Tag Archive: zootopia


Family Movie Night

By Karyn Bowman

I had been putting off seeing Maleficent because I knew it was a re-telling of a familiar fairy tale and I wasn’t sure I was up to it.

While the other updates on fairy tales are about girl power and taking control of your own destiny, this one goes a step further to a darker place. Something is taken from our lead character that can never be replaced and then she is treated as the villain for wanting revenge.

MaleficentHere Angelina Jolie plays a fairy who is the protector of her world which lies next to a human kingdom. The humans can see this wonderful magical area and want to take it over. But Maleficent won’t allow it, using trees for her army. The king is furious and wants her destroyed.

Only one man in his circle knows how to do this and Stephan uses knowledge from his shared childhood with Maleficent to make sure she cannot fight as strongly as she did that day. It is a great betrayal that leads to a curse on her part and maddening obsession his. And it ends with a battle royal on the day of his daughter’s 16th birthday.

If this retelling of the Sleeping Beauty story is anything, it is beautifully photographed with rich colors and well done CGI. The sets and costuming brings one into the time period as well. I enjoyed that aspect. What bothers me is the motivation for the curse, the reason behind everything which is upsetting and unsettling. I have seen and read re-told tales. Is that what Wicked is after all, tell the story from the Wicked Witch of the West’s point of view?

It is not just what was taken from Maleficent but by whom it was done, a most trusted friend. It reminds me of too many real cases of theft of this sort and how the victim is always made to be the villain in the story. It is not a movie for the younger crowd, better viewing and understanding will happen with the younger teens and older because of the context of the movie. I would be prepared to answer questions at the end.

On the lighter end of the spectrum, Zootopia comes out on DVD this week. When I first heard of this movie, I was not impressed. It took hearing a few friends’ reviews and watching it for myself to really fall in love.

ZootopiaThe story is about a bunny who lives in the country and dreams of being a police office. Not just any police force, she wants to land on the police department of the large capitol city, Zootopia. And when she does, Judy is not given the most exciting job. However, soon enough she is knee deep into an investigation that starts off being about a missing animal and leads into something much bigger.

Judy, it turns out, is quite resourceful especially when she blackmails fox Nick Wilde to help get into places she can’t otherwise. The action is fast paced, characters are well drawn and interesting, and Judy’s optimism is infectious. The other big plus is the theme song by Shakira who voices Gazelle in the movie. Every time that song comes on the radio, my minivan rocks.

While this is a great kids movie, be aware that if your pre-school child is scared by loud roars and some aggressive behavior, they may not enjoy this movie.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

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Opening Day

As spring is here, warmer weather is following. With that warmer weather comes opening day for the drive-in movie theaters.

Harvest Moon Drive InEvery time I mention drive-in, people get excited and want to know where I go to find one. The closest one to our home is in Gibson City called the Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In. This place is great because it has two screens, one that shows a more ‘family’ oriented movie and the other that shows something a bit more adult. Check out their Harvest Moon Twin Drive-In.

This past weekend, the choices were Zootopia and the new Batman vs. Superman movie. We went for Zootopia for no other reason than it was getting great reviews from a bevy of critics. And one of the kids expressed interest. And the husband really wanted to go to the drive in.

Well, why not. The drive is only about an hour away. We sit outside of the car with jackets and blankets on to keep warm. We can bring in our own food for a $5 fee that gets us a free large popcorn. And how can I turn down deep fried cheese curds or the funnel cake sundae?

funnel cake sundae

funnel cake sundae with chocolate sauce

 

Which explains why I am willing to pack up on a Friday night with blankets, chairs, snacks, and five kids to see a movie about which I know nothing.

I do know the basic premise. In a world where animals are like people and there are different zones for different geographical areas, there is one big town and that is Zootopia. Somewhere in a small farming town, a bunny wants to become a police officer in the big city. Her chances are slim because she is a small and tiny bunny. How is she to take down big bad criminals?

Except that the bunny, Judy Hopps, works hard and becomes the valedictorian of her class at the police academy. Her reward is to be assigned as a meter maid. While Judy wants to solve crimes, she decides to be the best at her job. That is until one day she stops a thief, saving a tiny creature in the process. That leads to Judy being assigned to solve a case regarding missing predators by the big chief but she has only 48 hours to do so. If she does not solve the case, Judy must resign from the force.

But to solve this case requires help. Judy gets Nick Wilde, a fox, to help her. She might have to use a few tricks to force him to help but this is no dumb bunny. Can they figure out why predators are going missing and who is behind the whole scheme? Probably but let me just say that this was a fun movie. I had low expectations but was pleasantly surprised.

I thought the movie was going to be lame and trite. Well, it was in spots. Some of the scenes were exactly what you would think they were going to turn out. But I also found myself liking different parts, such as parents being relieved their daughter was not in a dangerous position on the force. Or how Judy has such a difficult time dealing with the sloth at the DMV. This movie is a fun buddy movie, a police procedural for kids.

But let me give a word of warning. One of my friends took his 5-year-old who became scared of the predators and had to leave the theater. If you know your child scares easy, this might not be the film you want to go see. My 14-year-old thought it was a bit dark for a kids movie and I am not sure I disagree with her.  Otherwise, it is a bit of fun and perfect if you happen to be going to a drive-in theater in which it is ok if young kids move around and talk during the movie.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Watch the Try Anything video featuring Shakira as GazelleShakira Gazelle