Review: Zootopia

People often like to compare the current “revival” phase of Walt Disney Animation with the well-known Disney Renaissance era of the 1990s, matching recent computer animated films to their highly successful hand-drawn counterparts from 20 years ago. Bolt is paired with Oliver & Company, which both kicked off their respective phases, which makes Tangled the modern equivalent of The Little Mermaid and Frozen the partner of Beauty and the Beast. (What people do with Wreck-It Ralph and Big Hero 6, or why The Princess and the Frog usually gets left out, I have no idea, which is why I tend to avoid that debate.) But even the most hardcore Disney fan will have trouble finding which of the previous 54 Disney animated Zootopia most resembles, for the simple reason that Disney has never made a film like Zootopia before. By combining the familiar sight of anthropomorphized animals wearing clothes, recalling everything from the earliest Mickey Mouse cartoons, through Robin Hood, and even up to Chicken Little, a clever detective story, the style of a buddy cop movie, and a brilliantly realized world, Zootopia is one of Disney’s most fun and clever movies. But it’s Zootopia’s message and its deeper themes which set it apart, themes that could not be more relevant to the world we live in today.

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Introducing “All-Reel Drive” – A new video series/podcast

I’ve started a new video series and podcast called “All-Reel Drive,” in which I talk about movies while in the car commuting to work. The first episode, split into two parts, is now up on YouTube, and it’s all about the movie news from the D23 Expo! You can watch both episodes embedded below, or scroll further down for the podcast versions you can take on the go. I hope you enjoy it!



The podcast versions of Episode 1A and 1B are embedded below. I’ve also included links to the mp3 files, so you can download them to your computer and then upload them to the portable device of your choice. Simply right-click and choose “Save Link as…” to save it to your computer. (My goal is to eventually have them available on iTunes, but I’m not to that point quite yet.)

All-Reel Drive – Episode 1A – D23 Expo Movie Round-Up – Animation

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All-Reel Drive – Episode 1B – D23 Expo Movie Round-Up – Live-Action

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Thanks for watching and listening! I’d love to hear what you think!

2015 D23 Expo: Day 1 Recap

Whew! Day 1 of the 2015 D23 Expo has come and gone, and I’m exhausted. Today’s main events were the Disney Legends ceremony (which I did not attend, but which featured a surprise appearance by Johnny Depp), and the Disney Animation presentation (which I did attend and was amazing). My day started when I joined the queue for the show floor at 5:15 or so, after getting my guidebook, schedule, and badge holder, and after walking by the Buzz Lightyear balloon from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. D23 allowed people to camp out overnight for the first time this year, and I was probably 600th in line to get on the show floor, though there were relatively few people in line for the Disney Legends ceremony (which supposedly wasn’t full when it started).

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D23 Movie News Roundup

This year’s D23, a conference every two years exclusively for members of the D23 fan club, was full of news about upcoming projects, but unfortunately it wasn’t the news that people were expecting to hear.  There was no Star Wars casting announcement, no surprises from Marvel or Pixar, no Pirates of the Caribbean sequel.  What there was, however, was lots of smaller casting announcements, plus an in-depth look at some films which we previously only knew the title of.  I’m a D23 member, but I wasn’t at the conference this year, but read on for the highlights of what was announced and shown, along with some of my opinions. Continue reading