By Aric Sweeny
Cast: Ginnifer Goodwin (Judy Hopps), Jason Bateman (Nick Wilde), Idris Elba (Chief Bogo), Jenny Slate (Bellwether), Nate Torrence (Clawhauser), Bonnie Hunt (Bonnie Hopps), Don Lake (Stu Hopps), J.K. Simmons (Mayor Lionheart), Raymond S. Persi (Flash).
Synopsis: “From the largest elephant to the smallest shrew, the city of Zootopia is a mammal metropolis where various animals live and thrive. When Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) becomes the first rabbit to join the police force, she quickly learns how tough it is to enforce the law. Determined to prove herself, Judy jumps at the opportunity to solve a mysterious case. Unfortunately, that means working with Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman), a wily fox who makes her job even harder.”
Going into this film, I had seen the trailer once, and that was it. I didn’t read any cast interviews, look at any official images, or even watched the trailer a second time; I knew that I wanted to see the movie, and that was good enough for me. Generally, I love reading as many spoilers as possible, but for this one, I never had the urge to. And, luckily, going in nearly blind was completely worth it.
What immediately caught my eye was the absolutely beautiful animation that the film had. Everything looked extremely high quality, and sometimes even realistic. The film proved shortly, though, that it had style and substance. Within the first 5 minutes, they establish who our main character is (Judy Hopps), and what her motives are. Yes, it was a brief introduction, but it worked perfectly. After our character’s introduction, we get acquainted to the city of Zootopia, which is essentially a microcosm of the entire world, condensed into a city similar to that of New York City. In Zootopia, prey and predators live somewhat in peace with each other. After getting to know the setting, our main character goes on to meet many characters that will play a major role in the last half hour of this film; my favorite of which being Nick Wilde, the fox. Wilde was quippy, written well, and just an overall joy to watch on screen; luckily this is the case, as he gets nearly as much screen time, if not more, as our main character, Judy.
At face value, the film is an entertaining buddy-cop movie for children. But once you actually watch the movie, you quickly realize that it actually talks racism, fascism, and many other real world issues. Not only does it approach these issues head on, but it does it in a way where adults can appreciate them, while children can also understand them, and wonder ‘why’? It addresses these issues, but also maintains a level of goofiness throughout, making it never boring to watch.
Another positive I need to bring up is the brilliant voice casting of Idris Elba as Zootopia’s police chief, Bogo. While the voice cast in the entire movie was great overall, the sheer perfectness of this casting definitely stood out. The character of Bogo wasn’t very interesting on paper, but Elba brought something to the table that made the character that much better.
The animation is great, the voice cast is stellar, and the real world issues it addresses is why Disney’s “Zootopia” gets a 9/10 from me.