I continued my Disney exploration with this cute and quirky 2002 movie about a little Hawaiian girl who unknowingly adopts an alien creature from outer space. One of our heroes is a strange, angry, destructive force, another is shaped like a cross between a koala and an insect.
I’ve decided to catch up on Disney’s traditionally animated films I never saw, so I watched this 1996 odd duck which, along with Pocahontas, heralded the end of the early 90s Disney Renaissance and the beginning of the diminishing returns. If you asked me to name a literary source that could serve as a jumping-off point for a family entertainment blockbuster, Victor Hugo’s classic novel Notre-Dame de Paris probably wouldn’t be it. The Powers That Be at Disney obviously had a different opinion and greenlit the project; while the results are rather mixed I thought the film was definitely worth seeing.
When this movie first came out, I must have gone, oh Jesus no, not another bloody animated film about cute talking animals, and skipped it. It however turned out to be a smarter and much more inventive movie than I anticipated, with the amount of social commentary that’s quite heavy for a kids film. While I found some of its messages rather muddled, Zootopia is a fun, charming, beautifully animated Disney flick that’s part fish-out-of-water, part mismatched buddies comedy, part detective whodunnit.
Solid if not quite spectacular effort from Disney. If nothing else I’m happy that I watched it at the cinema, because this movie really is exceptionally beautiful – and that’s saying a lot because complimenting an animated film on visuals is like complimenting big blockbusters on special effects: what doesn’t look great, these days? Yet the Polynesian-inspired world of Moana really does feel special and magical, or maybe it’s just that I can’t watch gorgeous tropical scenery and not think, I need a holiday and I so want to be there.
Decided to catch up on one of the few Pixar movies I still haven’t watched. I think it got a fairly muted response upon its release compared to most Pixar films, so having lowered expectations I actually enjoyed it much more than I thought I would.
Welcome back Pixar, I missed you guys.
I suppose technically that’s not correct, since I did love Toy Story 3 a lot. But if I had to think of an original Pixar movie I loved without reservations, I’d have to think back as far as The Incredibles* in… 2004? (I say that a lot lately but man does time run fast). Since then, even the universally acclaimed Pixar movies had been hit and miss for me. Ratatouille was just ok with one great scene near the end. Wall-E was half of a brilliant film until it got to the fatties in space. Up was a quarter of a great movie – I honestly cannot remember anything that happens after the old man and the boy land in South America. So while Inside Out gathered all those great reviews, I still went into the movie rather cautiously.