Posts Tagged ‘movies’

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Beauty and the Remake

April 13, 2017

It’s a tale as old as time… and a movie as old as 1991.

Ahh, Beauty and the Beast.  A tale as old as time… and a movie that sailed into our hearts in the more recent times of 1991.

The original animated movie came as Disney was rocketing skyward once more in what’s come to be known as the Disney Renaissance (culminating with my beloved The Lion King).  It ended up being nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, the first and only time an animated movie has been thusly nominated (and likely to remain the only time with the subsequent creation of the Best Animated Feature category).  The ballroom scene remains one of the most stunning moments in animation history.  It is firmly entrenched as a Disney Classic.

So how does this classic tale and animated glory fare in its live-action remake?

(Caution!  Spoilers ahead!) Read the rest of this entry ?

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Celebrating Zootopia

March 5, 2017

Our drive began before the sunrise.  After an intense flurry of hasty arranging late Friday night.  The destination:  LA.  The reason: to celebrate the one-year anniversary of Zootopia with Rich Moore and Nate Torrence.

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Rich tweeted the invite on Friday evening to join them at The Big Donut (actually Randy’s Donuts, the donut shop that inspired the design for The Big Donut shop in Little Rodentia) for a brief bout of festivities Saturday morning.  Brief it was, for when we got there (nary an hour after it was to begin) it was pretty much all over:  the live Facebook Q&A was finished, the giveaways were done, and most people were leaving.

But the main reason I wanted to go was to meet Rich, and that turned out more than splendidly.

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Joining Rich and Nate was Clark Spencer, the producer.  It was a total delight.  They are all absolutely wonderful people, and really approachable.  I had fun and great conversations with them all.  Most exciting and special for me was to gave Rich a framed copy of my postcard of gratitude that I’d made for the Zootopia team last year, and to express, in person, to both him and Clark my acknowledgement and appreciation for the film and all the work they put into it.  I also got to give a nice hug to each of them.

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The rest of the crew were extra nice too, and they very generously gifted me one of the “cast only” shirts and got Rich and Clark to sign it for me!  I love Rich’s little bunny face…

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Besides being all dressed up, Randy’s Donuts were also giving away free (before you even ordered!) “The Big Donut” donuts.  They looked very tasty… (Curse you gluten, my kryptonite!)

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It was brief, but it was awesome.  A perfect way to celebrate a movie that has been so momentous for me (and for millions of others).  I’m still giddy about it.  To get a chance to interact with the creators and express how moving the film is and share even a smiggen of what I’ve professed was very exciting and fulfilling.  A day I will long remember.

Rest of our day was spent at the Getty Villa (also drove along Highway 1 to get there, and saw the infamous Santa Monica Beach along with a catching a glimpse of interesting and modern beach houses in passing) and eating some delicious food.  And, of course, the big drive back, returning long after the sun was, once again, over the horizon.   (Actually it was the next day by the time we arrived home… been kinda tired today, understandably…)

 

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Hopping Wildely Excited!

February 26, 2017

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Huge grats to Rich, Byron, Jared, Clark, Josie, Matthias, David, Ginnifer, Jason, Idris, Jenny, Nate, Tommy, JK, Octavia, Alan, and each and every single mammal who worked on the Zootopia team.  Well deserved Oscar win for an absolutely wonderful film.

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Sabre Sunday

February 19, 2017

Recently, this happened…

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(though only four of them are mine…)

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Sabre Fun

January 29, 2017

Some photos from the lightsabre meetup at FC a couple of weekends ago!  Woo!

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Sneak attack to the leg!  Reversal!

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A very fun evening of dueling and geeking out.  Great way to finish off the con.

(Photos by Lostwolf)

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Zootopia: A Year End View

December 29, 2016

At this point, it readily appears that Zootopia will be number four in worldwide box office take for films released in 2016. Rogue One is likely to secure first place (it’s already at 654M after two weeks), pushing Zootopia down from third to fourth, behind Rogue One, Captain America: Civil War, and Finding Dory. (Moana seems to be fizzling out, and I’m not sure it will even crack the top 5)

So Zootopia will be #4.

This is remarkable. I’d even say amazing.

This means that Zootopia has, very handily, cemented itself in this top 5 while being the ONLY film in that top 5 that is a new property – a whole-cloth brand new original film with zero reliance on an existing franchise.

In addition, Zootopia’s box office worldwide take is just a smidge down from Finding Dory, a mere 4M or so. It’s also only about 12% down from the current top placer (and soon to be #2 with Rogue One’s ascension), Captain America.

Which is to say, without relying on previous pent up excitement, demand, knowledge, fans, or anticipation, Zootopia rocketed up the charts to hang out with the so-called “big boys and girls”. *

It also garnered the top spot on Rotten Tomatoes rankings for 2016, at 98% Fresh.

And it did this with a very modest marketing push.

When I was visiting the Walt Disney Studio lot, I struck up a conversation with another attendee, and we got to talking about Zootopia. She mentioned she didn’t go to see the film while it was in theaters, because as she put it, “the way Disney was marketing it, I thought it was one of their filler movies.”

And maybe that is exactly how Disney thought.

If so, they were mistaken.

All this long windedness is really to underscore and illustrate that Zootopia’s success – that #4 position in amongst “bigger” films – comes solely from its own merits. Zootopia’s success is born through the strength of its story, the strength of its characters, and the strength of its storytelling. Zootopia is a movie filled with panache, with wit, with love, with beauty, with transformation, with delight, and with gravitas. It is a movie filled to the brim with possibility. Zootopia touches us dearly. In a movie about animals, it reminds us who we can be as humans.

It is the triumph of what good storytelling can be, and what it can do.

Judy, Nick, Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Jared Bush, Cory Loftis, Josie Trinidad, Clark Spencer, Matthias Lechner, David Goetz, Jennifer Lee, all the voice actors and actresses, and everyone at Walt Disney Animation who worked on this film can stand proud with the art they have wrought through their hard work and dedication.

When Zootopia opened, few may have been aware of it. By the end of its long run, the world knew. **

Zootopia is not a movie that will ever leave us. We will carry it, and all it embodies, forward with us into 2017 and beyond.

 

* – Yes, I will be the first to admit that box office take does not necessarily equal quality. Quite the contrary, there are many, many examples of movies that are terrible on a whole host of levels – cinematically, story, narrative, action, excitement, story-telling, etc – that still manage to rake in gazabillions of dollars. As do their sequels. Even if it’s crappy titillation (and titillation can be great and wholly worthwhile, if it’s well-done titillation), it still gets butts into theatres. But here, Zootopia doesn’t play up the usual and safe/default tropes to entice viewers. There are only two major action sequences, with minimal violence and only one explosion (used more for humour than anything). There’s no sexy sexy imagery or action (nudity is used, again, more for humour). No giant set pieces. It’s not a typical “blockbuster”. Yet it nearly matched the very explosion-heavy, punch-heavy, skintight suit-heavy, giant set piece-heavy, and readily known next chapter in, Captain America (and it beat the pants off BvS, Suicide Squad, Deadpool…). And, on the other end of the spectrum, it’s also not the typical “kids” fare of either princesses, which can rake in millions from familiarity and little girls, or fart jokes (can I just celebrate that Zootopia tripled the Angry Birds Movie take?). Zootopia was a whole different animal. (Ha! Pun semi-intended…)

** – With more marketing and support, who knows what heights Zootopia could have reached… and what greater impact might it have had? We can only imagine.

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Wonder Wednesday

December 21, 2016

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All men have stars, but they are not the same things for different people.

For some, who are travelers, the stars are guides. For others they are no more than little lights in the sky. For others, who are scholars, they are problems…

But all these stars are silent.

You – You alone will have stars as no one else has them…

In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars will be laughing when you look at the sky at night.

You, only you, will have stars that can laugh!

— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry