Review: Zootropolis

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Amidst the hype and publicity machine of Batman v Superman, Disney have been relatively gentile in their  publicity of new film Zootropolis (otherwise known as Zootopia in the States). Having seen a trailer prior to a screening of Kung Fu Panda 3, my 7 year old turned to me and declared ‘We HAVE to go and see that!’. How could I refuse??

Zootropolis os the story of Judy Hopps the first ever bunny police officer determined to change the world and make Zootropolis a better place. Zootroplois is a world in which all animal life has evolved to into a civilised society where prey and predator live harmoniously side by side. Hopps soon discovers not all is as it seems as some citizens have gone missing and returned to their ‘savage’ state. To solve the case Hopps must team up with the most unlikely of allies Nick Wilde the crafty fox.

I can’t begin to express how much joy Zootropolis gave me. This wonderful societal allegory made me smile from minute one and I’m still grinning ear to ear as I type. It is a timely film. In a world where hate and fear can be the dominating narrative, Zootropolis aims to be the cinematic antidote. Wonderfully poignant and with a great sense of humour the film never drops its pace, never loses its humour and stays on message throughout.

The film has within it plenty to enjoy for kids and adults alike, a Breaking Bad gag towards the end, lots of little incidental nods to other Disney films and so much going on in the background that repeated viewing may be essential.

The message of Zootropolis is not subtle but it is welcomed.Every animal plays their part and every animal’s skill is celebrated. Sloth’s processing vehicle licensing paperwork a particular highlight.

Hope remains that society will overcome stereotypes, judgemental attitudes and prejudice. Society can progress, move forward and evolve. Zootropolis may just be the blueprint we have been waiting for.

After the dirge and bleakness of Batman v Superman, Zootropolis was a great cinematic palette cleanser.

 

 

 

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The Revenant, church, exit & entry point

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Ok so a disclaimer to begin.

This will be my last post on The Revenant for a while I promise. I can’t help it, this film has got under my skin in a way that not many have in the last few years. The density, the spectacle, the cinematic wonder it really is a special piece of work. Even in January it will take something really special for it not to be my favourite film of 2016.

Through it all though one scene has stayed with me. Above all the moments of brilliance (and there are many) one scene leapt out more than any other and it is when Glass enters the crumbled edifice of the church.

This dilapidated structure has suffered even in these early days of civilisation but its foundation and structures remain. In fact within the fading church there is life as trees have put down roots bringing new life and growth.

It could be argued by some that the church today is in a similar position.

Dilapidated, fading, crumbling.

Recently I read an article about the majority of people in the UK claiming to have no religion . The truth is churches are closing, numbers are decreasing and desire for any notion of God is fading rapidly. People are searching though. People are searching for understanding. Searching for spirituality and searching in spaces other than churches to find it.

I believe there it still life in the church though. I believe that changes are coming. Changes that will remove old structures, old ways of thinking and an adaption to what church can/should in 2015. Dare I suggest church evolution??

That’s where the gap comes in.

While Glass stands in the church ‘grounds’ he stares at the picture of Christ on the wall at his crucifixion momentarily.

Glass has already experienced death and resurrection. The parallels are clear.

However my eye was drawn not to Christ on the cross but the gap in the wall.

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This gap is significant because this gap allows both entry and exit simultaneously. I would guess that its location is not accidental either.

It is not just the gap in the wall but the cross itself that is both entry and exit point.

In terms of the film and the church today the same points can be made.

Those who enter find shelter here.

Those who enter find signs of life they may not expect.

Those who enter can rest from the constant battering of their surroundings.

 

However the same can be said for those on the way out.

 

Those who exit are ready to take on the next stage of the journey.

Those who exit have sheltered, recovered and found life in its fulness.

Those who exit see a bigger picture and possibly a new frontier.

 

Articles can speak of decline.

The Revenant showed me the foundations and the gap that helps those coming in and those ready to go.

 

 

Review: Creed

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Cinema has gone all nostalgic in recent times. Jurassic World, Star Wars of course and now the return of the Rocky franchise with Creed.

Nostalgia is not a bad thing in fact it can be great when executed in the right manner. Star Wars I felt carried this nostalgic feel off wonderfully. Reacquainting us with old friends and introducing us to new ones. I wish I could say the same about Creed.

Much like last years Mad Max review I fear I may be in the minority but Creed just didn’t hit the mark for me.

This is Rocky for a new generation and there should be nothing wrong with that but when you are of the generation that was blessed with Rocky first time round there really was nothing new or exciting to garner from Creed.

Even the first glimpse of Balboa himself was not enough to get a smile out of me during the film. All the old tropes are repeated again. The underdog story, the awkward love interest, it is all there rehashed for 2015 but now with added ‘gags’ about how old Rocky is.

Adonis Johnson (Michael B Jordan) plays the illegitimate child of Apollo Creed and much like his father in previous films he has a certain swagger and arrogance (as well a physical resemblance) that just make him unlikeable. I couldn’t invest the emotion in a character I couldn’t root for during most of the film.

However at the film’s climax my attitude shifted as the inevitable David v Goliath climax nearly brought me out of my seat. I have to say that the  fight sequences are very well staged, with some great camera work and a sense of realism that other boxing films could only dream of.

On leaving the screening I was amazed at how affected fellow viewers were. Some were emotional, tears had been shed, laughs had been shared. I came away wondering if I had watched something different?

If The Force Awakens receives a bit of flak for repetition of story and tropes how can Creed be received so rapturously??

Stallone won a GoldenGlobe for Best Supporting Actor. Did I miss something? If I did what was it?

 

Creed and I will spar again. I want to see what my friends and colleagues saw. I want to feel what they felt while they watched.  I want to get back in the cinematic ring with this film. Maybe next time I will be knocked out the way I hoped I would be first time round.

Creed is on general release from 15th January 2016.

Thanks to MovieHouse for advance screening access