Posts Tagged ‘Zootopia’

Wilde and Hopps Detective Agency – A Zootopia Story

April 27, 2021

Nick followed Judy into the dusty old office. The building was on a little side street off of Savanna Central. It would have been a prime location if the building had not been so neglected. It must have been missed by the new Mayor’s beautification programs. Nick had made a face when he saw the building but Judy had not seemed to notice it. Nick had lived in and been to plenty of sketchy places but he thought that part of his life was over. And yet, here he was following Judy Hopps into another situation.

“Explain what this place is again?” Nick asked, gesturing around them. He ran a single furry finger along a desk and came away with a thick bit of dust. He wiped it off on his pants.

“This is my new office,” Judy said. “Our new office if you still want to join me.” She seemed to be in exceptionally high spirits but Judy Hopps was almost always vibrating with energy. At least, that’s how Nick had always known her. It was part of what had convinced him to go straight.

“I still can’t believe that you quit the police force,” Nick said. “Wasn’t that your dream from when you were a little kid?”

“It was my dream,” Judy said with a smile. “but things change. When I had that dream, I didn’t really know what it would mean for it to come true. Mayor Lionheart and then Mayor Bellwether proved that the system is broken and it can’t be fixed from the inside. I don’t regret working hard for that dream because it gave me the skills for my new dream. I want to really help people.”

“So that’s why we’re here?” Nick asked. “That’s why you need an office?”

“Yeah,” Judy said. “I want to be a private investigator. No case too big or small. I want to help people. That was my real dream.”

Nick laughed and shrugged. “I kind of wish you had this epiphany a lot earlier,” he said. “You know, before I went through the Academy too.”

“It wasn’t a mistake for me to join the Academy and the force,” Judy said. “but it was a mistake not to really talk to you before you did the same. I’m sorry.”

“Hey, it’s not that huge a deal,” Nick said. “It’s just really weird for us to be reversed from when we met. Me the police officer, you the civilian.”

“Yeah,” Judy said with a laugh. “It is a bit weird. At least I haven’t devolved into a life of crime.”

“Yeah yeah,” Nick said. “I guess I sort of deserve that. I’ve gone straight but don’t think for a minute that I haven’t lost my cred on the street.”

“Heaven forbid,” Judy said in mock indignation. “I would never suggest such a thing. Your street cred is what made you so effective on our first case together.”

“Our first and only case,” Nick said. “unless I quit the force, of course. That’s a big ask, Judy.” He leveled his gaze at her and watched her tense up and look embarassed.

“Right,” Judy said softly. “It is a big ask and it was wrong of me to pressure you. Besides, I can always use a man on the inside.”

“I’m just kidding, Judy,” Nick said with a laugh. “I’d quit in a heartbeat for you. I proved that I belonged. We both did. You proved that a bunny could do it and I proved that a fox could do it. I have nothing left to prove. Besides, what you have in mind sounds more fun.”

“I’m so glad you said that,” Judy said. “because we have to clean this place up.”

“Suddenly, this sounds like not as much fun,” Nick said, his shoulders slumping.

“A little hard work isn’t going to kill you, Nick,” Judy said.

“We’ll see,” Nick said.

March Madness 1: Disney

April 14, 2018

Bracket

So March has come and gone but March Madness lives in people’s hearts forever, right? The thing about that is that I am not a basketball fan. While I played pickup games in middle school, I was never a fan because Baltimore does not have a team. If Baltimore does not have a team, I quickly lose interest in those sports. What I am a big fan of is Disney animated films and Pixar (before and after acquisition by Disney). I heard about this bracket and how it was driving everyone crazy and I thought it would be fun to fill it out and then explain my choices. Art is subjective and ranking things is absolutely just an exercise in examining your personal tastes. In other words, don’t get mad at me for my choices.

 

Lion King vs. Tarzan

This was an easy one to start of with. Tarzan has an interesting story about discovering one’s place in the world and also the evils of poaching. Lion King tells the story of a son’s love for his father and is basically Hamlet but with lions. While both are adaptations of established stories, Lion King has a lot more to say. Lion King also talks about duty vs. enjoyment and overcoming your fear to do what is right. It is a much more inspiring story. Lion King also has better music as Elton John and Tim Rice beat Phil Collins any day of the week, at least in my opinion. The Lion King also is funnier when it tries to be funny and more touching when it needs to be touching.

The Princess and the Frog vs. Lilo and Stitch

This one was a little harder. I like that Lilo and Stitch does not have a romantic subplot and it depicts Hawaii more as it actually is. It is a movie about sisters and misfits finding a family. It is honestly a really great movie. The Princess and the Frog is a movie about working hard for what you want but also trying to find the fun in life. The work/life balance message is something that is important to me. Also, The Princess and the Frog is a musical which uses great jazz tunes including a song actually sung by Dr. John. That definitely edges it ahead. It also does not hurt that Tiana is the first African American Disney Princess.

Tangled vs. Big Hero 6

It got difficult again. Big Hero 6 was a comic book series I read when it first came out. It was a charming and fun series with a lot of brand new heroes, Silver Samurai, and Sunfire. The movie version was really fun and had a different take on the character Baymax that knocked my socks off. It also did a great job with the theme of dealing with death. I also love superhero movies a lot. However, Tangled is an underrated movie that kind of paved the way for a new wave of Disney Princess. This new take on the Rapunzel story is really strengthened by the undeniable, bouncy energy of Rapunzel and the offbeat, goofy humor of the movie. This movie was a go to for a while when I was depressed to try and get me out of it.

Frozen vs. Moana

This was a totally unfair first round matchup. When I first saw Frozen, it blew me away. It was a total game changer when it came to Disney Princess animated movies. Setting aside that it had Kristen Bell in it, it also was the first of those movies that did not have a real romantic subplot. It was more about the love between sisters than the love between two people who had just met. Moana has even less of a romantic subplot and it is about being true to yourself and following your passion while staying true to your roots. It is a truly beautiful movie both visually and figuratively. It also has songs by Lin-Manuel Miranda who does so well that he ended up defeating the unstoppable catchiness of the songs of Frozen. That alone is saying something.

Aladdin vs. Hercules

Like most people, I love Hercules. It has a lot of snappy humor and is a great adaptation of various Greek myths with a slick modern style to it. The animation style is fun and it has an interestingly complex love story that comes second to a story about believing in yourself and becoming a hero. However, I have a big history with Aladdin. Back then I was a superfan of Robin Williams but the event that really cemented my love for the movie is when I watched it on drugs. To be fair, I watched it as I lay in the ICU after heart surgery in fifth grade. The movie has absolutely beautiful art and awesome voice talents. The story is also about believing in yourself but it is also about seeing people as they are and the power of friendship. The songs by Alan Menken are leagues above most Disney movies as well.

The Little Mermaid vs. Pocahontas

This one was easy. I really dislike Pocahontas. It is the only major release Disney Animated Movie that I dislike and that’s saying something. It is a historically inaccurate portrayal of a woman who was mistreated as a Native American by European colonists. The art style is also kind of off-putting to me for some reason. Also, I never liked the music very much. The Little Mermaid, on the other hand, is a really fun movie and a happier take on the Hans Christian Andersen tale. The music is all so fun to sing along to and the humor is cute and enjoyable. I love the theme of feeling like you are in the wrong place and yearning for a place that just feels right to you. It also has some interesting magic spells and supernatural powers go along way with me.

Mulan vs. Zootopia

This is a weird matchup. Zootopia is a really interesting movie that has a lot to say about racism and affirmative action. It disguises that message behind really well-animated animals living in a big city together. I love the world building involved in that and the story is a great roller coaster that has a lot of ups, downs, twists, and turns. Mulan is a great tale about the clash between following tradition and being who you feel you need to be. It also has the first Disney Princess who could fight. The animation is also really pretty with its own style that clearly illustrates that we are in China. What edges Mulan ahead as the clear winner is the music. Mulan has a lot of great, singable songs. Mostly I am thinking about I’ll Make a Man Out of You which was written by Donny Osmond of all people.

Beauty and the Beast vs. Nightmare Before Christmas

This one is not even fair. Beauty and the Beast is a beautiful movie. The art is a shining example of what 2D animation can be and the art style was so unique. It also introduced us to a heroine who was smart, brave, and who would not back down. It also introduced a romantic couple who believably wanted nothing to do with each other who were also both questionable individuals. The story does a good job of showing two parallel character arcs with a satisfying conclusion. The songs are also among the best in Disney. Nightmare Before Christmas is a movie that I watch every year at some point between Halloween and Christmas. It is yet another movie that I have used to battle depression because the movie itself is about battling depression. It is also the only movie on this list that uses stop-motion animation which is done so well I sometimes thought of it as live action. On top of all of that, it has music from Danny Elfman at the peak of his abilities. Every song is awesome and portrays so much emotion that I cannot ever let this movie go.

Alright, this one is getting a bit too long so I will have to continue it at another time. Of course, part 2 will have to wait until sometime after April but I am excited to get back to it! In the meantime, feel free to offer your own opinions. As I said, art is subjective and I am not “right” and you are not “wrong”.

Media Update 8/18/2016

August 18, 2016


Zootopia

I did not really know what to expect from this movie but I have a deep and abiding trust in Disney by this point. In fact, I really should trust Disney a little more than I do because even when I doubt them, they deliver. I doubted the teaser trailer for this movie but I should have learned from Frozen. I think Disney just makes horrible teaser trailers (except for Moana, I guess). When I found out that this movie has a 98% on Rotten Tomatoes I knew I just had to see the movie. I mean, I see all Disney movies anyway but I really wanted to see this one. The day I went to see it in theaters it was sold out and so I saw 10 Cloverfield Lane instead. I am so glad I finally got to see this. For one, it stars Ginnifer Goodwin who was one of the coolest things about Once Upon a Time. It also has Jason Bateman doing a really great job too. God, the animation just gets better and smoother with each movie. The story of the movie actually speaks to a lot of interesting themes like prejudice and affirmative action. This had every possibility of just being a lazy story about a city full of animals. They could have told a story that any human movie could have told but they told a story that really uses the fact that the characters are animals but also resonates with our lives. I do not want to spoil any of the movie. You should just go out and see it.

 


Finding Dory

So, for a while, I was watching every single Pixar release and I would not miss one for the world. Of course, after Cars 2, I decided to skip Planes and Planes 2 but they are the only ones I have not seen now. Finding Nemo was a very touching story about the love of family and the lengths we will go for love. The breakout star was Ellen Degeneres who stole the scene over and over again. The movie ended up being kind of America’s apology for kicking her to the curb for being gay earlier. She is a great comedian and, it turns out, a great voice actor. So we get this sequel starring Degeneres’ character who was actually the saddest and darkest part of Finding Nemo. So I go into this a little tentatively, knowing Disney and Pixar can make me cry. Degeneres was on fire again, possibly even better than Finding Nemo. Ed O’Neill played a really great grumpy octopus. Everybody returned from Finding Nemo and turned in great performances. Diane Keaton, Eugene Levy, Ty Burrell, Kaitlin Olson joined the awesome cast along with a lot of great bit parts. It really looks like Pixar might have really gotten over the stumbling blocks in the past. The story was touching and inspiring. It was a story about how we never know what we can do until we try. It also explored the memories we make and how they shape us whether we realize it or not and accepting our flaws as part of us. It was a beautiful movie and I definitely recommend it.

 


Tarzan

There is one reason I had been avoiding this movie and his name is Phil Collins. Phil Collins makes some of the whitest and blandest music in the world and yes I meant that as an insult. I used to have a friend (RIP Billy) who loved Phil Collins and he used to tease me about me not liking Collins or Genesis. I decided it was finally time as I recently made it my mission to watch every Disney animated film (or at least the theatrical releases). Tarzan was a major one that I had missed and I figured it was way past time to tackle it. When I played Kingdom Hearts, I got pretty familiar with the story and settings so, unfortunately, some of that was spoiled for me. The first thing I will say is the animation is really cool. There is one sequence where you watch Tarzan grow up and it was so smooth that I could not tell if Tarzan was steadily growing or if there were cuts edited in. The musculature of Tarzan and the movement of the animals was really awesome looking as well. The acting was pretty good but the real standouts were actually Rosie O’Donnell and Brian Blessed. Brian Blessed was a perfect deep-voiced villain, right up there with Scar and Jafar. Rosie O’Donnell was a little annoying at first but when I found out that her part had originally been male but was gender bent based on her audition, I had a lot of respect. The movie was really good in spite of my low expectations and I was impressed with the amount of detail they put in. The only downside was the music. It was not as bad as I expected but it was all sung by Phil Collins instead of the characters in the movie. It was a little off-putting but I do recommend the movie despite that.

 

Music of the Week:

Iskra – Wolf of Winter

Bat For Lashes – All Your Gold

Bulletbelt – Black Banshee

The Specials – Rat Race

Logic – Like Woah

 

Weekly Updates:
– This week’s theme is “Animals of Disney Animation”
– I’ve got a new favorite show to talk to you about soon
– I watched more Dark Matter and I love it
– I actually watched more Shannara Chronicles and it gets better
– Watched more Olympics though I’m kind of done with it
– If you pay attention, I started to rank what I saw each week. First is best, last was worst or not as best
– If all goes well, I am taking my final exams for the semester today
– I’m almost done with Season 3 of Person Interest.


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