starlady: Korra looks out over Republic City (legend of korra)
[personal profile] starlady
I stopped writing up all the movies I'd seen for a while, with the result that I cannot remember all the movies I've seen this year. I have ticket stubs for Creed (2015), Captain America: Civil War (2016), Love and Friendship (2016), and Alice Through the Looking Glass (2016) on my desk. Two of those movies are perfect and amazing; the other two are not. Oh, and I also saw X-Men: Apocalypse (2016).

Zootopiadir. Byron Howard, Rich Moore, and Jared Bush
Disney has been making better Pixar movies than Pixar for about the past five years, and while this one isn't quite as amazing as Wreck-It Ralph or Big Hero 6, it more than gets the job done. It's also a Disney movie that addresses race in a not incredibly lead-footed way, although the usual problem with animation and comic specieism is not something the movie gets around: namely, once you think deeply about any aspect of the allegory, it all falls apart in spectacular fashion. (For just one example, white people here are represented as prey species…who are also the victims of the predator species, i.e. black people. Neat trick! Nor is the answer to police prejudice and violence that black people, I mean, predators, join the police force.) But the story is solid, and the chemistry between the two leads is off the charts, and the fact that the protagonist has to confront prejudice not just in other characters but also in herself is a great touch. Great animation, and great integration of Shakira and her music into the movie as well, rather than just a gratuitous add-on.

Finding Dory, dir. Andrew Stanton and Angus MacLane
It's been a while since Pixar has made a movie as solid as this one; it's at least as good as Brave (2012), and I suspect will come to be evaluated in similar terms. The studio continues to ignore the truth about fish biology, which is probably good; also note that the movie taking place only a year after Finding Nemo means they can ignore the issue of coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef. In many ways, Pixar here is playing to its strengths--the action arises organically from the characters themselves, and there is at least one zany breakout character (in this case, Hank the octopus; last time it was Dory herself) who steals the show, ably supported by a memorable secondary cast, notably Idris Elba and his pinniped companion. I could have done with more of the sea turtles, ngl, but the ongoing Sigourney Weaver joke was pretty great, as was the evocation of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Dory herself--only the second female protagonist of a Pixar movie after Merida--is great, as is the movie's gentle insistence that her being neuroatypical is not a problem, just the reason that she makes her way through the world by slightly different means. The animation isn't as good as it could be--the animation in the short "Piper," which is Pixar's best in years, is off the charts in terms of photorealism--and I hope that was to match Finding Nemo, which after all is 12 years old at this point. Still, I'm looking forward to what they do next.

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Date: 2016-07-12 04:25 (UTC)
laurashapiro: a woman sits at a kitchen table reading a book, cup of tea in hand. Table has a sliced apple and teapot. A cat looks on. (Default)
From: [personal profile] laurashapiro
Thanks for the reviews! I'm looking forward to both of these, more so now since reading your thoughts.

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