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90. Incredibles 2 – This Just In (#183)

Hosted by Andrew Quinn and Darren Mooney, and with special guests Graham Day and Marianne Cassidy, This Just In is a subset of The 250 podcast, looking at notable new arrivals on the list of the 250 best movies of all-time, as voted for by Internet Movie Database Users.

This time, Brad Bird’s Incredibles 2.

At time of recording, it was ranked the 183rd best movie of all time on the Internet Movie Database.

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Non-Review Review: Tomorrowland

Tomorrowland encapsulates a number of recurring themes in American mainstream science-fiction,

In many respects, it harks to sixties utopianism. Tomorrowland positions itself as a spiritual companion piece to films like Star Trek or X-Men: First Class or Interstellar. Although most of the film is set in the present day, its retro futurism is firmly anchored fifty years in the past. An early flashback takes place in the 1964 World’s Fair. Space flight is explicitly described as the “new frontier”, recalling Kennedy’s famous speech. Tomorrowland is absolutely fascinated with the idea of organised space flight as a beacon calling mankind forward.

Field of dreams...

Field of dreams…

It almost seems like, to paraphrase George W. Bush, “The future was better yesterday.” There is a paradoxical nostalgia to Tomorrowland, which feels like a desperate plea for the modern generation to abandon their own visions of the future and embrace those of their predecessors. It is a fascinating conflict at the heart of the film, and not necessarily one that writer Brad Bird and Damon Lindelof comfortably resolve. There are aspects of Tomorrowland that do feel distinctly uncomfortable and contradictory.

At the same time, it feels like a genuine and heartfelt criticism of the tendency towards the apocalyptic in mainstream fiction – an impassioned and aggressive urge to embrace a more hopeful and optimistic future. Tomorrowland has its heart in the right place, but it occasionally gets a little lost.

Going against the grain...

Going against the grain…

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Non-Review Review: Finding Nemo

You know, even after all this time, I think that Finding Nemo views with The Incredibles as my favourite Pixar production. I respect and appreciate the sheer artistry and technical skill that went into Wall-E and I think Uprepresents the company’s most mature work to date, but I think Nemo perfectly captures everything that I love about the company – the maturity, the humour, the adventure, the technical skill of it all. Plus it has perhaps the best voice cast of the films.

The life aquatic...

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Pixar and the Weight of Expectation…

Well, it probably had to happen. I know it’s probably not statistically impossible, just highly improbable – but I guess that I always knew (deep down) that Pixar’s batting average was too good to last. I mean, I (at the very least) really like all of their films, and I genuinely love the majority of them. And that fact is borne out by the Rotten Tomatoes ratings of the various films. The vast majority rank in the 90% to 100% range, something any studio would kill for: Toy Story (100%), A Bug’s Life (91%), Toy Story 2 (100%), Monsters Inc (95%), Finding Nemo (98%), The Incredibles (97%), Ratatouille (96%), Wall-E (96%), Up (98%), Toy Story 3 (99%). Even the single film that ranks lowest, the only one not in the range, still had mostly positive reviews, Cars with 74%. However, Cars 2 looks to have bucked that winning trend, with reviews that not only fall far short of Pixar’s impressive average, but is actually pretty negative.

I can’t help but feel more than a little bit sad.

Do Pixar need to get in gear?

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Non-Review Review: The Incredibles

I think Pixar’s The Incredibles must stand as one of their best productions – alongside Finding Nemo, perhaps. It’s certainly one of their more conventional entries in the Pixar stable, in that it’s offered in the blockbuster format of the decade (superhero adventure), but – like the very best of their work – it’s so much more. A whole host of Pixar’s films – Toy Story and Finding Nemo chief among them – deal with the notion of paternal abandonment (though perhaps more fond of addressing the story of parents abandoned by kids, rather than kids abandoned by adults), but The Incredibles is perhaps the one which best deals with the challenges that managing a ‘functioning’ family.

That's one incredible family...

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My Top 50 Movies of the Decade…

Alright here it is, my top fifty films of the decade. I’ve decided to stop complaining about Donal Clarke’s list in the Irish Times and just let rip myself. There’s more than a few crazy choices down there, but – after a week in the works – I’m happy with it. I doubt that a lot of other people will be.

Like the Oscars, but... you know, better...

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The Magic of Pixar

How do Pixar continue to do it? Of the ten films they have produced so far, nearly all are considered animated classics (though I remain skeptical of A Bug’s Life). Somehow the company seems to have found a way to not only compress the whole spectrum of human emotion (though it has been suggested that they do better with loss and depression than triumph and love), and distill these precious elements into a technically marvelous computer-animated form. With Up seemingly continuing the trend, how can they continue to do it?

Carl knew it wouldn't all be plane sailing...

Carl knew it wouldn't all be plane sailing...

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