[Drift #32]

Every now and again I'm reminded on Twitter or the forum that you guys love this show best when we review something we absolutely love. Our passion for it is palpable and in many cases infectious enough to get people who have yet to see the movie in question to finally take the plunge.

This point usually comes up when I mention that we're reviewing something awful. In this case Michael Bay's Transformers movies. 

But there is a silver lining to the critical thunderstorm you're about to hear. Firstly this initial 2007 movie turned out to be a lot more of a mixed bag than we were expecting. It has some genuinely uplifting and well managed moments as well as one or two dryly delivered performances that suggest character of the kind you'd find in good movies. We're actually pretty positive for a while. Now granted that iceberg tip of quality is sitting atop a mountain of mishandled garbage and yes of course we delve into that one with a metaphor for the viewing experience that will haunt your cinema visits.

However it's actually very important that we maul pictures like this every now and again. Without the lows and the shadow the brightness and the highs will never be as intense and purifying. Michael Bay's Transformers sequels in particular are a parallel for the depressing filth of our lives, a soul-devouring mire consuming us from the ankles up that we need to escape with the wings of the Avengers, the Lego Movie and Guardians of the Galaxy, basically anything with Chris Pratt. 

Without these inexplicably crowd-pleasing doldrums the journey's end as we come to rest in the warm glow of Transformers Prime has a great deal less meaning. So fill your gas tanks folks, this is going to be one crazy road trip to remember. We promise you by the end you'll be glad you came along. In the other cars riding alongside you'll find Neil Taylor of GameBurst and Andy Rodriguez of the Digital Drift community.

Next pit-stop: Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

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Direct download: 32._Transformers.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 10:03 AM

[Drift #31]

This kicks off a surprisingly thorough series of podcasts focusing on the Transformers franchise. I actually said I could barely get one show out of this as there was no high point that I really connected with to balance the many lows. However these toys and the animated show and movie were a huge part of my childhood and that gave me more than enough to engage with.

Coming up in the next few weeks:

1.   The Transformers: The Movie (The 1986 animated feature)
2.   Transformers (The 2007 Michael Bay live action movie)
3.   Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
4.   Transformers: Dark of the Moon
5.   Transformers: Age of Extinction
6.   Transformers Prime (Season 1 of the animated TV show)
7.   Transformers Prime (Part 2, continuing the season 1 discussion)

I’m sure there will be many comic, Beast Wars, Animated and Unicron trilogy fans out there who would want me to cover those shows as well but listen for the next few weeks and you’ll see we actually run the gamut on as much Transformer lore as we could muster without going insane.

For this first outing we take a look at the original animated series incarnation of the shape-shifting robots, a movie commissioned to sell a new wave of toys but actually created by a small team of dedicated Transformers fans who really wanted to do something special. Much like the 2007 TMNT movie this one was disregarded by adults for being a cartoon and performed feebly at the box office, while the live action versions which came later drew in massive crowds of dads and kids.

It’s daft and incoherent and when disassembled makes barely a lick of sense but it has a soundtrack that can only be described as rad, and it’s still cherished by many people as it meant something to them, not least because of the death of Optimus Prime, a move that took Peter Cullen’s classically inspiring portrayal of the character 21 years to journey back to permanent fixture. Joining Sharon and I are Neil Taylor of GameBurst and Ryan Astley of Exient games. 

Next week we begin to assess the Bay films and see if they were really all that bad, but this week… Bah-weep-Graaaaagnah wheep ni ni bong! 

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Direct download: 31._The_Transformers_The_Movie.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 11:07 AM

[Drift #30]

This is it. Alex's 400th podcast. And what better way to celebrate a broadcasting career like this than with something lovingly crafted, and beloved by its small but enthusiastic fanbase?

This summer everyone fell in love with Groot, voiced by Vin Diesel. Journey back fifteen years to a very similar performance in a lost film to be found and absolutely treasured. The Iron Giant was one of the final hurrah's for 2D cell animation at the end of a decade that marked a major renaissance for Disney, on the cusp of a new age of 3D animation.

The mid 1950s and the sleepy town of Rockwell, Maine is visited by an alien behemoth. A titan of iron, innocent and inquisitive, found and befriended by a young boy and the cause of alarm and violent aggression from an America living under the shadow of the mushroom cloud. It's funny, clever, sweet, beautiful, tragic and ultimately as life-affirming as it gets, so naturally hardly anyone saw it. Warner Bros were in the process of dismantling their animation division and pratfall comedy Inspector Gadget was playing next door with the marketing clout of Disney behind it so there was no contest really. Ironically Warner not being too invested in the sale of this thing to America granted the creative team all manner of freedom to make the film they really wanted to. 

Our team of intrepid explorers fight the red menace of apathy and delve into the Giant's metal frame to root out every riveting detail, Dan Floyd of Extra Credits, Joshua Garrity of Cane and Rinse and The Animation Archives, Jerome McIntosh of GameBurst and Nama Chibitty of the Digital Drift Community.

Next week, we continue the giant, metal alien visitors theme and begin our Transformers shows. 

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Email: digitaldriftuk@gmail.com
Website: www.digitaldrift.co.uk

Direct download: 30._The_Iron_Giant.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 2:57 PM

[Drift #29]

The second in our trilogy celebration of Alex's 400th podcast. 

This time we're talking about another of the best films of 2014; The Lego Movie. Arguably the most potent cocktail of inventiveness and pure joy in an animated movie since the original Toy Story. Deceptively child-friendly, especially after a slew of sporadically funny Lego games, and prone to assumptions of being nothing more than an enormous toy commercial this is in fact a far richer experience than your usual blockbuster cinema trip as well as a surprising and tacit celebration of contemporary remix culture.  With our team of intrepid yellow, plastic master-builders Daniel Floyd of Extra Credits, Glen Watts and Iain Hopwood of the Digital Drift community and Lyra Shaw we go deep into the detail of this fascinating deconstruction of the hero's journey and examine the many vibrant themes and characters found within. 

This one is child-safe in terms of language but does of course feature massive spoilers so if for some reason you've not yet seen it, do so first. If you didn't think the movie was all that special we can offer many reasons why it might warrant a second viewing and if you love it you will adore every second of this episode. 

Next week we encounter The Iron Giant. If you have not yet seen this absolutely wonderful animated cult classic from 1999 you owe it to yourself to remedy that in the next few days. 

Be sure to find us, follow us, like us and email us.

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Website: www.digitaldrift.co.uk

Direct download: 29._The_Lego_Movie.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 10:45 AM

[Drift #28]

This is the tenth of the Marvel Cinematic Universe podcasts.

We talk at length about the transition from obscure Marvel comic to breakout success, how the characters differ across the mediums taking many detours into the depiction of female and black characters in comic book movies, the inspired soundtrack, the hilarious, often touching performances, the detail-filled worlds and of course the vibrant, fun-filled rollicking space adventure now finally earning recognition. 

This is also the first of a trilogy of unrelated movie reviews all celebrating some of the best aspects of the human spirit. Next week it's The Lego Movie, followed by The Iron Giant, which also makes this a Chris Pratt and Vin Diesel appreciation trio. This is because episode 30 is my 400th podcast (give or take a few dozen, Digital Cowboys ran for 209 episodes and Digital Gonzo for 161). 

Joining Sharon and I are Jerome McIntosh of the GameBurst podcast, Mike Hearn from the webcomic Walter the Wicked, from the Digital Drift community Rose Lynn and longtime Guardians comic fan Doctor Lorin Grieve. James Batchelor also makes a special guest appearance as The Henchman Agent, returning from his stint on the James Bond and Batman podcasts. 

Each has an epic running time. The discussion for all three went super-in depth for what might be perceived as kids movies by anyone who doesn't listen to this show, and while we kept things clean for the other two it does get dark for Guardians at times so be aware of that going in. We brought in multiple voices across the board for a broader range of perspectives and experience and I've gone all out on the music and clips. 

Listen out for my suggestions for Awesome Mix Vol. 2. A Marvel No-Prize to anyone who can give us the complete track listing for these hypothetical, thematically consistent tracks on the forum. 

There are various readings from 'We Are Groot: ‘Guardians Of The Galaxy’ Celebrates Heroes With Authentic Psychological Deficits' written for Comics Alliance by by Dr. Andrea Letamendi

http://comicsalliance.com/guardians-galaxy-psychology-analyisis-trauma/

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Forum: www.digitaldrift.co.uk/forum

Direct download: 28._Guardians_of_the_Galaxy.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 1:26 PM

[Drift #27]

We conclude the Planet of the Apes series for now with the 2014 follow up to Rise, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.

Continuing the story of Caesar and his new tribe of intelligent, simian compatriots we rejoin earth ten years after the close of the last picture, a quiet, overgrown world of dilapidated buildings being reclaimed by nature, separated pockets of humanity scrabbling to survive and one group of apes living in peaceful seclusion in the woods close to San Francisco.

We accompany you on a journey through discovery and loss, betrayal and loyalty, and actions led by hope and fear. In doing so we take in some truly stunning performances in what constitutes a triumphant thematic remake of the worst of the previous films; Battle for the Planet of the Apes. This is how that should have been done and we're both so very glad people have taken to this series. 

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Direct download: 27._Dawn_of_the_Planet_of_the_Apes.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 3:33 PM

[Drift #26]

Ten years after the Burton version surfaced, spluttered and sank this one came out of absolutely nowhere, surprising everyone. Set up as an alternate prequel to the premise of the original 1968 Planet of the Apes, this movie answered the question of "How could this actually happen?". In marketing terms it serves as a reboot, beginning its own new series which has now branched off from the original five movies into its own circular arc. 

One thing I found while editing this show together was that I didn't have many clips I could use. This is, as I came to realise, because this movie is a masterpiece of visual storytelling. Everything you need to know is conveyed far better in terms of what you're looking at, both in terms of its ape and human stars.

Director Rupert Wyatt is at the top of his game here, James Franco and John Lithgow pull off rarely valued, powerful performances and of course Andy Serkis takes center stage embodying one of the finest collaborations between performer and digital artists the world has ever seen. Caesar, the chimpanzee, capable of a subtlety and gravity of presence that most actors never achieve. 

Next week, we continue Caesar's story in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. After that it's Guardians of the Galaxy, The Lego Move and The Iron Giant. Then we begin the Transformers series.

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Direct download: 26._Rise_of_the_Planet_of_the_Apes.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 10:55 AM

[Drift #25]

2001: Planet of the Apes

Some 28 years after the original quintet closed out, and after over a decade in development limbo being passed from writer to director like a hot potato, crossing the paths of some of the most significant of Hollywood players the reboot/remake/reimagining of the original 1968 Planet of the Apes was ultimately rushed to the screen with Tim Burton at the helm and the kind of slapdash, thrown-together approach that stifles overall vision and creative freedom. 

And so begins a podcast-long rant about the constant meddling backstage during development, the nonsensical story, the erratic pacing, the occasionally rather excellent casting and  prosthetic makeup and most of all the appallingly tepid play-acting nonentity that is Mark Wahlberg. This bozo has darkened our screens long enough and I'm hoping this podcast sways public opinion enough that his inexplicable popularity falters and he has to eke out his remaining years doing breakdancing movies and straight to video frat comedies that I was going to ignore anyway. He can be the angry sports coach who wants to crack down on the slackers.

Next week the one that surprised everybody and began the new ongoing series, taking the premise seriously and giving the world some of its finest performance capture creations; Rise of the Planet of the Apes. 

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Forum: www.digitaldrift.co.uk/forum

Direct download: 25._Planet_of_the_Apes.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 1:15 PM

[Drift #24]

1971: Escape from the Planet of the Apes
1972: Conquest of the Planet of the Apes
1973: Battle for the Planet of the Apes

The remaining three movies from the original series of five get the Drift treatment. Again we went in having never seen any of them and reviewed them immediately following our first watch. So our emotions are raw and reactions pretty strong. 

Escape turned out to be a 70s flavoured political thriller, not unlike a small scale Winter Soldier which we watched around the same time. It also had the most heart of the five. Conquest is a film that Rise ended up being patterned after, with a harsh undercurrent of slavery and revolution at its core and a hastily rewritten ending. Then the series went from a place of strength to wobbly, embarrassing, confused, and laughably mismanaged as it farted out of existence with Battle for the Planet of the Apes, which bears the unmistakable signs of the crazy mutants of the rushed second movie; Beneath the Planet of the Apes.

Kim Hunter and Roddy McDowall remain the standout stars of these three and what they manage with the basic ape masks is genuinely impressive. Hopefully our disgust at Battle won't dissuade some of you from digging into Ape history with the others.  

Next week we return to the movie that ruined Alex's 21st birthday to see if it's still as awful as we remember. Tim Burton's re-imagining of the original Planet of the Apes.

Be sure to find us, follow us, like us and email us.

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Forum: www.digitaldrift.co.uk/forum

Direct download: 24._Escape_Conquest__Battle_for_the_Planet_of_the_Apes.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 9:49 AM

[Drift #23]

1968: Planet of the Apes

1970: Beneath the Planet of the Apes

For newcomers to the series, all eight movies of which will be reviewed over the coming weeks here is a brief breakdown of events. 

1. Universe A: The first five Planet of the Apes movies spanning the period between 1968 and 1973. Planet of the Apes / Beneath the Planet of the Apes / Escape from the Planet of the Apes / Conquest of the Planet of the Apes and Battle for the Planet of the Apes. You can also include the short-lived live action TV show, comics and animated series in this period (although we won't be reviewing these that doesn't mean you guys can't talk about them at length on the forum).

2. Universe B: The 2001 Tim Burton directed re-imagining of the original movie.

3. Universe C: Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. This originally started out as both a reboot and an alternate prequel to the original movie (as well as loose remakes of Conquest and Battle for the Planet of the Apes) but has now clearly branched into its own universe where events played out differently to the history laid down in the initial quintet of movies. 

This first podcast covers the first two movies, Planet of the Apes and Beneath the Planet of the Apes. We recommend that all listeners at the very least see this first one for its historical significance and most of all, track down Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the 2011 movie that came out of nowhere and surprised everyone by not being terrible and in fact being truly excellent. 

But for these first ones send your mind back in time to the late sixties to a time when men were men, teenagers were hippies, war was a very immediate topic, women were saying scary things about equality and civil rights were being challenged left, right and center. We were experimental in our approach, having only ever seen the first of the original five before and reviewing each movie in turn after viewing for the first time. That way you get our immediate reactions. We pull no punches and judge the film as far as it holds up today, before moving onto its grotty, rushed and unintentionally hilarious sequel.

Next week, things take an unexpected upturn as films 3 and 4 turn out to be really rather good... however there's the matter of film 5. After that it's Tim Burton's contribution followed by Rise and then Dawn for a total of five shows.

Be sure to find us, follow us, like us and email us.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/digitaldriftuk
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Email: digitaldriftuk@gmail.com
Website: www.digitaldrift.co.uk
Forum: www.digitaldrift.co.uk/forum

Direct download: 23._Planet_of_the_Apes_-_Beneath_the_Planet_of_the_Apes.mp3
Category:Podcast -- posted at: 10:46 AM



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