Toy Masters to dominate Chicago Filmmakers this Saturday | Bleader

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Toy Masters to dominate Chicago Filmmakers this Saturday

Posted By on 08.14.14 at 01:00 PM

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Toy Masters
  • Toy Masters
UPDATE: According to Chicago Filmmakers program director Josh Mabe, Lay and Landis are no longer able to attend this screening.

The Chicago Cinema Society has been quiet since April, when the programming organization presented the Chicago premiere of the Italian art house horror item Across the River. On Saturday at 8 PM the group returns to Chicago Filmmakers to screen a work-in-progress documentary called Toy Masters. The movie chronicles the rise and fall of the He-Man and the Masters of the Universe franchise, which included comic books, multiple animated TV series, one laughably bad live-action feature, and, of course, toys. As demonstrated by Fox News and the current cycle of Transformers movies, violent, infantile fantasies remain big business, so learning how that business operates from the inside should be instructive. The film's director, Roger Lay Jr., and producer, Corey Landis, are scheduled to attend the screening and take part in a postshow discussion.

Evidently the He-Man franchise has been marked by conflict among its characters and creators alike. Over the years several former employees of Mattel, Inc. have claimed sole responsibility for inventing the property. That would seem to be a dubious distinction, given the franchise's obvious creative debt to Star Wars (not the movie, but the line of action figures it inspired) and Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian. Still, outside of There's Always Tomorrow, Blade Runner, and Barry Levinson's ill-fated Toys, there aren't many movies that explore the neuroses of toy manufacturers. Let's hope that Toy Masters has more in common with the first two of those titles than the third.

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