wizard of oz

The Rewatchables

The Rewatchables
Screen Heroes

 
 
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The Rewatchables, our Top 5 favorite films to watch again and again. These films span the decades, the genres…. and the levels of quality. Some movies stand with the greats while other are scrapped right out of the bottom of the $5 bin. What are your favorite movies to watch over and over? We’d love to know!

We, of course, cover the latest news including a new Spider-Man deal between Sony & Disney, Kevin Smith’s announcement of Clerks 3, a very interesting prop auction, Joker director Todd Phillips, and more!

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A Heroes Podcast Network Production

Hosts: Rae Stewart | Derreck Mayer | Ryan Couture

Executive Producer & Editor: Derreck Mayer

Music by Flying Killer Robots

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The Rewatchables

SH S3E21: Best Live-Action Fantasy Movies

It’s time for the Best Live-Action Fantasy Movies of All-Time! That’s right, we sit down and provide our Top 5 fantasy movies, making up a solid list of 20 live-action films. Before we jump into that, we talk some news including the directors leaving the Han Solo movie, plus the reality of Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman pay.

Also, 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

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Screen Heroes Podcast Credits

Hosts
Derreck Mayer
Rachel Stewart
Ryan Couture

Special Guest
Robert McCullagh

Executive Producer
Derreck Mayer

Editor
Derreck Mayer

Music
Flying Killer Robots

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SH S3E21: Best Live-Action Fantasy Movies

NBC’s Emerald City – A New Oz

There’s never too long before a Wizard of Oz adaptation comes to fruition. Scheduled for an April 2016 release, NBC has begun production on Emerald City, a ten episode mini series. While very little details are known regarding the synopsis, it has been confirmed that the Wizard (recently cast Daredevil villain Vincent D’Onfrio) will rule Oz with an iron (emerald?) fist, outlawing all magic of any kind. Dorothy, played by the up and coming television actress Adria Arjona, will be much older than the book depicted child, which leads audiences to assume she will take a more active hero role in the story. Tarsem Singh (known for directing spectacles such as Mirror, Mirror) is set to direct all ten episodes.

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For those of you that don’t already know, I’m an avid Wizard of Oz fan. It’s been my favorite movie since childhood. You know those hanging monkey toys that were popular for awhile? Yeah, I totally made wings for them. I digress.

I’m going into this being cautiously optimistic. It’s difficult for me to always be excited about new Oz when I’ve been burned by Oz before. The adaptations don’t always capture the magic and danger that Oz brings. They want to make them sexy, futuristic, bloody, cyborg, steampunk, drug addled, etc. When those adaptations are released, they are marketed as an Oz we’ve never seen before, when that’s never what an Oz fan has wanted.

Personally, I love when they tell new stories. Expansions on such a beautiful fantasy world bring new life into the fold, and while they’re not always innovative stories, they at least have my respect. So while I’m not looking forward to an Oz story I’ve already seen a million times, I’m intrigued by the Wizard as a villain (or at least a bully) angle, since that is how I’ve always seem him. I also have a lot of faith in Singh as a director. He’s often panned as one of the worst in the business, but, truthfully, I enjoy the sense of whimsy he brings to all of his work. If there’s one thing Oz should always be, it’s whimsical.The%20Wizard%20of%20Oz

Do you want some Oz recommendations to prepare for the new show? Here’s a small list of my favorite Oz adaptations:

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

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Arguably the most successful and famous continuation of the Oz legacy is the 1995 novel written by Gregory Maguire. A tale of Elphaba, the notorious Wicked Witch, this story predates the time of Dorothy and gives Oz a more realistic look as a country while focusing on a character that helped create the villain trope that we know today. The introduction of politics and religion into a world filled with magic was so exceptional it spawned 3 sequels and a hit show on Broadway that is seeing its 13th year in production. Read the book, see the play, watch the movie again, hate Glinda.

Marvel’s Wizard of Oz comic books

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These are what I consider to be the most faithful adaptations of the books.  They are almost word for word taken from Baum’s first six canonical stories.  Begun during Marvel’s period od adapting classic novels in the late 2000’s, write Eric Shanower and artist Skottie Young’s take on the stories were so well received that the Oz comics were the only ones to continue while all the other classics had been canceled.  They truly capture some of the most difficult aspects of Oz (like how to make it frightening as well as magical) without losing its appeal to children or adults.

I know there are a ton more adaptations out there, and most of them I have seen.  They all have a lot of great qualities to them, but these two are the only ones I feel really continue the legacy of what Oz is and what it means. What are your favorite Oz adaptations?  Are you looking forward to the new series? Do you want to hear the reasons why I dislike so many other Oz…things?

NBC’s Emerald City – A New Oz

The End of Fables – A Celebration, Part 2

Last time, I talked about the power and magic Fables had over me and just how sad it is to see it go.  In Part 2, I want to tell you some of my favorites and not so favorites of the series.  Check out Part 1 here.  And like before, remember there are some spoilers!

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Story Arcs

Favorite – “Storybook Love” – Fables had definitely already proven its intelligence by now but this was the first story from them that I thought brought the charm into the series.  It was defined as a series, so introducing new faces was getting easier for them and expanding on the limited lore became effortless.  The most special part of this arc is the complete game changer this has on the rest of the series.  This isn’t some ripple in the pond; this is a full blown explosion of story! Bluebeard, a renowned villain to us and Fabletown, is sick of Snow White and Bigby always getting in his way.  Instead of hatching some outlandish plan to kill them, he calculates their removal. We see his true cunning.  We also see the first flirtations between Snow and Bigby.

“Jack Be Nimble” – This story line is what created the very first spin-off of FablesJack of Fables.  It’s without a doubt the best Jack story of them all.  Fables are long lasting, living for hundreds of years, but to do that, they must stay fresh in the minds of Mundies (mundanes, or, you know, normal human, us people).  The more famous the Fable, the more immortal they are.  Jack, fully recognizing that he needs to secure his place in the world, moves to Hollywood and convinces studios to make an epic trilogy about Jack’s adventures.  His selfish mindset is both annoying and impressive.  As you’re reading it, you can’t believe that people are falling for his bull, but it’s just so well done that you fall for it too.

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Not so Favorite – “The Dark Ages” – The first story arc after the wrap up of the war against The Adversary was not that impressive.  It’s all because of the villain, Mister Dark (not his original name, he had many over the centuries, but his current alias was just a little silly for me).  He was powerful and terrifying and drawn spectacularly…but, he wasn’t The Adversary.  I’m recalling the story, really trying to figure out if that is my fault for not being able to move on just yet, or if writing about one villain for 75 issues could easily create this problem for a lot of readers.  I refuse to choose between the two and calling it a muddled gray area for the time being.  Mister Dark’s story definitely improved  as it continued, his character being expanded on and more intense, making his exit much more likable than his entrance.

Heroes

Cinderella_From_Fabletown_with_LoveCinderella – I love her character.  Cinderella is an outright, in your face, no apologies badass. She’s the type of hero that you want to read about.  Early in the series, you find out her frivolous life style is merely a front for her level of intelligence and skills.  She’s actually a secret Fabletown spy, carrying out covert missions when the town needs her the most.  Her character was so popular, they gave her a spin-off story detailing one of these crazy adventures, Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love.  Then, when that was selling out, they made a sequel which was equally as great, Cinderella: Fables are Forever.  Being the only female Fable to get her own book was a huge deal and the two stories are some of the few I reread.

MowgliMowgli – This incarnation of the little jungle boy was greatly compelling.  He was one of three men called The Tourists, a small group tasked by Bigby to watch over Fables that chose not to live in Fabletown or the Farm (for context, the Farm is a large area in upstate New York where non-human looking Fables can live.)  His main story is one where Prince Charming tasks him with hunting down Bigby since his departure from Fabletown.  While he’s not a prominent character, this story sticks out in my head because of the perfect dialogue and characterization Mowgli had.  I would have loved to see more of him.

Pinocchio – I really disliked this guy.  He was supposed to be hilarious and a little tragic (not going to say why; deal with it), but he came off as an irritating nuisance to the stories.  The gimmick of him remaining a “real boy” and never growing into a “real man” ran thin for me.  I was very happy when his character wasn’t as necessary to the plot beginning somewhere around issue 80.  I will say that he did receive a charming finale.

Villains

fableskindleMax Piper – You’ll never find Max Piper in the actual Fables comic, but you have heard of him. More famously, Max is the Pied Piper who lead all the children of Hamelin to their deaths.  He is the main villain in the novel Peter and Max: A Fables Novel and he’s fantastic.  He has the strong  motivation of being the jilted eldest Piper brother,  slowly tearing a family apart after being denied his inheritance.  I loved the concept so much because, quite often, villains get more and more separated from the protagonists, and this keeps the conflict directly related to the entire Piper family. It’s creates the complexities of loving the villain so much because of how evil he is.  You don’t want him to succeed, but at the same time, you don’t want to see him go either.

Hansel – Did you sit through that awful Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters film?  I’m so sorry.  To wash that taste out of your mouth, read about Hansel in Fables.  When he arrives with Gretel in Fabletown, he becomes vehemently angry with some of the population (you see, Fabletown allowed anyone in that signed the Amnesty Pact; how else do you explain the big bad wolf being a sheriff?); he immediately left Gretel behind and partook in the mundane world’s witch trials.  Globally, he was revered for his cruelty and unforgiving nature towards “witches.”  When he returns to Fabletown, he cements his role as villain among the Fables as well, leaving everyone in Fabletown leery of his presence in the world.

I65_FrauFrau Totenkinder – She’s frightening, I will give her that.  But she’s in everything.  The writers used this character as every bad witch, sorceress, evil doer in every story.  We get it, she’s bad.  I can’t really blame the Fabletown citizens for fearing someone that terrorized such a large chunk of the population at some point.  They built her up with ultimate power and wide connections and an ambiguous sense of loyalty.  In the beginning, it made for an interesting addition to the ensemble, but her shtick played out fast.  She wasn’t as compelling as the other villains, and was never convicted enough to be your favorite hero.  If she had been dialed back a bit, I’d love her.

Life and Death

The most major of the spoilers follow, so just keep scrolling if you’d like to be surprised.

The Cubs –  One of the most interesting parts of the story altogether were the children of Bigby and Snow, better known as the cubs.  Usually a sign of low ratings and a last minute effort to make something successful, the introduction of children generally mean the death of the project.  Instead, the cubs brought a new facet to both Bigby and Snow’s characters.  Their personalities and positions in the comic didn’t change, but merely grew from this new experience.  It was like the writers actually knew that children in real life don’t destroy your previous self, but merely add a different dimension to them. Each of them equally developed into interesting characters to watch as well.  There was one moment in particular that kept me reading to find out what becomes of them, and that, was the prophecy Ozma gives to little Ambrose.  It stuck with me so much that each book I opened, I wanted one of the questions to be answered.  I’ll just leave it here so it can intrigue you enough to read it as well!

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The first child will be a king
The second child a pauper
The third child will do an evil thing
The fourth will die to stop her
The fifth will be a hero bold
The sixth will judge the rest
The seventh lives to ages old, and is by heaven blessed

AHH! Now it’s in your head and you have to know who is who! Don’t google it; just read the books!Boy_blue12

Boy Blue – Out of all the deaths in the comic, Boy Blue’s is by far the saddest.  Why? Because he’s completely noble throughout the book. Because he’s never smug or arrogant, he’s never too perfect for you to trust; Boy Blue is from the start, the kind of person you want in your life.  He is everyone’s best friend, including the readers.  He’s beautifully flawed, so you want him to succeed.  And when he takes it upon himself to face The Adversary’s forces, sacrificing himself, your heart breaks in two.  The absolute worst part about it: he doesn’t come back like the others.  He’s no Prince Charming, no Jack of all Fables.  He dies and he stays dead and both the Fables and readers mourn.

Cameos

Santa – This was just a cute nod to the readers.  It is an American tradition to believe in Santa Claus and then come to the realization that he doesn’t exist and it’s the hopeful spirit in the legend that is important, not the existence of the man himself.  So throwing this character into the mix, appearing maybe 3 or 4 times throughout the entire series, was, for lack of better terms, cute.  He was even included as one of the paladins for Hope (a Fable herself), giving his character just a little more substance.

Wizard of Oz – The Golden Boughs Retirement home was a prison for Fables and had quite the assortment of characters.  My favorite of them all was the majority of the Wizard of Oz cast.  Kidnapped and memory wiped, Tin Man, Lion, Toto, and Dorothy all lived in this horrific place for literary characters.  While most of her cohorts are seemingly forgotten, Dorothy’s character gets expanded on in the Cinderella book, Fables are Forever, proving to everyone that she was never the innocent little girl from Kansas.

That’s it for now; stay tuned next week for the exciting conclusion to the Fables dedication, when I talk even more about a comic you’ve never read!

Continue to Part 3.

 

The End of Fables – A Celebration, Part 2