March 25th releases – Zootropolis – Batman V Superman

0
281
Wonder woman despairs at the mess she'll have toclear up afterwards

My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2

Big fat Greeks get married….again. A sequel 14 years too late.

Speed Sisters

True story of an all female Palestinian car racing team

 

Welcome to Me

Woman wins the lottery and buys her own talkshow – should have bought some more scriptwriters too!

 

Zootropolis

The latest offering from Disney was called Zootopia in the US and seems to have been unnecessarily retitled for the UK as Zootropolis.  Our suggestion that it could have been an amalgam of Zoo & City to be called Zitty was ignored and our tagline, ’Wwinned with AcneVille’ received the same lack of response.

So having stuck with the their title which refers to  an enormous city for animals divided into neighbourhoods (Tundratown, Little Rodentia etc) and populated by an animal prey majority and a predator minority who, in the words of Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney, find that though they are  like, ‘Ebony and Ivory live together in perfect harmony’.  The plot follows a country rabbit, Judy Hopps who aspires to be the city’s first rabbit cop. Frustrated at being put on traffic ticket detail she busts a street scam run by a wily street smart fox but reluctantly they become embroiled in a plot that threatens to turn the docile predators against the prey.

Combining a film noir type plot with some great characters this is much like the best of Pixar in that there’s something for the kids but enough sly jokes for the adults not to be constantly looking at their watches. For Disney there is something of a daring subtext albeit glaringly obvious but timely in light of the all white Oscars in addressing prejudice and racism. It really is quite a bold move for the company but it never bludgeons the audience with it to the detriment of the story which moves along at a fair old pace and unlike the studios blockbuster ‘Frozen’ the characters do not burst into song for no reason although popstar Shakira caterwauls her way through an immensely forgettable end credits song which should quickly clear audiences from cinemas ready for the next screening.

But don’t let that put you off because for both adults and kids alike this is one of the best Disney films in a while and has enough appeal for everyone.

 

Batman v Superman : Dawn of Justice (12A)

After a pondering the outcome of this battle for almost 3 seconds we’ve decided that it’ll be Superman based purely on him being an alien with superhuman strength with laser eyes and the other being a bloke in a clunky homemade stormtrooper suit. But this latest hugely anticipated incarnation is more than that that dwelling heavily on the mythological back stories of each and especially the father issues they both seem to have.

Starting with the almost obligatory origin story but choosing only Batman’s where we see Bruce Wayne being repeatedly beaten by his  father with a cricket bat and hence he becomes Batman whereas Clark Kent decides to wear his pants outside his trousers and shows his Mum his new look to which she replies, ‘Super’, hence Superman ( ‘You’re making this up, you idiot!’ – Ed)

In honesty it’s only Bruce Wayne’s origin which is briefly shown at the start of the film presuming that the audience knows Superman’s and plough  straight into the battle with General  (what a) Zod and Big S at the end of Man of Steel but this time from the point of view of the poor sods who are in the tower blocks as thepair of them do battle and lay waste to the city.  There is a slightly uneasy sense of 9/11 about the scene even going as far as to use a direct lift of one iconic image from the tragedy as the smoke billows down the street towards Bruce Wayne running to rescue his colleagues. After ‘Man of Steel’s release some wag calculated that the cost of rebuilding Metropolis would be in the region of $7billion whereas if they’d had their squabble in Southall they’d have had change from a ten pound note but I digress. It’s thrillingly shot with Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne driving through the carnage and trying to get his employees to evacuate one of his tower blocks before its inevitably flattened . Director Zack Snyder has denied that this is a sequel but this opening plays almost like ‘Man of Steel 2’ continuing the story with Batman out to bring down Superman due to the destruction and lives lost during this battle. Even the city, which is one half Metropolis and one half Gotham City are split in opinion over a man with power to destroy the world if he so wished.

So with Bruce Wayne trying to find a way to discredit and destroy Superman into the mix script writer David Goyer introduces Lex Luther or more  precisely son of Lex Luther, who unhelpfully is also called Lex, who wants access to the Kryptonite within the captured General Zod’s broken space craft with an ulterior motive to use it for his own ends. Introduced to all this is real life former Miss Israel Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman with her own back story which weaves  in nicely for her own stand alone film which is out  early next year. This being a Zack Snyder film the couple of hours of ‘story’ is ultimately paving the way for the title fight between the man of Bats and the Man of Super-ness. It’s a colossal punch-up which leads directly into the apocalyptic climax instigated by Luther himself.

So what of the casting? Much was made of Ben Affleck in the Bat role but he accounts himself well in the role which much like the rest of the film is dour in tone and like Christian Bales version he has a growling raspy voice as his alter ego to such a degree that if he ever did give up being a superhero he could do voiceovers for movie trailers…..’In a world ……only one man……’  etc etc.  Henry Cavill continues to be suitably bland in the role though there is a slightly darker edge to how he’s presented here and Gal Gadot as Wonder  Woman ( a title that is never expressly stated in this) is good in the role despite fanboys complaining that her boobs aren’t big enough for the role (‘I’m prepared  to run some auditions for anyone interested’- Ed).  Amy Adams is fine as ever in what seems to be the token love interest and Jeremy Iirons as Alfred could do with more screen time as he’s agreeably world weary and hopefully we’ll see more of him in future films in the intended franchise. But what about Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luther…..oh dear.  So many of these superheroes films rely on their villain as their usually far more interesting than their hero especially one as bland as Superman and it’s here that the role would seem to have been miscast. Eisensberg’s unique style of line delivery was well suited to his role in the excellent,  ‘The Social Network’  but it seems to be a style that he’s used in every role since and is in danger of becoming his generations Christopher Walker’s  as a favourite for impressionists. In a formal suit worn with sneakers and lank, floppy hair he comes across like a quirkily odd teenager who deserves a slap and sent to his room rather than a maniacal genius.

For most audiences the title will be enough to see the film and with such an immense budget this needs to do well to launch the franchise that Warner Bros  intend to counter that of Marvel.  For fans boys there may be some head in hands moments especially with some of the ripe nonsensical dialogue and platitudes that some characters spout but Warners should be commended on an unexpected ending which is a brave gamble though sets up for an intriguing follow up. For the rest of us though this is shot with Zack Snyder’s typical panache for  spectacularly destructive set pieces amongst the lavish sets and on that basis alone this is sets the bar for this year’s blockbusters to follow.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here