Tag Archives: film

A Zootopia Review (by a furry) (no spoilers)

Well, Zootopia has been in theatres since the 18th here in Italy, and being the usual party animal that I am, I finally went to see it with my posse of friends. I’m lying, of course – nobody I know in real life is interested in anthropomorphic animals, so I took advantage of a two-hour break from university and attended a midday showing in a cinema with just six other people. Oddly, mostly males around college age. So if you want a furry’s opinion on it, here we go.

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Of Horses and Men

Of Horses and Men is a 2013 Icelandic film (Hross í oss). The English subtitled version is widely available for streaming, or as a cheap DVD in all the usual places.

Of Horses and Men

It’s a strange film. It opens with a man saddling his mare, and it’s clear from the interactions between man and horse that their relationship is new. The saddling is shot and edited as a seduction: the man is intent on going for a ride, but first he must gain her trust, and she must submit to him.

The subtext running through the film is simple enough: that humans and horses are both animals, slave to our animal desires, whatever they may be. We’re all dumb and self-destructive; we bring misery upon ourselves because we are unable to transcend our very simple animalistic instincts.

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Zootopia and Hype

At the time of writing, I have just seen somebody posting a picture of a Nick Wilde (the fox from Zootopia) plush they have bought. This is not an uncommon sight in the fandom, at least for those following the furry side of social media. It’s a curious purchase, because the plush was sold based only on marketing.

The Nick Wilde plush exists only in relationship to what is, currently, a promised other product. To me, merchandise comes after the fact, not before. What I mean by this is the following: Merchandise is something you buy having already read the book, watched the film, played the game, etc. Merchandise is, in theory, meant to be a form of memorabilia, and supports the creation of something you’ve enjoyed. Note the past tense of enjoyed. It’s not something bought on the idea of going to enjoy it. And that going to enjoy as opposed to have already enjoyed is my concern with Zootopia (known as Zootropolis in some countries).

People are already buying merchandise for a film they have never seen, and spending money on representations of things they have not yet experienced.

You may ask, “Well, what’s the problem with this? People are free to spend their money on what they wish? Why does it matter?”

That question deserves an answer.

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Zootropolis and the Modern Furry Aesthetic

Zootropolis (known as Zootopia in some countries) is an upcoming Disney film, led by the creative team behind modern fairytales such as Tangled and Wreck-It Ralph. It’s caused no small amount of excitement within furry, not least because of its embrace of the term “anthropomorphic”.

In furry circles, Zootropolis has few points of comparison. A similar buzz was created following the announcement of a 2004 Simpsonsesque comedy series called Father of the Pride, although in that case any excitement died quickly. While it’s reasonable to guess that Zootropolis will fare better than Father, both have something that makes them stand out—to furries—in a crowd of animated anthropomorphics.

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Aside: The Lobster

In an alternate version of our world, singledom is outlawed. Single people are transported to a hotel and must find their soulmate in 45 days or be transformed into a wild animal of their choice.

This is the premise behind The Lobster, a film starring Colin Farrell, just released in the UK. Farrell’s unnamed character chooses to be transformed into a lobster should he fail to find a partner, because lobsters live for over 100 years and are sexually active the entire time (also, he likes the sea).

I saw The Lobster last Saturday with every intention of writing about it for [adjective][species]. That I’m writing this aside, rather than a full article, should tell you that something went wrong.

I enjoyed The Lobster, however the animal transformation aspects are so minor as to be irrelevant. The film is really about the social pressures on the single, and the selfish, self-destructive ways we approach relationships with other people. It’s a truly absurd film, but also sad and funny and pessimistic.

The only animal character of note is the (post-transformation) brother of Farrell’s character. He is a border collie, and he dies in an unpleasant fashion about halfway through the film. There is also a horse who gets shot to death in the opening seconds, the victim of an apparently calculated jealous act. And that’s pretty much it, although various exotic animals pop up in the background as a recurring sight gag.

It’d be a stretch, even for me, to write 1000-plus words on a film that’s largely irrelevant to the [adjective][species] mission. This is really just a PSA for those thinking of seeing The Lobster: it’s bonkers, but not furry.

An Interview with Paper Bag Filmmaker JB Gaudet

Last week [adjective][species] featured Paper Bag, a short film exploring the furry condition. It is an autobiographical documentary (of sorts), made by and starring Jean-Baptiste Gaudet, aka Panda Man.

I interviewed JB about Paper Bag, talking about the structure and content of the film, his relationship with Panda Man, and—of course—the contents of the paper bag itself.

We also have a short one-page comic to share, that acts as a companion piece to Paper Bag:

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Frivolous Animal Penises

Sex and Zen, released in 1991, is a totally ludicrous slice of Hong Kong cinema cheese, and something that deserves a wide furry audience.

Sex and Zen DVD cover

The plot is simple enough: a moderately-endowed scholar has his member surgically replaced with a horse penis. He then proceeds to explore the benefits of his improved appendage by sleeping with a series of women, some of whom are married to other men. One of the cuckolded husbands seeks revenge by seducing the scholar’s wife.

And that’s basically it. It is incredibly silly and immensely entertaining.

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Furry Leadership: A Business Fable from the Movie “Happy Feet”

A Phenomenological Reflection

Guest Post by Alex Schluter MATPhilo MPhil (@boserwolfs). Alex took up AB Philosophy, Cum Laude, in Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona Spain; his Master of Arts in Teaching Philosophy at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium; and his Advanced Master in Philosophy Major in Continental Philosophy, specializing in Phenomenology at the same University. He can also sing and dance.

Open your eyes to the potential of leadership. As you understand leadership with a “little l”, you see there are small things each of us can do every day to positively influence our customers, colleagues, friends, and communities. True leadership isn’t about power over people; it is about power with people. “Leader” is defined as “one who organizes a group of people to achieve a common goal,” how true that is!
You Don’t Need A Title to Be A Leader: How Anyone, Anywhere, Can Make a Positive Difference, by Mark Sanborn

 

There is no question that we idealize leaders. When you are asked to define leadership, do you visualize “great” leaders or front-line supervisors? We seem to need leaders to be larger-than-life figures, people we can admire and look up to, just as we did our parents, particularly our fathers. Indeed it is arguable that the stereotypical leader is a substitute father-figure.

It is no surprise that we expect leaders to look after us, be nice to us, pay attention to our needs and inspire us with visions of glory. We all have dreams of a bright future, and we look to leaders to help us realize our dreams.

But isn’t it dis-empowering to depend so much on one person? Have we not outgrown our need to depend on our parents or their substitutes? Can we not find our own way and show leadership ourselves? Happy Feet shows us a way.

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