WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF TOMORROW! Land. It’s time for Saxon and Jehan to strap on their jetpacks, find their magical pins and evade a squad of robot assassins as they seek to get to the bottom of Tomorrowland, the new family adventure movie from Disney and director Brad Bird. We consider the journey of Bird’s career to date and how it informs this very curious blockbuster, while pondering the Big Questions in Life: what’s with all the smiley robots? When is too much mystery a bad thing? Is Brad Bird an Ayn Rand-loving monster? And is it time we found a solution to the Damon Lindelof Problem? ALL OF THE ANSWERS LIE WITHIN!
A minor tech-related note: due to issues with the processing of this episode, there is no ending music this time around. You should not be alarmed, nor should you continue listening in dead silence for hours after the podcast has finished, waiting for the outtro music to provide you with your cue to return to normal life. Our sincere apologies!
WARNING – some spoilers for Tomorrowland contained within.
Politics can be a divisive business, and it’s no surprise that a lot of people simply hate talking about it, especially when it comes to appreciating and enjoying art and media. But it’s equally true that it’s frequently a topic that can’t really be avoided, especially since so much of art, culture and human expression is inherently political, whether it means to be or not. When you’re a fan of the filmmaker Brad Bird – whose new film Tomorrowland is now playing in cinemas – avoiding politics is nigh-on impossible, and the resulting discussion can often be fractious and tricky to navigate.
Bird is, after all, an extremely political filmmaker, and one whose specific ideology has proven tough for many people to get to grips with, given its unexpected and unconventional nature. He’s primarily known as a purveyor of family entertainments – from his background as a Disney animator to his tenures on The Simpsons and at Pixar – and we’re used to mainstream family entertainments being relatively unchallenging in their political character, usually settling for broadly universal self-empowerment themes, with a dash of left-leaning acceptance and diversity messaging. That’s not really Bird’s style, though – he’s a much more overtly didactic filmmaker, and deviates from the standard script often enough that his philosophy has become distinctive, recognisable and – to a certain degree – controversial. With Tomorrowland, he’s released his most message-driven movie to date, which makes this a good time to have a look at what makes this supremely talented yet oddly divisive filmmaker tick.
THEY LIVE! THEY DIE! THEY LIVE AGAIN! Those Valhalla-seeking Warboys of the Wasteland Saxon and Jehan are back with another slice of podcast madness, in which they take on the crazed glory that is Mad Max: Fury Road! How good is Charlize Theron’s turn as an action heroine? How spectacular is George Miller’s direction? Does the film live up to expectations, and its absurdly lengthy journey to the screen? What the hell is going on with Tom Hardy’s voice? And will Saxon run out of ways of describing exactly how much he liked this film? CHAOS! CARS! VIOLENCE! FLAME-THROWER GUITARS! IT’S ALL HERE!!!
In case it had escaped your attention, a thing called “Star Wars” is pretty hot right now. Confounding doomsayers who predicted that Disney’s buyout of Lucasfilm in 2012 would be the death knell of the venerable franchise, it’s fair to say that excitement about the space opera saga is higher now than it’s been since the days before The Phantom Menace poisoned the well. In all this excitement about the shiny new Star Wars, though, it’s easy to forget about the good old Star Wars – not helped by the fact that Disney and the reorganised Lucasfilm Story Group are in many ways weirdly keen for you to forget about the good old Star Wars.
Indeed, a key part of new Lucasfilm boss Kathleen Kennedy’s reinvigoration of the series has been the jettisoning of the old “Expanded Universe”, the ancillary collection of novels, comics, games and assorted other fiction telling thousands of years of stories surrounding the main six movies.Though erasing the so-called ‘canonicity’ of the Expanded Universe was probably sensible from the perspective of telling new stories unencumbered, it has resulted in genuine gems being swept under the rug. I’m not enough of an aficionado to passionately advocate for many of these works, but I’ll make an exception for the videogame Star Wars: TIE Fighter. That’s one you’re going to have to pry from my cold, dead hands, Kathleen.
1988 – 6 Episodes – 175 minutes DVD – Second Sight
It’s been a very long time since the 1988 six-part BBC childrens drama serial Moondial aired on television. Now, after a lengthy period when the only way of seeing it was hunting down old VHS copies or dodgy versions on Youtube, Moondial has received a proper DVD release, giving us the chance to see if it’s stood the test of time.
SCHIZOPOLITANS ASSEMBLE! You’ve already had part one of the ultimate Marvel podcast double-bill, with our detailed look at the Daredevil Netflix show – and now, part two arrives! Thrill, as Saxon and Jehan engage in their most daring and dangerous mission yet – an in-depth and mega-spoilerific look at the whys, the wheres, and the what-the-hell-was-going-on-in-that-Cave-scene of the latest Marvel blockbuster, Avengers: Age of Ultron! Overstuffed plots! Strange visions, and a strange Vision! Hydra being surprisingly terrible! Andy Serkis! A robot James Spader! Has writer-director Joss Whedon outdone himself, or are the rougher edges of the Marvel formula starting to show? And can Saxon and Jehan ever reach a point where they won’t be talking about Marvel? ONLY TIME WILL TELL!
WHO DARES? THEY DARE! Schizopolitan is back with a jumbo-sized edition of nerdy goodness that’s only the first of this week’s staggering podcast bounty! Part one of Schizopolitan’s epic double bill kicks off with Saxon and Jehan debating the oddity that is the recently released first image of Jared Leto as the Joker, revealing that the Clown Prince of Crime is now (a) fond of tattoos as a fashion statement, and (b) EXTREMELY KEEN TO LET US KNOW THAT HE’S VERY CRAZY INDEED….
After that brief interlude, they’re onto the main topic – the epic saga of S1 of Marvel’s Daredevil! How has the street-based vigilante done in his TV debut? How does it sit against other Marvel Cinematic Universe shows? Is it too violent? How scary is Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk? And is dressing up in black and fighting ninjas really a sensible career path for a lawyer? All these questions, AND MORE! Plus! A look at Agent Carter! And Agents of SHIELD! So many shows! SO MUCH MARVEL, THE BRAIN CAN BARELY STAND IT!
BACK FOR MORE! BACK FOR GOOD! The podcast that truly enhances your life and brings spiritual enlightenment to all who listen (*citation needed*) continues, as Saxon and Jehan dabble in the experimental technology known as Skype in order to tackle all the things they’ve missed talking about for the last six weeks! It’s a ‘Catch-Up’ special, where they examine some of the strangest and most discussion-worthy topics from films, comics and nerd culture – going from the question of Neil Blomkamp’s mystery Alien movie (and how the hell Ripley can still be alive) to the ‘other’ new Ghostbusters film and how bad timing can make a potentially promising film sound like the worse thing ever. They also look at the recent comics controversy, and ask how exactly anyone at DC Comics thought it’d be a great idea to boost the sales of the new, lighter, more accessible take on superheroine Batgirl by using this art for a ‘variant’ cover:
On top of that, there’s Bond! The Spectre teaser trailer is here, in all its ominous ‘We’re making it exactly like Skyfall, honest’ splendour, and Saxon and Jehan try and work out whether this is a good or a bad sign for the franchise:
Plus, there’s the traditional fairy tale action and *amazing* costumes of Disney’s new live-action Cinderella, plus a look at the disappointing recent TV news regarding Showtime’s unexpected revival of TV classic Twin Peaks. SO MANY SUBJECTS! SO MUCH CONTENT! HOW WILL THE WORLD SURVIVE?
00:00:00 – 00:24:21 – Intro and Neil Blomkamp’s ‘Alien 5’
00:24:21 – 00:35:27 – Ghostbusters
00:35:27 – 00:55:52 – The Batgirl Cover Controversy
00:55:52 – 01:11:20 – Bond and the Spectre teaser trailer
01:11:20 – 01:23:10 – Disney’s live-action Cinderalla
01:23:10 – 01:38:19 – Twin Peaks (without David Lynch) and Outtro
DELAYED BUT NOT DEFEATED! Technology and circumstances may have gotten in the way, but Schizopolitan has returned with a new episode, recorded two weeks ago but finally released for your listening pleasure! Here, Saxon and Jehan tackle the colourful and bizarre world of SF movie extravaganza Jupiter Ascending, the latest blockbuster from the writer/directors of the Matrix, and try to understand what exactly went wrong with it. Capitalism! Channing Tatum in rocket boots! Eddie Redmayne shouting at people! IT’S ALL HERE! Additionally, the comics recommendation of the podcast gives us a quick look at Marvel’s new line of Star Wars comics, and how they’re exploring the new world of the rebooted SW continuity in different and interesting ways.
IT’S BACK! The Schizopolitan podcast returns, and this week has achieved the seemingly impossible by recording an episode that is only an hour long! This time around, Saxon and Jehan go in-depth on the recent news of the corporate team-up that means Spider-Man will now be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. What’s the background to this? What does it mean? Will we just be getting Spider-Man’s origins AGAIN? How will Spidey’s presence work in the MCU? Can Marvel make audiences forget the mistakes that Sony made with the ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ movies? And what does this mean for the chances of seeing insane Spider-Man spin-offs like ‘Assorted Random Spider-Man Bad Guys’, ‘Look! We’re doing a Female Superhero Movie!’ and ‘Aunt May: Dawn of Justice’? It’s all here, for your listening pleasure!