Upcoming URL Change

Hello, readers.

I just wanted to let you all know that I’ll be changing both the title and the URL of this blog very shortly. The new URL should be either “thinkdeeplydreamlightly.wordpress.com” or “thinkdeepdreamlight.wordpress.com”, and should be put into effect sometime tomorrow. The internet has been unclear if followers will remain persistent between URL changes, so I wanted to give the few people who read this blog a head’s up in case they suddenly stop receiving posts.

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A Milestone of Sorts

Well, it’s that time again. Something has been said or done or thought that I felt worth noting, and so I’ve come here to talk about it. Come to think of it, when you say it like that, blogging sounds way less impressive. Maybe that’s why we call it blogging.

Anyway, before you ask, no, this is not a Christmas blog post. I haven’t the words to fittingly describe Christmas, nor anything new to add to the discussion (nor even much excitement to share, owing to brain fog and general emotional disconnect). Instead, I’m going to talk about a milestone I recently reached. Or, more specifically, a milestone I recently wrote.

Now, of course, I don’t tend to talk much about myself on this blog, simply because that always ends up feeling whiny and bellyachish (that’s a word now, I just decided), but in this case I feel it’s justified because this milestone has more to do with my work than my actual life. This blog, is, obviously, a manifestation of my writing (though not a very good one), so, when I reach a writing milestone, it’s only logical to talk about it here.

The gist of it is—I just released my first pseudo-published work. No, it’s not a novel, and no, it’s not even a novella. It’s actually, as fate would have it, a short work of interactive fiction, and a very weird, random one at that. I’m personally of the opinion that irony is one of the strongest forces in the universe, and never more so than now. I’ve spent my entire life (or at least my entire life from the age of three) trying to write these long, epic stories and sagas, and the first finished project I end up releasing to the world on a major channel of distribution is a goofy, six-or-seven choice text game. And by major channel of distribution I mean, naturally, an extremely obscure site that people release interactive fiction through.

When I say it like this, it actually sounds rather unimpressive, but, to me, it is something of a big step. It’s certainly a step of some sort, anyway. The fact that I finished something I set about writing is significant enough (I’m a notoriously bad finisher), but then to go on and release it for all to read (or, in this case, play) is even bigger for me. And then, on top of all of that, to actually feel proud of it—that’s a big deal for me.

Of course, in the ironic fashion of life, it’s not actually that great of a story; it’s really just a compilation of bizarre randomness and unintelligible in-jokes created for my brother’s birthday. I was stumped with present ideas for him, and then just a couple days before his birthday celebration had the idea of making an interactive fiction title for him. I finished the thing in less than 24 hours, so it’s quite hurried, but, in spite of that, I’m somehow still proud of it. It makes people laugh, and that’s pretty great to see.

Instead of me ranting on about it, why don’t you just go play it. It’s free (both of a price and of ads), online, and won’t take up more than five minutes of your life. And, hey, if I’m lucky, it might give you a laugh or two, and we could really use more of those these days.

Living in the Present is Lame

Everyone always talks about “living in the present” as something you should aspire to. People constantly assert that, if you let go of your past and quit thinking so much about the future, you’ll be truly happy. I get the feeling the people who say this either have never lived in the present personally or mean this in a far less literal way than I think they do (in which case, they’re not really living in the present). Because, frankly, living in the present sucks.

Full disclosure, this whole philosophical rant was prompted by the mental clarity and memory issues I’m currently going through since my spinal surgery. As someone who’s essentially stuck living in the present, I thought I could speak with some authority on this subject. Perhaps my case is a bit extreme, but nonetheless I think my thoughts have some bearing on the ideal at large.

To put it as shortly as possible, I really don’t understand why anyone would want to live in the present, let alone propose it to others as a lifestyle.

True, sometimes it can be nice. When you’re living in the present, you don’t worry about the future, and your past never haunts you. But, the trouble is, that’s a double-edged sword. The past is not a purely negative thing, and neither is the future. If your past never haunts you, all of a sudden everything you’ve learned and everything you’ve ever cared about just doesn’t matter. All the memories you most cherish are buried away, and you can’t learn from any of your mistakes because none of them are haunting you like they should. All your interests and passions crumble to dust because they’re tied to memories and past events, and since the future is kept firmly out of the picture you’re left with nothing to look forward to. Taking life “moment by moment” is, truthfully, a complete nightmare. And it’s really bizarre, because everyone’s always ranting about how great and wonderful it is to “live in the present”.

In fact, living in the present is contrary to the whole premise of living. Ideals, dreams, and goals are core to giving life meaning, and all those things require the future to exist. Not only that, but in order for anything to have any meaning in the first place, you have to have past experiences with them. It is the struggles you went through and the memories you formed that give value and significance to the world around you. Without the past, a wedding ring is just a ring, Thanksgiving is just an unusually nice meal, Christmas is just a day where you get presents, and your family are just nice people who you always seem to hang out with.

Living “moment by moment” is, at its core, a cheap and utterly false path to happiness. It’s like saying you’ll be truly happy if you just party all the time, or if you win the lottery and spend the rest of your life laying on the beach. You need the past in order to strive to be a better (and happier) person, no matter how painful and regretful it is, and you need the future so you can have something to hope and strive for. If you’ve got nowhere to look to and nothing to look back on, you’re truly nowhere.

Why People Want To Be Able To Turn Off Gore In Video Games

Okay, I can’t take it anymore. I’m sick and tired of people being so intolerant of those who do not like their games gory. All the time, across messageboards throughout the internet, I see people asking developers to add the option to turn off gore in their games, only to receive massive backlash from dozens of other players. Most of the time, these other players simply mock the original poster and tell them to go play another game, but sometimes they will list counterarguments about why they think gore should not be optional. At the heart of all these arguments, there is one simple question:

“It’s already a violent video game, why should it not have blood?”

This is usually followed up by statements such as, “If violence bothers you, don’t player violent games”, or even “I actually want more blood”, et cetera. Passing over the fact that the desire some players possess (note I say some, not most) to see human entrails explode is more than a little disturbing, the argument that one shouldn’t play violent video games if one doesn’t like blood is flawed.

This is simply because there is a difference between gore and violence.

Sure, gore is violent, but violence does not have to be gory. The real trouble is, a lot of people seem to be confused as to the nature of this distinction. Many often ask, “You’re already playing a game where you kill loads of people nonstop, why would blood bother you? Why would it make any difference?” And the truth is, it does make a difference. There is a very real reason why blood and gore bother people who are totally fine with violence in of itself. It’s the same reason why people can squash Goombas to death in Mario without a qualm and yet be greatly disturbed by things like Mortal Kombat or Battlefield.

To put it shortly, blood and gore symbolize pain. They remind players with a swift kick to the head the reality of the violence they’re committing, the reality of the pain they’re causing. They make players snap out of the fantasy of the game and see the full truth of the atrocities they’re creating in the virtual world they’re playing in. And this, frankly, just isn’t enjoyable, and it doesn’t help that the game itself almost always fails to recognize it. Personally, I feel like I could handle gore in video games a bit better if it was taken seriously—if the reality and the magnitude of the pain that was being caused was given justifiable drama and significance. But it’s not. Ninety-nine percent of the time, it’s treated as something of no importance at all, or else as the punchline of a sick, deranged sort of humour.

There are, of course, plenty of players who have long been desensitized to this swift kick to the head, or else consider it to be part of the experience—it certainly is realistic. But, it must not be forgotten there are also plenty of players who aren’t desensitized (or may even be incapable of becoming so). There are plenty of people who can’t look at blood shooting out of the body of some virtual character without feeling horror and revulsion and a sick feeling in the pit of their stomach. There are plenty of people to whom virtual pain is too real to be ignored, let alone enjoyed. Some people are just too empathetic and too imaginative to pass over it.

This is why people want to be able to turn off gore—because they’re empathetic. They simply aren’t (or can’t) be desensitized to blatant manifestations of pain. And I’m not saying this somehow makes them better than those who are desensitized, those who can handle gruesome displays of pain, just that that it makes them different. And differences, especially when they define whether or not someone can enjoy something, should be respected.

Why I Don’t Like The Ending Of Beauty and the Beast

A few weeks ago I happened to be in the room while Beauty in the Beast was playing. I’d never seen it before, and honestly I’ve never been really interested in it at all, but nonetheless I found myself watching it. Admittedly, when you’re sitting in a room with a big shiny screen it’s hard to look away. I walked in right around the time that dark-haired guy musters the villagers to go kill the Beast (you can tell I paid close attention to the characters’ names), and so I missed the majority of the film, but nevertheless I feel like I got the general idea.

Overall I think it was somewhat enjoyable, and I felt interested enough to want to know how it began, but the ending bugged me. Like, it bugged me a lot. I was sitting there, watching the happy ending come to its happy, glowing conclusion, enjoying the old-fashioned but nonetheless impressive animation (hand-drawn animation always impresses me), when suddenly something hit me.

The Beast turns back into a man at the end.

Now, like, I’m pretty sure I already knew this, but I’d never actually thought about it, and now that I saw it for myself it kind of struck me as going against everything the story meant. The whole point (or “moral”, if you will) of the tale is that you’re not supposed to judge by appearances—at least, that’s what I got from it. The hideous Beast in the scary castle turns out to be a really nice, sweet guy, the girl falls in love with him, and it’s all hunky-dory and lovely. But while the story makes a great point, it’s not actually brave enough to take it all the way. To provide the happy ending, the writers (or whoever authored the folk tale originally) felt obliged to make the Beast turn back into a Man. They couldn’t let the girl actually marry the Beast. They couldn’t let her live the rest of her life with a monster. And, to me, that just makes me feel like they chickened out. It shows that, while they’re trying to encourage audiences to not be prejudiced, they themselves are still too prejudiced to end the story without turning the Beast into a Man.

If monsters really did exist in the world, this movie would be flamingly speciesist.

And yes, I know the Beast was originally a Man and was transformed into a Beast by a curse of some kind or something of that nature. But, to me, that just seems even more chickenish. They couldn’t let the ugly, monstrous creature actually be an ugly, monstrous creature. They had to make him a Man deep down inside. And, while this does allow them to make their point more forcefully and more easily, it still sort of goes against what I feel like this story should stand for. Ultimately, while it shows why we shouldn’t judge by appearances, it isn’t brave enough to tell the tale of an actual real monster who’s actually good. It isn’t brave enough to say that actual monsters can actually be good guys. And, while there aren’t any real monsters in the world, there are plenty of people and groups who are villianized in the same sort of way, and I feel like a story that openly states a native member of a “monstrous” group can actually be good would be nice.

Maybe it’s just my recent fascination with ugly and monstrous characters (I have both a troll and a hideously deformed individual in the story I’m working on) that has driven me to feel this way, but I wanted to write this all the same. It’s my blog, after all, and it’s been really long since I’ve written anything.

—Skytrekker out.

TRANSMISSION

Oh, man, what can I say about this game? It’s one of those few, unique games that’re hard to exactly pin down in one sentence. It’s intrigued me very much, more than any game has since Planet Nomads and No Man’s Sky, I think. At any rate, it’s on Kickstarter and has a long way to go before it’s campaign is funded, so it could use some love.

Friends, let me introduce you to TRANSMISSION:

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TRANSMISSION is an open-world, exploration-based, story-driven, science-fiction game.  Or something along those lines—it’s a little difficult to put into words. In it, you crash land on a mysterious planet and must try to find a way home. Along the way, you “discover the planet’s secret past, and, ultimately, your own”, to paraphrase the developers’ description. It looks like it’s going to be an intriguing, emotive experience, and its visuals really emphasize this.

9a935a5707058731a2459ba0df237d54_original

I’ve never seen something quite like TRANSMISSION’s visuals. The game is from a sort of top-down perspective with camera angles that appear to vary depending on the area, almost like a 2D RPG but with a more 3D twist. It looks cell-shaded, like The Witness or The Chronicles of Valkyria, which I don’t think has ever been done from this kind of camera angle. It really does look rather like a painting in motion. The game even features breathtaking hand-painted cutscenes that help tell its story, like the one pictured below.

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The gameplay of TRANSMISSION seems to be very exploration-bent and somewhat RPG-ish, with fast-paced, challenging combat (the developers state “simply running into a fight will guarantee you perish swiftly”), crafting, puzzles, and interactive environments. It’s difficult to sum it up briefly without directly quoting what the developers have said, so I’d suggest heading over to its Kickstarter page and just reading that. Don’t forget to watch the trailer—it describes this game without words far better than I do with them. And, if you have the cash, definitely support it. I’d love to see it become a reality (in fact I may drop some of my limited funds on it myself), and it really needs some help to be able to hit its goal.

That’s all I have time to say today.

—Skytrekker out.

Retropunk

Most of the time on this blog I tend to talk about movies or occasionally video games or something of that nature. But today I wanna talk about something more general, something that could be used in any art form. Today I wanna talk about a genre, a genre which I think I may have invented. I’m calling it “Retropunk”.

Okay, so, first off, I kind of thought somebody would’ve already thought of this, and ten to one somebody already has. But, for all my searching, I can’t find anything quite like it. While there’s Solarpunk and Elfpunk and even Stitchpunk (whatever the heck that is), there doesn’t seem to be any Retropunk. But what, you ask, exactly is Retropunk?

Imagine the old, ridiculous, slightly dorky pulp magazine sci-fis of the ’30s and ’40s and ’50s. The shiny rockets and many-ringed rayguns. The landings on Jupiter and the Sun. All that sort of thing. Then, make it dark and gritty and dystopian. Instead of everything being utopian and shiny and chrome-plated, imagine it brooding and dark and grimy and noir-esque. Imagine more subdued colors instead of bright, flashy ones. But, at the same time, still use those same designs and aesthetics and ideas of rockets and rayguns and sun-landings.

That, my friend, is Retropunk.

It’s not dieselpunk, because it’s very strongly rooted in a more pulp-magazine-esque sci-fi. People don’t ride around in blimps—they ride rockets and hovercars. And they take their rockets to the surface of Saturn where they hang with absurd-looking (but nonetheless dystopian and punk-ish) aliens. And it’s not cyberpunk, because cyberpunk is all about invasive technology and doesn’t have much (if anything) to do with rockets or rayguns. And it’s not atompunk or Raygun Gothic per se, because it’s dirty and dystopian. Essentially, it’s all the aesthetics and designs of the perfect, fantastical future we once imagined, but without the actual perfect bit.

To finish off this unusual universe, add in some elements from the actual real-life ’30s and ’40s. Imagine a dystopian sci-fi universe like I’ve just describe where people dress similar to how people actually dressed in the ’30s and ’40s (but with a more sci-fi twist). Imagine a noir-esque detective stepping out of a grimy, rocketized version of a 1946 Chevrolet, stowing a raygun in the breast pocket of his jacket, and walking into a dark, dingy, bar-like, ’40s-esque diner with a sci-fi look to it.

I feel like Retropunk should pull from historical ’40s fashion because, first of all, you don’t really see very much sci-fi doing that, and I think it’s just part of the aesthetic (same with pulling from vehicles and such from that time period, if only a little bit). And, secondly and more importantly (to me, anyway), because I don’t feel like the common apparel in pulp-magazine sci-fis really works in Retropunk, no matter how punk you make it. From what I’ve seen (I’m no expert, though) a good deal of retro sci-fi used a lot of spotless uniforms and bathing-suits-in-space, and that’s just not how I envision Retropunk. That kind of thing is just a bit too zany and juvenile to work in the dystopia I’m envisioning. You can’t imagine a noir detective with a raygun boarding a grimy, punkified, bucket-of-bolts rocket in a spandex bathing suit. It just doesn’t work with the vibe at all. It’s the same reason people don’t walk around wearing top hats in Star Wars.

So that, in a nutshell, is Retropunk. I haven’t found anything exactly like it anywhere (though, again, it’s totally possible someone else already thought of it), but I think it’s a super awesome idea and it needs to happen. I want to see people do something with it. It’s kind of ambitious and far-fetched, but I want to see Retropunk art and stories and the like. So, please, whether you be a writer or an artist or a whatever, feel free to play with this idea. It’s a whole genre that’s completely unexplored. I would be ecstatic if even just one or two people took it and made something with it. Who knows, maybe someday it’ll have a brief little blippet on Wikipedia like elfpunk.

And, if you happen to know a brand of sci-fi that is exactly like what I just talked about, please, let me know. If someone’s already done this I totally want to see it.

That being said, thanks for reading, and go make Retropunk happen!

—Skytrekker out

Tentatively Titled…

As you may have noticed, I’m trying out a new name for this place. As I said at the end of my last post, the other one didn’t really fit anymore, and I felt like I needed something new, anyway. Admittedly, it’s not very specific, and I probably couldn’t use it because I doubt the address is available, but I still thought I’d try it out. It’s not permanent at this point, but I definitely like it.

I recently read the Hitchhiker series (maybe I oughta do a review for that) and absolutely loved it, so that’s obviously my inspiration for it. It feels quite fitting, honestly. If I could figure out a URL that goes with it that’s not taken, I may keep it.

Anyway, if you have any thoughts about the new title, feel free to leave ’em in the comments below. Until next time.

—Skytrekker out.

A Digital Card Game and a Note about the Future of this Blog

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted around here. I think I say that every time I write a post on here, but it’s true every time. I just don’t really tend to get ideas for things to talk about, especially since there’s no clear focus for this blog. But more on that later.

Right now, I do have something to talk about, and something that I think is pretty cool.  I’ve gotten really into video games over the past year or so, though I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here. I really should do just some kind of personal update post or something… Point is, I ran into a unique-looking indie game on the interwebs, and I thought I’d mention it here. It’s on Steam Greenlight, which means it needs votes to actually become a reality. Hence why I’m mentioning it.

Frost Logo

The game is called Frost. It’s a solo strategy card game that revolves around a Stone Age-esque tribe fleeing from an enormous storm known as the Frost. It’s inspired by deck-building card games such as Dominion and Ascension (the latter which I’ll admit I’ve never heard of). I really haven’t gotten into any card-based video games, but I’ve always been a fan of real-life ones and actually have tried to make a few in the past. So, naturally, the concept of this game interested me.

Though I’ll readily admit I know very little about the virtual card game genre (I’m not even sure if I’m calling it the right thing), Frost seems to be doing something different compared to most games of the same type. Most virtual card games (like Hearthstone or Magic: The Gathering Online) are multiplayer and very combat oriented, whereas Frost is singleplayer and focused on survival. From what I can tell, it seems to be about shuffling resources around and trying to use them to fill needs that come up and keep your tribe on the move. As in Dominion, you spend (or rather, temporarily discard) cards to obtain the right combinations of other cards. The more turns it takes you to do this, the closer the Frost gets. If you aren’t strategic enough, it’ll overtake you and your tribe will perish.

If you want to see some pre-alpha uber-early-development gameplay, you can watch the let’s play video that introduced me to the game. It’ll give you a much better idea of what it’s all about than this short blog post will. If Frost interests you and you’d like to see it become an actual game, I heartily encourage you to drop by the game’s Steam Greenlight page and upvote it. For those that have never used Greenlight before, just because you say you’d buy it doesn’t actually mean you have to buy it some time in the future. It’s just a way of expressing interest in the game, from what I understand. If you’re really interested in Frost, you can also download a demo from here. I’d personally wait till it comes out on Steam to buy it, though. It’s still in development, from what I understand, and itch.io isn’t exactly a major game distributor. I don’t think it’s untrustworthy or anything, but I personally have never used it.

That’s about all I have to say for Frost. I found it unique and intriguing, and I felt like it wouldn’t hurt to spread the word about it a little. I’ll take what ideas I can get when it comes to blog posts.


Speaking of which, there’s one more thing I wanna talk about before I go: the future of this blog. First and foremost, I think the title of this blog feels a little unfitting now. I never talk about my life, as I’m not really interested in doing that, I never talk about my strife, as that’s more depressing than anything else, and I don’t really talk about Legos, either. These days, I tend to talk about movies, video games, and other media and art. But not much more than that, frankly.

So I think I need a new name for this place. And not just because it’d make it feel more relevant. I think part of the reason I post so little here is because I don’t really know what to talk about. Just like in real-life conversations, I don’t know where to start or what to say. If this place was a little more specialized, a little more bent towards a certain subject, I think I’d post a lot more. At the same time, I still want this to remain my “general blog” where I can post pretty much anything I feel like posting, so I need a name that’s somewhat vague. Given my primary interest in media and art, though, it will probably have something to do with those subjects. In short, it’ll probably be more relevant than what I have now, but just as vague. Preferably vaguer.

If you have any ideas for a new name, feel free to leave ’em in the comments. It couldn’t hurt to have multiple opinions on the matter.  I personally haven’t given the subject a ton of thought, but I wanted to mention it here because, after I change the name, I’ll obviously want to change the URL as well, and that could make finding this place problematic for the few people that read it. I won’t change the URL before I make some kind of announcement about it, though. All the same, I wanted to give you all a head’s up.

The Long and Short of it: Zootopia

Welcome to The Long and Short of it, a new format for the movie reviews of Luke Skytrekker, where I give the long version if you have the time and the short version if you don’t.

Zootopia

Here’s the Short Version:

Zootopia is set in a modern, civilized universe inhabited entirely by animals. To put it bluntly, it’s an absolutely fantastic movie, and if you haven’t seen it get off you butt and go see it. Trust me, you won’t regret it. With a very fresh, interesting, and engaging plotline, an excellent satirical message, and overall masterful execution, it’s one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time. I literally walked away from the theatre inspired and thought-provoked, and I pretty much never do that with movies.

And now for The Long Version…

*Minor SPOILERS shall follow.*

This movie really is incredible, and I’m not saying that without reason. Pretty much everything in it is really well executed, from the mysteries and the plot twists to the jokes and the graphics. Personally, I believe it could very well end up becoming the next classic, though it’s always dangerous to say that sort of thing.

Zootopia_City_Full

As I said, Zootopia is set in a modern, technology-using society, very similar to ours (in some way more subtle than you’d think), with one major difference. Instead of humans building civilization, animals did. To quote one of the trailers, “Humans never happened.” The world of Zootopia is inhabited by anthropomorphic (“evolved”) animals, all living (more or less) in harmony. The epitome of this harmony is Zootopia, an awe-inspiring city inhabited by mammals of literally every kind (excluding humans and maybe a few obscurer ones like platypuses). The motley of different animals featured, as well as their interactions (and prejudices), play greatly into this film.

Unlike nearly all fictionalized universes inhabited by humanized animals, Zootopia’s world is tailored to suit animals, not the other way around. Instead of essentially sticking animal heads on human beings, civilization is built for animals and by animals. For example, the city of Zootopia is actually split into several sections (Rainforest District, Tundrawtown, Sahara Square, etc.), each with a different climate to provide different animals with their own preferred temperatures. Trains have multiple sets of doors for different sized animals, and there’s even a scene that shows off a part of the city that’s completely mouse-sized. The way they execute all this is actually very interesting and impressive, providing a very unique backdrop for the whole thing and a very interesting platform for the message.

In an age where many movies basically just tell you to “believe in yourself” and leave it at that, or simply throw messages to the wall and fall back on special effects, Zootopia really sticks out. It’s actually got a very deep and thought-provoking message, more deep than you’d expect for a kids’ movie these days. I don’t think this message isn’t heavy-handed—I didn’t feel like the film crammed it down my throat—but at the same time, it’s not something you’re going to miss. Essentially, I think it’s very balanced. And, additionally, it’s a message our world would do well to listen to, one that you might say is quite appropriate for “the times” (on a side note, it’s odd how often we use that phrase negatively). The movie actually satires modern social and political problems very well, as well as making some nods to the Godfather and Breaking Bad to boot. At its heart, Zootopia’s message is one of equality, unity, and that sort of thing. But it doesn’t try to say we’re all perfect, or that we can all do everything just as well as everybody else. It’s about how nobody’s perfect and everyone has limitations, and how nobody’s outright bad or evil just because they belong to a certain group or race or gender. It really has some good things to say about classism, racism, sexism, and the other isms that plague this world of ours. Now, some people think it made some mistakes in its allegory, such as making the minority group predatory animals. At one point in the movie, the prey-type animals end up considering the predators as biologically predisposed to aggression and killing. Of course, this doesn’t go down well with the predators, who are really quite nice guys (being “evolved”, as the movie states). Basically, this results in the animal equivalent of racial strife. The problem is, many real humans have taken this wrong, since, in our world, predators are kinda inherently and biologically predisposed to killing. So they walk away from the movie thinking that it’s actually racist, that it’s trying to imply minority groups are dangerous or something ridiculous like that. If you read other reviews, you’ll find plenty of people on the internet who’re mad about this. You have to realize though, that, in the universe of Zootopia, predators aren’t biologically predisposed to aggression. After all, they’re “evolved”. That’s kind of the whole point of the anthropomorphic animal thing.

Anyway, Zootopia does have a really good message, and, frankly, it gives it without being “preachy”. Despite having a really good point, this movie doesn’t feel like a sermon. It’s got well-developed characters and a full-fleged (fairly twisty) plot line, and isn’t just some kind of shallow means for the writers to express their views.

I’m not going to give a full breakdown of the plot line and such, as you could easily find that on wikipedia or anywhere else, but I will say that the plot was legitimately well done. I generally can see through plotlines fairly easily, but this one was twisty and well-written enough that it actually surprised me several times. The writers did a fabulous job taking things that seem like very small and minor details (the sort of thing you just dismiss when you see them) and tying them into the plot later on. Everything seemed to fit together and flow really well. Additionally, the movie’s choice of pacing was quite interesting. Instead of just going for the standard “slow-build-up-with-increasing-amounts-of-action-coming-down-to-a-low-point-that-turns-around-and-makes-a-happy-ending”, Zootopia took a more unique and unusual approach. Things go up and down several times, with multiple lowpoints and more than one moment where you’re wondering if they’re gonna play the “european-ending-tragedy” card.

And, of course, Zootopia is also freaking hilarious. The jokes aren’t just witty one-liners or offhanded quips, either—there are many scenes and interchanges that are just legitimately funny. From DMVs run by sloths to apartment neighbours who literally come right out and say “We’re loud. Don’t expect us to apologize.”, this movie really plays the comedy card well. It may be a family film, but the humour’s good enough for adults as well as kids to appreciate, in my opinion. Admittedly, that statement sounds a bit cheesy, but it’s true. This movie may have a deep message and all that, but it definitely doesn’t take itself too seriously (which may be why the message doesn’t feel harsh or clumsy in the first place).

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And, on a side note, I’d like to briefly mention just how stunning Zootopia’s graphics are. Disney’s always been on the cutting-edge side of things when it comes to computer animation, and it definitely shows with this film. Everything is the movie just looks fantastic. I may be a tad more excited about this than I should be, but as an amateur renderer I can really appreciate the kind of work put into this sort of thing.  It just looks so good.

Zootopia is also the only movie I’ve seen that integrates an original song into the plotline. The Lego Movie came close with “Everything is Awesome”, but frankly it doesn’t have much to do with the point of the movie (that, “everbody’s special”). Zootopia, on the other hand, with its very peppy and enjoyable “Try Everything”, actually features a song that relates to its plot and its message. The song talks about how, even if you are going to make mistakes, and if even you’re not perfect, you should try your best anyway. And the movie’s kind of about that. It’s about how nobody’s perfect, but nobody’s pure evil, either. And how, really, we should all try and get along.

And now for…

The Verdict: I think Zootopia is an absolutely great movie, well-deserving of its 99% score on Rotten Tomatoes (for those of you that don’t know, that high of a score is crazy unheard-of). I’m sure I haven’t done it justice in this article, so just go watch it. You aren’t going to regret it.