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The Review: Part I

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zootopia.jpg"It's only a movie, folks."
- People's "Picks and Pans Review: Star Wars: Episode I the Phantom Menace", Leah Rozen

Strange, but I guess I always wanted to write movie reviews; I remember thumbing through old People magazines at the barber shop, waiting for my hair to be cut, and skipping to the reviews, searching for movies I'd seen. I don't believe People even runs reviews anymore, but that's where I got my start. Not exactly the best known venue for movie criticism, even when it actually had any. But it's a start.

So, now, Zootopia. Interesting thing happened, waiting for this movie; furries began to caution other furries. Don't get to excited, don't overhype the movie, you'll only disappoint yourself. Which, as always, managed to show up the furry fandom's complete lack of cultural awareness; you don't worry about a relatively small group of people getting excited about a movie when the culture around you is waiting for the next Star Wars movie with something approximating religious fervor. It's not like we haven't already had three (now largely agreed upon as mediocre) Star Wars movies in most of the really excited people's lives already. Furry wise, we've only had one.

But, setting aside the willful ignorance of the world at large (you guys realize its an election year, right?), is this solid advice? Was the hype worth it? Will the anticipation pay off? Can this possibly live up to the expectations? Or is it, after all, just a movie?

This is the first review of Zootopia on Flayrah; another is already in the queue, and we invite all of our regular contributors (and maybe a few first timers) to share their answers to those questions during the following month!

The Story

The movie begins with our heroine, Judy Hopps (voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin), getting violently disemboweled by a tiger. It's okay, though. She gets better. It's part of a stage play, explaining tigers don't actually do that any more; they're more likely to do your taxes than do you in, and now fully anthropomorphic animals live in peace and harmony around the world, and predator and prey get along just fine.


Anyway, Judy is a rabbit who really wants to be cop; her parents aren't as enthused, and encourage her (if that's the correct term), to not only settle for a life as a carrot farmer, but "settle hard." And, we're already in well worn Disney territory; go out and live your dreams, you can be anything you set your mind to, blah blah blah, yakkity smakkity.

And then the movie takes its first hard turn; after this short prologue, we find Judy as an adult, and she's already accomplished her dream. She's a cop now; in other words, setting aside the prologue, this movie begins where most Disney movies end. Sure, dreams can come true, but what will you do when you have them? Because Judy's dream doesn't instantly bring happiness. She finds herself in a job where her boss hates her, her co-workers resent her, the people she's trying to serve actively berate her, and then, when her day is over, she goes home to a tiny, one room apartment and a microwave dinner for her reward. No Disney princess ever had to cook carrots in a microwave before; when her parents call her using Muzzle Time, she actively and consciously composes her face into a happy expression before answering.

She may be a rabbit, but this is one of the most human protagonists in the history of animation.

Then there's the fox; Judy meets one Nick Wilde (voiced by Jason Bateman), who manages to con her out of fifteen bucks, belittle her aspirations, her species, her hometown and family, her intelligence and generally make her feel like a giant failure. But this chance encounter becomes much more important when Judy manages to finagle her way into her first case; an otter has been reported missing, along with 13 other predators, and Judy is the only one to notice Nick is one of the last people to have seen the otter.

She tracks him down, turns the table on him, and out-cons the con, forcing him to work with her on the case. Together, they follow a trail of witnesses, clues and other such leads (including naturalist gurus, joke loving sloths and an extended Godfather parody), until they find themselves on the doorstep of a lonely jaguar's home. And the investigation takes a turn.

The story is a pretty straight detective story, and, unlike a lot of actual detective stories, it does provide plenty of clues as to the identity of the villain. Attentive viewers might be able to solve the case before our vulpine and lapine investigators (though genre savvy viewers probably have the biggest advantage). There are plenty of red herrings to keep the audience on their toes. It also contains some genuinely suspenseful thriller elements (this movie does contain, bar none, the single most bloodcurdling scream I've heard in any movie); yes, it is surprisingly dark for Disney.

The World

The furry element of Zootopia is well done; it is obvious a great deal of thought has gone into the movie. The decision was made to keep different animals at different scales, which leads to some truly wonderful visuals. Sharp eyed viewers may notice they do address the issue of "what do the predators eat?" Honestly, though, I don't find that the most interesting question; The Lion King answered that over two decades ago between verses of "Hakuna Matata" ("it means no worries"), and Zootopia's solution is similar (though Nick has a bit of sweet tooth). However, if you really must have a dietary mystery with disturbing implications, here's one; ice cream exists in this world, but where does the cream come from?

The world of Zootopia is very clearly a modern setting; the Godfather references may be dated, but most Godfather parodies don't make fun of people who still listen to their music on CD. Technology is present and important to the plot; a nice detail is how Judy uses her phone as a flashlight to look for clues.

However, the location of Zootopia is left vague; geographically, I believe it falls somewhere between Metropolis and Jerusalem's Lot.

The Theme

The movie has managed to have different names in different regions, but I think America got the best with Zootopia, because it speaks to the themes of the movie the best. It may be a play on the word "utopia," and our first glimpses of it are as a magical wonderland, but the movie fairly quickly shows that this is no utopia.

Animated movies usually can't be very timely, especially CG ones, where movies are years in production, even more so than your normal live action movie. Which makes the fact that Zootopia nails the moment so hard it might as well be called Zootgeist that much more astonishing. Some might be inclined to think this is just luck, but I'm going to give the filmmakers a bit more credit than most. A lot has happened in the world since Zootopia was announced. I began this review by pointing out that furries aren't always aware of what's going on in the world, but I don't have the heart to inform you if you haven't notices. I'll just say, since 2013, if you are going to do a movie in which the moral of the story is "try not to be so biased, you guys," in which one of the two leads is a cop, no less, you had better not, well, cop out.

Thankfully, they didn't. This movie attacks its themes with all its got. There are some completely jaw-dropping scenes where the filmmakers just go there. This is a movie about bias, not just in the overtly prejudiced, but in the nicest, most liberal, well-meaning people, as well. It isn't just about race either, or even such obvious areas as ethnicity or gender, but other areas, too (when Nick first meets Judy, he's almost as contemptuous of her agrarian, small town background as he is of her species).

The movie also deals in self-critique; Disney is not left out. It's an almost anti-Disney movie; Judy tells Chief Bogo (voiced by Idris Elba) she has always wanted to be cop. Bogo replies that nobody asked him what he wanted when she was assigned to him; the movie makes it clear, while Judy is actually a decent cop, she's only here because the mayor of Zootopia is looking to score political points. Bogo then delivers a line that is devastatingly funny, and basically renders the entire Shrek franchise redundant.

The movie does take the "dreams can come true" ethos to task; great, you got your dream job, Judy. That's nice. Nick can't even get a job, period, because of what he looks like. The movie goes so far as to subtly imply that Nick is, in fact, homeless. Say what you will about the ultra-poppy music of "Try Everything", the in universe pop star Gazelle's song (as sung by Shakira in our universe), but lyrically, it's a song about failure.

One final thought, and that's a question of romance; it's not a spoiler to say the movie doesn't end with a spelled out romantic relationship between the two leads. It's not a spoiler because that's just not what the movie is about, but I find it disappointing that this really vague "will they, won't they" relationship (and that may be giving it too much credit) is the closest the movie comes to a mixed species couple. Oh, well, ball's in your court, uh ... Sing? I guess?


In talking of the themes, it's important to point out that, much like the furry aspects, you can't take them out of the movie, which, like the furry aspects, is for the best. The movie has basically the same message as the universally loved Best Picture Crash, except, while Crash was a message disguised as a movie, Zootopia is a movie with a message. There is a difference. Zootopia ain't perfect; a lot of clues basically fall in our heroes' laps. Contrived coincidences do occur. But, you know what, they happen in Crash too, and that movie didn't even bother to have a plot.

That ... perhaps isn't what I wanted to go out on. Zootopia is definitely better than one of the most despised movies of the last decade! Slap it on the poster! Let me try again.

Believe the hype. It really is that good. It's not just another movie, folks.


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TOOT-TOOT! Another convinced Zootopia citizen!

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To be fair, I was convinced back in 2013. But it's nice to have one's faith confirmed.

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> The movie has managed to have different names in different regions

As an interview in digital production reveals, Zootopia was supposed to be the worldwide title. Then they ran into trademarks for that name outside of the US, so they re-titled it Zootropolis for Europe. Then they ran into another trademark for that in Germany, so it was re-titled there as Zoomania. Which is still supposed to be the name of the city, fairly unfortunate because it sounds like a disease.

I can't guarantee for the veracity of the claim - I only found a pet accessoire manufacturer under the name Zootopia, and I don't think that this precludes a same-sounding movie title, but I ain't a lawyer.

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I covered this in an earlier comment. Basically, yes, Zoo + topia has been used before, though not much.
Personally I liked Zoomanity as a name, but I guess that was too-recently used.

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Good review, which I'm not reading below where it says "story" because I'm waiting for an extra special Furry event of the year to see it. But man, that Crash review is something. I haven't seen that either, and I'm sure what you linked has all the entertainment I want that the movie doesn't. It's nice to know how nice things are all the more pleasing in contrast to horrible things. So, how "furry" was it? Were there any hidden fandom references anywhere?

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Not that I noticed, actually.

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"explaining tigers don't actually do that any more; they're more likely to do your taxes than do you in"

According to the elephants in the room... there's little difference there. (Hey, I do watch politics after all, bazinga).

Speaking of elephants in the room... there is a huge... massive... devastating plot hole that popped into my head that kind of ruined the movie for me after I went back and thought over what I had just watched.

Probably the biggest plot-hole of all time.

See if you can find it?

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... plot hole ... ruined the movie ...

Newbie. Though I'm guessing the plot hole isn't really a plot hole so much as the metaphor doesn't have a one to one equivalency with reality, which it doesn't. If you expect the movie's predator metaphor to be about a certain real life group, and only a certain real life group, it doesn't work. They're like the mutants of the X-Men; they represent any "feared and hated" minority, while simultaneously representing none.

Also, sorry Mister Twister, got more social than expected, your review is up ... in 48 hours! Or I resign!

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Hahaha... no, it's not that at all... it's oh so simple, but as you said, furries need to understand real world systems and how they work.

I'll be presenting it, once you see it's be obvious. Very much like the Eagles in the Lord of the Rings. It would require spoilers though, so I'm not going to post it here.

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Very much like the Eagles in the Lord of the Rings.

Well, then it doesn't matter at all.

I'm sorry, Sonious, but anyone who thinks "the Eagles in The Lord of the Rings" is a "devastating blow" to that trilogy doesn't understand movies. At all. The T. rex in Jurassic Park scales a wall designed to be unscalable by T. rexes off camera; Luke Skywalker's entire Jedi training with Yoda takes place, at most, over the course of a week; one of my favorite characters in the history of cinema is a woman who falls out of window, gets bit by a couple cats, and then proceeds to tank a full revolver at point blank range, electrocute herself, and still appear unscathed at the end of the movie. And there is absolutely no explanation given for her sudden supernatural powers. And I don't care, because that T. rex is terrifying; Luke's character growth is incalculable; and that sudden growth of supernatural powers in a movie that has hitherto not featured the supernatural is the most wonderfully perfect end to the character's empowerment that began with the devastating trashing of her sad, lonely apartment (seriously, I am an absolute sucker for a good "sad, lonely woman in her sad, lonely apartment" scenes) (Batman Returns, by the way).

You just got to let it go; you are probably absolutely right that the movie doesn't make sense in realistic terms (it's a movie about talking animals, for Christ's sake). That's the point. It's like pointing out that Van Gogh wasn't photo realistic, if you think that's a valid criticism of a movie. Of course, if you're just pointing out plot holes because you're pointing out plotholes, that's fun.

(It's Little Rodentia can't possibly be adequately policed, isn't it? Oh, please God, don't tell me "a tundra next to a rainforest next to a desert IS UNREALISTIC" is your big insight.)

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As I said below, ignoring the Eagle situation and just enjoying the movie for what it is, it's a great trilogy. It's just the kind of oversight you just can't get out of your head once it's in there. But, most will enjoy the movie anyway.

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It actually bothers me more that the eagles in The Lord of the Rings bother people than anything else.

How It Should Have Ended had a cute animation; that was about it. Besides, not using the Eagles is less a plot hole, and more a use of lateral thinking to solve a problem after the fact. It's not an obvious solution, even less so in the original books, where the Eagles are blatant deus ex machina not in a "get Tolkien out this plot mess free cards" way, but more in a "Tolkien is the guy who converted freakin' C.S. Lewis to Christianity; you better believe he has no problem with a force on high that can normally not be bargained with occasionally swooping in to save the day in rare, but worthy cases" way.

The Eagles are God, is what I'm saying. You can't ask God to go on your quest for you, dude.

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...___... This just in......No one cares for fun busting spoilers. ...---...

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Well it's that and I don't want to waste my biggest point on a comment section. I'd save it for my own article. I just wanna keep in line with the above article and keep my comments spoiler free.

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I bet i know... if it is what i'm thinking of, it didn't ruin it at all for me. I think the presence of domesticated species is more of an issu for me really.

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Sheep, horses, and cats existed before men domesticated them; if it had been dogs, it'd bothered me. The pigs are very domesticated looking, though.

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Yes i know this, i did make it past 2nd grade. I was specifically thinking of the sheep, very domestic.

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I don't remember anything huge or devastating. But could it be the targets? It's clear by the map of targets that go savage and the phone call that they are identified before being shot. However there is never any motivation provided for the targets. The only one that makes any sense is the driver because he's a possible link to solving the case but a florist? If the point is just to cause panic over predators then they can be targeted at random to achieve the same effect.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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Uh, spoilery comment warning, but ...

Actually, I'm guessing the florist is targeted because knowing things about flowers is kind of important in this movie.

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Mmm, that could be true. So there's 13 unmotivated targets?

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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Unmotivated probably isn't the right word, since there is a motive, but definitely somewhat random (random is safer; it's the two non-random targets that bring the whole thing down).

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Yep, it has plot holes.

But this isn't the instructions for creating a hydrogen bomb, just a movie.

And, it is a good one.

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Right, it's like the eagles thing in the lord of the rings. Barring the oversight of using the eagles to fly the ring into Mordore, it's an awesome trilogy. Just gotta pop that out of your head, and sit back and enjoy the ride. Which I'll let people do before posting the hole myself.

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OK, then you fix all the holes better than the creator of it.

List please and solutions.

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I wouldn't mind knowing the plot holes. :3

I'm a different furry with different opinions.

Debut Album out now go stream it plz

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I wouldn't say it's hard at all to suspend disbelief (enough to ignore plot holes), when the movie's about talking human-like bunnies and foxes. It's like the old mosquito cartoons scenario (they complained father mosquito went to work to suck blood, when IRL it's the females who suck the blood).

I know a couple of plot-holes / inconsistencies though Sonious, so I'd like to know which one you're talking about. [SPOILER] ... [ SPOILER] Gazelle sings about 'birds don't just fly they fall down and get up again', while a shot of the sky is shown. There are no birds in this universe. The birds are not shown in the sky shot. They must have been taken out from the movie at a later stage. And how would Gazelle know about birds if they don't exist. [/SPOILER] ... [/SPOILER] Because Gazelle is Shakira and this is a movie.

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You can turn that argument the other way round: They must exist in that universe (even if not seen in the movie) because Gazelle sings about them, and how would she do that if they didn't exist...

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How are we talking about a world filled with intelligent anthropomorphic animals if it doesn't exist? :-)

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Birds do exist in the Zootopia universe (as confirmed by the filmmakers), they're just in a different area. There's a big world in Zootopia and we only see the mammal continent in the movie (to fit plot and time constraints). It's also why you don't see the reptiles and so forth.

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I'm actually not confident whether it would be a good idea to go beyond mammals and have intelligent birds and reptiles in this world. As it is, we can imagine that the predators restrict themselves to non-intelligent species for food now.

If everybody is sapient, we'd end up in a creepy world like Kevin & Kell, just in a pacified version where predators eat... well, soy?

(I'm sure they don't even want to address issues like overpopulation, which must become an issue with 273 bunny kids in one family... it serves for a laugh, but if you consider the implications under a no-predation rule, you end up with a rather uncomfortable future.)

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And it's not just no-predator; this is a world that clearly has food safety rules, so communicable disease and parasitism (which is probably a bigger killer of wild bunnies than predation) are probably non-issues, and, like our world, the biggest killers are probably accidental death and "long term" diseases like cancer and heart disease. Stu and Bonnie are also obviously protective of all their children; they aren't losing their children left and right and are all like "well, there's 221 left where that came from". I assume that "Bunnie Burrows" is exactly what it says; except for a few necessary above ground buildings, it's all underground, allowing them more land to farm. In fact, Zootopia itself might be the tip of the iceberg, and the vast majority of the population live in "dens" underground.

That being said, the growth rate shown on the sign leading out of Bunnie Burrows is just so not sustainable in the real world, other than to say, well, the animals of the world of Zootopia have obviously had a bit more time (and minds!) to think on the problem; the screenwriters might not have come up with something in three years (when they weren't really trying other than to write a quick joke), but a billion-billion bunnies over a couple thousand years might have cracked something.

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Even considering that there may be a tech solution to allow so many rabbits in one community (which would be far, far more advanced than what we see of Zootopia itself, and that's nowhere indicated - in fact, Bunny Burrows seems to be the ideal idyllic rural landscape, and is made even fun of by Nick) they would have personal issues in exponential growth. Like, what about parenting? Hundreds of children? (Physiologically doubtful anyway...)

If I would be a writer for the franchise and be whipped into coming up with a solution, I'd say: The number of children was an exaggeration. The Hopps have, maybe, ten kids (how many are actually on any family shot of them?) and represent the agrarian uneducated no-contraception part of the population (which, as legend has it, exists among humans as well), while the majority has settled on a two point one kid schedule that would keep the population mostly constant. The total bunny number is a relic of the times when there was no contraception available. The increase of the total number is due to the rubes and will go down to zero over time, balancing births and deaths.

Bellwether says that the prey outweight predators by a factor of ten, which seems fairly low if the prey had actually multiplied for centuries without being eaten. Maybe she talks only of Zootopia proper, not taking Bunny Burrows into account, but still... it is a huge issue.

That would not just affect the prey. Predators too would have an issue with too many kids which no longer starve and die in accidents or from sicknesses. Humans do, at the moment, and we have long gestation and nursing periods and mostly only one kid at a time to decelerate the issue a bit, and we're still at a horrific growth. I can imagine that the Zootopian world would run into the consequences much earlier, maybe faster than their technological progress can make amends for. (What came before Zootopia? A few world wars?)

But then, we're in a fantasy world. Better not to overthink it.

On another paw, I read in the linked article that the predators eat insects (maybe processed), which is a fairly smart solution - and actually leaves the door open for intelligent birds and reptiles. I'm still not convinced of such an extension; it would raise a lot of questions, like, why no birds in Zootopia? They could be quite useful to have... so what is the segregation into cities for? Or: Where's the actual limit of intelligence then? What about amphibians and fish (the latter were mentioned as confusing in the article already)? We'd have marine mammals if such an extension would be needed for a story, and flying mammal species to cover that habitat, so it's not really necessary to become all-inclusive. "Mammals only" seems like a reasonable restriction; the world is fairly complicated as it is...

If they ever do a series for Zootopia, I just hope they will keep a reasonable level of world-building, and not run it into the ground like Dreamworks did with the Kung Fu Panda TV series... *sigh*

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When the movie "BladeRunner" was in production, someone discovered that there was already a science-fiction novel with a similar title: "The Bladerunner" by Alan E. Nourse (1974). Even though "you can't copyright a title" and Nourse's novel has a completely different plot, the movie studio licensed Nourse's novel just to forestall any accusations of having stolen anything. I forget how much Nourse was paid, but he later said that it was the easiest money he ever made since he never had any expectations that any movie studio had any real interest in filming his novel.

My review of "The Art of Zootopia" is online.

Fred Patten

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WARNING! The following comment contains EXPLICIT LANGUAGE and BORING WORK STORIES.

So, a guy at work wants to go watch Batman vs. Superman, like, really bad, for some reason. I don't know. He's probably stupid. Of course, I started ranting and raving about how terrible the last Superman movie was, so he's like, well, I need to take you to this movie. So I'm like, well, you need to go to Zootopia with me, and then I'll go watch Civil War: DC Edition with him. So, he wasn't impressed by my description of the movie, ("you know, the Disney movie with the animals"), and he was all like I'd "hate fuck" you after that movie.

And I replied, well, that would be okay, as long as I got to hate fuck him after Why Don't You Just Call It Justice League At This Point?.

So, anyway, negotiations have currently stalled.

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Hello all,
And new here although old follower.
The subject of what the evolved predators eat has been answered by the
animators and writers as being Bugburgers and plant based proteins. They even mention that the
sharp of eye will notice Bugburger wrappers or cartons by Nick,s feet in one scene. Look for
stronger hints of this in future Movies or the inevitable (diluted) tv series.
BugSteaks anyone?

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Good job, even though you spoiled more than you needed to. Quite obvious that you enjoyed writing it.

P.S. SW prequels were good, and TFA sucks balls. COME AT ME, I AIN'T AFRAID OF YA!

Well, I'll be...

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Don't embarrass yourself, Mister Twister; it's COME AT ME, BRO!

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Also, real talk, have you watched the Plinkett reviews? If you have and still love the prequels, that's fine, but they are literally the only review in existence that actually changed an opinion I had on the movie in question, so if you haven't seen them, I encourage you to check them out. And they get better as they go along; first one mostly deals with plot, but by the third, he's dissecting cinematography, and it's awesome. (I also thought about starting the review with two quotes; the second would have been Mr. Plinkett's "Star Wars: The Phantom Menace is the most disappointing thing since my son!"

I liked The Force Awakens, but, eh, that's more understandable. I haven't watched a film school in miniature dismantle it yet.

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I have, and it changed nothing.

If someone paid me to do it, I could make a counter-review, proving most of their points wrong. I have already done that in my head of course, but to make a video that would require f***s to give, and I have very few.

A review that DID change my mind though, was a certain Lion King review, which made me forever h8 that beloved furry classic.

And now the entire fandom hates me. And I feel fine.

Well, I'll be...

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You're evil *chuckles*

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All of the above guesses were not what I saw. It has been included in my review, which is now submitted.

This is going to be a fun little reveal.

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Two weekends out and "Zootopia" is setting international box-office records.

It looks like it's going to end up as much more than just a current box-office hit until next week. Here is what Cartoon Brew says:

‘Zootopia’ Is A Box Office Beast In Both US and China
By Amid Amidi | 03/13/2016 11:23 pm | 8

Disney’s Zootopia has become the second animated feature this year to claim the #1 spot at the box office for two weekends in a row. The film grossed an estimated $50 million in its second frame, a slim drop of just 33.4% from its debut weekend.

After two weekends, Zootopia has grossed $142.6m in the United States. By comparison, Kung Fu Panda 3, the other animated film in 2016 that held the #1 spot for two straight weekends, grossed just $69.3m through its first two weekends.

Zootopia was a beast internationally, too, grossing $83.1m across the globe this weekend. Its foreign cume is $288.7m, and adding in US totals, the global cume is $431.3m. Notably, the film finally reached the #1 spot in South Korea in its fourth weekend of release. Openings major territories like UK, Japan, Brazil, and Australia are yet to come.

The film’s performance was especially surprising in China, where Zootopia’s gross actually expanded 139% from its opening weekend, pulling in a $56.5m weekend. The movie has now accrued $109m in China (a record for a Disney/Pixar movie in the People’s Republic) and could go on to surpass the $149m gross of Dreamworks’ Kung Fu Panda 3 to become the highest-grossing animated feature of all-time in China.

Should Zootopia outgross KFP3 in China, it would be a hugely embarrassing blow to Dreamworks head Jeffrey Katzenberg, who has hinged his company’s future on the Chinese market, and who has spent years building Oriental Dreamworks on the theory that he understands what kind of animation Chinese audiences want to see. Kung Fu Panda 3 was supposed to have been perfectly calibrated to Chinese tastes, yet the film could cede its box office record to Disney, which made no such attempt with Zootopia to custom-design the film for Chinese audiences.

On the bright side for KFP3, the film was the #2 film around the world last weekend, after Zootopia, thanks to a major offshore expansion. The film added $28.6m internationally, boosting its foreign total to $219.5m. Domestically, the film earned an estimated $1.7m in its seventh weekend, lifting its US total to $136.4m. Its global gross is $355.9m to date, and it will almost certainly end up underperforming compared to the first two films in the franchise.

Let’s also take a moment to make a general point about animation. The top three film releases in the United States this year so far are Deadpool ($328.1m), Zootopia ($142.6m), and Kung Fu Panda 3 ($136.4m). Not only are two of those films animated, but Deadpool was directed by an animator. Hollywood doesn’t give our art form or its practitioners much (if any) respect, but audiences have made it abundantly clear whose work they prefer.

Fred Patten

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On the other paw, it now looks like whatever extra box-office sales that furry fandom might have added to "Zootopia" is less than a drop in the water dish.

Fred Patten

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…which made no such attempt with Zootopia to custom-design the film for Chinese audiences.

They did make the newscaster a panda, though. Maybe it just needs pandas to sell in Guangzhou?

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The main movies being compared are Zootopia and ... Kung Fu Panda 3. I recall there might have been a few pandas in that movie.

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Well, they both did well in China, so that's proof enough for me! Perhaps we'll see more of this.

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The truly interesting thing is that, for most of the world, it was a massive sleeper hit that kind of came out of nowhere. I mean, it was a Disney movie, so everybody probably figured it would make back its money and be decent (though, even that was up in the air, as The Good Dinosaur had just proven that not even Pixar was not infallible with their first box office flop, though I'm sure even that was made up in merchandising and home video and whatnot), but nobody really saw this coming, and I think that includes Disney. I've pointed out elsewhere, but Zootopia's release date is not exactly "this is where we put movies we are 100% confident about" territory. They didn't put it in either the summer "blockbuster" months or the winter "prestige" months; they put it four days after the winter "dump" months.

Yeah, I was excited when the movie was first announced, because I like cartoon foxes (in case you haven't noticed) and while the first trailer piqued a bunch more interest just by using the phrase "anthropomorphic animal" in the furry fandom, outside the fandom, it barely existed. The only mainstream magazine to show any kind of enthusiasm was Forbes, not exactly known for its insightful movie criticism, and even then, the point of the article is Disney is treating this movie like the proverbial red headed stepchild (which means it will maybe be a bit cooler than your average Disney fare; that, or suck). The second trailer didn't exactly take off at first either (being attached to the aforementioned movie no one saw in theaters, The Good Dinosaur, didn't help), but then things ... started to happen.

That second trailer, the one featuring the sloths (and pretty much nothing but the sloths) got a second chance when it was put before Star Wars. Everybody saw that movie, so everybody saw that trailer; plus, despite the fact that it was literally one extended joke, when compared to the other trailers coming out, it stood out in a good way. After a solid twenty minutes of superhero movie trailers and technically not superhero but might as well be superhero trailers, featuring attractive people with supernatural powers fighting giant CG threats while buildings ominously blow up in the background, a simple but funny joke about visiting the DMV felt like a lightning bolt of creativity. As I said in the review, this movie may be about animals, but it was the single most human movie advertised in front of one of the most anticipated movies of all time.

And then, a couple of months later, the movie finally started to actually get advertised; people finally started noticing (outside the fandom), and the guessing game for the Tomatometer began. Most of the guesses on the actual site were positive; low 80s at the worst, some even going as far as to suggest it might make the mid-90s! Then the actual reviews started coming in ... and, uh, well, speculation about the furry fandom kind of became beside the point. It was so amazing, I think if I get into an argument about religion with Rakuen again, I'll use it as proof of the existence of God. It was so amazing, I think he might cede the point. Suddenly, and without warning, this movie is not only the best reviewed movie of the (admittedly still young) year, it's one of the best reviewed movies in the history of the site. Turns out the Forbes, of all people, nailed it in one.

And the reason why is the most amazing part; not a week after Chris Rock became the first positively reviewed Oscar host of the decade by pointing out to the audience, hey, you guys are a bit more racist than you think you are, comes a movie about a character who learns she is a bit more racist(y) than she thinks she is. It's not just relevant to the here and now; it's so relevant it hurts a little. The freaking villain is Donald Trump, right down to the distracting hair!

So, the box office comes in, and, much like the predictions of how it would be reviewed, it over-performs. It's Disney's biggest movie, and one of the three biggest openings for an original movie (an original movie, you guys! Remember those!) of all time. It's a legitimate phenomenon. And, like I said, unless you were a furry, it kind of came out of nowhere. Nobody was anticipating this movie, except us; it wasn't on any of the "most anticipated movies of 2016" lists I read, with the exception of one that put it on it's "dishonorable mentions: movies we're not looking forward to" addendum. But it ended up being what it needed to be, and what I wanted it to be all along; not some kind of furry gateway drug.

Just a really good movie.

One final link,from a sarcastic reaction to one of the only two "rotten" reviews counted, which just about sums my feelings up:

Anthropomorphization stopped being “tricky territory” at least 50 years ago. How is this your version of a hot button issue in a film about racism?!

So, yeah, the furry thing kind of was beside the point. Oh, well.

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"It was so amazing, I think he might cede the point."

Don't invest too much in that idea. :p

"How is this your version of a hot button issue in a film about racism?!"

I know it's not your words but it's prejudice, not racism. Or maybe to some people any prejudice is just labelled racism.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

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