Tag Archives: Disney

Zootopia ****

IMDB Synopsis: In a city of anthropomorphic animals, a rookie bunny cop and a cynical con artist fox must work together to uncover a conspiracy.

“Zootopia” is the latest animated films from Disney and it is one of their very best. I know that “Frozen” was a massive hit but it did not even approach the sheer originality of “Zootopia”. This film builds it’s universe from the ground up.

I realize that having talking animals in a film is nothing new but I have never seen them inhabit fully realized cities that suit the needs of their individual species. Take for example the Rainforest District. It is filled out with lush trees and a massive sprinkler system to simulate constant rainfall. Because of the District’s spacious interior, transport comes in the form of highways and gondolas.

I also really loved the Little Rodentia, a District for small mammals and rodents. Everything is built to scale resembling a model city to the full sized citizens. When an action sequence spills over in to their part of town it looks like Godzilla is attacking.

The animation used to create these wonderful areas is some of the best I have ever seen. No expense is spared when it comes to creating this world. It looks beautiful. I can’t wait to watch this again at home so I can pause certain frames and just let the visuals sink in.

What also sets “Zootopia” apart from other animated flicks is that it actually has a serious plot. I found myself caught up in the detective story. I was caught up in the stakes. Our heroes, Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde, who are a bunny and a red fox, are trying to locate missing persons as well as discover the secret to why some citizens are going ‘savage’.

“Zootopia” sets the bar pretty high for any animated films that will follow it. Next up are “Angry Birds” and the fifth “Ice Age” movie. Neither of those have given me hope for their quality. “Zootopia” is one of the best films of 2016 and I imagine it will still be the best animated film of this year come December.

Tomorrowland **1/2

  

I have to say I am kind of surprised at how disappointing “Tomorrowland” is. I have loved all of Brad Bird’s movies so far. When I heard he was taking on an original science fiction movie named after part of the Disneyland theme park I was genuinely excited. My mind was racing with the possibilities.

The result is about half a great movie combined with half of a grindingly boring one. I loved the first hour or so.

I loved the opening passages depicting a young boy’s quest to get his invention in to the 1964 New York World’s Fair. Fate leads him to the It’s A Small World ride where he finds a secret entrance to Tomorrowland. The young boy is Frank Walker.

We then cut to present day to find Casey Newton, a science enthusiast who spends her nights breaking in to a decommissioned NASA launch pad at Cape Canaveral in order to dismantle machines that are tearing the site down. Her father works at the site also. One night she is arrested for trespassing. When she is bailed out by her angry father she finds a strange pin in with her possessions. When she touches it she is transported to Tomorrowland which she is able to explore until the power of the pin runs out. This launches her on a quest to find Frank, now played by George Clooney, and get back to this mythical place that seems to exist in another dimension.

All of the build up so far had hooked me right in. Tomorrowland itself is a stunning place, brought to life with some of the most awe inspiring CGI effects I have seen this year. It is a wondrous place full of jet packs, sleek skyscrapers and hovering crafts. It is when the characters arrive there that the film sort of lost me.

One we get to Tomorrowland we are thrust in to a plot that seems sort of pale in comparison to everything that came before it. The earth is suddenly in jeopardy which results in some fist fights and robot rumbles. All of this seemed oddly familiar and sort of lame. I kept hoping for a thrilling jet pack chase through the city or anything more eye popping then a struggle against a bomb thats about to go off.

Still there are some fun scenes that stood out. I enjoyed the chase through Frank Walker’s house which has some truly zany booby traps! I also liked the crazy fight between the robot owners of a memorabilia store and our heroes.

“Tomorrowland” may be better with a second viewing, who knows. I just did not find it very exhilarating or original.


Frozen ***

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“Frozen” is the latest in a long line of Disney animated films involving princesses. This time they go all out by basing the story in two princess sisters who are separated at an early age by their parents. One of them has the power to create ice and freeze anything she touches. Her parents deem her too dangerous and lock her up in her room to grow up. Much like “Tangled”, the film surrounds it’s female leads with some wise cracking males who possess modern sense of humour and a bumbling charisma.

“Frozen” is one of the greatest looking animated films I have ever seen. The colours of the sets and landscapes are beautifully detailed and the contrast between the vibrant summer and the icy snow are breathtaking. It made me wish that a much more powerful story was taking place. I could of watched this one mute as to not be distracted from the stunning visuals.

I must say I certainly was not expecting this to be a full on musical. The trailers lead me to believe that it was going to be a hip comedy set in a fantasy world. I was surprised to see that the humour and gags took a back seat to the story of these sisters and the full on musical sequences.

I’m sure this movie will be a massive success but part of me wishes that the story had more depth to it. I wish that the characters were less simplistic. “Tangled” and “Wreck-It Ralph” seemed to tell a story with more layers and got us more involved with their stories. Still it is a fun experience for the whole family. The 3D is pretty decent as well. There is also a short Disney film at the beginning that absolutely blew me away.

Wreck-It Ralph ***1/2

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My son has been impatiently waiting for this movie for months. I too have been pretty excited as it features a lot of characters from my childhood. Video games were a big part of my life growing up so to see characters from the games I played all together in a movie is very nostalgic.

“Wreck-It Ralph” is about a character in a game named Ralph. His game looks suspiciously a lot like the classic Donkey Kong game. Ralph is the bad guy in the game. He climbs up an apartment building smashing it to pieces until the hero, Felix Fixit Jr. comes along and repairs the building. The apartment owners love Felix and show their appreciation by throwing him a big party. Ralph on the other hand lives alone in a junk yard next to the building.

In the classic Disney tradition Ralph has a big heart and just wants to be accepted by the apartment tenants. He gets the idea that if he wins some kind of medal he will get their respect. This is when he jumps in to a first person shooter game then a Mario Kart clone called Sugar Rush.

Ralph is basically another version of “Shrek”. He meets other outsiders and even has a support group for villains at Pac Man’s place. The group consists of some of the bad guys from “Street Fighter”, “Sonic” and Bowser from the “Mario Bros.” games.

The animation is always eye popping which is expected since the animators are given free reign to create a variety of different gaming environments. The story is not original and neither are the personalities of the characters but I still enjoyed them. “Wreck-It Ralph” may not have reached the heights I was hoping for but it still a ton of fun.