Toy Story

Remembering Stan Lee

Remembering Stan Lee
Screen Heroes

 
 
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We change course this week to honor the man of Marvel, Stan Lee. After he passed away Monday, at the age of 95, we decided to push Our DCEU Justice League pitch to December so we could spend some time talking about one of the most influential people of the 20th and 21st centuries. Stan Lee likely contributed more to comic book and superhero culture than any other single person, so we decided to talk a bit about his life and what it meant to us.

We still talk news though, including the new Toy Story 4 teasers, the first Detective Pikachu trailer, and The Mandalorian casting… and don’t forget ShazamGate ’18 with a brand new shirt design available right now on our TeePublic store.

How did Stan Lee’s work influence you? Did you ever meet him? Tell us your Stan Lee stories! We want to know! Comment below or hit us up @HeroesPodcasts on Twitter or Facebook!

Prefer to watch the episode? Catch the Twitch broadcast right here:

Go to Screen-Heroes.com right now to subscribe to us on iTunes and drop us a review. If you do, we’ll be sure to give you a shout-out in a future episode!

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Screen Heroes Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Rae Stewart
Ryan Couture

Executive Producer & Editor
Derreck Mayer

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Flying Killer Robots

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Remembering Stan Lee

Pixar Movie Ranking

Since 1995, Pixar has released 20 feature films from Toy Story through Incredibles 2. This week, we sit down with special guest Eric Collins to rank all 20 Pixar movies. But first, news! We discuss the new Into the Spider-Verse trailer, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Tom Hardy’s opinion of his Venom film, and the female-led Fast & Furious sequel.

How would you rank the Pixar films? Did you agree with us? We want to know! Comment below or hit us up @HeroesPodcasts on Twitter or Facebook!

Prefer to watch the episode? Catch the Twitch broadcast right here:

Go to Screen-Heroes.com right now to subscribe to us on iTunes and drop us a review. If you do, we’ll be sure to give you a shout-out in a future episode!

Want to join the conversation? Join us live every Tuesday night at 9PM EST on Twitch to chat with us! We’ll answer questions and note comments live on the broadcast! Follow at: twitch.tv/heroespodcasts

Subscribe to Screen Heroes! The links to iTunesBlog Talk RadioSpreakerGoogle Play, and Feedburner are below!

Stop by our Patreon to see what kinds of cool perks you can get for being one of our contributors: patreon.com/HeroesPodcasts

Not ready for that kind of commitment? No problem! Buy us a coffee over at ko-fi.com/heroespodcasts because every dollar truly does help.

Screen Heroes Podcast Credits

A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Rae Stewart
Ryan Couture

Special Guests
Eric Collins

Executive Producer & Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

iTunes
Screen-Heroes.com

Blog Talk Radio
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/screenheroes

Spreaker
https://www.spreaker.com/show/screen-heroes

Google Play
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Pixar Movie Ranking

Pixar Films – A Ranking Part 1

With Pixar’s Finding Dory finally in theaters, it’s time for us to rank the existing 17 Pixar films. If you’re curious about our take on Finding Dory, head over to our spoiler-free review here. Pixar has been warming our hearts and challenging our emotions since the 1995 release of Toy Story. Since then, we’ve seen their computer generated animated features advance and progress to the level of receiving nominations for Best Picture at the Academy Awards for both Toy Story 3 and Up. In total, Pixar has won 13 Academy Awards across 16 films. In fact, we’ve loved Pixar movies so much that we’ve even given them a pass from time to time, like in the case of Cars 2. We get it, sometimes you just want to pay the bills and sells tons of toys. We forgive you since you brought us Inside Out.

So with all of that in mind, here is my attempt at ranking the existing Pixar films. Like we do with other franchises and movie universes (yes, some of us believe all of the Pixar films are somehow connected), we will keep this list updated as more movies come out.

In Part 1, I get through 17-9 with 8-1 in Part 2 coming soon!

17. Cars 2

Cars 2

Okay, do I need to go into detail here? It’s a sequel of Pixar’s merchandising grab film and it’s not even done as well. I’ll save everyone some time and just move on. If you think this one should be ranked higher, please comment below.

16. Cars

Cars Mia and Tia Title

While better than the sequel, this movie just doesn’t do it for me. I’m used to Pixar films that create incredible universes within our own, complex stories and characters that push the viewer emotionally and psychologically. As I noted earlier, some people, myself included, like to believe all of the Pixar films fit together and while there is a pretty outlandish theory about how Cars fits in, I don’t buy it. This film takes the easy way out by ignoring the rules of our own world, something they had to deal with in A Bug’s Life, Ratatouille, and Toy Story. Those challenges made for better story telling and more complex environment.

15. Monsters University

Monsters University Banner

Pixar had incredible success with the Toy Story sequels and decided to try something different, a prequel. The movie includes the charm of both John Goodman and Billy Crystal but much like Men in Black II, it loses much of its awe and originality. Many of the new characters were cute but it seemed like a step back from the first film which included a larger universe and dealt with the consequences of actions on both the Monster and human worlds. In the end, this film falls into a common trap of prequels. Most people, like me, want to see the story continue, see the effects of the first film. Whether or not these monsters had official training didn’t really stick with me as a need to know concept.

14. A Bug’s Life

A Bug's Life Banner

Alright, so it’s Pixar’s second movie. It premiered three years after Toy Story. Special effects hadn’t really progressed much in that time but Pixar continued with a similar formula. I did love how they created this great little bug universe within our own. This forced the film makers to work within the constraints of our world while giving life to something new. The voice cast was strong with Kevin Spacey playing a solid villain. I also enjoyed Julia Louis-Dreyfus, though I am a huge Seinfeld and Veep fan. The truth is though, the thing that sticks with me most from this movie is actually the short before it, Geri’s Game in which an old man plays chess with himself. It’s brilliant, fun, entertaining, and I fell in love with the character. Part of me even sees this old man as an alternate or early version of Carl from Up. Let’s not forget that this short also won Best Animated Short at the Academy Awards that year. It’s only one of three Pixar shorts to do this, the other two being Tin Toy and For the Birds from Toy Story and Monsters, Inc. respectively.

13. Brave

Brave Title

This movie never stuck with me and I’m actually ranking it higher than I think I should because the animation was really well done. The story didn’t grab me and I found the premise to be a little silly more often than not. And yes, I know we’re talking about animated kids’ films. The whole daughter wants to do her own thing… thing was nothing new and the spin of her mom turning into a bear just didn’t interest me. I am too used to Pixar doing new things in new worlds and/or pushing my emotions to the extreme. This movie does none of this but does handle the animation well enough. The hair is cool and all but I was more impressed with the balloons in Up and the fuzzy fur stuff on the emotions in Inside Out.

12. The Good Dinosaur

Good Dinosaur Cover Image

Okay, so I think this might be the only Pixar film outside of the Cars movies, I didn’t see in theaters. It just didn’t happen and neither did its box office numbers. I guess I feel very similar to that. This movie is fine. The story is good and reminded me quite a bit of The Land Before Time. I liked the story, for the most part, but I felt like just too many annoying bad things kept happening to Arlo. This movie gets bumped up quite a bit though because of how awesome the animation is. It’s superb and deserves to be noticed. The scenery, the water, the textures, just outstanding across the board. That being said, it’s not enough to save the movie that included a VERY predictable story. I mean, was anyone surprised when Poppa died the way he did? No? The moment he takes Arlo into that field at night with the fireflies, I knew that man was a goner. And he ended up dying in almost the exact same way as Mufasa in The Lion King, except no acting antagonist did it. It’s just kind of Arlo’s fault. The universe they built was okay but I would have liked a larger picture like we got in Monsters Inc. Where are the other dinosaurs? No predators? Friends? Neighbors? Just one family in the middle of no where. I, of course, am not referring to those Arlo finds on his journey but I guess maybe everyone is just on the other side of the mountain.

11. Ratatouille

Ratatouille Banner

This movie has a decent enough cast and does a solid job of creating the mouse world within our own. The animation is solid with colorful and fun characters. The food was also done well. It’s a cute story and Linguini is a cute character. I enjoyed Remy and the relationships he had with his family. All-in-all, it’s a cute, fun film that doesn’t tax much on the emotional spectrum. It doesn’t quite crack the Top 10 and I think this is due to its lack of emotional punch and/or technical prowess. It doesn’t push any boundaries.. Keep in mind that the movies above it are all spectacular and a couple have even received Best Picture nominations at the Academy Awards. I like this movie and find it enjoyable. It’s just not one I look forward to viewing time and time again.

10. Finding Dory

Finding Dory Definition

Since this one is so new, I’ll try to avoid spoilers. In short, this movie takes some of our favorite characters from the first film and basically makes them do it all over again but this time for Dory. The plot is very similar to the first film but the characters and voice cast are spot on. I love these characters, even all of the new ones. Ed O’Neil’s Hank is great, Destiny and Bailey are fun too. I love them all. Dory’s story, which we get to see from a very young age, is touching and heartwarming. It hits the emotions hard a few times and does a great job building on the universe created in the first film. With that said, it is a bit repetitive. I mean, it’s almost the same story as the last one. Additionally, some of the antics at the end literally had me thinking “Really?!?” It was over the top at times. I will say this, the short film Piper is awesome. It’s a cute and lovely story but the animation is unbelievable. The sand, the water, the foam. It all looks real and I’m completely impressed by it. Anyway, if you liked Finding Nemo, then you’ll want to see this movie. If not, then it doesn’t really do anything different.

9. Toy Story 2

Toy Story 2 Logo

I have a hard time putting this one so low. I love this movie and I love what it does to add to the first film’s universe. We get to learn so much about Woody and our favorite characters all get to have an exciting adventure that includes Zurg! And tell me Jessie’s story is heartbreaking! Talk about the feels. Pixar does this well and it is important that they continue to do so. The story is fun, new, inventive, and brings in new characters and old that we will continue to love to this very day. I don’t have anything bad to say about this one. It’s great fun with some emotion built in. The animation sticks true to the Toy Story style which is great but doesn’t really push any boundaries.

Okay, that’s it for Part 1! What did you think of my ranking so far? Do you agree or disagree? Comment below! Also, stay tuned for Part 2 where I finish up my ranking with the top 8 spots!

Pixar Films – A Ranking Part 1

Disney Reserves Dates for 8 Upcoming Live Action Films

This week, Disney reserved the dates for 8 different films, believed to be the release dates for their upcoming live action films. It’s no coincidence that they have announced these dates following their extreme success with The Jungle Book.  While Disney has had mixed results with live action films (sorry, John Carter, I liked you), as of lately they’ve had giant hits with their fairy tale adaptations, such as Maleficent and Cinderella as well.

Disney Maleficent

Dates are listed below:

  • July 28, 2017: Untitled Disney Fairy Tale (Live Action), previously dated December 22, 2017
  • April 4, 2018: Untitled Disney Fairy Tale (Live Action)
  • August 3, 2018: Untitled Disney Live Action
  • November 2, 2018: Untitled Disney Fairy Tale (Live Action)
  • December 25, 2018: Untitled Disney Live Action
  • March 29, 2019: Untitled Disney Fairy Tale (Live Action)
  • November 8, 2019: Untitled Disney Fairy Tale (Live Action)
  • December 20, 2019: Untitled Disney Fairy Tale (Live Action)

Within the last year, Disney has announced multiple fairy tale related projects that are in development at one stage or another in the process.  Listed below are the projects that are the most likely candidates for the above dates.

  • Cruella with Emma Stone set for the title role and Kelly Marcel writing
  • A Wrinkle in Time with Ava DuVernay attached to direct and Jennifer Lee writing
  • Jungle Cruise with Dwayne Johnson set to star and John Requa and Glenn Ficarra writing
  • Dumbo with director Tim Burton and writer Ehren Kruger
  • A sequel to Mary Poppins with director Rob Marshall, starring Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda
  • Maleficent 2 with Angelia Jolie set to return in the title role and Linda Woolverton writing
  • The Nutcracker and the Four Realms with director Lasse Hallstrom and writer Ashleigh Powell
  • The Jungle Book 2 with both director Jon Favreau and writer Justin Marks returning
  • A Tinker Bell project with Reese Witherspoon set to star and Victoria Strouse writing

This does not include the Peter Pan live action film from director David Lowery of Pete’s Dragon or the rumored Winnie the Pooh and Mulan, or spinoffs based on GeniesPrince Charming, and Rose Red.  Also missing from the fold are Beauty and the Beast live action take starring Emma Watson and the fifth installment of the “Pirates” franchise Dead Men Tell No Tales bringing back Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow.

But what about Disney’s upcoming animated films? They haven’t been forgotten either.  With unknown dates planned for Frozen 2, they are also planning on the following animation:

Disney Pixar Finding Dory

  • Finding Dory  with returning cast members Ellen Degeneres and Albert Brooks, along with newcomer Ty Burrell, expected June 17, 2016
  • Moana starring Dwayne Johnson and directors Ron Clements and John Musker, out November 23, 2016
  • Cars 3 written by Robert Baird and Dan Gerson, expected June 16, 2017
  • Coco  a Dia de los Muertos based story directed by Toy Story 3 helmer Lee Unkrich, expected November 22, 2017
  • Gigantic a loosely based take on Jack and the Beanstalk, expected March 9, 2018
  • Toy Story 4 written by Rashida Jones and Will McCormack, expected June 15, 2018
  • The Incredibles 2 bringing back director Brad Bird, out June 21, 2019

Combining these with the ambitious schedules of franchise titans Marvel Cinematic Universe and Star Wars, Disney has the potential to pull in more money over the next 4 years than any other entertainment studio.

While I will always be a Disney fan, and most of these movies personally appeal to me, I believe it is safe to say Disney may be throwing its weight around a little here. Most of these films, along with their upcoming animated films as well, will dominate the box office and monopolize 3D screens across the country, leaving very little screens for everything else.

Disney Petes Dragon

What’s your take on this extensive schedule? Are you looking forward to anything in particular?  Personally, I’ve been waiting for a Disney adaptation of The Nutcracker for my entire life.  It’s a very magical story that could use their touch.

Disney Reserves Dates for 8 Upcoming Live Action Films

The Age of Animated Sequels

While teaching Ancient Japan to my students, I became interested in Japanese customs and entertainment. Naturally, I immediately gravitated to legendary anime film maker Hayao Miyazaki and his work with Studio Ghibli. The vast color and creativity of his movies were not only entertaining, but also made me want to dive into the creative well and write my own stories. However, as I watched more and more of Miyazaki’s films from My Neighbor Totoro to The Wind Rises, one thing became very apparent: Studio Ghibli, and especially Hayao Miyazaki, was not in the habit of making sequels.

sequels2

My Neighbor Totoro, a film that would probably get itself a sequel if it had been made today and in America.

This is in harsh contrast to most animation studios that are headquartered in America. Dreamworks Animation has made two sequels to Madagascar, as well as a spin-off movie about those zangy penguins. Pixar has made two sequels to Toy Story with a third in development. Then there’s Blue Sky studios, which has made a remarkable three sequels to their Ice Age moves with a fourth slated for release in 2016. And yet, since its establishment in 1985, Studio Ghibli has not produced one sequel. So the question is why do American studios insist on making so many sequels instead of creating original animated films?

To help us answer these questions, let’s look at the man behind most of Studio Ghibli’s films, Hayao Miyazaki. In 2010, Miyazaki was talking about creating a sequel to Porco Rosso, a 1992 film about a 1920s pilot cursed with the face of a pig. However, Miyazaki recently “claimed” he was retiring from film making after finishing The Wind Rises (I say “claimed” because the director has claimed his retirement and then come back many times). So a Porco Rosso sequel is unlikely to happen. But this was in 2010. Why did he move on to other projects? Well, the answer is probably fairly simple. In my opinion, Hayao Miyazaki is someone who is not interested in exploring what has already been explored. He would rather chart new territory. That is why we only see original movies from him rather than a plethora of sequels.

yoko_out

The Wind Rises was Hayao Miyazaki’s last film. And still, he has made no sequels.

With that knowledge, we can truly address the question of why American animation studios create sequels. It’s actually quite simple: they are safe. As with any capitalist society, money is at the core. Why try to create something new when you can take something people already love and make more of it? It’s always a risk to make an original movie. What if people don’t go to see it? What if it doesn’t make enough money to make up for the investment? Studios as a whole want to curb this by just making sequels. Sequels are familiar, safe, and generally easy money.

Now this philosophy was not always the case in the genesis of animation. Take Walt Disney Animation studios. It was not until 1990’s The Rescuers Down Under that Disney created a sequel to one of their previous movies. Later on, Disney started cranking out home video releases of all manner of sequels to many of their classics. But why did Disney take so long to start making sequels? This goes back to a quote from the founder, Walt Disney, “I’ve never believed in doing sequels. I didn’t want to waste the time I have doing a sequel. I’d rather be using that time doing something new and different…” So, put simply, Walt Disney was much like Hayao Miyazaki in that he would rather work on “something new and different” than slashing out the old hat.

sequels4

“You can’t top pigs with pigs.” This was said by Walt Disney concerning the sequels to Three Little Pigs, which, according to Disney, were not as good as the original.

I am most certainly not saying that all animated sequels are bad. There are many that sometimes even surpass the originals. However, one has to wonder how many good and exciting original movies we are missing as a the direct or indirect result of a sequel. In the future, perhaps visionaries like Hayao Miyazaki and Walt Disney will once again find the advantage of creating new animated films for audiences. Until then, the theaters shall ever be populated by the descendants of the original film. This is the Age of the Sequel.

The Age of Animated Sequels