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‘Zootopia’ doesn’t deliver the ‘Wow’; ‘Gods of Egypt’ weak

A screen shot from the animated movie "Zootopia."
A screen shot from the animated movie "Zootopia."

Zootopia ***

Though touted by many as Disney’s “best animated movie in 20 years,” some viewers may be left scratching their flea-infested heads. Though a solid, entertaining effort, with excellent 3D treatment, Zootopia may not live up to its own press. Where the film succeeds is in its full commitment to anthropomorphic totality. The sloths, who manage the Department of Motor Vehicles, are particularly funny, as is “Mr. Big,” a tiny but tough arctic shrew, who is modeled unashamedly after Marlon Brando’s Godfather character, down to large hunks of original Don Corleone dialog. Zootopia, the world in which these animals inhabit, is a creative microcosm of the world we all recognize. The lead character, Judy Hopps, voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin, is a young bunny who dreams of being a cop in the city, and though a longshot, eventually makes her way into the Zootopia Police Department. She is given the parking ticket detail where she only dreams of solving big cases. Jason Bateman voices Nick Wilde, a sly street fox who is into all kinds of cons. Hopps and Wilde become reluctant, de facto partners in solving a case where a dozen of Zootopia’s citizens have mysteriously disappeared. Zootopia starts slow, eventually picks up and has a few great moments, but never really delivers the pacing and wow that is reserved for Disney’s best efforts.

Gods of Egypt **1/2

A visual stunner with a solid enough cast, including a few likable newcomers and a few heavy hitters, Gods of Egypt could have been a great film, instead, it’s little more than a shiny jewel without much substance. In its favor the movie is reminiscent of the 1981 Clash of the Titans, with a modern take on CGI-rendered monsters and Egyptian gods. Where you might be tempted to forgive the stop-motion forbearers of the deity vs. monster films of the past, more is expected from modern filmmakers. A long way from recouping its $140 million budget, this Australian-American production may find an audience in its afterlife, a predominate theme of the film. Gerard Butler, as Set, is a jealous god who mutilates the eyes of brother Horus (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), banishes him into exile, and usurps his throne on the day of his coronation. Horus is joined by young mortal Bek (Brenton Thwaites) in an attempt to save the world and Bek’s girlfriend, Zaya (Courtney Eaton). Geoffrey Rush plays sun god Ra in a few stunning scenes, which offer all-new visualizations of ancient Egyptian mythology. Though the 127-minute movie is relatively fun, and moves along quickly enough, after a while the substandard script and overuse of CGI, in lieu of good storytelling, drag this film into an underworld that would have bored even the Pharaohs.

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What do those stars mean?

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