Year of release: 2016
Length: 108 minutes
Starring: Jennifer Goodwin
Production Company: Walt Disney Animated Studios
Directed by: Bryan Howard
Written By Nelson Cumming
Zootopia has all the qualities that make a great animated feature: great animation, high-ordered themes as well as fun scenes for the kids, well-developed characters and a good story. I believe that this is the first film I have reviewed that has brilliant storytelling and has great mass appeal. I think there will be people who will connect with this movie more than me which will be saying something. I don’t know if this film will be ranked amongst the classics of the Disney canon, but Zootopia nonetheless proves itself worthy of being a movie that touches with lots of different people amongst different walks of life.
The premise is that the rabbit Judy Hopps (Jennifer Goodwin) is a recent graduate from the police force. She enters the word of Zootopia where animals live and breathe. She finds it harder to enforce the law then she thinks. Determined to prove herself, she accepts a missing persons’ case. She has to work reluctantly with Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) to solve the case.
I admit that I was going to see Zootopia with a blind eye. The promotional medium I exposed myself to was the film poster and even then I paid little attention to it. So I was very surprised about how attentive to detail the animation was. I believed that Pixar was the company to have produced this movie. I was surprised that Disney was the company responsible. It goes to show that Disney has really stepped up their game in the last couple of years. Their animation in this film showed a variety of environments from country towns, the metropolis that is Zootopia, the rooms, and apartments. The textures on the main characters are also marvelous.
This film is not afraid to tackle some higher order themes that involve the consequences of social stigmas in society, drug abuse, using fear to maintain and consolidate power and how easily misinformed beliefs can hurt people. Zootopia works those ideas with effortless grace. If parents are worried about their children seeing Zootopia with these themes in it, do not worry. The way all of it is executed is so subtle that it is very unlikely a child will notice these complex adult themes taking place. They will see Zootopia as a fun adventure movie (chase scenes, funny scenes, acts of espionage) more than anything else.
The final and arguably most important part Zootopia succeeds in is well-developed characters with a story that the characters embed themselves. The characters behaviors are personified by the animals they are. Nick Wilde, a fox, is sly and cunning; the rabbit Judy Hops is playful and naive. Zootopia allows these characters to show their flaws, interact with each other and learn from each other. Most importantly, Zootopia does this in ways that we care about these characters in the story. It is amazing how Disney has packed all of this into a single film.
The more I think about Zootopia, the more I like it. It is a very uplifting film. Zootopia is a rare film that undoubtedly has the hype it deserves ****1/2