a made for TV movie for children and it shows in the final product.  The animation is stilted and the movie does its best to avoid showing violence while still oddly implying it.  The budget restraints of a made for TV movie are pretty apparent.  The animation is stilted and a large scale war between multiple armies is depicted like a giant dust cloud.  However, there was obvious love for the source material in the production.  The art design is quite nice.  Top Craft, the Japanese studio the animation was filmed at, created some really beautiful hand painted backgrounds.  They production company also respected the source material and didn’t try to add to or dramatically change the story.  Despite it’s short comings, they did the best they could with a TV movie’s budget and time.

Should you see this?  If you’ve read The Hobbit before by all means go for it.  It makes a fun diversion while waiting for the Peter Jackson version.  If you haven’t read the books give it a pass and wait for the live action movies.

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Guest Host Appearance on the Midnight Movie Club!

Kasey has just made a guest host appearance on Lee and Dan’s Midnight Movie Club!  There she discusses the 1983 fantasy movie Krull which was disapointingly not about barbarians.  It sounds like it should be a movie involving dudes in loinclothes right? But alas, there are no dudes in loin clothes.  There is a cyclops, magical horses, marriage rites involving fire, kids choosing puppies over dead relatives, and a horny evil lizard man.

It was a pretty weird movie.

Link: http://midmoclub.com/krull/

Merlin Season 3 – 4

The Adventures of Merlin

Merlin, aka. The Adventures of Merlin, is a British television show that started in 2008. It stars Colin Morgan as a young Merlin who must hide his magical powers because Camelot has outlawed all magic on threat of death. He spends his time secretly protecting Arthur and Camelot in hopes that Arthur will someday grow into a great King.

This review is for season (or series) 3 and 4 of Merlin. If you have not seen season 1 and 2 I encouraged you to check out our season 1-2 review or simply go watch the show. This episode does not even attempt to describe the premise of Merlin and completely spoils all of season three and four. So beware! This is no holds barred magical Arthurian spoiler time!

This television series just keeps getting better! The show makes a steady incline in quality throughout season three until its a really great show in season four. Does that make up for some of the lack luster episodes in season one? Yes, actually. I think it does. Many aspects of Arthur’s character development are finally barring fruit in season four that had seeds planted way back in season one. Merlin himself still has lots of room to grow, but he’s shown some welcome steps into becoming more pro-active instead of reactive (and ignoring Gaius’s terrible advice). Hopefully, in season five we’ll finally see him become the warlock of legend.

The series does have some problems, mostly involving Morganna’s strange character development. In season three, they take some dramatic shortcuts in her development. While its certainly plausible, the show doesn’t bother explaining or even showing the path it took her to reach her new persona. Furthermore, she doesn’t appear to have any remnants of her old persona at all. There’s some weird slippery slope fallacies going on there and odd inconsistencies. I wonder if this was because the writers were so determined to follow the path of the actual Arthurian legends? Who knows, but she’s definitely the weakest link in season three and four.

We highly recommend you check out this series. Make sure to start from the beginning though! If you watched season one and two and are on the fence about watching more, we think you should reconsider. The series gets continually better and really rewards long time listeners.

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The Addam’s Family

The Addams Family Movie Poster They’re creepy, they’re cooky, they’re altogether ooky they’re The Addams Family!

This was meant to come out in October, but since it took me so long to make the website you’re getting it now.  The Addams Family is about family though and Thanksgiving is about family (well in the U.S. at least) so that sort of fits right? Maybe?

The Addams Family is a 1991 film directed  by Barry Sonnenfeld that’s loosely based on the 1960s television series and on Charles Addams Original comics.  The Addams Family is a group of macabre, gothic, and possibly nigh invulnerable family who enjoy such wholesome pastimes as sword fighting, knife throwing, torturing their siblings, keeping lions as pets, and reveling in the forces of darkness.  In this adaption, Uncle Fester shows up on their doorstep with amnesia after having disappeared for decades.  Only, he thinks he’s not Uncle Fester but a guy named Gordon whose going to con them out of their fortune.  It’s kind of like the plot of Anastasia only you know, evil.

The Addams Family holds up really well to this day and the whole franchise in general is still awesome as far as we’re concerned.  You can watch several episodes legally on youtube here. The original series is also all available on Netflix as of this recording.  The movies themselves (The Addams Family and its sequel The Addams Family Values) can be easily obtained usually in a fairly cheap combo pack.

On a random note, during this episode Melanie was wondering if the boy who played the human version of Casper (which also starred Christina Ricci) grew up to be a hot man.

Picture of Devon Sawa

Devon Sawa. Hot dude.

During the podcast she was unable to find a picture, but I was able to find one now.  And the answer is yes, he DID grow to be a hot man. lol.

 

 

 

 

 

Next Episode:  Sleepy Hollow.  A request by Monica G and also it makes this an unintentional month of Christina Ricci on the Fantasy Movie Podcast.

Don’t forget to VISIT OUR FORUMS!

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Legend

Legend Movie PosterLegend is a 1986 fantasy film directed by Ridley Scott of Blade Runner and Alien fame. It stars Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, and Tim Curry. The plot of the movie is that there’s an evil red demon dude who wants to destroy all goodness and light in the world because he’s evil and that’s what evil dudes do. He gets his chance when a young girl taints a unicorn by touching it, allowing darkness and his minions to kill one of the unicorns and plunge the world into eternal winter.

I’m surprised we haven’t done this movie yet. Its one of the quintessential eighties fantasy films alongside Black Crystal, Labyrinth, and the Neverending Story.   It’s a film that holds up pretty well as long as you watch the director’s cut.     Unlike most director’s cuts, the theatrical version and the director’s cut of legend are drastically different.   The latter even makes sense! If you’ve never seen this movie definitely check it out and if you’ve only ever seen the theatrical version, you should try the vastly improved director’s cut.

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Stardust

Stardust is a 2007 fantasy film directed by Mathew Vaughn based on the book by Neil Gaiman.   It has a pretty star studded cast (ha ha ) of Claire Danes, Charlie Cox, Robert Deniro, and Michelle Pfeiffer.

Stardust Movie PosterPlot:   An awkward young man named Tristan Thorn crosses a wall into a fantasy realm in order to retrieve a falling star for his beloved Victoria.   Only when he gets there, the fallen star is actually a woman named Yvaine.   And unfortunately, he’s not the only one trying to retrieve the fallen star.

This episode came out okay.   I tried to edit out more of the pauses then I was previously taking out as Podcast Squared suggested.   Can anyone tell a difference?   I didn’t want it to be super snappy, because I wanted to preserve the feeling of just listening to regular people talk about movies.   I think it’s possible to become too polished and come off sounding fake and generic.

Stardust is a mixed bag.   It has some great visuals, fun character moments,  and a stellar cast.   But it also has some major plot problems, and the main couple are anything but star crossed.   However, overall it’s a fun movie that’s worth watching at least once.

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Merlin Season 1-2

Merlin CastMerlin also known as The Adventures of Merlin is a British BBC One TV show that started in 2008.   It was created by Julian Jones, Jake Michie, Julian Murphy and Johnny Capps.   As of this recording in May 2011 it has three television seasons with another slated for next autumn.   The series was created to be a family drama that children to grandparents could enjoy together.

PLOT: Camelot has outlawed magic.   Anyone seen practicing magic or helping someone practicing magic will be put to death by order of the king.   No exceptions.   Magical creatures are killed on sight, whether they are dangerous or not.   The king even killed every dragon in the land save one, which he imprisoned below the castle to serve as an example to anyone who dares to defy the King.

Merlin is sent to Camelot by his mother to stay with the Camelot royal physician named Gaius.   Through a series of fortunate (or unfortunate depending on who you ask) he comes to be the manservant of Prince Arthur.   Now, he must use his powers in secret to help Prince Arthur become a great king someday, knowing that if he is ever found out to be magical he would be put to death.

OH My God.   We must never talk this long again.   It took me 7 hours to edit this episode.   This episode covers only season 1-2 of Merlin.   There are no spoilers for season 3 and onward.   We might go back later and do another episode that covers season 3.   This series has some problems, but I think its a fun ride and worth the effort of tracking down if you’re a fantasy fan.   The first two episodes are a little rough, but the show continuously improves as it goes on.

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