It is really exciting to see Disney Animation have another renaissance. During the transition from hand drawn to computer generated animation, the company struggled to have a hit (except for the movies from Pixar Animation). But starting with Tangled in 2010 and then subsequently Wreck-It Ralph, Frozen and Big Hero 6, Disney cannot seem to do wrong.
The streak should continue with Zootopia. According to early reviews, it already has all the elements of previous Disney hits: subject matter that will appeal to both young and old as well as state-of-the-art animation while remaining fast and funny. It has also already grossed over $80 million internationally. The movie has a message of inclusion as it is set in a world where animals do all the jobs that people do without any inter-species conflict. The main character is an energetic rabbit named Judy Hopps (voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin) who graduated the police academy at the top of the class but is relegated to parking meter duty as she is the first bunny on Zootopia’s police force. Determined to prove herself, she jumps at the opportunity to crack a case, but must team-up with a fast-talking, scam-artist fox named Nick Wilde (voice of Jason Bateman).
In 2013, Olympus Has Fallen became a surprise hit with Gerard Butler playing disgraced U.S. Secret Service Agent Mike Banning who rescues the White House and the President from a terrorist attack. In London Has Fallen, he is again tasked with protecting the President (Aaron Eckhart) as he travels to attend the funeral of the British Prime Minister. However, a terrorist plot targeting the gathering world leaders sends London into chaos and Banning must do more than just protect the President. Many of the original’s cast returns including Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Robert Forster and Melissa Leo.
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot is a war comedy based upon Kim Barker’s memoir The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Tina Fey (Sisters) stars as Barker who was a journalist clueless to life in a war zone and trying to survive the challenges of covering the conflicts. However, her inexperience provides some outrageously comedic moments with the help of fellow reporters played by Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street) and Martin Freeman (The Hobbit) and a no-nonsense military officer played by Billy Bob Thornton.
Opening at the Paramount Theatre is the Canadian thriller Numb about a couple in financial distress who discover GPS coordinates that promise to lead to stolen gold in northern British Columbia. Along with two other treasure hunters whose history is a little suspect, they brave the frigid elements and each other in the hopes find $4 million in stolen gold. This low budget feature is getting some good attention and features a who’s who of actors that appeared in TV shows produced in Vancouver: Jamie Bamber (Battlestar Galactica), Marie Avgeropoulos (The 100), Aleks Paunovic (Supernatural), Paul McGillion (Stargate: Atlantis) and Colin Cunningham (Falling Skies).