Link to Previous Part: The Disneyathon Part 21: Different Studio Misfires
Alright, Zootopia is next! I remember this came out around the time I was becoming more interested in catching up on all the popular movies and ranking them from worst to best. I believe Zootopia was my favourite of that year because it blew me away at the time for tackling adult topics in an animated kids movie. So it’s been about 4 years and I must admit I might have been a bit too generous to have given it a 5/5 on Letterboxd, but it is one of the best of the revival era.
As the Shakira song keeps reminding you, this is a movie about Trying Everything. Like being the first bunny cop in a predatory animal world or inserting American race politics into your kids movie. It’s a fun sort of emotional mystery adventure movie carried by our two main leads and the many references to other movies and other real world things. I don’t think it’s as great as I remembered because the message that Zootopia is not the fairytale land that Judy originally anticipated is undermined by the fact that it’s a Disney movie and can never get too close to home.
On the plus side Judy Hopps, the bunny cop, is a good role model/protagonist and it isn’t because she never puts on a dress! She’s wide eyed for sure, but what I admire is that she is relatable and is also quite flawed as she screws up a bit and learns from her mistakes. Nick Wilde, her partner in crime, is a great foil for her as he has a good insight into Zootopia’s hidden underbelly and Jason Bateman is a perfect casting choice. The other characters in this movie also add some depth to this multi classed society. In regard to those references I mentioned earlier, the Godfather mouse is probably the most obvious, but there is also special blueberries made by a sheep in a hazmat suit, a naked stoned goat, Elf Yourself and, my personal favourite, the sloths working so ridiculously slow in a government office.
Now to talk about the elephant in the room and this is easily Disney’s most … I cringe at these next two words …. ‘progressive movie’. The Predator v Prey allegory is a cool idea and I appreciate it isn’t in your face every five minutes as it’s subtly woven into the story until it really needs to become more prevalent. My main problem is when Judy and Nick are close to resolving the feral predator case, but then the SJWs of Zootopia pressure Judy into blaming the predators for all this forcing some very unnecessary conflict and, yeah, I hated this. It doesn’t really help when the ending is pretty anticlimactic. Those damn blueberries are behind it all!
Overall it’s still very solid, also thanks to the top notch animation and score. It’ll be interesting to see how this movie ages with our ever growing woke internet culture. 8/10.
The third last entry in the Disneyathon is our final non-sequel movie and the last movie I hadn’t seen before I created this big marathon series, so this will probably be the most eventful review in this whole post.
I don’t really know why I forgot about Moana, probably because it came out the same year as Zootopia and also Disney were releasing both Marvel and Star Wars movies at that point. Whatever, I have seen Moana now and I can proclaim I very much enjoyed it and it’s one of the big standouts of the Revival Era.
I really mean it when I say standout! I give everyone permission to leave this post right now and to look up on Google any photo of this movie, just to look at either Moana or Maui standing around on the beach or interacting with the water and just admire it and agree with me that this is unbelievable. If the characters didn’t look like cartoon characters I could easily buy that Disney actually filmed at these locations, truly believe that breathtaking water is real. I know it isn’t and I can commend them for the talent, but I’m sorry it can’t top Maui’s magic tats.
Even though it’s been less than three years since Frozen came out it was also so pleasing to have some proper musical numbers again. It’s kind of interesting because of how modern all these songs are and it was like a real step back moment for me when I first heard them in the movie. ‘Huh, so that’s where that song came from?’ Nothing against the songs as they’re all fine pieces of music, it’s just given me a bit of a new perspective of how I digest music in films. If you wanted to know my favourite it would be You’re Welcome as it was the only one that really stuck out to me as this feels almost like a classic Disney song.
Onto the story, which is probably my least favourite aspect of this movie. Not that anything particularly bad stood out to me as it’s a pretty standard affair. Like Zootopia, it was just the ending that really bothered me. Other than that it’s a fun time. I like Moana, she’s definitely the most independent princess character we’ve had as she clearly doesn’t need anyone’s help to do almost anything. It was also a nice change that she doesn’t hook up with some guy in the end as Maui pretty much played the same role as Ralph did in his movie. Speaking of Maui he was another character I really liked. It was nice to see The Rock play a Han Solo type of character and how he slowly befriended Moana was also really cool. If they had removed the brain dead chicken then this bonding stuff would be perfect!
So overall Moana is a well made movie and there really isn’t too much to critique about it besides that some aspects are a bit mediocre. It’s worth at least one watch if you haven’t seen it already. 8 to 9 out of 10.
Damn, you can tell we have hit the end of the road if I can say that this is where The Blog Complainer enters the picture. I was actually concepting the Disneyathon when Ralph Breaks the Internet hit cinemas and that’s why you’re only getting my thoughts on this movie right now, not over 18 months prior.
We only have sequels from here on folks and the idea of Ralph and Vanellope entering the World Wide Web kind of intrigued me, but being constantly reminded by other film critics of a similar not so loved movie also had me a bit concerned. Anyway I have seen it twice now and I kind of liked it. It might be the best sequel Walt Disney Animated have made, but hold that thought.
The arcade world was one of the highlights of Wreck-it Ralph and it was cool to see it taken to the next level with going into the internet, but this time I’m more mixed. The writers obviously spent a lot of time laying out how the virtual internet patrons would travel to different websites like eBay or YouTube or get diverted to more dingy sites, by clicking on pop-up ads, and it’s really clever. My problems lie not just with the fact that this whole movie is kind of a shameless corporate advertising campaign. More with the fact that I feel like I’m being entertained by an old out touch company who only now just discovered what memes are.
I don’t know, I found most of the humour around internet culture kind of cringey and bad. It also feels weird as I’m presuming their target audience is kids and teens who would already know what most of this stuff is, not an older audience. I only feel convinced of this as there are many points where Ralph and Vanellope are diverting internet user’s attention with an ad or another video, but all I was thinking was what if they had another tab open or clicked the back arrow.
The story is really why we’re here and I’m mixed on that too. Ralph and Vanellope salvage most of this hour and 52 minute movie with the great bond that carries over from the last movie. It definitely has it’s faults as once they resolved the issue of the broken steering wheel and with only 40 minutes of movie left, Ralph’s self-destruction takes a more whiney and irritating approach as his jealously of Gal Gadot being friends with Vanellope causes him to literally break the internet. I wasn’t a fan of the YouTube knock-off section, but this takes the cake. The forced conflict of Ralph trying to get Vanellope not to leave him is utter garbage and ruins both characters, especially Ralph as I could never forgive him for doing something so horribly stupid, which is a shame since the whole point of the last movie was to humanize him as a bad guy who can be good.
Overall, despite it’s really awful aspects, it’s a competent movie. The animation, while not as good as Moana, is still solid. Thinking of the songs reminded me of Vanellope meeting all the Disney Princesses, which was all over the advertising. Some of the jokes were too on the nose for me, as Disney really love themselves when they’re being self-aware, but I love Vanellope’s I Want song. As I said before I’m mixed. 5 out of 10. At least this movie broke Disney’s Oscar winning streak.
Here we are after 18 months of going through Disney’s Animated history we’re ending it all on another sequel and it’s Frozen.
Frozen II I actually reviewed back when it first came out in November of last year. So for the first time in forever you’re going to hear my updated thoughts on something that I have already covered. Yay!
This is probably not the best movie to start off with brand new thoughts as there isn’t much that has changed. It’s a well-made movie thanks to the top notch animation, the great musical numbers and the somewhat intriguing story. That’s about it. I can’t get into Elsa becoming the Avatar who has to control the four elements, it’s so stupid! Meanwhile the other characters just hang around and pretend they have plot relevance. Especially Kristoff who basically has the same role as Bernard from The Rescuers Down Under but he still has the best song in the movie.
The two sided conflict of the different groups is somehow worse than the one in Pocahontas. I don’t remember any of the characters except the guy that is voiced by Dipper. Something I glanced over in my original review was the climax as I wasn’t a fan of it and I’m still not. Just as the twist was teasing something that might bring actual stakes, the climax blew it by making everything we watched in the last hour or so mean nothing. Everyone ended up exactly where they started except for Elsa who’s busy being the Avatar now and lives alone in the Unknown.
Despite my misgivings, this is the best Disney theatrical sequel they made because it’s the most competent and least terrible of all their sequels. The only thing that I can add to my original review is I much prefer Frozen over its follow-up, except Frozen II had better jokes. The final score is 6 out of 10.
The Revival Age is now over and as of July 2020 we’re all up to date. For me that was definitely the most underwhelming age of Disney Movies. It’s kind of hard to explain, but most of these movies felt very samey and tame. I prefer a bit of variety from these eras if they’re either really bad or have a flare too them that is completely different to the other films of that era. To give you an idea of my tastes and for the hell of it, enjoy this ranking:
- Disney Renaissance (90’s)
- Post Renaissance (2000’s)
- Bronze Age (70’s/80’s)
- Silver Age (50’s/60’s)
- Revival Age (2010’s)
- Package Age (WWII)
- Golden Age (Early 40’s)
So there you have it, The Disneyathon is done! A year ago I was getting a bit concerned about reaching the half-way point, now that I have finally reached the end I don’t how I’m going to feel next month when I have no Disney movies to worry about writing up. I’ll cope though and these last 18 months were a lot of fun and hopefully the same for you, dear reader, who maybe stuck around for all 22 parts. I congratulate you so very much if you did and helped make my day. Whenever you came in, I thank you for joining me on this very long ride that has now finally concluded.
I’m not entirely sure what will follow The Disneyathon, but I’m always open to suggestions. Probably nothing for a little while as I need some rest, that’s a good enough Happily Ever After for me. Until then I have been The Blog Complainer, signing out!
For One Last Time Some Alternate Titles:
Wanna Start Again? The Disneyathon – Part 1: Introduction