Duke Weaselton’s Officially Licensed Movies

Around eighty minutes into the magnificent Zootropolis, there’s a great moment where Lt. Judie Hops (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) follow a lead to solve their case. They wind up at a dodgy DVD stand manned by Duke Weaselton, voiced by the ever-entertaining Alan Tudyk.

That character is in itself a riff on his character in Frozen, the Duke of Weselton, but the jokes don’t stop there. His dodgy DVDs are all parodies on recent Disney movies, clearly having a pop at the endless rip-offs that flood the market every time a new Disney film is released.

The films include Pig Hero 6 (in place of Big Hero 6), Wrangled (a take on Tangled) and Wreck-It Rhino (Wreck-It Ralph).

They even then pan onto a second pile of DVDs and Weaselton brags that he has films that haven’t even been released yet. Those include Meowana, which is a take on the then-yet-to-be-released Moana that replaces the lead character with a cat. Giraffic, the second in the pile, is a Giraffe-themed parody of the upcoming Gigantic, which is a Jack and the Beanstalk tale due for release in 2020. Finally, Floatzen 2 is Frozen but with a moose and two otters in the lead roles, with a review attached underneath that reads “The best film of the year starring a moose and two otters.”

Digging even further, there are more hidden in the row above those in the centre of the screen. Most notable is what appears to be a sequel to Giraffic – a similar cover to the first film but with the tagline “AN INSTANT SEQUEL”. There are also alternative covers for Meowana, Wreck-It Rhino and a mystery film in the top left corner of the first screen (as above), which doesn’t match up with any of the other films but could be a draft poster for something like Ralph Breaks The Internet or one of the other upcoming projects.

Zootropolis is full of weird Easter Eggs and it’s certainly worth checking out again to try to pick them all up.

F For Fake (Orson Welles, 1973)

Orson Welles film F For Fake (also known as Fake or simply “?”) is a brilliantly bizarre piece of cinema that shows off the art of deception in storytelling. The purpose of the film isn’t to reveal a scandal, despite its superficial attempts to make the viewer think it’s a straightforward documentary. Rather, the ultimate goal is to tie us up in knots, frustrate us and lead us down as many blind alleys as possible in a relatively short running time (85 minutes for this version). In this respect the film is a glowing success and if you keep this in mind the whole thing is absolutely hilarious.

The purported premise of the film involves Welles revealing a huge visual art scandal involving professional forgery at the hands of Elmyr de Hory. A second man, hoax-biographer, reveals all in the role of hoax-biographer Clifford Irving, whilst Oja Kodar also appears in a few critical scenes.

The story it creates is almost believable but for the handful of telltale signs of fakery. The deliberate continuity errors throughout (see “practioners” and Don Amiche); the overuse of the phrases like “of course our story really starts with…”; the ridiculous conversational tone Welles uses when engaging the viewer (or disengaging them by ordering dinner halfway through a scene); swapping out Oja Kodar with her sister for one scene for no reason. There’s a lot going on besides this and I felt it was designed to deliberately deceive. I was on board. I got it. That it succeeds in this is indicative that the film was a huge success, though I’m fairly confident if I wasn’t aware it was itself a hoax I might have found the whole thing a little self-indulgent.

F For Fake is available on Masters of Cinema DVD only, but there are no plans to release it on Blu-Ray so you may as well go for that version.