Episode 15 - Tron (Steven Lisberger, 1982)

In episode 15, Chris and Alex log on to Tron (Steven Lisberger, 1982), a watershed moment in the history of computer animation and one that taps into the early electronic spectacle of digital visual effects within a Hollywood context. Representing the wonder of - if not the cultural anxieties surrounding - the newness of computers and virtual reality (as well as the growing popularity of videogames), the film reframes cyberspace as a complex three-dimensional fantasy world. Tron invites spectators into the labyrinthine geographies of hardware and software, asking us to marvel at a series of magical mainframes but also to speculate over what digital technology might look like, and how it could be represented onscreen.

Read More
Episode 8 - Black Panther (Ryan Coogler, 2018)

Episode eight sees Chris and Alex discuss the eighteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Black Panther (Ryan Coogler, 2018). As the first Marvel film to feature a predominantly black cast, Black Panther offers the opportunity to situate fantasy and animation both within the codes of the popular superhero genre, and alongside broader critical questions of black subjectivity in contemporary cinema. Chris and Alex therefore move through an examination of its spectacular use of digital animation in its portrayal of Third World-but-secretly-techno-heavy Wakanda; the fruitful overlap between science-fiction and fantasy cinema as categories of classification; and post-Trump Afrofuturist identity politics. Oh, and they talk a bit about CGI rhinos too.

Read More
Episode 6 - The Greatest Showman (Michael Gracey, 2017)

For episode six, Chris and Alex are joined by Dr Martha Shearer (King’s College London), expert on the Hollywood musical and author of the recent monograph New York City and the Hollywood Musical: Dancing in the Streets (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016). Together, they discuss The Greatest Showman (Michael Gracey, 2017) in relation to its status as a biopic, as a fantasy of New York, and its marked use of computer graphics that bring this all-singing, all-dancing American musical to life.

Read More