Disney’s Zootopia introduces us to an evolved Eden where animal species — predators and prey — live in a melting pot in a modern mammal metropolis.
Little rabbit Judy Hopps (voice of Ginnifer Goodwin) dreams of being the first bunny to be a police officer. As a youngster she’s determined to defeat the stereotypes of her kind — country-bunny bumpkins who spend their lives farming carrots. Early on, she’s challenged by her natural enemy, a bully fox. She perseveres and manages to graduate at the top of her class at the Police Academy.
For Judy, Zootopia promises a world where no matter what you are, from the biggest elephant to the smallest shrew, you can be anything.
Once she’s assigned to the Zootopia Police Department, she finds out quickly that life is not all kumbaya for a rookie bunny cop. Police Chief (voice of Idris Elba) assigns her to parking-ticket duty. Judy pleads: “Sir, I’m not just some token bunny.”
Life as a meter maid introduces Judy to sly fox Nick Wilde (voice of Jason Bateman) and a lead on a missing persons case that, with Nick’s help, she must try to solve within 48 hours or lose her ZPD badge. The feisty bunny is determined to prove herself, even if it means partnering with a fast-talking scam artist who has a surprising past.
Directors Byron Howard (Tangled, Bolt) and Rich Moore (Wreck-It Ralph, The Simpsons) do a great job of juxtaposing the scenes and animal traits. It’s too bad that the best sight gag of the film has its own trailer, but this doesn’t deter from the hilarity of the scene.
Although viewing the different districts, such as Sahara Square and Tundratown, in 3-D is spectacular, the upgrade is unnecessary for families on a budget.
The soundtrack features international pop star Shakira in a delightful cameo as Gazelle, who performs Try Everything, which becomes Judy’s fight song.
On the surface, Zootopia is a witty, wondrous buddy-cop film filled with enough childlike antics that 5-year-olds in the audience squealed with delight and shuddered during some slightly scary moments for the protagonists.
At a deeper level, the film allows parents to bring tough topics to the dining-room table, topics such as bullying, stereotyping and inclusiveness.
The film does an excellent job of showing the layers in all beings. Who is to say who is a predator and who is prey?
As Judy aptly sums up: “No matter what type of animal you are, change starts with you.”
☆☆☆☆ (out of five)
- Directors: Byron Howard, Rich Moore
- Cast: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba
- Rated: PG (thematic elements, rude humor, action)
- Running time: 108 min.