Advertisements
    Advertisements
  • Following Us

  • Categories

  • Check out the Archives









  • Awards & Nominations

  • Advertisements

139. The Lion King (#45)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, and this week with special guests Phil Bagnall and Graham Day, The 250 is a (mostly) weekly trip through some of the best (and worst) movies ever made, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users. New episodes are released every Saturday at 6pm GMT.

This time, Rob Minkoff and Roger Allers’ The Lion King.

The Pridelands have enjoyed a period of sustained peace under the stewardship of the proud king Mustafa. However, Mustafa’s young son Simba finds himself embarking upon a journey of self-discovery and adventure as he learns just how fragile happiness can be and just how heavy responsibilities can weigh upon a king.

At time of recording, it was ranked 45th on the Internet Movie Database‘s list of the best movies of all-time.

Continue reading

Advertisements

“For Infinity… and Beyond…”: In Praise of “Toy Story 2” as the Perfect Sequel…

Ranking films is often a fool’s errand.

I make this argument with no small amount of hypocrisy. Most obviously, I co-host a weekly podcast called The 250, which is dedicated to exploring the Internet Movie Database’s Top 250 Movies of All-Time. Even beyond that, I am guilty of participating in that periodic pleasure of pundits everywhere; the top ten… or forty… or fifty. At the end of every year, I produce a list of my favourite films of the year, whether on the Scannain podcast, on my personal Twitter, or even occasionally on this blog. In my defense, I rationalise that through a desire to draw attention to good films, and accept we can quibble on the order of said film.

At the same time, these lists can often be illuminating in terms of contextualising affection for a particular film, or for gauging the general mood. So when a film appears on a single list, it might be worth checking out if you trust the author. If it appears on multiple lists, it is probably a much stronger recommendation. (The Scannain annual top ten is an eclectic list, but it disparate viewpoints often settle on at least one consensus pick: You Were Never Really Here, Moonlight, Hell or High Water.) It helps to set a level of a particular film’s relative appeal and popularity.

By that measure, Toy Story 2 is generally considered the weakest film its franchise. At time of writing, Toy Story, Toy Story 3 and Toy Story 4 all feature on the Internet Movie Database’s Top 250 Movies of All-Time. Toy Story 2 is the lowest ranked entry in the franchise on lists compiled by Variety, Business Insider and The Ringer. It is the ranked as the weakest of the original trilogy on lists compiled by Slant Magazine, Collider and Polygon. None of this amounts to anything that can quantifiably be described as a “backlash.” After all, to be the worst Toy Story movie, a film still has to be pretty good.

However, there is a sense in which Toy Story 2 gets overlooked. There are any number of structural reasons for that. The middle part of a trilogy, picking up immediately after Toy Story but without offering the resolution expected of Toy Story 3, the film is neither a beginning nor an end. It is not an introduction to these characters, and it does not really function as a farewell either. More than that, the film may also be somewhat tarnished by its production history, originally mooted as a straight-to-video release before entering an insanely fast turnaround as a theatrical feature; it is partly why Disney owns Pixar.

Still, this tends to look past what makes Toy Story 2 such a delight. It is in many ways the perfect sequel.

Continue reading

Star Trek: Voyager – Elogium (Review)

This September and October, we’re taking a look at the jam-packed 1994 to 1995 season of Star Trek, including Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. Check back daily for the latest review.

Elogium is the first script from writer Kenneth Biller, even if it was his second script produced and his third script to air. Adapted from a script by Jeri Taylor from a freelance pitch from Jimmy Diggs, Elogium has gone through quite a few sets of hands before reaching the screen. In many respects, Biller’s script went through the opposite approach of many writers working on Star Trek for the first time.

Ronald D. Moore’s script for The Bonding and René Echevarria’s teleplay for The Offspring both went through story editor Melinda Snodgrass and executive producer Michael Piller for varying amounts of re-writes before their ideas reached the screen. In contrast, Biller’s début assignment is re-writing a script written by an executive producer from a freelance pitch. It’s no wonder that Elogium turned into such a mess.

Love in a turbolift...

Love in a turbolift…

The episode was produced towards the tail end of the first season of Star Trek: Voyager, and it’s almost a shame that it was held back into the second season. While hardly an episode deserving of repeat airing over the summer, it was also a pretty poor way of welcoming viewers into the show’s second season. It’s a problem with all of the hold-overs, except for Projections. The other three episodes carried over are among the weakest episodes of a troubled season. Elogium might not be quite as dull as Twisted or as unfocused as The 37’s, but it is a deeply creepy episode of television.

The two episodes produced during the second season to air in the first six weeks – Initiations and Non Sequitor – might not represent franchise high-points, but they are well-produced hours of television that suggest Voyager might be finding its feet. The hold-overs from the first season undermine that sense of progress.

Neelix was shocked to discover that Ocampan children were not found under cabbage patches...

Neelix was shocked to discover that Ocampan children were not found under cabbage patches…

Continue reading

So, You Want to Read Comics, Eh?

We’re a bit late to the party, but this week we’ll be celebrating the 75th anniversary of DC Comics, with a look at the medium, the company and the characters in a selection of bonus features running Monday through Friday. This is one of those articles. Feel free to look up the rest, they’re fully of nerdy goodness.

So, it’s the end of our week-long look at the comic book medium and what a week it’s been. We’ve looked at grown-up comics and superhero comics, the best of DC comics and the quirks of the medium. So I hope you might forgive the excess if I write this last blog post from an all-together more person perspective. I like the funny books, I do. I think the medium has huge potential to tell stories in a fascinating format, unconfined by budget or scope. I am fascinated by the intertextual elements, the notion that all of these different and unique titles can be drawn together as part of one giant meta-story. But what I really have difficulty understanding is why the medium insists upon making itself so damn inaccessible.

Sometimes Superman just likes be a douche...

Continue reading

Comics for Grown Ups?

We’re a bit late to the party, but this week we’ll be celebrating the 75th anniversary of DC Comics, with a look at the medium, the company and the characters in a selection of bonus features running Monday through Friday. This is one of those articles. Be sure to join us for the rest.

Comic books are what Neil Gaiman once famously described as “the medium that’s always confused with a genre”. The fact that they are typically populated with spandex-wearing superheroes has led to a bit of a pop culture stigma around the medium, as stories about grown men in their underwear pounding each other are the only stories that could be told in that format. Anyone even loosely familiar with the history of the genre will know better, but I’ve always imagined comic books having a hard time fitting in to popular culture in the same way that books or film or television do. So can comic books ever really draw in that elusive adult audience?

Smoking? In a comic book? That will not stand!

Continue reading

Have We Stopped Making Children’s Films For Children?

The three biggest children’s films under discussion at the moment are Pixar’s Up, Wes Anderson’s The Fantastic Mr. Fox and Spike Jonze’s Where The Wild Things Are. These three films have generated a debate about who exactly family entertainment should be aimed at, and whether are not there are themes (rather than content) which should be taboo for films that would appear to be aimed at children. More importantly, these three films have sparked a flurry of complaints or criticisms from adults who claim they are far too mature for younger audiences. So, are we really only making these films for big kids?

Watch out, here comes the Politically-Correct-allo!

Watch out, here comes the Politically-Correct-allo!

Continue reading