Hello, friends! Today I get the opportunity to share with you reviews of TWO movies that are probably currently at your local movie theater. Keep reading for my movie reviews of ZOOTOPIA AND DEADPOOL.
The first three months of the year are usually the worst time for quality films. The studios tend to wait till summer to bring out the films they consider to be the most potentially lucrative, and they wait until fall and early winter to bring out their potential award winners.
This year, I am so happy to report a wonderful exception to the rule. ZOOTOPIA is bound to become an animated classic, and it’s possible that I may not have a better time at a movie this year. I know it’s hyperbolically early to make such a statement, but it is a truly special film!
Judy Hopps is a young rabbit who has a dream. She wants to be a police bunny. Everyone around her tries to convince her that the police department is no place for a rabbit. She should face reality and work on the family’s carrot farm. Judy cannot fathom living a life not pursuing her happiness and eventually graduates from the police academy and heads to the big city of Zootopia.
Things get off to a shaky start as she can only afford a run-down one-room apartment, and she is relegated to meter maid duty, but through a series of circumstances she finds herself investigating the mysterious disappearances of several carnivores in Zootopia with the help of con artist fox Nick Wilde whose motives Judy can’t help but question – after all, how can a rabbit trust a fox?
I’m not going to go much further in my description of the plot as one of the great joys of this film is watching the mystery unfold, seeing Judy and Nick unravel the clues, and being surprised by a couple twists and turns along the way.
Believe me, friends, as trite and hackneyed and cutesy-poo as the plot may sound, ZOOTOPIA is a remarkable achievement. In my opinion, it’s probably the finest animated feature since BEAUTY AND THE BEAST 25 years ago. Often times you’ll hear an animated film described as being as fun for the adults as it is for the kids. And you know as well as I do that it rarely happens. Guess what? It happened. In fact, I would go so far to say it is more fun for adults than the kiddies.
The greatest success of ZOOTOPIA is the way it integrates so many important topics in such a fun, entertaining way without feeling like you’re being sermonized: prejudice, sexism, racism, political corruption, and the list goes on. There was something strangely empowering watching little Judy stand among the lions and tigers and bears (oh my!) on the police force. It’s probably the worst comparison in the history of film criticism, but it reminded me of Jodie Foster in SILENCE OF THE LAMBS. What a wonderful example for little girls!
All the voice work is first-rate, but I have to give special mention to Jason Bateman, who makes Nick Wilde one of the great characters in recent animation, and Jenny Slate as Assistant Mayor Bellwether. Slate, a former “Saturday Night Live” player, has a voice made for animation and is beyond distinctive and totally original!
This is a perfect family film, and it will give you lots to discuss afterwards. Thankfully, it’s doing gangbusters at the box office, so it should be around for awhile. Take an afternoon during your Spring Break and hop to the theater. You won’t be sorry!
DEADPOOL is another movie that is doing very well financially and critically at the box office this season; however, I’m afraid I can’t join in the platitudes for this one.
Apparently this is based on a comic book or a cartoon character or something like that, or maybe tied in to the X-MEN franchise somehow. I’m not sure, and frankly I don’t care. If this is what comic strips have become, I long for the day when Betty and Veronica went head over heels for Archie Andrews.
In a nutshell, Wade Wilson is a mercenary who finds out he has inoperable cancer. A mad scientist convinces Wade that he will be able to cure him but instead brutally tortures and disfigures him. He becomes an anti-hero named Deadpool who only seeks revenge against his antagonizer and to reunite with the fiancee he left behind.
As I mentioned earlier, I don’t know how popular the DEADPOOL comic book or whatever is, but if any child under 18 asks permission to see it, give him a swift kick in the patootie and force him to watch MARY POPPINS every night until college graduation.
As appalled as I was by the language and scenes of torture in this film, its consistent use of sarcastic humor was what really put me over the edge. It is a never-ending onslaught of dialogue seemingly written by the most smart aleck brat from every bad nightmare you’ve ever had in your life. Each time a moment of humanity or love or true tension threatens to pop out its head, it is completely undercut by a wisecrack or snide remark, 97.6% of which are utterly unfunny.
I am truly shocked by the positive critical reception to this movie. To its credit, it truly is original and really unlike any movie of its type I’ve ever seen, although my experience with these types of films is very limited.The climactic battle between Wilson, the mad scientist, and a couple other characters is quite exciting! Plus, you have to give it credit for playing Juice Newton’s “Angel of the Morning” over the opening credits. Other than that, I am afraid I must give it a disgruntled thumbs down. Here’s hoping BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE will come and save the day! (Update 03/19/17 – IT DIDN’T!)
ZOOTOPIA ****1/2 out of ***** (will probably be ***** eventually but you need to give a masterpiece some time.)
DEADPOOL ** out of *****
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