Movie Review: Zootopia

zootopia

Released: 3/4/16

Zootopia is as much a fable as a movie. Probably the most fable-y movie I have ever seen.  Not that there is anything wrong with that, just be aware of this when you go see Zootopia.

Zootopia is a giant city that now-civilized animals have built.  Judy Hopps is a bunny from the country with a dream to become the first rabbit cop in Zootopia.  She graduates first in her class and joins the police force, only to become a glorified meter-maid – until a missing otter case comes her way.  Judy forces her way onto the case with her connections in the mayor’s office.  With the help of Nick Wilde, a grifter fox, she discovers that there is a whole lot more to the case than originally thought.  Tied to the disappearance of 14 animals, they find that the animals haven’t disappeared, but “gone savage.”

Zootopia didn’t have any real gut-busting laughs, but there were nearly consistent chuckles throughout.  All the characters were likable.  Trying to figure out which famous actors gave them voice will tickle your brain and drive you nuts until the credits roll.

I mentioned that Zootopia is a fable.  So what was the moral that we were supposed to learn?  Stereotypes are bad.  They pounded this point home with nearly every character and in every scene.  Bunnies are cute and can’t be cops.  Foxes are sly and cunning.  Predators are vicious animals that should be caged for protection.  It felt like getting hit over the head with it.  But since this is largely a children’s movie and I’ve always said that “kids is stupid,” they probably need to be beaten over the head with the lesson.  The movie isn’t just for kids, though, there was one reference to Breaking Bad, and there were probably other references – I just missed them.

Zootopia is a funny movie fable for everyone.  Just wear a helmet so you don’t get hurt with the forced lessons.

 

WWYT Rating:8.2

IMDB Rating: 8.4

Movie Review: Sing

sing-poster

Released: 12/21/16

It has been a busy year for talking animals. We had a fish with short-term memory loss looking for her parents (Finding Dory), discovered what our pets do when we aren’t around (The Secret Life of Pets), a bunny who wanted to be a cop (Zootopia), and now animals in a singing contest (Sing). My cat wanted to try out, but was disappointed when auditions weren’t held at four o’clock in the morning.

Buster Moon loves the theater, but his theater is bankrupt. In a desperate attempt to save his theater, he will put on one more show – a singing competition. He gets more participant interest than he expected when his secretary accidentally types $100,000 instead of $1,000 for the prize money. Instead of cancelling the show, he just rolls with it.

The animation was fantastic. You can tell when Hollywood gets a new toy, because they always love to play with it (e.g. The Matrix); in this case it was fast motion animation. At least half a dozen scenes used this fast motion animation that I had never seen before; it looked impressive and difficult.

As far as plot goes, I was a little surprised that for all his showmanship, Buster never produced a hit. We see throughout the movie that he has a near con-man personality, and as he preps for the singing competition, he clearly has a great deal of showmanship, yet he can’t produce a hit? That seems…odd.

The singing itself was very good. I wasn’t crazy about the song selection, however. All the songs were hits from the past, and I recognized all of them, but I am not about to run out and buy the soundtrack. For a movie about singing, you would expect a great soundtrack and I would rather have the soundtrack from The Martian – a movie about space (where no one can hear you scream).

If you like The Voice, American Idol, or anthropomorphic animals, Sing is a great choice. If you don’t, why would you go see a movie titled Sing? Maybe next year the talking animals can rest a bit and let Cars and Legos do the talking.

WWYT Rating: 6.5

IMDB Rating: 7.3