Posts tagged ADAPTATION
Episode 25 - The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (Peter Jackson, 2001) (with Shaun Gunner)

Venturing to Middle-earth, and ably accompanied on this opening stage of their podcasting quest by Shaun Gunner, chairman of the Tolkien Society, Chris and Alex discuss the first of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings adaptations, The Fellowship of the Ring (2001). Journeying from the Shire on the way to Mount Doom, episode 25 debates Tolkien’s ability to craft believable genealogies and histories in his high fantasy realms; cartography, map-making and the geographical consistency of fictional worlds; and the film’s relationship to post-millennial Hollywood franchises via technological developments in digital visual effects.

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Episode 23 - Gulliver's Travels (Dave Fleischer, 1939)

In episode 23, Chris and Alex turn to the work of the Fleischer studios, looking at the second North American animated feature film Gulliver’s Travels (Dave Fleischer, 1939), an adaptation of Jonathan Swift’s seminal work of fantasy fiction. As something of a follow-up to Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (David Hand, 1937), the film raises questions about animation’s creative ability to render perspectival shifts and ‘scaled’ imagery of ‘big’ versus ‘small’; world-building and the intrusive fantasy of human figuration; and the surrealist design of the Flesichers’ characters offset against Disney’s more ‘hyperrealist’ aesthetic. We suggest that Gulliver’s Travels stands as a imaginative development of animation in the U.S. context, with a playful visual register in the presentation of Lilliput that uses the drama of shifting dimensionality to speak to the emotional function of fantasy spaces for children.

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Episode 21 - Aladdin (Ron Clements and John Musker, 1992) (with Steve Henderson)

In episode 21, Chris and Alex are joined by Steve Henderson - Editor of the Skwigly Online Animation Magazine and Director of the Manchester Animation Festival, and Senior Lecturer in Animation at the Manchester School of Art - to discuss the Disney animated musical Aladdin (Ron Clements and John Musker, 1992). With the live-action/CG remake soon to hit cinema screens, this episode provides the perfect opportunity to revisit what has made this popular cel-animated fantasy so enduring among audiences. Expect all your wishes granted as the conversation turns to reflexivity and narration, the Disney Renaissance, star voices and vocal artistry, the film’s use of digital visual effects, Orientalist discourse and the representation of ‘Otherness,’ and even the Gulf War. You’ve never had a friend like this podcast!

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Episode 19 - The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise, 1996)

For episode 19, Chris and Alex revisit the Walt Disney Studio and its adaptation of Victor Hugo’s nineteenth-century Gothic novel for its cel-animated musical The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise,1996). A melodrama set against the backdrop of medieval Paris, the film reworks its classic source material and gives it the Mouse House treatment, bringing Hugo’s mature literary Gothicism together with Disney’s ‘cartoon’ principles. Discussion ranges from the film’s evocation of the ‘topsy turvy’ carnivalesque to specific elements of its character design, as Chris and Alex consider how Hunchback’s broader thematic concerns of suppressed sexuality and obsession, damnation, and grotesque horror reconfigure Disney’s (fairy) tales ‘as old as time’ formula.

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Episode 13 - Animal Farm (John Halas and Joy Batchelor, 1954) (with Jez Stewart)

Far from being unlucky, episode 13 offers listeners a bumper line-up as Chris and Alex are joined by special guest Jez Stewart - curator at the BFI National Archive and expert on British animation history - to talk about Animal Farm (John Halas and Joy Batchelor, 1954). Taking on this celebrated animated adaptation of George Orwell’s popular novel, they discuss the production history of Britain’s first animated feature film and the vital role of archival material, alongside broader questions of cartoonal allegory via the narrative’s heavy politicised visions of anthropomorphic left-wing uprising.

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Episode 11 - Disenchantment (Matt Groening, 2018-)

Episode 11 marks Chris and Alex’s first venture to the small screen, offering a rundown of Matt Groening’s recent television series Disenchantment, which first premiered in August 2018 on Netflix. A fantasy sitcom visualised through Groening’s signature animated style (including the requisite character overbite), Disenchantment parodies the archetypes familiar from fantasy mythology. From hard-drinking princesses to sweet-toothed elves, its playful swipes at fantasy storytelling feed into an overriding irreverence that fully exploits animation’s subversive potential, as Groening’s series sets about both constructing and deconstructing the terms of its own animated world.

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