Saturday, March 5, 2016

Zootopia Review

The mind of a child is both beautiful and terrifyingly fragile. If someone so young and so easily influenced is taught to hate by the very people they look up to, the ignorance of blind prejudice will continue onto a new generation. I have seen it happening in front of my eyes and it makes me so sad. It's not okay and it doesn't have to be this way. 

Bravo to Disney Animation for releasing a new film that brilliantly balances being energetic and delightfully clever with delivering an allegory that should resonate and matter to everyone, regardless of their age, race or gender. Everything in Zootopia is so carefully calculated to entertain but also make a social statement about the ills of society and how wonderful our world could be if opened our minds and our hearts to those who look or love differently than what we perceive as "normal". The main character is a rural raised bunny named Judy Hopps who is told to limit her expectations and settle for less than her dreams because as a small female bunny, the limit falls far short of the sky. She is taught early that a fox is to be feared and never trusted, and this prejudice is backed up by a bad apple that bullies her both verbally and physically. She carries this bias and literally the weapons she needs to protect herself from a fox after she earns the job she always wanted, a position as a police officer in the city of Zootopia. 

The world building of the city is phenomenal, with each section of it gorgeous and vividly detailed in ways that likely can't be fully appreciated with one viewing. The characters are fun and interesting and the voice casting of these roles is spot on, with Ginnifer Goodwin playing the lead role and Jason Bateman along side as the fox Nick Wilde doing outstanding work in terms of comedic timing and the right amount of nuance to help carry a story with a surprising amount of depth. Some of the thematic material is delivered with subtlety but some is pretty on the nose, but either way it all feels important and portrayed with heart and decency which should be greatly admired. 

If all you want to do is appreciate what is there on the surface, you will not be disappointed by Zootopia. It's fast paced and so funny, an animated crime caper noir that knows how to appeal to any viewer of any age. If you like your cinema with a bit more meat on the bones, something deeper to chew on, Zootopia may not reach the ingenious height of intelligence displayed by Pixar's Inside Out a year ago, but it isn't far off either. This is a film that taps into the zeitgeist in a way that almost feels improbable, like they must have wrote it yesterday to deliver a message of hope and kindness and optimism in a world that is fueled by so much anger and pain.

Zootopia is a great piece of entertainment that carries an even better social message with it. It's only March, but the front runner for Best Animated Feature at the 2017 Oscars has arrived.



  1. Talking oscars already is pretty big of you. Personally, based only on the trailers, I think this year's animated section will be stacked. Zootopia, Finding Dory, Kubo and the two strings, The Little Prince, and possibly Only Yesterday.

    As for Zootopia I really liked it. It took its audience very seriously and treated us as adults which really surprised me. And as I'm thinking about this film over and over in my head I'm starting to wonder if adults would take away more from this film than kids.

    1. It is a stacked year for sure, and I guess saying a front runner already might be a bit strong, but typically when an animated film receives this kind of critical acclaim AND is a product of Disney, it's hard to beat. If we get even better animation this year, I will be thrilled.

      Kubo and the Two Strings, specifically, has my attention. Hoping that one is great.

      Adults will absolutely get more out of the film, or at least should. I'm sure some will be close minded to the message and not want to elaborate with their kids.