Episode 8 – Big Hero 6

The team stands before the cut door

Steve Akers joins the show again to talk about the Disney movie Big Hero 6.

Some of the things we talk about: comparisons to other movies like The Iron Giant and How to Train Your Dragon, the portrayal of depression and loneliness, the diversity checkbox, the meta-comments of Fred, the question of a robot being offended, the privacy issues that would come up with technology like Baymax, what might be explored in a sequel, the technology in this movie that might as well be “magic,” how unbelievably dangerous Wasabi’s plasma blades are, Callaghan’s convoluted plan, and our biggest pet peeves.

About Steve:

Christian. Husband and father. VP of Engineering at Appriss. Amateur TV philosopher. Lover of movies.

View other episodes with Steve.

Episode 7 – Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind

Nausicaa on her glider over the desertTharon Hall and Matt Robison talk about the 1984 Miyazaki classic, Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, the movie that kicked off Studio Ghibli and helped inspire animators around the world.

During this episode, we talk about: the post-apocalyptic setting, Disney movies that were released around the same time, the influence the movie (and Miyazaki) has had all the way to Wall-E, the strength of the movie’s heroine, the animation and some of our favorite scenes, our first introductions to foreign films when young, the villains of the movie, the relationship of mankind with the earth, comparisons to the manga/comic, and the appropriateness of scaring children.

A moving tribute from John Lasseter, director of Toy Story and now chief creative officer at Pixar, Walt Disney Animation Studios and DisneyToon Studios. A good rundown of the importance of Miyazaki.

Here is Lasseter introducing Nausicaa, and talking about the influence it had on The Rescuers Down Under:

Image of the fox squirrel:

Fox squirrel licking Nausicaa's finger

The closing shot:

Last scene of Nausicaa - green sprout

For a list of other Miyazaki films, go here. Some other favorites are Laputa: Castle in the SkySpirited AwayPorco Rosso, and Princess Mononoke.

About Tharon:

Tharon Hall is a Christian father of four, grandfather of two and a self-proclaimed “Microcontroller Evangelist.”. He grew up in the era of Speed Racer and Godzilla movies. Tharon has never lost his love of animation. He is also a “maker of things” in the Internet of Things.

Episode 6 – Frozen

Elsa singing in her castle

Marc Drummond and Matt Robison talk about the 2013 Disney hit Frozen.

In the course of the discussion, we cover several topics, including: the sudden transformation of Hans, Frozen’s relation to the Disney renaissance that kicked off in 1989, the subversion of fairy tale tropes, romantic comedies going all the way back to Pride and Prejudice, the questionable decisions of Anna and Elsa’s parents, the many voices of Alan Tudyk, the similarities to Wicked, and the how the songs bring out and foreshadow the main themes of the movie.

There are also some dad jokes sprinkled throughout this episode. We apologize. But not really.

Documentary referenced in regards to the Disney Renaissance: http://www.wakingsleepingbeautymovie.com/

In Pride and Prejudice, it’s Mr. Darcy and Mr. Wickham.

The How It Should Have Ended Video:

Psalm 103:4

…for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.

Episode 5 – The Emperor’s New Groove

Kuzco being admired

Ryan Szrama and Matt Robison talk about the 2000 Disney movie, The Emperor’s New Groove.

Some of the topics discussed: the strange history of the film and its connection to The Lion King, what kids laugh at versus what adults laugh at, the use of an unreliable narrator, llamas, the strange yet wonderful character of Kronk, that mysterious extra lever, awkward calls with Sting, and comparisons to more recent Disney films.

The scene from the 1958 movie The Fly. Warning: it’s actually kind of disturbing.

The opening of Citizen Kane with monkeys:

In case you’ve forgotten it, here’s the ending credits music. It sounds like it’s from another movie altogether. And that’s because it is from another movie.

About Ryan: 

Ryan Szrama is a married father of three living in Greenville, SC. He travels the world peddling open source software but always looks forward to coming home to his family. They love watching funny shows and movies, making a habit of laughing together to keep pride at bay and make it safe for everyone to admit their mistakes.

Episode 4 – The Incredibles

The Incredibles, four of them ready to fight.

Darren Peterson and Matt Robison talk about the 2004 Pixar movie, The Incredibles. Listen to the very end for an easter egg of monumental proportions.

Some of the topics discussed: the timelessness of the movie versus other superhero movies, the mundane stuff of everyday life that is seamlessly mixed with the fantastic, the movie’s relationship to James Bond, how human hair almost sunk Pixar, the body count for the heroes, what the upcoming sequel might be about, and the theme of identity and how we are not the autonomous individuals we like to think.

The volcano base (complete with a rocket of its own) from You Only Live Twice that was referenced in the podcast.

SPECTRE volcano base - James Bond movie

Here is the Goldfinger main theme:


Compare it to the music during the Kronos scene. This is the track called Kronos Unveiled:

What I wish I would have said during the podcast:

  • We give up some of our autonomy so society can actually work. We are not 100% self-determining individuals. You didn’t choose your family. You didn’t choose your name. Those are parts of your identity that come from outside yourself. And that’s good.
  • The identities of Batman and Superman are also major themes throughout their stories. But they are flipped. Superman is really Clark Kent. Superman is just a name. But Bruce Wayne is really Batman. His public persona is the real mask.
  • Elastigirl tells the kids “Your identity is your most valuable possession” before handing them masks. This is ironic. Violet has always hidden her secret identity behind her hair, but now she does so with a mask. Once she figures out who she really is, she knows that its OK to hide that part of her identity, but she didn’t have to be ashamed.

About Darren:

By night Darren is a jazz saxophonist and science fiction aficionado. By day, he’s a mild mannered project manager, father of six and husband of one.