To see a review of an animated motion picture here is unusual to say the least. However I recently watched the much raved about Disney Studios film, Zootopia and as I couldn’t resist an opportunity to chat it up, today’s review is born.
Zootopia (2016) Disney Review
Being anything you want is Judy Hopp’s motto. She believes no matter your size with a little moxy and determination, you can be anything. This is why, despite her family history as carrot farmers, Judy (voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin) let’s nothing deter her from the police academy. She wants to help people, and being a cop is the best way she knows to do this. Graduating at the top of her class, Judy becomes the first rabbit to wear a badge, and with an idealistic attitude, she leaves for the great unknown: Zootopia.
The large metropolitan world of Zootopia isn’t kind to Judy. Her excitement quickly deflates when her boss belittles her, and assigns her to parking duty. Eventually two things happen that change Judy’s life. First she meets Nick (voiced by Jason Bateman), a fox who is all about the “hustle” and second, she stumbles onto a kidnapping case with grave ramifications.
No matter your personal feelings on Disney’s conglomerate, one thing they do well is the business of movie magic. This recent gem is no different. Zootopia is the kind of film that’s a delight from opening credits to closing titles. Its target age may be the younger crowd although I was anything except bored during its colorful 90+ minutes. The adorableness makes me giggle before ten minutes were gone. This said, there are some “issues” I would argue with it about.
Unfortunately, the writer’s push their PC agenda overmuch. Politics weave into the script which for me, lessens what otherwise might be the perfect animated film. As a viewer, I understand this is the story’s message however it comes across as “too much,” and therefore lacks being endearing or resonates (I think I’m 100% more of a “less is more” kind of viewer). Let me be clear, I don’t disagree with the smaller scope of this film’s message. What I do disagree with is the way in which they try to impress it upon society. Explaining it more thoroughly might not be something I have the words for, so I’ll leave it at that.
Beyond these complaints, minor though they are in comparison to the larger picture, Zootopia is 100% pure sunshine. I loved its characters, its whodunit mystery and the sleuthing that results from this as well as the entire look of the film (one of my favorite scenes involves Judy riding the subway into Zootopia). It goes from sweet and innocent child-like to intelligent storytelling that somehow remains charming in its innocent bubble of joy. The vocal talents are wonderful and also include Bonnie Hunt, Jenny Slate, Idris Elba, and cameos from Kristen Bell and Josh Dallas (Ginnifer’s husband). Plus its theme song (recorded by Shakira) is a toe-tapping delight that’s a story onto itself.
The comedy of is brilliant. I like the tongue-in-cheek fragments, the nuances which are here for the delight of adults (though the humor isn’t tawdry). I love Judy’s optimism and her willingness to do whatever it takes to right a wrong. The strong (and playful) friendship between its lead characters is also endearing. At the end of the day if an animated film is your jam, this darling film is something you shouldn’t miss experiencing. Zootopia is quite surprisingly a spot of magic in its own way.
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You can find Zootopia digitally on Amazon Video
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Content: There’s a bit of innuendo in the script including an instance when Judy is embarrassed to discover her investigation takes her to a nude society. (The scene depicts animals of varying size and species “in the nude.”) The film earns a PG rating.