This week, Sam and Jake talk about the debut issue of Prometheus: Life and Death by Dan Abnett and Andrea Mutti and published by Dark Horse Comics. The second miniseries to spring from Ridley Scott's Alien prequel (The first taking a cue from Predator), Prometheus: Life and Death starts with a distinctly Aliens vibe with space marines find themselves face-to-face with a space god. Things do not go well...but the story sure does! Listen to what the boys thought of the first issue!

Prometheus: Life and Death #1 out in comic shops everywhere and on Comixology on Wednesday, June 8!

Direct download: BookClub17.mp3
Category:Book Club -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT
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The celebration of 50 years of Star Trek and countdown to Star Trek Beyond continues here! After the critical disappointment to the first Star Trek film and its inflated budget, Paramount decided to revisit the classic science fiction franchise albeit with a heavily reduced budget and Leonard Nimoy's desire to kill of the character that he been associated with for over a decade. What we got was one of the finest sequels of all time that served as a big course correction from its predecessor and the first time we see James T. Kirk at moment of severe personal doubt. What many call the greatest Star Trek film of all time (And Sam agrees), it's time for The Wrath of Khan!

Direct download: StarTrekII.mp3
Category:Commentary -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT
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This is the big one, what many music critics and think pieces call the most groundbreaking album of all time, let alone the most groundbreaking album by the already prolific Beatles. While the Fab Four had been experimenting in the studio for some time, now, without the exhausting obligations of near-constant touring and public appearances, they were free to capitalize on everything they had learned so far to push popular music as far as it could go and produce their masterpiece. Listen as Sam and Jake go track-by-track on the landmark 1967 album that finally won over the critics and made the world realize The Beatles were more than a simple pop act when many had already written the ensemble off as irrelevant. A gamechanger of an album and a super-sized special episode to go along with it.

Direct download: 8SgtPeppers.mp3
Category:Beatles -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT
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Sam's thoughts on The Nice Guys:

Los Angeles, 1977. The City of Angels feels hazy and distorted with cigarette smoke wafting indoors while the bright, California sun is filtered through a thick layer of smog. Morally, the lines feel blurred too with drugs readily available, porno theaters littering Hollywood Boulevard, and pimps and dealers on each street corner. It's in this pulpy, neo-noir (Retro-noir?) setting that a porn star is killed putting the story into motion.


At the center of The Nice Guys is two men who have largely forgotten who they are. Russell Crowe is a man that briefly flirted with heroism in his past but has now let himself go out of shape and cruise the San Fernando Valley as a low-rent enforcer for hire. Ryan Gosling is a man still reeling from the death of his wife and has to rely on his more mature and competent teenage daughter to ensure he keeps getting work as a private detective. These two figures initially find themselves on opposite sides of the tracks but working together when they realize they share the same goal.
Here's the kicker, though: This movie is funny, like really funny. It may very well be the funniest film I've seen in theaters this year and let me remind you that Deadpool came out 3 months ago. While Gosling has always shown what he's capable of in dramatic roles with star-making performances in Blue Valentine, Drive, and The Place Beyond the Pines (And, as someone that's had girlfriends since at least 2004, of course I've seen The Notebook), I've always thought he'd do well comedically and he totally proves that right here. Last year, we got a taste of Gosling's comedic chops in The Big Short, this time around, we get the main course and it delivers in full.


The humor isn't necessarily for everybody; this is Shane Black joint, after all, so things can get dark and violent and the humor itself can get sanguineous in every sense of the word. But I never found the violence particularly unsavory and off-putting; this flick is built to be a crowd-pleaser with frames saturated in color and all set to a groovy, 70s soundtrack.


In many ways, The Nice Guys is what Paul Thomas Anderson's adaptation of Inherent Vice should have been: an irreverent, wacky take on 70s crime fiction that isn't afraid to poke fun at the ludicrousness of it all. This is a good time at the movies.

 

Category:First Impressions -- posted at: 1:02pm EDT
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Fresh off the Limbo advance book review, the gang talk to the book's creators Dan Watters and Caspar Wijngaard about the book, its influences, a bit of the comics industry in Great Britain, and some of Dan's recent literary forays. Also, the boys talk about the premiere of Preacher and lots of Disney after the recent release of Beauty and the Beast teaser trailer!

Limbo out in comic shops everywhere and on Comixology on Wednesday, June 1!

Direct download: Episode98.mp3
Category:Nerd Talk -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT
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This week, Sam and Jake do an advance book review of the debut issue for the upcoming Dark Horse Comics miniseries, Weird Detective, by Fred Van Lente and Guiu Vilanova. True to its title, Weird Detective as a gumshoe investigating the paranormal that hides a paranormal secret himself. Paired with a new partner, the sleuthing duo are drawn into a Lovecraftian case involving Cthulu Crime in this super-sized first issue! Listen what the boys thought of it!

Weird Detective #1 is out in comic shops everywhere and on Comixology on Wednesday, June 15!

Direct download: BookClub16.mp3
Category:Book Club -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT
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The start of a brand new commentary series! With this year marking the 50th anniversary of the franchise that changed forever science fiction and a new film this summer, we're doing commentaries for all of the Star Trek movies! After the back-to-back success of Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Paramount realized they had their own potential blockbuster science fiction franchise with a built-in fanbase, the long-gestating return of Star Trek! But in an answer to the more popcorn flick that was Star Wars, they decided to make the inaugural Star Trek film more cerebral...did it work? Listen as the boys revisit the 1979 motion picture to find out!

Direct download: StarTrekI.mp3
Category:Commentary -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT
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Jake returns to talk about another Kiss album track-by-track and this time he enlists Geek Out veteran co-host, Sam, to discuss Kiss' iconic fourth album, Destroyer! Fresh off the runaway success of their live album, Alive!, Kiss teamed up with Alice Cooper producer Bob Ezrin to capture the raw sound and energy of their live shows into a studio album. What resulted is the first Kiss album to go platinum upon its initial release and brought the band to new heights and new audiences with some of their most signature songs including their most commercially successful single of all time! Listen as the Geek Out duo deconstruct Destroyer!

Direct download: 04Destroyer.mp3
Category:KISS Talk -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT
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This week, the boys talk to superstar comic book creator and multiple Eisner-winner Gene Ha about his creator-owned writing debut with Mae, published by Dark Horse Comics. Gene talks about his influences on the book, discussion of portal fiction, and his affinity for geek culture. Also, listen as Gene shares experiences working with DC Comics and working with Alan Moore! Finally, the gang goes into a deeper discussion about Captain America: Civil War and also reveals their first impressions on the Assassin's Creed movie trailer!

Mae #1 is out in comic shops everywhere and on Comixology on Wednesday, May 18!  

Direct download: Episode97.mp3
Category:Nerd Talk -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT
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Sam and Jake talk about the Image Comics miniseries Limbo by Dan Watters and Caspar Wijngaard. At once a neon-lit neo-noir and a love letter to 80s pop culture, the duo talk about how they feel about the book and who Jake reveals as one of the coolest characters in an Image book. Listen to hear their full thoughts on it!

Limbo out in comic shops everywhere and on Comixology on Wednesday, June 1!

Direct download: BookClub15.mp3
Category:Book Club -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT
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The countdown to X-Men: Apocalypse ends here with the gang revisiting the 2014 blockbuster that saw the casts of the classic X-Men movies unite the cast from First Class more or less (Really just Wolverine and Professor X, if we're to be honest). Taking inspiration from the classic X-Men comic book story of the same name, Bryan Singer returned to the director chair wearing his love for Terminator completely on his sleeve with the ultimate X-Men vs. evil machines story that sends Wolverine back to 1973 to prevent this apocalyptic future. Listen as the gang rewatches the film and ponder what would happen if everything was metal!

Direct download: DaysOfFuturePast.mp3
Category:Commentary -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT
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Josh's Resident Evil podcast miniseries comes to a close for the foreseeable future with a look at the most recent Resident Evil film, Resident Evil: Retribution! For this momentous episode, Josh enlists Chris, Sam, and Jake to return and talk about the fifth live action adaptation of Capcom's definitive survival horror franchise and what the gang refers to as feeling the most like an actual video game. Listen what they think of the flick and the franchise as a whole!

Direct download: RE7.mp3
Category:Resident Evil -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT
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Joining us this week are Phil Hester (Green Arrow, The Black Terror) and John McCrea (Hitman, The Boys) to talk about their new creator-owned series with Image Comics, Mythic! We talk to them separately about the series in this week's double-header with John also talking Judge Dredd and Phil talking about his love for more below-the-radar comic book titles! Also, the gang offers their preliminary thoughts on Captain America: Civil War and Jake talks why Sing Street is his favorite movie of the year so far!

Mythic, Volume 1 available in comic shops and Comixology on Wednesday, May 22!

Direct download: Episode96.mp3
Category:Nerd Talk -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT
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This week Sam and Jake talk about the Image Comics miniseries Black Jack Ketchum by Brian Schirmer and Claudia Balboni with covers and editing by Jeremy Saliba. An extra-dimensional twist on the familiar tropes in the Wild West, the boys discuss what they think of the four-issue collection and how they recommend the book should really be explored.

Black Jack Ketchum out in comic shops everywhere and on Comixology on Wednesday, June 8!

Direct download: BookClub14.mp3
Category:Book Club -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT
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The countdown to X-Men: Apocalypse continues with the second Wolverine solo spin-off, The Wolverine! Originally conceived as a direct sequel to Wolverine prequel, it was decided to set the film after the events of X-Men: The Last Stand to give Logan a bit more emotional baggage and help set up the events of the following year's X-Men: Days of Future Past. Listen as Sam and Chris are brave enough to watch the ultimate R-rated cut of the 2014 blockbuster that saw Weapon X return to Japan. Discover what character they think is the dumbest addition to the cast, what tricks Hugh Jackman to look super ripped, and how they think the extended cut holds up overall!

Direct download: TheWolverine.mp3
Category:Commentary -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT
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The 80s were a time that saw a lot of great classic superhero movie releases. Which means they were all captured onto Laserdisc. This episode, Chris and Ken discuss some of the superhero movies and television show they've added to their LD collections.

Direct download: LaserDicks07.mp3
Category:Laserdisc Talk -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT
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Consequences. So many comic book heroes and villains have their origins and motivations tied to consequences sometimes from decisions as mundane and innocuous as taking a shortcut home from the movies through a dangerous alley or letting a crook fall into a random vat of chemicals. Tony Stark's career as a leading weapons manufacturer inadvertently leads to his own ordinance turning against him and forcing him to build the first Iron Man armor. Peter Parker letting a criminal go leads directly to the murder of his uncle. But what of the consequences after the donning the mantle of superhero? For every action, there must be an equal or opposite reaction so what's the reaction? That leads us to Captain America: Civil War.

Both this and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice explored the fallout of collateral damage in the midst of fighting for the greater good; Civil War's a cumulative look at The Avengers' alien confrontation in the streets of Manhattan, Captain America: The Winter Soldier's climax over the Potomac, and Avengers: Age of Ultron's Eastern European showdown. An opening incident in Lagos, Nigeria proves to be the final straw with the United Nations who pass a resolution that greatly restricts the Avengers' mobility. This does not sit well at all with our titular hero.

At the center of Civil War are three haunted men. Captain America, literally a former propaganda company man, is haunted by the agendas and machinations of bureaucracy; bureaucracies that tried to nuke NYC in the midst of an alien invasion and allowed the evil of HYDRA to infiltrate and fester within SHIELD, what was supposed to be one of the country's most trusted institutions; he would be damned rather than let agenda-driven bureaucracy run the world again. Iron Man is haunted by guilt, the smug veneer present during Age of Ultron eroded away as the true toll of his creation's murderous rampage weighs heavily on him; learning that with great power there must also come responsibility. Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier, is haunted by all those faces he was programmed to kill as HYDRA's ultimate sleeper agent and there's a couple of faces haunting him lately that strike very close to home. These three men are each pursued by their own ghosts and its put them on a collision course for the ages.

What Civil War readily improves over its comic book source material is that both sides are depicted with legitimate motivations and methodologies; in the comics, Tony Stark is laughably antagonistic (For fuck's sake, he builds a Guantanamo Prison for his former friends in the Negative Zone, creates a cybernetic clone of Thor, and recruits Daredevil nemesis Bullseye into the Thunderbolts) while here he's exponentially more relatable. Robert Downey Jr. gives his best performance as the Armored Avenger perhaps ever, certainly since his debut back in 2008. Newcomers Chadwick Boseman as Black Panther and Tom Holland as Spider-Man both compete for stealing the show alongside Ant-Man who fits right into the Marvel Cinematic Universe's ever-expanding cast; to refer to Civil War more as Avengers 2.5 rather than Captain America 3 would not be an entirely inaccurate observation (Steve Rogers is still very much the focal point and driving force of the film). The Russo Brothers directing this three-ring circus have a lot of plates to spin but they do so admirably; Avengers: Infinity War is in good hands.

Captain America: Civil War, despite its exploration on the fallout of heroism, is a joyous cinematic experience and the Avengers flick that most probably wished they got last summer instead of the middling Age of Ultron (Certainly a better superhero brawl than Batman and Superman's recent dust-up). All the performances are spectacular with Robert Downey Jr., Chadwick Boseman, Tom Holland, and Paul Rudd leading the charge. The marquee showdown at an empty airport (The one splashed over all the trailers) is one of the most fun blockbuster action sequences I've ever seen with everyone getting their due. It doesn't have the laser-precision of The Winter Soldier but it's a hell of a lot more fun and doesn't feel like the 2.5 hours it runs for (Yes, there is a mid-credits and post-credits scene). The typeface for the scene transitions are distractingly large but if my biggest complaint about your movie is font size, you're doing just fine. If anyone was worried about the state of Marvel movies last year, let me assure you they are back on top.

Category:First Impressions -- posted at: 11:43am EDT
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Several years back, I was talking to someone that remarked that the 80s were the nadir of popular music. I simply smiled and made a mental note to take everything the gentleman said about music with grains of salt. While the paradigm of rock'n'roll that bands like Led Zeppelin and the Rolling Stones defined in the 70s didn't continue into the following decade (Have you listened to any 80s Stones' albums after Tattoo You or 80s Bowie albums after Let's Dance?), the spirit of rock didn't die, it just diffused.

Heavy metal split into the two distinct camps of hair metal and thrash; Metallica leading the charge for the latter and Bon Jovi leading the charge for the former. Progressive rock either took a harder edge or became more experimentally electronic. Disco and funk gave way to dance electronica and the advent of modern pop that Prince, Madonna, and Michael Jackson brought to record-breaking heights. Punk rock reached its commercial zenith (Which is antithetical for the spirit of punk but I'm sure The Clash weren't complaining while cashing those checks). Hip-hop broke into the mainstream with the Beastie Boys and Run-DMC. Glam rock gave way to more synth-driven acts like The Cure, Duran Duran, and The Smiths, unafraid to defy societal norms with teased out hair and makeup. The latter New Wave movement serves as the inspiration for the Irish independent film Sing Street which, with this long introduction, I'm trying to say I saw last night.

While America was enjoyed the excess of 1985, Dublin was deep in its own economic crisis; waves of Irish emigrating from a stagnating country. Those that remained got desperate and frustrated; frustration manifesting in self-abuse and abuse of others. And when desperation mixes with dreams, it can go one of two ways: the dreams die out or they burn brighter than they ever did before; a beacon of hope in a world of shit.

But Sing Street isn't Angela's Ashes; despite its gritty setting, its a celebration of music-fueled reckless abandon and a love letter to bands like The Jam and the previously mentioned Duran Duran and The Cure (All of whom figure prominently in the film's soundtrack). Music is the ultimate form of expression and with the flick's main character, Conor, facing bullying, repressive Dickens-level schoolmasters, and his parents' loud, acrimonious march to separation (It was still illegal to divorce in Ireland in 1985), he uses popular music to drown out all that harmful white noise and his own synth and bass-driven tunes flow like water from a paper cup.

Like any good rock band, Conor's inspiration is kickstarted by a crush on a local girl that carries herself older than she is, disguising troubles of her own with heavy makeup and a self-confident swagger but while there is a love story at the film's core it's just as much a coming of age tale harkening back to those high school days where you'd emulate the fashion and sensibility of your musical icons.

A feel-good tale of rising above the turmoil at home and finding your place, Sing Street is a fantastic Irish film boasting a soundtrack split between some of the best songs of the 80s with a rocking original set performed by the movie's cast. A gem of film for anyone that picked up an instrument to escape the bullshit around them growing up, to find their way, or just to get that pretty girl to notice them for a moment.

Category:First Impressions -- posted at: 1:11pm EDT
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I think it's safe to say that Disney is enjoying a fairly successful 2016 so far. Disneyland turns 60 this year. Captain America: Civil War opens this week (More on that later, I'm sure) and has already set a presale ticket record. Zootopia just crossed $900 million worldwide over the weekend. And The Jungle Book has ruled the US box office for the third week in a row and topped $700 million worldwide this past weekend. As I finally got around to seeing it, I suppose I contributed to that number (As well as Zootopia and Captain America: Civil War now that I think about it) so let's discuss which is to say let me scrawl like 3-4 more paragraphs about it below with mildish spoilers.

The Jungle Book becomes the latest Disney property to make the translation from animated musical to a live-action blockbuster (Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland in 2010 really kicking off the trend) though to call it completely live-action is a bit of a misnomer. Obviously all the wildlife in the film are computer-generated to great, photo-realistic effect but the environments are too; Mowgli himself being one of the only real-world elements of the film. Director Jon Favreau wisely recognized that shooting the flick on location or to physically reconstruct the jungle in a studio were fool's errands so he built the environments largely from photo-references taken in India.

In that sense, The Jungle Book succeeds mostly as a technical marvel (Yes, I saw the film in 3D and it was phenomenal) with Mowgli seamlessly blending in with the flick's lush environments and varied animal cast. If you hadn't known the environments and some of the animals were entirely visual effects, you wouldn't be able to guess.

Storywise, most of the familiar faces and beats are here from the 1967 original: Newcomer Neel Sethi competently carries the film on his shoulders as Mowgli, Ben Kingsley voices the wise panther Bagheera, Bill Murray voices the relatively carefree Baloo, and Idris Elba voicing the menacing Shere Khan (Between this and Zootopia, it seems adding Elba to anything makes it better...let's see if that rule stands after Star Trek Beyond). The mesmerizing Kaa is gender-swapped into Scarlett Johansson who, along with Lupita Nyong'o as Mowgli's surrogate mother figure Raksha, break up what was the 1967 boys' club of the jungle. More head-scratchingly is Christopher Walken as King Louie reimagined here as King Kong-sized and given half of the film's musical numbers. That's right, just like the 1967 original, a couple impromptu songs crop up. They function as nice nods to the animated movie but happen so infrequently and late in the game that they feel particularly out of place and obtrusive.

The Jungle Book is the best live-action remake of a classic Disney property (Cinderella probably being the worst) to date. While, fortunately, not a shot-for-shot remake of the animated movie, it really captures the spirit of it with the same wonder and free-wheeling energy. And, though I hadn't watched the original Jungle Book recently, watching this felt like revisiting old friends from days gone by. Disney, if you bring up the standard of your live-action remakes to this, I want live-action remakes of EVERYTHING.

Category:First Impressions -- posted at: 3:15pm EDT
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A relatively low-key episode that sees the boys of Catching Up, well, catching up! Listen to what the gang has been watching lately from Keanu and Hardcore Henry to Midnight Special and Everybody Wants Some!! Also, hear what television Josh has been watching lately and what latest trend in those shows has him a bit annoyed! A fairly short episode before the storm that is Civil War!

Direct download: Episode95.mp3
Category:Nerd Talk -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT
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This week, the boys have an advance review for the debut issue of Mae by Eisner Award-winning comic book creator, Gene Ha! The story of one girl's fantastical dimension-hopping adventure, the series originated as a Kickstarter project before Dark Horse Comics stepped in to help with the book's distribution. A clear labor of love from Ha who also does the art in addition to writing it, Mae will be in comic shops everywhere and on Comixology on Wednesday, May 18!

Direct download: BookClub13.mp3
Category:Book Club -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT
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The X-Men commentary series in anticipation of X-Men: Apocalypse continues here with the gang revisiting 2011's X-Men: First Class! After plans for a Magneto-centric prequel were quietly shelved, elements of that film were reincorporated into a prequel that looked at the formation of Marvel's Merry Mutant Team set during the backdrop of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Listen to find out what scene drives the boys up the wall, what elements of the film they think the film does particularly well, and how the film as a whole holds up five years since its initial release!

Direct download: XFirstClass.mp3
Category:Commentary -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT
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Sam's thoughts on Zootopia:

At first glance, Zootopia doesn't look or feel like a traditional Disney film; it's closer in style and presentation to a very well-made Dreamworks Animated flick (Like if the Madagascar movies were actually good). It also felt like the film relatively came out nowhere with the first marketing I remember for it attached to The Force Awakens, less than two months before its actual release and a February release is always a weird thing. What it ended up being is a pleasantly surprising animated movie that continues the winning streak Disney Animation has enjoyed since 2010's Tangled.

Cleverly set up by a children's play in the film's prologue, Zootopia is the titular metropolis where animals that have evolved to fully communicate amongst themselves and dress and have jobs like well, us, all reside within boroughs representing the myriad of ecosystems they come from (Tundras, rainforests, etc.). Carnivores and herbivores have evolved beyond their predator-prey roots and co-exist peacefully but lingering prejudices and stereotypes about the various species subsist with the tension between predators and their former prey being the most evident. 

New to the city is Judy Hopps, the first rabbit to become a police officer at Zootopia and must deal with the bureaucracy, her peers, and parents underestimating her ability to stand toe-to-toe with much larger animals on the force led by Idris Elba's Chief Bogo. When tasked with her first major case, Hopps enlists the help of a streetwise, hustling fox named Nick Wilde (And voiced to perfection by Jason Bateman) for help in a city she's still unfamiliar with.

There are several things that put Zootopia a cut above other animated films (Again, usually Dreamworks...they're making yet another Ice Age movie?) and the most evident is the film's cast. Whoever decided Ginnifer Goodwin should voice a rabbit, Jason Bateman should voice a fox, Idris Elba should voice a water buffalo, and JK Simmons should voice a lion is a casting genius. The animators build on these pairings by making the characters subtly resemble the facial expressions of the actors voicing them.

And speaking of animation, this stands among the ranks of Disney Animated Studios and Pixar's best (Powered and rendered by the same engine that Disney previously used on Big Hero Six). Water, lighting, and fur (Which for a movie like this is especially key) effects are top notch.

The last major component of Zootopia's top-quality is that, taking a cue from Pixar, the humor isn't just aimed at kids but the whole family (I found it hilarious, last summer, that Inside Out had a Chinatown reference). The requisite gags hit on all levels and there's references to The Godfather and Breaking Bad that would fly over the average kid's head. 

With strong messages about the importance of following one's dreams and the dangers of prejudice, Zootopia delivers across the board as another standout from Disney. The offbeat tone and seemingly simple premise (The premise of animals living in a human-like world is not a new one but it's interesting to see it explored so deeply here) may catch viewers off guard initially but they'll settle soon. Definitely worth a look!

Category:First Impressions -- posted at: 11:46am EDT
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