Weekly Review: Zootopia (2016)

In a world where animals have evolved past their biological instincts, there is a city called Zootopia, where predators and prey can live together and be whatever they want to be… theoretically.

I’d been hearing pretty rave reviews about Zootopia ever since it was in theaters. I had to wait to see the film until after it had been released on Blu-Ray, but it definitely lived up to my expectations. This recent work from Disney Animation Studios is full of good messages for children and adults, while having social commentary about stereotypes that translate to current race relations and politics.

To put it in simple terms, Zootopia is a good time for all ages. It’s bouncy enough to keep the kids entertained, but it has that buddy cop feel that the older generations will like. The animation is pretty great, as it kind of harkens back to the animation trope of animals behaving as humans do. It stands apart from a lot of the more recent Disney films, and I definitely think this is a good thing. Plus, I loved the sloths.

Screen Shot 2016-07-05 at 1.35.58 PM

The main character, Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin), is a good role model. Just as the movie stands out from other Disney films, Judy Hopps does as a character as well. Similar to Tiana from Princess and the Frog and Merida from Brave, Judy isn’t focused on romance. Rather, she is determined to achieve her goal of becoming a Zootopia cop. Since her childhood, Judy has wanted to protect her friends and neighbors, standing up to and taking a beating from bullies in the process.

When Judy arrives in Zootopia, she soon finds that “real life’s a bit more complicated than a slogan on a bumper sticker,” and she has to adjust her world view while not giving up on her dream. It’s a taste of reality in an otherwise fantastical movie. I thought it was really interesting how they incorporated this while still following the Disney mold.

The other main character in Zootopia is Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman in probably my favorite recent role for him). Despite getting off to a rocky start with Judy, the two of them eventually come to have a good relationship as friends and partners. Their relationship puts a focus on one of the main conflicts of the film, predators vs. prey. Judy Hopps is a bunny, and Nick Wilde is a fox.

There are a bunch of other interesting characters as well. I mentioned the sloths earlier. The gag with the sloths is that they move incredibly slow, and this contrasts well with Judy’s fast rabbit ways. I quite enjoyed Chief Bogo, played by Idris Elba. The mayor of Zootopia is a lion played by JK Simmons. There are references to other Disney films and films that the adults will pick up on. It’s a good time.

In addition to the relevant social commentary, Zootopia is also a great mystery. I really enjoyed it. It’s got nice twists and turns, and it’s fun to try to guess what you think is going to happen. I know I did, and I was wrong. For those who know me, that means it’s a pretty decent twist.

The animation is great. The voice acting is awesome. It’s got amazing reviews online, sitting with a 98% on Rotten Tomatoes. I definitely recommend this one for all ages. It’s a good time.

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