show episodes
 
Christopher Holliday researches animation history and digital media at King's College London (UK). Alexander Sergeant is a Lecturer in Film and Media Studies at University of Portsmouth (UK), specialising in the history and theory of fantasy cinema. Each episode, they look in detail at a film or television show, taking listeners on a journey through the intersection between fantasy cinema and the medium of animation.
 
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show series
 
The spectacular animated world of U.S. filmmaker Don Bluth is the focus of Episode 82, with Chris and Alex journeying to the Great Valley for this discussion of The Land Before Time (Don Bluth, 1988). Joining them is Dr Mark Witton, vertebrate palaeontologist and palaeoartist (based at the University of Portsmouth), who is best known for his scient…
 
Episode 81 of the podcast provides an introductory survey of Sub-Saharan African animation, as Chris and Alex plot a pathway through a cross-section of animated fantasies covering a multitude of forms, styles and modes from a number of African countries and territories. Joining them is Dr Paula Callus, Associate Professor in Computer Animation at B…
 
Chris and Alex return once more to the pioneering work of stop-motion animator and effects artist Ray Harryhausen, this time looking at his 1973 fantasy film collaboration with director Gordon Hessler, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad. For Episode 80, the focus is on the quasi-parasitic relationship between live-action and animation filmmaking, and the …
 
Episode 79 marks a special edition of the podcast, recorded back in February 2021 as part of the virtual Fantasy/Animation @ Canterbury Anifest event where Chris and Alex curated a series of podcasts, themed blog posts, a roundtable on the topic of diversity and inclusion (returning to the Anti-Racist Syllabus) and a live Q&A, as well as premiering…
 
The 2002 Disney science-fiction epic Treasure Planet (Ron Clements & John Musker, 2002) is the focus of Episode 78 of the podcast, which looks at the melding together of the Disney formula with space fantasy in this swashbuckling adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1883 adventure novel Treasure Island. Joining Chris and Alex for this bumper epis…
 
The first instalment of The Hunger Games (2012) franchise, directed by Gary Ross, provides the focus of Episode 77 of the podcast, which looks at the film’s connections to ethics, rationality and affect, and what structures our emotional engagement with its narrative of totalitarian systems and panoptic visions. Joining Chris and Alex to examine th…
 
The politics and proxies of James Cameron’s 2009 blockbuster Avatar provide the focus for Chris and Alex in Episode 76, as they plug into Pandora to make sense of the relationships between the film’s ecological sensibilities and its technological prowess. Joining them is Rupert Read, Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of East Angli…
 
For Episode 75, Chris and Alex revisit the work of Aardman Animations, taking a look at their debut feature film Chicken Run (Peter Lord & Nick Park, 2000) whose narrative of meat pies and morality remains underwritten by the Bristol-based studio's signature stop-motion style and very British sense of anarchy. Joining them for this discussion of th…
 
In this latest episode, Chris and Alex sit down with the Disney+ series WandaVision (Jac Schaeffer, 2021), a spectacular fantasy of U.S. television history that continues the citational practices and narrative complexities of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, yet does so by working through the industrial, cultural and stylistic lexicon of the sitcom. …
 
Episode 73 reaches deep into the science, spaces and squids of Arrival (Denis Villeneuve, 2016), the recent science-fiction feature starring Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner, and based on Ted Chiang’s 1998 short story “Story of Your Life.” Joining Chris and Alex to discuss this atmospheric subversion of the sci-fi genre is Dr William Brown, Independent …
 
Chris and Alex continue their discussions of Studio Ghibli for Episode 72 with a look at animated war feature Grave of the Fireflies (Isao Takahata, 1988), a film that was initially released as a double bill with partner My Neighbor Totoro (Hayao Miyazaki, 1988). Telling the story of teenage boy Seita and his younger sister Setsuko who, after fleei…
 
Twisting and travelling back and forth (and then back again) is Episode 71 of the podcast, which has Chris and Alex visit the fictional German town of Winden for Dark (Baran bo Odar & Jantje Friese, 2017-2020), Netflix’s hugely successful science-fiction series that tells the story of supernatural activity and conspiracy set against the backdrop of…
 
Chris and Alex take to the basketball court for a sports-themed instalment of the podcast by looking at Space Jam (Joe Pytka, 1996), the part-animated, part-Michael Jordan sports comedy that has lots to say about the spectacle of stylistic hybridity, animation’s longstanding relationship to sport, and nostalgia via its many callbacks to Golden Age …
 
Following our take on Star Wars: The Force Awakens (J.J. Abrams, 2015), the next instalment in the new Star Wars trilogy gets the Fantasy/Animation treatment for Episode 69, as Chris and Alex (and the Force) battle through Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Rian Johnson, 2017) to talk about its gender politics, questions of fandom and the film’s narrative o…
 
Episode 68 marks Chris and Alex’s first look at popular animation studio DreamWorks, turning to the California-based company’s early cycle of cel-animated cartoons to examine The Prince of Egypt (Brenda Chapman, Steve Hickner and Simon Wells, 1998). Joining them to separate the historical realism from the packaged Westernised fantasy is biblical sc…
 
Chris and Alex return to the feature films of the Bristol-based Aardman Animations studio for Episode 67, travelling from the world of Kensington propriety ‘up top’ to the underground chaos of Ratropolis ‘down below’ for Flushed Away (David Bowers & Sam Fell, 2006), which tells the story of the trials and tribulations of high society rat Roddy St. …
 
Episode 66 is a real toe-tapper, as Chris and Alex dance to the beat of George Miller’s 2006 computer-animated musical feature Happy Feet (George Miller, 2006), produced by U.S. studio Village Roadshow Pictures in collaboration with Australian animation and VFX studio Animal Logic. Joining them to discuss this digital tale of all-singing all-dancin…
 
Are we dreaming, or are we awake? How do we choose which realities to believe in? What levels of fictionality count? Find out in Episode 65, which works its way through the dream logic and desires of Inception (Christopher Nolan, 2010), a film that probes deep into our unconscious to revel in how dreams allow us to participate in a shared fantasy. …
 
2021 kicks off with a supersonic bang as Chris and Alex return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) to explore the world of Kree Empires, alien shapeshifters, flerkens, and digital de-aging in American superhero feature Captain Marvel (Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck, 2019), based on the celebrated Marvel Comics character. Joining them for a discussion o…
 
The Christmas spirit is finally in the air, with Chris and Alex using Episode 63 of the podcast as their annual opportunity to discuss all things seasonal - this time examining the fantasy of Christmas advertising, and the repeated role played by animation in the construction of festive commercials, television ads and brand promotions. They are joi…
 
The names Bond…James Bond in Episodes 61 and 62, as Chris and Alex tackle the official Eon James Bond 007 film series by casting their eyes over a longstanding staple of the franchise - the celebrated credits sequences. Beginning with Dr. No (Terence Young, 1962) and culminating in Spectre (Sam Mendes, 2015), listen as they place in rank order thei…
 
The names Bond…James Bond in Episodes 61 and 62, as Chris and Alex tackle the official Eon James Bond 007 film series by casting their eyes over a longstanding staple of the franchise - the celebrated credits sequences. Beginning with Dr. No (Terence Young, 1962) and culminating in Spectre (Sam Mendes, 2015), listen as they place in rank order thei…
 
Heffalumps and Woozles take centre stage for Episode 60 of the podcast, as Chris and Alex take a trip deep into Hundred Acre Wood to confront Christopher Robin (Marc Forster, 2018) (not to be confused with the earlier A.A. Milne biography Goodbye Christopher Robin [Simon Curtis, 2017]…), and its pleasures of nostalgia. For this latest Listeners’ Ch…
 
Episode 59 heralds Chris and Alex’s first foray into silent film comedy via the work of performer Buster Keaton, looking at his feature Sherlock Jr. (Buster Keaton, 1924) that celebrates the dreams and psychology of a movie theatre projectionist. Joining them as the lights go down is Peter Adamson, Professor of Late Ancient and Arabic Philosophy at…
 
The anarchy and artistry of British television animation provides the springboard for Episode 58 of the Fantasy/Animation podcast, which welcomes London-based media artist, animator and curator Professor Birgitta Hosea (who is also the Director of the Animation Research Centre at the University for the Creative Arts) to talk about Roobarb (Grange C…
 
Performer, composer, silent film accompanist and television presenter Neil Brand is the special guest joining Chris and Alex for Episode 57 of the podcast, which celebrates the musical beats and Mariachi owls of Rango (Gore Verbinski, 2011). Listen as they discuss how this curious 2011 computer-animated film revels in the power of telling tales alo…
 
The latest Listeners’ Choice episode sees Chris and Alex turn to Netflix and the much-maligned yet curiously provocative feature film Bright (David Ayer, 2017), whose narrative of racism, police corruption and latent magical forces is set against the backdrop of an alternate fantasy vision of contemporary Los Angeles. With a budget of $90 million, …
 
Chris and Alex dust off their knowledge of early film history for Episode 55 as they examine Martin Scorsese’s adventure Hugo (2011), a playful mystery set in 1930s Paris that takes audiences through the special effects and spectacular stagecraft of pioneering filmmaker Georges Méliès. Joining Chris and Alex amid the architecture of the Gare Montpa…
 
In an alternate 1985, Chris and Alex sit down to watch the recent comic book feature film Watchmen (Zach Snyder, 2009), a neo-noir/superhero blockbuster that adapts the popular DC Comics series for the big screen. They are joined in this Cold War-era tale of Soviet Union-United States relations by Drew Morton, Associate Professor of Mass Communicat…
 
Episode 53 journeys into the irregular and twisting world of Spanish fantasy cinema, with Chris and Alex joined in their discussion of Pan’s Labyrinth (Guillermo del Toro, 2006) by Deborah Shaw, Professor of Film and Screen Studies at the University of Portsmouth, and a specialist in Latin American cinema whose publications include The Three Amigos…
 
For the first in a special series of listener selections, Episode 52 has Chris and Alex get to grips with Persepolis (Vincent Paronnaud & Marjane Satrapi, 2007), taking inspiration from social media suggestions that were submitted around the broader theme of diversity and inclusion. Adapted from Marjane Satrapi’s own autobiographical graphic novels…
 
Episode 51 travels back to the late-1980s to look closely at Beetlejuice (Tim Burton, 1988), a film that uses stop-motion, practical effects, prosthetics, make-up and bluescreen to complete its fantasy story of netherworlds, outsiderdom and life after death. Joining Chris and Alex is special guest Jingan Young, playwright, screenwriter, journalist …
 
For the podcast’s half century, Chris and Alex tackle a tale of rising tensions between nature and culture, gods and humans, by looking at Studio Ghibli’s animated fantasy feature Princess Mononoke (Hayao Miyazaki, 1997). Joining us in this battle of tradition and modernity is anime scholar Dr. Rayna Denison, Senior Lecturer in the School of Art, M…
 
Recorded live at the Portsmouth Bookfest on Tuesday 25th February 2020, this bonus episode of the podcast has Alex flying solo as he interviews artist and illustrator Graham Humphreys, best known for designing the iconic film posters for horror features The Evil Dead (Sam Raimi, 1981) and A Nightmare on Elm Street (Wes Craven, 1984). Tune in to hea…
 
Episode 48 is a mid-1990s feast of action, water, and a drenched Kevin Costner, as Chris and Alex attempt to stay afloat for their visit to Waterworld (Kevin Reynolds, 1995), the ill-fated post-apocalyptic action adventure that has earned its place in U.S. film history seemingly for all the wrong reasons. The special guest for this instalment is Si…
 
Episode 47 bobs along on the bottom of the beautiful briny sea, with Chris and Alex gliding far below the rolling tide and through the bubbly blue and green for this latest episode of the podcast, which this week looks at musical fantasy Bedknobs and Broomsticks (Robert Stevenson, 1971). In addition to the film’s political agenda and 1940s wartime …
 
For Episode 46, Chris and Alex take a magic carpet ride through the pleasures and problems of the recent musical fantasy Aladdin (Guy Ritchie, 2019). Joining them for a discussion of exactly how (and indeed if) it adapts Disney’s highly successful 1992 cel-animated musical is the film’s VFX Editor Myles Robey, whose work also includes the Harry Pot…
 
Bless my soul, we are definitely on a roll with Episode 45 of the Fantasy/Animation podcast, which continues the Disney Renaissance theme in its take on Hercules (Ron Clements and John Musker, 1997). To make sense of the visual culture of antiquity manifest in Disney’s cel-animated musical fantasy and its adaptation of Greek myth, Chris and Alex ar…
 
Voted for by the Fantasy/Animation community on social media as the inaugural #feelgoodfananim, Episode 44 of the podcast looks at the Walt Disney studio’s cel-animated feature The Emperor's New Groove (Mark Dindal, 2000). Chris and Alex are also joined by their very first returning guest, award-winning animator Astrid Goldsmith (a.k.a. Mock Duck S…
 
Take a trip on a magic theme park ride with a Ranger, Barbarian, Magician, Thief, Cavalier and Acrobat as Chris and Alex turn once again to the small screen, this time to discuss Dungeons & Dragons (Kevin Paul Coates, Dennis Marks and Takashi, 1983-1985). Premiering on American television with CBS and animated by Japanese company Toei Animation, Du…
 
Join Chris and Alex for a discussion of the animated high fantasy epic Wizards (Ralph Bakshi, 1977), recorded in front of a live audience at the Cinema Museum in Kennington, London in January 2020. Conceived by animator Ralph Bakshi, Wizards is a counter-cultural marvel of the 1970s, one that blends a series of innovative animation styles with a st…
 
Events take a turn for the dystopian in Episode 41, as Chris and Alex venture to Brazil (1985), Terry Gilliam’s nightmarish and absurdist satire of bureaucratic totalitarianism and governmental red tape. They are joined for this latest instalment by very special guest, filmmaker Hope Dickson Leach, whose work includes drama The Levelling (2015), wh…
 
With its last episode recently broadcast on Netflix, the web television series BoJack Horseman (Raphael Bob-Waksberg, 2014-2020) provides a timely and topical subject for Episode 40. Join Chris and Alex as they take a canter through the programme’s status as ‘adult animation’ (and what this term might mean as a label); the dark truth of its themes …
 
For episode 39, Chris and Alex venture for the first time to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry as they take on another highly popular fantasy film franchise by discussing Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Chris Columbus, 2001). They are joined by Dr Frances Pheasant-Kelly, who is a Reader in Screen Studies at the University of …
 
Episode 38 comes to you live from the Cinema Museum in Kennington, London, as Chris and Alex take to the stage to discuss the craft and creativity of silhouette animated feature The Adventures of Prince Achmed (Lotte Reiniger, 1926). Recorded in front of a lively audience of animated fantasy fans back in October 2019, the conversation featured very…
 
Beginning the New Year in a galaxy far, far away, Chris and Alex turn for the first time to the seminal Star Wars franchise for their latest episode, this time revisiting the first in the latest sequel trilogy Star Wars: The Force Awakens (J.J. Abrams, 2015). Joining them for this journey through this epic space fantasy is Dr Becca Harrison, Lectur…
 
The festive season has well and truly arrived, so join Chris and Alex as they get into the Christmas spirit by discussing Yuletide classic The Muppet Christmas Carol (Brian Henson, 1992). Helping to roast the fantasy chestnuts on the animated open fire is actress, singer and West End performer Meredith Braun, who starred alongside Kermit the Frog, …
 
Trip a little light fantastic with episode 35 of the Fantasy/Animation podcast, which marks Christopher Holliday and Alex Sergeant's very own return to Cherry Tree Lane as they visit musical sequel Mary Poppins Returns (Rob Marshall, 2018). Joining them underneath the lovely London sky are Visual Effects Supervisor Christian Kaestner and Compositin…
 
Episode 34 sees Chris and Alex focusing on the pleasures, politics and posthumanism of science-fiction parable Ex Machina (Alex Garland, 2014). To help untangle the circuitry of Garland’s film, they are joined by Academy Award-winning visual effects artist Andrew Whitehurst. Andrew is currently the Creative Director and VFX Supervisor at the Double…
 
Part-Western, part-dinosaur epic, The Valley of Gwangi (Jim O’Connolly, 1969) is a fantasy that combines the icons and images of the frontier myth together with stop-motion animation directed by Ray Harryhausen, a project that he had himself inherited from his mentor Willis O'Brien. Set in Mexico at the turn of the 20th century, and with a plot tha…
 
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