Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Zilla and Zoe (2017) Portland 2017

ZILLA AND ZOE has the potential to become a classic family film. While it can be occasionally too shticky, the film has a wonderful heart, some charming characters and lovely off kilter sense of reality.

The plot of the film has nine year old Zoe getting in trouble at school and with her dad. It seems that her need to make gory horror films is causing all sorts of trouble with everyone. Things become complicated when her older sister comes home and announces that she is going to be getting married – just as Zoe finds out that there is horror film contest with short deadline.

I’ve seen Zilla and Zoe twice now and I like it a great deal. There is a definite off Hollywood heart that beats in its chest that makes it something unique and special.

First of the delights is Aida Valentine as Zoe. She is perfect on target as the horror film obsessed heroine who can’t understand why no appreciates her ghoulish delights such as a Halloween costume that involves being scalped. Having been a nine year old obsessive monster movie filmmaker I completely understood exactly what she was going through.

I love that the portrait of the family isn’t your typical one. Zoe and Zilla’s dad is a single one and he has custody rather than the mom (in Hollywood they probably would have killed off the mom). Zilla’s fiancĂ© is another woman, and while there is some discussion of her dating men, everyone just takes it in stride and goes with it. It’s something I don’t think Hollywood have approached, just yet, in a family film. I love that everyone seems to like each other in a way that isn’t TV show saccharine.

What I don’t like about the film, and which really bothered me on the second time through, was that Zoe and Zilla’s dad is written, unlike everyone else, to be crazed sitcom dad. In a constant state of panic, he struggles to keep his children’s lives under control. There doesn’t seem to be aside of him that doesn’t have him on the verge of apoplexy. When I saw the film the first time I thought it was the performance but on the second time through I realized that it was the way the role was written. I’m reasonably certain of this because the dad doesn’t have much to do beyond react.

I suspect that if the right people, and lots of kids, can see it the film will become a classic. While I am not of the right age for the film to hold the film in that high esteem, I do think this is a super film. It is a perfect antidote to Hollywood’s idea of wholesome entertainment.


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