Posts Tagged ‘Zootopia’

screen-shot-2017-02-25-at-10-08-06-amEach year, mediateacher posts pieces that discuss Oscar nominees or winners — often focusing on those under-the-radar treats: animated, live action, and documentary shorts — and today will emphasize a standout category from this year: animated feature film.  The lineup of movies nominated in animation highlights a strikingly diverse quintet of movies, including two foreign selections, the French-language My Life as a Zucchini and non-dialogue The Red Turtle; along with a new stop-motion treasure from Laika studios, Kubo and the Two Strings; and two thought-provoking, delightfully spirited Disney CG offerings, Zootopia (discussed in this earlier post) and Moana

Interestingly, of the three movies, a majority are animated using (relatively) old-school techniquesdrawn, 2D animation and figure-based stop motion.  Yet again, when it appears that digital advances will steer moviemaking in a particular direction by making things “easier” for craftspeople or “more realistic” for viewers, such as with CG-based animation, filmmakers will return to — and reinvigorate or sometimes reinvent — traditional techniques that help them to communicate the most meaningful and emotionally vibrant expression of their stories.

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DSC_0094A while back, there was a mediateacher.net post about a tradition of American moviegoing that combines many of the cultural values of the United States: cars and mobility, family entertainment, take-out food, and entrepreneurship: the Drive-In.  Despite what many predictions forecast, there are still independently run theaters all across the country, at least those that have been able to navigate the conversion to digital projection.  Depicted through these images is a visit to one for a recent family outing to see Zootopia and Finding Dory.  The story of the Northfield Drive-In (which straddles Massachusetts and New Hampshire) is a very interesting tale of media economics, technology, and moviegoing.  Right here and now, the story of a Friday night at the drive-in will be told in pictures.




This is a PACKED house. Back rows here at #9.








A uniquely American tradition.



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blacksad 1A new visual media creation arrives that conjures up a vibrant, compellingly real and nuanced world made up of animals who mirror human society and whose crime stories delve into complex themes related to tolerance, racism, stereotypes, and honesty, among others, and then bursts onto its medium’s scene to great acclaim and success.  Zootopiaright?  If that’s what you answered, you might want to check out Blacksad (first published in 2003).  

zootopiaBlacksad, by writer Juan Díaz Canales and illustrator Juanjo Guarnido, is a series of adult-themed graphic novels (as opposed to the family-oriented Zootopia, a Disney production directed by Byron Howard and Rich Moore and written by Jared Bush and Phil Johnston) set in a world that resembles 1950’s America and featuring a film noir-style private detective named John Blacksad, a black cat.  Naturally, the concept of anthropomorphic animals serving as models for human behavior and whose interactions provide illustrations of human values and social relations is not a new one (start with La Fontaine’s Fables), but the particular conceptualization of Zootopia is strikingly reminiscent of Blacksad.  

nick-wilde-judy-hoppsThis is not to take anything away from Zootopia, which is a resounding triumph and certainly deserving of its accolades.  The comparison of these two creations in the related visual media of graphic novels and films provides interesting points of discussion between media platforms, tone and style in visual expression and storytelling, and treatment of thematic material through related settings or concepts.

Naughty Bunny038And with Zootopia, it must be added those are definitely some Richard Scarry-inspired rabbits, which I loved.  Busytownindeed!

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