Disney film

Hit-or-Miss Movie Predictions: Zootopia


(If you like what you see, go to camseyeview.biz to see more of my work. If you want to, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com/camseyeview. Thanks for reading!)

Welcome back to Hit-or-Miss Movie Predictions. This is a series of first impression articles covering the newest trailers on animated films, and breaking down the good or bad that the trailer offers.

Disney has been on a streak of critically acclaimed movies over the past seven years now. Sure, some were more well received than others, but overall, they were good movies. It’s interesting to see that their next film, Zootopia, does take a few more risks than past films. First off, it’s one of the very, and I mean very few Disney animated films that use humanoid animals, the other two being Robin Hood and Chicken Little. Anyway, if you want to see the trailer for yourself, I will make sure to hyperlink it here. Now then, let’s break down the impressions.

 

Animation/Art Direction

I mean, this is Disney after all, you shouldn’t expect anything but great animation, with visually pleasing worlds and expressive characters. Like I said above, it’s interesting to see Disney do another film with human-like animals like in Robin Hood. It all looks fantastic. I also love the little visual jokes, like the hippos playing volleyball with giraffes, or the rhino cop fist-bumping the little bunny cop, and how the fist literally pushes her. It’s a film that was allowed to be creative and open-minded with its designs and world.

 

Humor

Unlike the humor you see in that piece of garbage Norm of the North, Zootopia seems to love its satirical take on society, and has a lot of visual gags with the animals they chose use. I already listed the volleyball match above, but it seems like a film that has jokes in the foreground, and in the background. Some jokes were predictable like “MR. Big” is actually a tiny animal, but most of the jokes and gags seen in the trailer and clips made me smile.

 

Story

Ginnifer Goodwin plays Officer Judy Hopps, a newly hired cop in the city of Zootopia, a city where prey and predators live together in peace. However, not everything is as peaceful as everyone thinks. An incident is causing certain predators to go crazy. While trying to solve this case, she teams up with a foxy con man named Nick Wilde, voiced by Jason Bateman. Can they solve the crime and save Zootopia?

 

Casting

Personally, I like the casting. Disney and Pixar always seem to get casts that fit the characters, and not just pick the biggest celebrities right now because they have the most buzz or are super popular. Zootopia’s cast includes Jason Bateman, Ginnifer Goodwin, Idris Elba, J.K. Simmons, John DiMaggio, Nate Torrence, Jenny Slate, Mark “Rhino” Smith, Tommy Chong, Octavia Spencer, Maurice LaMarche, and many more. I think the only one that stands out as “ we got her on name value alone”  is Shakira, who plays Gazelle, a pop star that is famous in the city of Zootopia. Kind of feels like they missed an opportunity in making her an animal based on her name, like a shark and calling her Sharkira. I guess I’ m slowly growing to say bad puns and dad jokes.

 

Any concerns?

For as much as I like the moral of the story that they are advertising, “don’t stop and keep on pushing no matter what”, I am concerned this film will be predictable. We have seen these kind of buddy cop comedy films before, and while I still want to see the movie, I don’t want to go through the film already knowing when something is about to happen. I wonder if Disney will put any creative spins on the overall film and tropes that are in this feature.

 

Prediction: Hit!

If this was Disney in the mid 2000s, I would have been more cautious, but since this is current Disney, and their past few movies have been great, I have no doubt that this will be a good, if not simply entertaining movie. It seems to take advantage of its set-up and how all the characters are animals. We will have to see next month if this film will be successful. I hope it is, since I want to see Disney do more than just princess films. Not that their other upcoming film, Moana doesn’t look amazing, but Zootopia seems like an interesting film, which I guess was probably greenlit due to how much money Disney made from Frozen. Still, I hope Zootopia is good!

In Defense Of: The Black Cauldron


(If you like what you see, go to camseyeview.biz for more of my work. If you want to, consider contributing to my Patreon at patreon.com/camseyeview. Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy the article!)

Welcome to the first edition of “In Defense Of…” This is where I write an editorial covering a couple of positive elements of Disney, Dreamworks, or Pixar films that were negatively reviewed or downright panned by the critics and audiences.

Pop quiz time! What do you get when you have a big budget, take seven years to make a movie, and then release it in 1985? Well, you get what is widely known to be Disney’s biggest flop in terms of an animated film, The Black Cauldron. Most people these days are more familiar with the huge financial and critical Disney flops like John Carter and The Lone Ranger, two infamously horrible movies that did incredibly poorly at the box office. Not United Passions flop, but it did so badly that it was beaten out by The Care Bears Movie. Think about that for a moment, a film so bad, that another mediocre movie did better. The Black Cauldron put the studio into major jeopardy, which was luckily saved by the likes of The Great Mouse Detectives, Oliver and Company, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, and of course, The Little Mermaid, which started the famous Disney Renaissance of the 90s.  So, with all of this failure behind the movie and its development history of last-minute changes, is there anything good/redeemable for this movie? Well, yes. I think there are a couple of good elements, and apparently, I am not the only one who thinks so, since the film is now getting a cult following. Let’s begin! Oh, and spoilers!

 

  • The beautiful animation

During this time at Disney, they were pretty much reusing a lot of their animation from past films like The Jungle Book, 101 Dalmatians, Snow White, and so on. It made the films feel cheap, and while I like movies like Disney’s Robin Hood, it felt like they were doing this because the films took a long time to make, and they wanted to save a lot of money. However, from what I have seen, The Black Cauldron is 100% original animation. No rehashes. It also looks good with the smooth movements and, during the death scene of the villain, very detailed. It’s a good-looking movie. It’s just a shame so much money went into the animation, but it had a mediocre story.

 

  • The Villain/Villain Death

While you can argue that there isn’t much to this villain, The Horned King is one of the most intimidating villains in Disney’s cannon. It doesn’t hurt either that he is voiced by famous actor John Hurt. There is something really unsettling about him from his design to the raspy voice. I bet for the kids that saw this movie, The Horned King gave them nightmares. On top of that, his villain death is probably the most graphic out of any Disney film. At the end of the movie he is forcefully pulled in to the titular Black Cauldron. His skin peels and tears away from him, and his bones turn to dust as he is pulled into the cauldron kicking and screaming. It’s gruesome, if you couldn’t tell.

 

  • The Atmosphere

The movie lacks in a lot of elements, but The Black Cauldron has some great atmosphere at some points. The film makes you feel like you are in this grungy fantasy world, where there is no hope among the human and creatures that live there. Sure, the immersion sometimes comes to a halt when you have to deal with some of the pointless side characters, but when the film is quiet, you feel fully inside the film’s world.

Unfortunately, even looking at all of these positives, this is easily one of the weakest Disney films I have ever seen. Its story is thin, the characters are either forgettable or annoying, the ending is underwhelming, and for all the money and time put into the film’s animation and marketing, you would think this would have been great. I guess it also doesn’t help that The Black Cauldron is based off a series of books. I don’t know, I feel like if they made the characters more interesting and not have the many Disney tropes, the film would have at least been solid. They probably should have gone full-on dark fantasy. I’m fine with you if you like it, since as I listed, there are good elements. It’s just not personally my favorite Disney film. Well, I hope you all enjoyed this because we are going to next time do a companion piece to In Defense Of with The Negatives, where we take a look at the negatives of the most popular/widely acclaimed Disney, Pixar, and Dreamworks movies. So, since we looked at one of the worst Disney disasters of all time, how about we look at Disney’s recent Golden Goose with Frozen? Thanks for reading!