“ Zootopia” (2016)
All her life, Judy Hopps (Gennifer Goodwin) has wanted to make a difference. We see when she puts on a school play that she not only has the flair for the dramatic, she feels that it’s her destiny to leave the country life and go to the big city of Zootopia where all the animals live in peace, peace that has lasted for generations. While at a county fair, Judy sees some smaller animals being bullied by some bigger ones, including a mouthy Fox. She stands up to the gang and while a little worse for wear, survives to see another day.
Judy, against the advice of her parents (Bonnie Hunt, Don Lake), decides to enroll in the police academy. After a rocky start, and with determination and fortitude, Judy not only graduates but is at the top of her class. Her parents are convinced that she will get hurt in the big city, but Judy is convinced that not only can she survive in the big city, she can also make a difference in her fellow animal’s lives.
Judy makes it to the beautiful Zootopia and rents a shabby little room that she proclaims is the best. Unfortunately, her first day on the job as a police officer isn’t as perfect as she would like. Even though there is a rash of mysterious animal disappearances throughout the city, Officer Hopps is assigned the job of giving out parking tickets. Hopps is determined to be the best parking ticket officer on the force and sets out to set a parking ticket record. Will the big city crush her dreams of making a difference or with the help of con-artist fox named Nick Wilde(Jason Bateman), can she find out what is happening to all the animals that are missing?
“Zootopia” is a magical movie that combines the beautiful animation Disney is famous for with a hilarious script that has some serious undertones containing a great message we can all use. While never spelling it out, it’s about as direct approach on the subjects of racism and profiling as you can get. The message never hits you over the head, and the reasons learned are never fully spelled out to the audience, but the message comes over loud and clear. As Officer Hopps spends more time in Zootopia, she discovers that the city isn’t necessarily the paradise that she thought it was. In fact, the city is starting to fall apart at the seams as a divide develps between the animals that used to be the predators and the majority of the animals in Zootopia that used to be prey. It’s a theme that runs throughout the film, using the sometimes naive Officer Hopps to explore the complexities of discrimination and prejudices.
Part buddy film, part mystery “Zootopia” uses humor at every turn to keep the movie moving at a rather quick pace. There are so many funny lines and rapid asides, making fun of past Disney films (including one about a “frozen” girl) that you may have to see the movie several times before getting all the jokes. Equally, there is so much happening on the screen that it sometimes almost becomes overwhelming to try and soak it all in. Disney has created a lush, complex city, filled with engaging buildings and even more entertaining residents. Some of my favorites are Chief Bogo (Idris Elba), a gruff water buffalo who thinks Hopps is to small and weak to be a good officer, Bellwether (Jenny Slate) a sheep who is the deputy mayor of the city and is convinced that Officer Hopps is exactly what the city needs, Gazelle (Shakira), a pop singer with tigers as backup dancers, and Yax (Tommy Chong), a Yak that spends a little too much time meditating and not enough time in the real world.
The film works due to its humor and the incredible chemistry between Gennifer Goodwin, who has just the right tone for the excitable Officer Judy Hopps and Jason Bateman, who gives Nick Wilde, the cagy con-artist fox, just the perfect amount of sarcasm and coolness. Their scenes together are the highlight of the film, as their characters learn to work with each other, as they engage each other with a rapid give and take dialogue is fun to see develop.
“Zootopia” is a little long and very young children may get a bit scared at a few scenes of animals acting ferocious, but this is one film that everyone is going to enjoy. And, the DMV scene with the sloths that is teased in the trailer will have you rolling in the aisles with laughter. My Rating: Full Price
My movie rating system from Best to Worst: 1). I Would Pay to See it Again 2). Full Price 3). Bargain Matinee 4). Cable 5). You Would Have to Pay Me to See it Again
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