Chris Kavan's Movie Review of Zootopia

Rating of


An Exceptional Anthropomorphic Adventue
Chris Kavan - wrote on 06/15/16

I feel an animated film's true worth is how it appeals to the audience - both children and adults. If you go too far for children, adults get bored (and maybe some kids too) and while there are plenty of animated films that are more serious - obviously you can't take the whole family out. Zootopia finds that balance between being entertaining for the kids while also providing plenty for adults to like and, besides that, it has a great message to share.

Anthropomorphic characters are always kind of tricky and in these days of CG over traditional animation, I would say even more so. Zootopia takes on that challenge and delivers some very memorable and unique characters. You have the main duo of Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) the never-give-up bunny cop and Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) the sly fox who lives up to his name but would rather be so much more. They make a great contrast yet work together so well. But even smaller characters are just so perfect from Tommy Chong's fly-infested laid-back Yak to Raymond S. Persi's slow-talking Flash - a sloth who works at the DMV (along with a cameo voice from Kristen Bell - another sloth). Even Shakira gets in the mood providing the main song "Try Everything" as the dazzling Gazelle. Character-wise, this has to be one of the most inventive and truly impressive that Pixar has put together yet.

The story is also quite relevant to today. As Hopps, a small rabbit, finds herself persevering through training and becoming the first bunny police officer in the metropolis of Zootopia. Of course, her fellow officers hardly take her seriously with Chief Bogo (a water buffalo voiced by Idris Elba) essentially assigning her to parking duty. But this meter maid isn't about to give up on her dream, which soon leads her to defend a fox, of all creatures, against discrimination. That would be our man Wilde who, she shortly finds out, isn't exactly a forthright fellow. But the real meat of the story comes when a series of missing mammals puts her on the case of one Emmett Otter - and if she doesn't figure out what happened to him in 48 hours, she will resign. But she won't go alone and soon recruits the one person who just happened to be on the scene before he went missing - that's right, our Wilde fox. The two go on a mission to find the otter and uncover a much more sinister plan in the process.

The underlining plot is really about coming together - something we really need this day and age. Sure, the film may talk about "Predator and Prey" but you may as well say "Black or White" or "Muslim and Christian". The point is - Zootopia makes it clear that it's not a perfect world but that maybe, if people like a rabbit and a fox can come together - things can get just a little better. Plus, the message isn't driven home with a sledgehammer - it actually fits quite well within the context of the movie and feels quite natural by extension.

The color is vibrant, the voice acting is superb, the story is slick and, one more thing, adults will love the references. The Godfather, Breaking Bad and the little background things (like Hopps' phone having a carrot with bite taken out instead of an apple) - it's a fun movie all around to try to see what you can pick up on while the children are having a good time as well. I like it when films give adults as much incentive to pay attention as the kids and on that, Zootopia succeeds.

While the film follow a definite standard formula for the hero's journey (that pretty much all films follow it seems), and is a bit predictable in the end, all in all, this is a great animated film for children and adults, boys and girls of all ages, families, date night - whatever. You're going to have a good time and there is a reason this hit $1 billion world-wide - because it's that good.

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