By this point I'm pretty sure Disney can make a thought-provoking and inspiring film in their sleep; yet I was still surprised that this bright and colourful animation still gave us adults and kids, a lot to think about our society. Early April, even with my busy schedule at the time
By this point I’m pretty sure Disney can make a thought-provoking and inspiring film in their sleep; yet I was still surprised that this bright and colourful animation still gave us adults and kids, a lot to think about our society.
Early April, even with my busy schedule at the time I managed to squeeze in time for two big films: The hyped Batman vs Superman and the hare-hopping detective tale called Zootropolis (aka Zootopia). I went in not really knowing what to expect. Despite going for the talk at the Apple Store and even after watching several trailers; I don’t think I ever anticipated the direction or the general premise of the film. I was a bit taken back with the light nods to tumblr-esque political correctness then the heavier commentary on racism and the current racial tensions in the states, due to racial profiling and the corruption within the police force; while still being packaged as a very family friendly and “Disney”. My final thoughts as I left the cinema were: “Wow! What a very clever film!”
Life’s a little bit messy. We all make mistakes. No matter what type of animal you are, change starts with you.- Judy Hopps
Zootropolis (released as Zootopia in America) is a buddy cop 3D animated feature-length film by Walt Disney Animation Studios. Zootropolis follows the story of a young bunny, Judy Hopps from the rural town of Bunnybrow; who finally fulfils her childhood dream of becoming a cop. Graduating at the top of her class and as the first bunny ever to become an officer; She is selected to start her career in the infamous Zootropolis, under a programme that encourages change and integration between prey and predators. When her potential as a cop is doubted by her boss Chief Bogo- she is very early on assigned to parking meter duties, but Judy’s heart for justice and quest for adventure, entangles her in a missing persons case with a hustling fox by the name of Nick Wilde. Together the two must find a missing otter, and uncover the truth behind the disappearances of so many predators.
Zootropolis is a clever little film that is both poignant, thought-provoking and hilarious. It is timely in its commentary of prejudice and exclusion and encourages acceptance, faith over fear and the inclusion of others. With the current events in America, in regards to police brutality, Zootropolis does a swell job in getting the little bunny from the backwaters of Bunnybrow to become a cop and a cheating and conniving fox to help her on her mission.
There are so many things that the story of Zootropolis does well, and it deserves every bit of praise from critics. You walk in expecting a very simple buddy cop animated comedy, but leave having learnt something significant. Zootropolis is definitely a tale that subvert stereotypes, brings attention to them and later flips them on their head. If you have already seen the film you can tell this by a certain assistant mayor who plays a rather large role in the film. Zootropolis is quite an uplifting and enjoyable film that brings the message of change and acceptance to the forefront.
There are so many fantastic nuggets of wisdom laced in this film, such as a scene after a mistake Judy makes, Judy’s boss Chief Bogo reassures her.
Judy Hopps: I came here to make the world a better place, but I think I broke it.
Chief Bogo: The world has always been broken. That’s why we need good cops.
The film is insightful and for the hour or so of viewing gives you time to actually think on these matters, if you hadn’t done so before. This quote in and of itself I personally feel is a grand message to those who are in the police force, to choose doing good over doing wrong, to remind them why they are police officers.
Judy Hopps is not your typical Disney character, because of who she is you’d think all the odds should be stacked against her, but she overcomes this and you can’t help but continually root for her. She is a loveable character who doesn’t end up needing a prince charming, she is not damsel in distress and she doesn’t do what she does for the sake of family. She loves her job, she believes in it and she loves Zootropolis and the animals of Zootropolis and sincerely wants to protect it.
Nick Wilde, Judy’s partner in justice is incredibly loveable. He is witty and has quite a charm to him. it was nice to see his character type take a bit of a back seat in this tale, because often it is the Nick Wilde’s who are the main characters. But the two share the right amount of screen time, that presents them as equals while still letting the audience know that it is in fact Judy who is our main protagonist.
Also does it make sense to ship a Bunny and a Fox? Zootropolis is not a romance and has not even a single hint of it, but there was just something really touching and sweet about the relationship between Judy and Nick. Outside of the fact, that they were both used as characters to help the other out of their prejudgment and bad experiences with predators and prey. Man, they make such a great team! I am normally against Disney making sequels, I just don’t believe in Disney making sequels but this is the first Disney feature-length animation in 10-15 years, that if they ever were to make a sequel for, I will gladly watch. I am interested in Nick and Judy, I am invested in them enough to want to know more of their crime busting tales. A sequel for Zootropolis can actually work, there is enough material for it to make it work.
Every time, I comment on the animation for a Disney or Pixar film I find myself having less to say because I am always saying the same thing. So from now on I want to make more use with the animation section of my reviews and look at 3 key features that were done especially well. Some films have fantastic facial animation, with others there are some great physics that will come into play while some are more playful in their body language and movements. As Zootropolis is a film set in an anthropomorphic society, you see some really interesting movements, a greater emphasis on acting with emotion and their relationship to their environment. There are two or three scenes which I believe to have been done really well; The first scene is when our newbie police officer Judy Hopps is arriving to Zootropolis and we get glimpses into the different environments and habitats of the city. The second is the scene above, for some reason the ambience, the body language between Judy and Nick is really something else and the third scene is when Judy and Nick manage to find the driver who was a key witness to their missing persons case.
What I adore about Judy’s character animation is that there is always a little hop to her step and a bit of bounce to her movement. When she is alert, excited, startled or frightened her ears raise up and when she is calm, relaxed even sad her ears will flop down Nick is quite shifty in the way he moves, which is right for the “sly fox”. When the two first meet, they tend to feel quite tense around one another, the distance that they keep, whether they are facing one another when speaking, their movements and facial expressions are so thought out and natural
The next topic I would like to look at would be the physics in the animation, things that are supposed to jiggle, jiggle, an elephant walking has this weight and heaviness to their walk that indicates the largest of the character. Mice scurry in their walk, and tigers and lions wag their tails or have it sway. Everything is always moving. When it rains, it pours and when it is sunny, you get some really lovely lighting effects that make sense and let you know clearly what time of day it is. In the scene I posted above, the shuttle things like the mist in the limo is wonderfully done, as in something so subtle really sets the mood of the scene and adds to the tension.
I don’t know what it was this time about the design that was a lot more captivating. All the animals are anthropomorphic and they never cross a line of feeling too human or too animal. Everything is just right and I quite like that. They aren’t animals who act like humans taking up a human world, where they will turn back to being just animals once the humans aren’t around. but it takes their concept of what if humans didn’t exist and animals evolved so faithfully.
In regards to the palette of the film, colours are bright and very vibrant. It is a nice film to look at. And there is something about the use of texture in the film that really makes it stand out. Just looking at the animals, you just want to grab and touch them and they are true to what animals should look like. The character designs still feel human enough that we can relate to. There are plenty of films that have animals as the leads that just never make a connection with the audience. It was nice seeing them take certain features and really pushing them in the character design to really emphasise their species and their personality.
But I really have to tip my hat off to whoever was in charge of the colours in the film. They really draw you in and represent the diversity and the message of Zootropolis.
The score for the film can feel very jungle themed at first and there are a lot of drums! We also get a nice little song from Shakira called, “Try Everything”.When I first heard the song, prior to watching the film, I really was not so much a huge fan, it has grown on me enough that I can say it is an alright song that suits the theme of the film. There are also blends of action music that suit the film noir genre particularly if you have a listen to “Hopps Goes (After) The Weasel”, an instrumental during Judy’s chase scene of a thief. As the film progresses, so does the music evolve and shift to more music that fit in with the emotion or setting of a scene. I also wish they had done a bit more with the music and experimented and fused together different genres, as they did with Shakira’s “Try Everything”.
I really enjoyed Zootropolis and I had so much respect for Disney after viewing. Racism matters to me and it looks very different to what it looked like 100, 200 and definitely 300 years ago, and they took something so complicated and very touchy, and packaged it in a way that even the most simple of people can understand and sympathise with.
A simple film noir themed animation did what a lot of films and articles fail to do and it was done with such skill and handled with a lot of love and care. Judy, Nick and the animals of Zootropolis weren’t just another set of mouthpieces blaring out the social catchphrases and chants of today, but I genuinely cared for them, their stories and relationships with one another.
Shipping Judy and Nick aside, I mean their on-screen relationship really was a goldmine. While Zootropolis doesn’t make it on my top 5 list of best Disney films ever, it is a credible film I would highly recommend to anyone reading this. There’s so much humour and cultural relevance that speak volumes of just how much we have progressed as a society and just how much we haven’t. Whether it was Disney’s intention or not, I am still very grateful that this film was also a conversation and an acknowledgement of our reality.
Today felt pretty eventful to have Disney in to give a talk on their latest film Zootopia, in Europe it is called Zootropolis. You can imagine the confusion when I kept on switching between names without noticing. http://youtu.be/VCDQRy1od30 We had directors Byron Howard (Tangled, Bolt) and Rich Moore (Wreck-It-Ralph, The Simpsons) in
Today felt pretty eventful to have Disney in to give a talk on their latest film Zootopia, in Europe it is called Zootropolis. You can imagine the confusion when I kept on switching between names without noticing.
We had directors Byron Howard (Tangled, Bolt) and Rich Moore (Wreck-It-Ralph, The Simpsons) in for an hour to give us the nitty gritty on Disney’s latest film that will be available for theatrical release on 25th March.
Zootopia was inspired by the likes of Robin Hood and it gets its style from film noir minus the black and white. It was lovely to see how casually the directors joked around and engaged with everyone.
There was one lady there amongst the audience who caught my attention and she asked a question about how to stay inspired/creative/motivated.
I totally understood where she was coming from, since graduating I think I’ve applied towards Disney’s Graduate program twice with no luck and too many to count UK studios- design and otherwise to no avail. I can’t help but look at my work and understand why. And it is in freelancing you get bogged down even more.
There’s almost like a thick cloud of desperation amongst creative millennials in the UK like myself trying to get *permanent* work in house, and the task feels even more daunting as the promises and USPs of universities continue to fail us.
One could only hope to work with the Titans someday, so if any Disney employee comes across this post. How about opening another studio in London, pretty please?
As I gulp down this very disappointing Chai Latte from Starbucks; I haven’t given up improving and trying to walk into Mickey’s all well known Fantasia hat but I guess like the production process of any film, I may start off as one idea but through that might come a completely different idea that turns out to be the actual film.
This week has found me saying farewell to my Japanese language exchange partner Sachi, eating bacon and pancakes for the first time and discovering a pocket book of wise words from Kanye. Earlier on in the week, I had lunch at The Breakfast Club with Sachi and also chatting over
This week has found me saying farewell to my Japanese language exchange partner Sachi, eating bacon and pancakes for the first time and discovering a pocket book of wise words from Kanye. Earlier on in the week, I had lunch at The Breakfast Club with Sachi and also chatting over her experience in the UK, slang and teaching her about Kanye West and why everyone thinks he is a バカヤロdespite his good music.
This week I guess not much happened besides work and meetings here and there as well as planning for posts. But on Monday 8th, Disney is coming to the Apple Store for a talk and that is definitely something not to be missed!
Naturally when Disney were churning out 80% of animations in the 90s of course most if not all your childhood favourites would be a Disney animation studios production but I promise next week I will introduce something different. A Goofy Movie was one of my most watched and loved animations as
Naturally when Disney were churning out 80% of animations in the 90s of course most if not all your childhood favourites would be a Disney animation studios production but I promise next week I will introduce something different.
A Goofy Movie was one of my most watched and loved animations as a kid. I remember sitting in front of the TV to what probably was my third re-run of the film in the same day. Great music and teen themes, made the film so cool in my eyes.?I never got bored of the father and son antics of Goofy and his son Max so as you can guess I became a dedicated viewer of the goof troop after watching the film but now after a considerable amount of years later will nostalgia find itself a bit rough around the edges?
We start with Max in golden field of wheat with a sultry female voice calling out to him. As he runs through the tall blades to find his high school crush Roxane float gracefully towards him suddenly their dream world around them turn into one of briers and thorns as Max transforms into a monster, a monster none other than his father; Goofy.
As Max’s morning proceeds with the first song of this animated musical ‘After Today’ is still as catchy as ever and fun to join along with. Did I remember the words to the song you ask? Heck yeah! While Max’s goal for the day and the rest of te summer is to win the heart of Roxane, Goofy has other plans that take a really interesting turn. I loved the direction the film took in exploring the whole father-son relationship dynamic. A Goofy Movie really explored relations and I felt more of the animation had quite the emphasis on displaying emotions through body language which leads me to my next point.
A huge negative for me was while the father and son moments were so touching, the scene with big foot was a bit unnecessary, a major diversion that forced some bonding time, while this element gave us one of the most touching scenes between Goofy and Max, with the alphabet soup, I still believe there could have been a better way to lead to it. Big foot felt too out of nowhere, a bear or contain lion could have easily taken the role. Then there is also the matter of how they managed to sneak into the concert is beyond me, it would have been worth devoting a scene to how they managed to make their way to sneaking in eventually, but I guess maybe in this instance time and budget killed continuity?
As mentioned previously most of the animation was geared towards communicating their feelings as opposed to animating something in a really cool manner because they could. With a lot of facial expressions and expressing emotions in their gestures. I believe this is war made the film Stan out the most especially once Goofy’s decisions get a bit of not really annoying at some points of the movie. I don’t have much to comment on the animation while it didn’t do much wrong, it also didn’t have anything new to offer. Most of my disappointments came with the storyline and continuity.
I loved the bright, open and time appropriate colour palette. The fact that it looks aged adds to the experience now in 2015, for a film released and set in the 90’s. For dogs they had a pretty attractive and humanistic character design that would often make you forget that these were human like dogs.
Despite him being such a goof he has a very natural and pleasant charm and I believe the palette lends itself to Goofy’s portrayal.
There are a few nitpicks in the design such as recycled backgrounds and the river rapids waterfall scene being a bit distracting because of the rough lines used to demonstrate the roughness and the speed of the river. I felt it didn’t fit the visual tone of the film and a style like that would be better suited for something like The Tale of Princess Kaguya, rather than a Disney film.
The songs rock and till now I believe the fact that it was a musical was a great move and even now believe that it would do current Disney justice to add more music to their films, Frozen is a testament that they shine brightest when their characters are singing. The strengths of A Goofy Movie lie in its original soundtrack. With very memorable and varied song tracks, there is something in there for you to enjoy. I don’t think there is a batter word to describe the music other than fun and the final song I 2 I really delivers unfortunately it felt way too short!
If you grew up in the 90’s then A Goofy Movie will definitely be fun to watch and for the new kids on the block, I would still recommend it especially as they may not be familiar with goofy and his backstory and this will be a great intro to him and his world outside of Mickey Mouse and his gang. While the film is still as fun as ever to watch now as an adult, the continuity and plot holes aren’t hard to miss, and you may find yourself getting annoyed at times at the decisions of the characters, when I was young I sympathised with Goofy much more than Max, but as an adult I realised how irrational some of his decision making could be, but I guess Lester’s possum park doesn’t seem too bad if you like possums?
To start off my first Review and Previews for this next month with #ChildhoodFavourties Series. I will be reviewing the much loved Cinderella by Disney. Cinderella is an adaption of the european folk-tale Cendrillion, that is a moral tale of injustice and oppression and the result of enduring it with kindness and
To start off my first Review and Previews for this next month with #ChildhoodFavourties Series. I will be reviewing the much loved Cinderella by Disney.
Cinderella is an adaption of the european folk-tale Cendrillion, that is a moral tale of injustice and oppression and the result of enduring it with kindness and hope and the consequences of those who inflict suffering on others.
Now there are several variations to the tale, some gory others quite tame, but thanks to a little bit of research (on wikipedia I might add) Disney adapted the 1697 version by Charles Perrault.
Cinderella, A young ill-treated maiden is forced to live life as a hand maiden after her father dies. Constantly on hand and foot for her evil and incredibly spiteful step-mother and step-sisters, Cinderella the endearing and happy go lucky young woman, very suddenly finds her life turned around when a frustrated king decides it is time for his son, Prince Charming to get married.
Thanks to a couple of cute squeaky mice and the famous words bippity boppity boo, Cinderella is turned from maid to princess in a snap, and then she is whisked away in her iconic glass slippers to a night of love and dancing that she nor the prince will ever forget.
When I think of the story, Cinderella is a simple yet uplifting tell of good things coming to those who wait, but in the case of Cinderella to those who endure. Even though Cinderella’s dream, that one wish of hers wasn’t made quite clear in the actual story and seemed to be hijacked by her love for the prince, It still doesn’t negate the fact that it is a story of hope and belief. Ultimately not giving up on your dreams.
While the story of Cinderella, may not be every woman’s cup of tea due to the fact that, her happy ending comes from her getting married, I would still argue that there is still a lot of good in the story to teach young girls about kindness, enduring and never giving up.
Now some of my criticism actually lie in two things Gus, the mouse and the original story. I remember as a child, Gus being so stupid that it annoyed me a great deal and stopped Cinderella from being my most favourite disney classic, but then to be reminded just how infuriatingly stupid he was just never made me appreciate his character or really get into some bit of the story that involved him doing anything meaningful.
Second is the prince not remembering what the girl he fell in love with looked like, and it being decided by who could fit their feet in first rather than just finding the woman who had the missing slipper. Prince Charming were you really going to marry the red haired vixen over the blonde bun haired damsel you were dancing with the night before?
No? Of course not!
As always Disney have the trademark of outlining their characters design’s respective colours rather than outlining in black or brown. This gives for a more softer look and more appealing character designs that capture the eyes in a non-intrusive way.
The designs of characters are quite simple designs making use of basic shapes to introduce archetypes, opting for simpler character designs allowed for more detailed and extravagant backgrounds.
With the most stunning scene being Cinderella at the ball. The shift from a golden washed ballroom to the dazzling blue evening garden. This scene will surely carry you away to a dreamy state of romance.
The animator’s for Cinderella really showed off how well they can animate. The animation is masterfully done, the fluidity, the appeal, the essence of characters is all well captured.
Movements are lively and feel very real and this is due to the fact that a lot of the animation comes from studying real people interacting and moving.
Some of the best animation comes from the scene with Cinderella at the ball. I noticed that Disney really take their time with pacing the characters, when things slow down they really slow creating an almost tranquil moment of romance and life but as soon as things get hectic when that clock ticks twelve, Cinderella still keeps a certain poise and manner in her movement that is suitable for her personality and really heralds Disney as masters of their craft.
Music is always accompanying scenes, and no scene is left without background music for too long. It definitely creates ambience and sets the mood and it wasn’t until i openly looked out for music I saw how much it really sets a scene and builds up anticipation.
As a young girl the “chipmunk” singing from the mice was funny and cute and well… fun. Now at the lovely age of 22, I really found it annoying. After 15 years, 2 Alvin and the Chipmunks films and a generational wave of auto-tune, it was something that I was surprised to remember as not being too bad as a kid.
All in all the soundtrack for Cinderella is extremely catchy especially the main theme, “A dream is a wish your heart makes” this soft calming pick me up ballad will makes sure to inject a healthy dose of hope and positive thoughts before the story even begins, and it is a song that I reckon is unforgettable.
When watching Cinderella again I most definitely noticed that that stood out greatly was the animation and music to tell a story that is renowned as a classic in storytelling. Though design isn’t pixel perfect neither is it shabby, but when comparing Cinderella to a lot of Disney’s later works, Disney has improved a drastic amount setting the bar in its standards throughout the years.
As their studio has grown through the decades, so has their understanding of cinematography and storytelling. With Cinderella being one of their earliest feature lengths, in an industry that was still finding its feet artistically and commercially, Disney did an outstanding job for their time.
Nostalgia aside Cinderella presents a simple tale with a good moral attached to it and I did quite enjoy watching the film again, it never gets old no matter how many times I have seen it.
Now if you aren’t an owner of a DVD and if you have long lost your VHS copy of Cinderella, you’ll be glad to know that Cinderella is in fact free to watch on Amazon Prime, if you are a prime member and of course on Netflix.