Director: Byron Howard, Rich Moore & Jared Bush (2016)

Spring an Easter surprise on your kids with this arresting animated tale of a crime busting bunny.

It’s a joyously bright eyed and bushy tailed adventure with a Disney heroine quite like no other.

Gone are the doll figured fairytale Princesss of old and replaced with a smart, sharp and agile doe who’s easily the equal to any buck. Or any other creature.

A small town rabbit with big time dreams, Judy Hopps goes against her cautious parents advice and enrols at Police academy before heading off to the soaring skyscrapers of Zootropolis.

It’s where animals of every stripe and hue live in mostly civilised harmony with none of that anti social eating of each other.

When Hopps’ reluctant chief gives her forty eight hours to crack the case of a missing Otter, it leads to the discovery of a plot to unleash the animal nature of every predator in the city.

She teams up with Nick Wilde, a streetwise Fox who opens her eyes to the challenges of living and working in the big city.

Far from being the dumb cute bunny she’s patronised as, Hopps is brave, hard working, and determined to be the best.

Ginnifer Goodwin and Jason Bateman are inspired casting and bring sparky humour, chemistry and the slightest hint of romance.

Idris Elba plays Chief Bogo, the buffalo chief of Police and offers a brilliantly concise and funny critique of Disney’s irritating mega smash Frozen.

J.K. Simmons plays the Lionheart the Mayor and singer Shakira is Gazelle, a famous beauty and singer of forgettable songs.

Being filled with charming invention make the laboured riffs on The Godfather and TV’s Breaking Bad all the more disappointing.

The script twists time and scale to comic effect and there’s a blue flower nod to the work of Philip K. Dick, which may well be a first for a mouse house movie.

Of course underpinning all the fun is a typical Disney message of universal tolerance and understanding, but don’t let that stop you having a thumper of a good time.

Kung Fu Panda 3

Director: Jennifer Yuh Nelson & Alessandro Carloni (2016)

It’s re-enter the dragon warrior as martial arts most portly practitioner returns in his third animated action adventure.

Drawn on a spectacular epic canvas it combines a light hearted tone with a serious message about responsibility, family and achieving one’s potential.

There’s plenty of silly slapstick but no major laughs, relying heavily on the exuberance of Jack Black as Po, the reluctant hero panda of the title.

At home in the Valley of Peace, Po is reunited with Li Shan, his long lost biological dad, played by Bryan Cranston.

J.K. Simmons voices Kai, a giant ox like supreme warlord who’s returned from the spirit world and intent on stealing the everyone’s life force.

With his friends incapacitated, Po the former pupil must become a master and train up some wannabe karate kids to help defeat Kai.

If you enjoyed the first two then this will definitely err, panda to your taste.




Terminator Genisys

Director: Alan Taylor (2015)

The psychotic cyborg franchise suffers a serious metal fatigue as it clanks into gear for a fifth time.

Despite a sprightly comedy turn by Arnold Schwarzenegger, it’s a dull and stupid sci-fi clunker with a confused script, curious casting, a jokey tone and variable CGI.

It’s little more than a rusty collection of old parts bashed together in a wreckers yard and re-tooled as a generic family friendly action movie.

In 2029, the leader of the resistance John Connor (Jason Clarke), leads the war against the machines and the Skynet operating system.

Skynet sends a Terminator (Schwarzenegger) to the year 1984 to kill John’s mother Sarah (Emilia Clarke). So John sends his trusted lieutenant Kyle Reese (Jai Courtney) back in time to protect her.

What follows is a time-hopping mess full of routine action scenes devoid of character worthy of our interest.

It ends up in 2017 where the good guys have to save the future of mankind by attempting to unplug an app called genisys. That’s right, the big bad is an app.

The app is played by former Dr Who Matt Smith and it’s appearance and manner will seem familiar to anyone who remembers The Red Queen in Resident Evil (2002).

Because quantum nexus nonsense something, there are multiple versions of Terminators, explosions, cheap laughs and no chemistry between the romantic leads.

Emilia Clarke has the  unenviable task of replacing Linda Hamilton as Sarah Conner. She lacks the ripped intensity, plays her part like a stroppy teen and isn’t given any opportunity to suggest she can carry a major movie.

Famous for her frequent nudity in the TV series Games of Thrones, fans of the show may be disappointed she is always fully dressed.

Courtney was in the most recent and most terrible entry in the Die Hard franchise, A Good Day To Die Hard (2013). Here he’s awful: bland, smug and possessing less range and vitality than the robots.

Never more human than when he’s playing a robot, Schwarzenegger plays his once menacing character for broad, kiddie-friendly laughs.

It’s a vaudeville grandfather performance and I expected him to start handing out Wether’s Originals and pulling out silver pennies from behind a small child’s ears.

J.K. Simmons plays a bald cop, replacing Lance Henriksen who played a bald cop in the original film.

We see the Golden Gate Bridge destroyed in a tsunami of pixels. That’s not something I’ve seen in the cinema since Dwayne Johnson’s disaster movie San Andreas (2015) appeared last month.

Where the first two films arrogantly smashed their way into cinemas, this shuffles on with an apologetic air and tries to pander to the audience. And no-one likes a needy and pathetic kiss ass.

The Terminator (1984) was a ferocious sci-fi thriller and Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) was an SFX action spectacular.

Officially referred to as a reset not a reboot or a sequel, this film ejects Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003) and Terminator Salvation (2009) form the canon. There was also a TV spin off show.

Both benefitted from James Cameron’s extraordinary storytelling but we have no such master-craftsman here. At one point the director is really confused and riffs on Cameron’s navy SEALs in space shoot ’em up Aliens (1986).

There’s lots of humour but little that’s funny, just a lot of knowing winks to the first film which may confuse anyone not familiar with the first film, made thirty years ago.

Skeletal robots are frequently walking out of exploding walls of fire.

Lines cherished in geekdom such as ‘I’ll be back’ and ‘Come with me if you want to live’ are delivered and followed by a pregnant pause, presumably for the audience to register and laugh.

But if this is your first Terminator film, it will be just a weirdly delivered line of no particular relevance.

It all makes little sense and by halfway through I didn’t care if the machines and Skynet won.