Big Hero 6


Viewed – 17 September 2016  Blu-ray

You can’t accuse Disney of not trying new things these days…after the rather inspired idea of a video games homage in Wreck It Ralph we come to this somewhat Japanese anime inspired story following a young kid who yearns to follow in his elder brother’s footsteps and go to science school.  He also so happens to be a genius at robotics.  However following a disastrous turn of events said kid, Hiro finds himself befriending his brother’s invention instead and seeking out the answers to a mysterious accident at the local university.

Big Hero 6_

At first I wasn’t really sure where this one was going, it felt like a weird mix of things and it’s tone was uneven.  Not helped by a cast of supporting characters that either ticked all the clichés or were otherwise forgettable.  Yes, we have the cool outsider girl, the bookworm, the stoner (!) and the token black guy.  Yet it’s the friendship between Hiro and Baymax, his brother’s robotic inflatable nurse (not as sleazy as that sounds…) that makes for the heart of the movie, and even plot developments that turn the whole show into The Avengers meets Power Rangers don’t detract from what turns out to be rather emotional and feel good.  Despite a quasi-future setting (in San Francisco – you know, where ALL movies are now set), the inventions by these kids seems so amazing and powerful that they defy logic.  But this is a Disney movie so I’m guessing believability goes out of the window?  This can’t excuse however a villainous plot that’s rather thrown together with a twist that just felt like it had been sneaked in by the writing room cleaning lady last minute.

Which is all a shame as aesthetically and script-wise this often shines.  There’s some stand-out action scenes in the final act, and the in-jokes and banter between the characters got pretty funny.  Baymax is a brilliant creation, part tech-demo for the animation gurus and also a really likeable presence.  So another Disney to check out, if not quite as essential as some of their other movies.

Verdict:  3 /5

Zootropolis


Viewed – 06 August 2016  Blu-ray

I struggle reviewing animated movies, now more than ever it seems as I absolutely love all aspects of animation and in recent years we seem to have been absolutely spoilt.  So it’d be easy to automatically praise and gush over a big name animated movie, but my job here is not to do that despite my slight bias and tell you people straight…so I’ll try my best.

zootropolis

Zootropolis (aka Zootopia) is set in a sort of alternative reality where animals have evolved into living like humans, having jobs, going to work etc … and one such animal, a rabbit called Judy Hopps has dreamt all of her life of being a Police Officer.  Soon she’s defying her unassuming, safe-living parents and attending Police Academy.  There she wows her instructors until she gets a job at the ZPD over in the city of Zootropolis.  However being a rabbit, Judy’s quickly met with prejudice from cops more thought to be tigers, rhinoceroses or elephants.  However whilst battling said prejudices Judy befriends a cunning, street-wise Fox who faces similar problems.

ZOOTOPIAThe first thing to be said about this one is that it’s a solid concept, somewhat borrowed from Monsters Inc. as far as it’s blue-collar workers world is concerned, but is presented imaginatively with some great in-jokes and colourful characters.  The city itself also has a great sense of place, with various distinct districts.  The movie aswell looks gorgeous, incredibly colourful and full of little details – nothing unusual for Disney these days, but this is certainly one of the best looking movie’s you can watch right now.   The character of Judy is somewhat clichéd however … all boundless enthusiasm that’s soon brought crashing down to earth and then having to typically prove herself.  Also that message of prejudice and racism is hammered home a bit too thick at times, and could have done with a little subtlety.  It also isn’t as funny as I’d have hoped, going for more of an action and character piece, but with sly Fox Nick Wild this movie at least finds it’s secret sauce and he’s a character I’d sure like to see more of.  So another solid effort from Disney and another top-drawer animated feature to go check out.  This one had a little more going for it than your typical Disney Princess fair, but despite lacking the heart of say… Inside Out I still had a great time.

Verdict:  4 /5