Zootopia (G)

Yay, another film where predatory animals are demonized for making sure herbivores don't decimate their ecosystems and starve themselves to death!

Sure, it's a lot prettier than Shark Tale was, and it uses the predators and prey animals as a backdrop for a story about prejudice, and the villain turns out to be a "prey" animal so it's at least trying to skirt around the "herbivores good, predators bad" cliche. But isn't the movie implying predatory animals are only good if they, you know, stop being a predator?

And don't tell me I'm "taking things too seriously"; what that's actually saying is "This movie didn't think through its implications, why should you?"

As for the film itself, it's about a cop teaming up with a street-smart trickster to uncover a series of missing animal cases. Their quest takes them through a variety of environments and action set pieces, a huge deus ex machina when they confront the mob boss in the ice environment, and what would be known in video games as a "final boss out of nowhere" (seriously, Disney, just because Frozen made you mega bucks and had a "final boss out of nowhere" doesn't mean you should keep doing this). It's bright and colorful and inoffensive, but ultimately had mostly drained from my mind by the time I got around to writing this.

And yes, this movie made me think about Shark Tale, well done.


Moana (G)

It's more Disney A/V porn. The world is dying because a demigod stole the life goddess' heart, and the ocean (which is a sentient being in this film) has chosen a chieftain's daughter to return it. The movie is mostly a series of set pieces ranging from a floating city of sprite people to a crab whose shell is covered in jewels so we can have a disco-ball rave in his lair. The actual story is pretty thin and has a lot of cliches, including the stubborn father holding back his daughter and a character bailing on the hero only to return to the final battle, and I saw the big twist about the fire demon coming a mile away.

A question that hangs over the film is, if the sea is sentient, why couldn't it just carry Moana to Te Fiti to return the heart? I mean, Moana's Grandmother even makes a big deal about how Maui had to be the one to put it back, but Moana does it instead. I'd say it's because Maui needed to be redeemed; had the sea carried Moana off to do it all by herself, everyone would be all "Hey, thanks Moana, for saving us from that assclown, Maui!" for all eternity. Also, Moana needed him to relearn sea navigation, which had been lost to her people after generations of isolation on their island.

I guess it's a pretty film, and Dwayne Johnson was fun as Maui. I wasn't too annoyed by the chicken, but I also think it could have been left out entirely. It only does one thing of any significance by catching the gem before it falls off the boat in one scene... which might have mattered if the sea wasn't sentient and couldn't have just given it back. And it felt kind of redundant with Maui's sentient tattoo already filling the comic relief role.


Heroes Reborn: Captain America (Chuck Dixon, Rob Liefeld, Jeph Loeb, Joe Phillips & Homage Studios, Kindle eBook)

This was a fucking entertaining book, at least for the first half. Oh, the story is utter garbage, but I can't deny that I was laughing hysterically page to page at how spectacularly godawful the artwork is. Liefeld's foot problem is well known, but dear God, that's just the tip of his iceberg of anatomical abominations; characters' heads are frequently bending in ways that suggest Liefeld changed his mind on which way they should be facing halfway through drawing them and instead of, you know, erasing the old pencils he just left them, their eyes are too far to the sides of their heads, and as much as he wants to do action comics you'd think he'd take the time to learn how to draw a fist. Or teeth if he's going to have his characters scowling and yelling all the time, instead of drawing characters with twice as many teeth as they're supposed to have, all of them bicuspids, and teeth being placed in the middle of the mouth.

And then there was the scene where Captain America saves Falcon by cutting his hand open to give him some of his serum-infused blood, and his blood is bright green. I wasn't aware the super soldier serum turned him into a fucking Demon Hunter.

The actual story is about Cap being taken away from his robot wife and kid (don't ask) to deal with a Neo Nazi called Master Man and/or Alexander alongside Falcon and a female rendition of Bucky Barns. Cap and Falcon kick Master Man down a pit before he can launch a missile at the end of one issue, and in the very next issue Cap is suddenly fighting a pumpkin-head man with Cable, who Liefeld draws exactly like Master Man with a glowing eye. So yes, for the first several pages I thought Master Man had fused with some of his missile technology and converted to Cap's side. The truth is, Master Man isn't seen in the rest of the book.

After that escapade, they switched out Liefeld for a competent art studio and it actually gets pretty boring. Yeah, Cap fighting Neo Nazis in modern America is uncomfortably relevant in 2018, but "Cap gets a lead on the Nazis' next scheme, punches them, moves on to the next location" can only go so far. Then it pulls out a "Have your cake and eat it too" double-plot twist with Nick Fury leading the Neo Nazis, only to have it be a robot clone.

And for the final issue, all the Neo Nazi business gets shitcanned so Dr. Doom can barge in and announce that he's jumped back in time three days because Galactus is coming to eat the Earth. So everybody straps some guns onto the Silver Surfer and he chases Galactus away. Yaaaaaaaay?