Looking Back at ZOOTOPIA
by Nile Fortner
Disney has 80 years of experience making animated films, so saying that Disney has made another family film is not anything noteworthy. It is what we have come to expect. While best known for their musicals, princesses, and prince charming, Disney animation has been on a roll as of late with animated movies with a message. For instance, the Academy Award-winning Big Hero 6 and Wreck-It Ralph. However, Zootopia is not simply another fun Disney animated movie, it is one of the greatest Disney animated movies I have seen in the last ten years.
The Disney film Zootopia is set in a world where animals have evolved and now live much like humans do. The film centers on the rabbit with a big dream, the upbeat, lovable, Judy Hopps, voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin (Walk the Line, Once Upon a Time). Judy Hopps was a small town rabbit with dreams of being a respected and loved police officer, who moves to the city Zootopia. While Judy is indeed successful in becoming a cop, notably the first ever rabbit to do so, she is still overlooked by everyone, including Police Chief Bogo, voiced by Idris Elba (Pacific Rim, The Jungle Book) and assigned to parking duty.
However, Judy takes it upon herself to begin an investigation. A series of local disappearances, Judy needs the help of Nick Wilde, voiced by Jason Bateman (Horrible Bosses, Game Night), a con artist fox she had previously met. With her job on the line, the two begin to discover the disappearances in Zootopia are tied into a conspiracy and a cover-up involving some locals.
From a technical standpoint, Zootopia is top notch. The animation is gorgeous, and all of the animals look spectacular. Each creature looks alive, real, and emotional on screen. Action scenes are fun, exciting, and a joy to watch. I have not seen Disney create great-animated action sequences like this since Toy Story 2. The action scenes will have you gasping, on the edge of your seat, and invested in the moment.
The world is so colorful, bold, and a world you actually want to invest in. Accordingly, the voice cast works well. In addition to Ginnifer Goodwin and Jason Bateman, we get the talents of J.K. Simmons (Whiplash, Justice League), Idris Elba, and musical artist Shakira.
The story is so much more than just a typical buddy cop film, between a fox and a rabbit. The film is clever and has great inside reference jokes. There are a lot of jokes for adults that will go way over kids’ head, references to The Godfather, the DMV, and Breaking Bad, for instance.
There’s plenty for younger audiences to laugh at too, and it all comes wrapped in great messages about courage, empathy, tolerance, teamwork, and the dangers of reducing others to stereotypes. I know this is a kid’s movie, and this may not be politically correct, but this movie tackles the subjects of race, stereotypes, relations, profiling, discrimination, and bullying in a kids flick.
Everyone can connect to this movie, and that what makes it beautiful. You can view it multiple times, and still learn something new. Something new about yourself, something new about society, some new jokes, overall something amazing every time for kids and adults. My only complaint about this film is, for a kid’s movie, it is a little lengthy. Also, I am not sure if kids will understand the entire message.
It is clever and heartwarming. It has vibrant visuals, an amazing storyline, and a message for the world, a message that we as a society cannot fully grasp, but an animated movie helps us along the way. This is why I like movies. They teach, inspire, and make us connected. Also, Shakira plays a singing pop star Gazelle in the movie. I thought I would never say this, but that was a sexy gazelle! I believe Zooptopia earns a…
4.5 out of 5 Hairpieces!