Zootopia/Zootropolis Review

Zootropolis, Zootopia, call it what you like but I will be calling it simply perfect. Review over, I mean review begin…

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First of all there is a clear case of don’t trust the trailers on this one as they offered little in the way of what this film is about and instead focused on humour. Don’t get me wrong that will draw the kids in which is what I guess they are aiming to do but they fail to represent the powerful message this film portrays. That message is never give up on your dreams no matter who you are or what you look like or what others think. It’s about judging people before knowing the real person or animal in this case.

At one point I had to stop and think to myself this is a Disney film, it’s for kids. As this film is hard-hitting. It’s deep and powerful. Issues such as racial prejudice and diversity were at the forefront, not an undercurrent or an aside, they were in your face. Deal with them. And deal with them this movie did. It’s bold. It’s refreshing to be challenged by your children about why the fox is always seen as the bad guy no matter what he could be.

There’s a nice amount of humour but the main focus is a brilliantly crafted crime drama which presents a number of clever twists. The homages throughout the script a brilliant, my favourite has to be the ‘The Godfather’ one. There are also a number of Disney related ‘easter eggs’ some obvious, some very much not scattered throughout. Keep an eye out for those.

Plus director Byron Howard when pitching this movie cited Disney’s 1973 ‘Robin Hood’ as an influence, one of his favourite movies and my favourite Disney movie of all-time. This movie couldn’t fail.

I don’t want to ruin Zootropolis for anyone as I think as many people as possible should check this move out for themselves. It truly deserves all the accolades it will go onto receive. It’s an incredible film from start to finish, so very clever.

Disney is in such a strong place at the moment and long may it continue. A huge amount of credit for their current strength must be directed at John Lasseter, the man behind Pixar who Disney incredibly fired many years ago! The man is an absolute genius and it’s no surprise that since his appointment as ‘chief creative officer’ in 2006 that each year Disney movies has got better and better and better. Walt would be so proud.

G x

Adventure Time at McDonalds!

Finn and Jake and co have arrived in McDonalds Happy Meals in the UK and the toys are super cool…

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They come in pairs as above and there are so many to collect.

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It is at this point though that I’m asking myself why I introduced my kids to the show as they all love it and want to keep their toys and not share with Dad!

D’oh!

G x

Turbo – A Power Rangers Movie Review

So I watched Turbo – A Power Rangers Movie last night. Man, how can I be nice about this…

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The Star Wars stolen opening crawl explains the story that is unfolding; Divatox, an intergalactic space pirate is hunting the wizard Lerigot who holds the golden key to the inter-dimensional gateway. She wants the key to marry the demon Maligore who promises to grant her power and riches. But hold on don’t book the church yet as Lerigot is chums with Alpha 5 and Zordon, so he’s got the Power Rangers on his side. Boom!

Lerigot is kinda cute in a oversized yet shrunken kinda way but he’s totally useless. He’s supposed to be a powerful wizard yet all he does is shuffle along at the speed of a sloth and get captured and re-captured, oh and makes friends with some chimps.

The star of the movie is Divatox played brilliantly by Hilary Shepard Turner. Sure it’s a pantomime villain performance but that’s exactly what is needed. She steals every scene she is in with the witty dialogue she is given. Fantastic.

So early on in the movie we see the boys in the team training for a charity fighting competition when the Blue Ranger, Rocky injures his back. So the team are a Ranger down. So they replace him, get ready for this, sigh… with a kid! Justin is the Blue Ranger, a twelve or something year old child. Now I kinda get this, for the kids watching it’s a message “you can be a Power Ranger too” but would they really see it like that or would they be more cynical like me and think how come when he morphs he grows twice the size! No, I’m not kidding, when suited up he’s basically seen as a man with a childs voice. Oh dear…

And just because they can, they have thrown MMPR characters Kimberley and Jason into the movie. They don’t morph which is a shame but they do provide a nice link to the past. Towards the end of the movie they both become possessed and the normally placid Kimberley shows a wonderful evil side, a good performance by Amy Jo Johnson.

My biggest issue with the movie was the lack of morphing and fighting. We have to wait near the 1 hour 10 minute mark to see the Rangers in their suits and fighting. I’m all for building things up but this is a kids film, that’s what they are watching it for, in the episodes they morph every five minutes! As a result the last 25 minutes are the best as they represent an episode of Power Rangers. Though there is still issues here I’m afraid, we have waited all this time to see Maligore and he looks great, a nice design and a tough looking villain but no, the Rangers kick his ass in about five minutes, roll credits. 

Sigh… the whole thing just seems like a missed opportunity and maybe in hindsight this one should have been a TV movie and not on the big screen. Look it’s Power Rangers, I can look past a lot to see the fun, I’m not asking for a lot but this movie doesn’t even give that. The most exciting moment for me was spotting Ernie in the crowd scene at the end, the 90’s version of Al from ‘Happy Days’. I love that guy, well both of them in fact.

G x

Meowth at the Museum!

Last weekend we went to Dinosaur Isle museum in Sandown, Isle of Wight. My mother-in-law works as part of the team there, so we caught up with her. The museum was pretty quiet so we got chance to have some fun and that meant taking pictures of toys for me!

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Monster Collection Meowth from Takara Tomy

I also got this pic me with a T-Rex skull for a head…

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It amused me!

G x

The Good Dinosaur Review

A bit late to the party but I went to see Disney Pixar’s ‘The Good Dinosaur’ the other weekend with my eldest daughter at a kids club cinema re-run. We were both brilliantly impressed.

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I can’t go any further without lavishing huge amounts of praise on the quality of the animation on display here; it is simply stunning. The water effects are incredible, the rubble, the grass, the trees, the leaves, so realistic, such depth, such detail, such beauty. It’s almost strange to see such life-like backgrounds and then cartoonish characters parading on them but the marriage works somehow.

The story is a well crafted coming of age story that delivers tragedy, scares, laughs and tears. It’s a tale of expectation, that finds a young dinosaur separated from his family forming a friendship with a young human boy as they attempt to return to their maternal homes. The movie comes with a ‘PG’ certificate and there are indeed some intense moments at times, one moment had the little boy next to us burst into tears which transformed instantly into laughter, a wonderful skill for a movie to achieve. Then there was the hallucination scene which I was a little surprise to see but at the same time thoroughly enjoyed and bought back memories of Dumbo.

Overall we both really enjoyed the movie and walked away taking of its powerful delivery. I’m a huge fan of Pixar Animation Studios and to have two films from them in one year is a gift. Ok, this movie doesn’t stand up to the perfect ‘Inside Out’ but I will accept this pattern going forward. Wishful thinking I know but we can dream!

Great work again Pixar, thank you.

G x

Happy Birthday Pokemon!

It was 20 years ago today… well in Japan at least!

I’ve pulled on my Poke Ball t-shirt and Pokemon Blue is downloading to my 3DS. I can’t wait to play this game again after so many years, it’s going to be so cool. Gotta catch me a Missingno!

But the celebrations don’t stop there; later I will be watching the Pokemon Winter Championships live via Twitch and then tonight’s viewing will be the first Pokemon movie via the Pokemon TV app. All in the company of my new super cute sleeping Pikachi plush my wife bought me in the week…

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Then there was the Nintendo Direct released yesterday that announced Pokemon Sun and Moon to be released later this year. To say I was excited about this one was the understatement of the year! The nostalgia filled trailer got played several times and more in this household yesterday.

Happy Birthday Pika and all, have a great day and thank you for the last 20 years.

G x