Zootopia (2016)

zootopia_2016_poster
Zootopia (2016)
  • Time: 108 min
  • Genre: Animation | Action | Adventure
  • Directors: Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Jared Bush
  • Cast: Jason Bateman, Ginnifer Goodwin, Shakira, Idris Elba

Storyline:

In a city of anthropomorphic animals, a fugitive con artist fox and a rookie bunny cop must work together to uncover a conspiracy.

4 reviews

  • (RATING: ☆☆☆☆½ out of 5)

    THIS FILM IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

    IN BRIEF: A delightfully zany animated jaunt through the detective genre with our four legged animal friends.
     
    GRADE: B+

    SYNOPSIS: In this world, all animals coexist in perfect harmony and and take on stereotypical human traits. This animated buddy cop film introduces an idealistic rookie bunny teaming up with a cynical fox to investigate a series of attacks.

    JIM’S REVIEW: The evils of prejudice and the need for diversity are the underlying themes in Disney’s Zootopia. We view a pastel-colored utopia sans humans where animals are “10% predator, 90% prey”. That is until some violence upsets the natural order of things. Which brings Officer Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) and con artist Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) together to solve this whodunit.

    The film spoofs film noir, detective stories, The Godfather, Breaking Bad, cop films, and other pop references as the duo go about following leads while not-too-subtly handling the message of tolerance and equality. The puns are plentiful in Jared Bush and Phil Johnson’s funny screenplay which contrasts this crazy metropolis with our real world. The script uses animal profiling to the nth degree in a most seductive and insightful way which brings about much of the comedy elements.

    A committee of directors are credited with this film (Bryon Howard, Rich Moore, and, once again, Mr. Bush), so their individual contributions are not readily known, but their end result is seamlessly blended to create a wonderful children’s film that seems more skewed for the adults in the audience.

    The animation is highly detailed and beautifully rendered, creating a satirical universe. The visuals work in unison with a strong narrative, so rare in today’s animation which usually panders to sophomoric humor and bad story-telling. Although the filmmakers lay their overly positive message on too thickly and their politics is biased to the obvious liberal left (of which, I firmly concur), this does not interfere with one’s full enjoyment of the film’s overall wholesomeness and “kumbaya” positive vibe.

    Ms. Goodwin and Mr. Bateman bring such joy and credibility to their characters. Providing expert voiceovers as well are Idris Elba, J.K. Simmons, Jenny Slate, Tommy Chong(superb as a holistic yak named Yax), Nate Torrance, Bonnie Hunt, Don Lake, Shakira, Octavia Spencer, Alan Tudyk, and Raymond S. Persi as Flash, the slowest sloth clerk at the Department of Motor Vehicles, whose short (and long) bit is the film’s laugh-out-loud highlight.

    Zootopia is the type of film whose main purpose to to entertain and amuse. Yet, it doesn’t shy away from some serious issues. This animated film is not afraid to talk about the elephant in the room, even when there is an actual pachyderm in close proximity, which makes it all the more charming and memorable family fare.

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  • Quickie Review:

    Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) is a bunny cop who has always dreamed of serving and protecting the animals of the perfect city Zootopia. Several animals have gone missing and Judy is eager to solve the mystery. So she reluctantly teams up with Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) a sly fox to uncover a conspiracy to ruin the perfect city. Zootopia, is intelligent, funny, and continuously entertaining. There is not a moment wasted with either great character development or engaging mystery solving. Interestingly, the movie also explores very relevant social themes without dumbing it out for the younger audience. The world created is very imaginative, and you’ll find smart twists on our pop culture on more than one occasion. Zootopia is fun for all ages that you cannot miss.

    Full Review:

    For me, Zootopia did not seem like the typical Disney animation at first. So I wasn’t sure what to expect. That was until I saw the clip with the sloths, then I knew I had to see this movie. Definitely, Zootopia does not disappoint.

    First of all, the main characters are instantly likeable. Judy Hopps is an optimistic and ambitious bunny that wants to be best at her job. Being a cop doesn’t exactly fit her species strengths and she makes mistakes along the way. Yet it is endearing to see her overcome the hurdles, making her a great hero to root for. Bateman’s character Nick Wilde on the other hand is a bit more pessimistic about how great Zootopia the city really is. He is a very savvy con artist and can seem untrustworthy. Then as you get to know him, you realise there are more layers to this character that make him all the more relatable.

    The movie is just great entertainment. There are countless references to pop culture ranging from iPhones to even The Godfather. The ways in which they blend the animal and human worlds are very creative, making Zootopia very vibrant. The story is essentially a crime mystery, and I have to say I didn’t solve the mystery right away. There will be a moment where you will think “Of course, that’s the guilty party” but the journey to solve the mystery was cleverly executed treating even the children as intelligent audience members. Perhaps the most surprising aspect is how relevant the themes of the movie are to current human society. Zootopia explores segregation, propaganda, and even fear mongering by politicians to sway public opinion (#MakeDonaldDrumpfAgain). These are heavy subjects for an animated movie, and the commentary will most likely only be recognised by the adults. Though I suspect the kids who enjoyed this movie will grow to appreciate it even more as they get older.

    Zootopia is a smart animation that caters perfectly to audiences of all ages. The main characters are well developed and relatable, while the supporting characters are also instantly charming and memorable. The creativity that has gone into bringing this world to life is incredible. The crime-mystery is engaging, and the story explores very relevant themes without being too preachy. This is one you should not miss.

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  • One tends to know what to expect when watching a Disney animated film: princesses or talking animals or the combination of both. So I could understand why one would be weary with Disney’s latest animated feature, Zootopia, as it dealt with a world filled with talking animals with no humans (or princesses) in sight. Well, stop with your weary mind state as Zootopia is not your typical Disney animated film as it is filled with action, jokes, a theme that resonates with the current times and an oddball combination for this buddy cop film.

    The modern mammal metropolis of Zootopia is a city like no other. Comprised of habitat neighborhoods like ritzy Sahara Square and frigid Tundratown, it’s a melting pot where animals from every environment live together-a place where no matter what you are, from the biggest elephant to the smallest shrew, you can be anything. But when rookie Officer Judy Hopps (voice of Ginnifer Goodwin) arrives, she discovers that being the first bunny on a police force of big, tough animals isn’t so easy. Determined to prove herself, she jumps at the opportunity to crack a case, even if it means partnering with a fast-talking, scam-artist fox, Nick Wilde (voice of Jason Bateman), to solve the mystery. Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Zootopia,” a comedy-adventure directed by Byron Howard (“Tangled,” “Bolt”) and Rich Moore (“Wreck-It Ralph,” “The Simpsons”) and co-directed by Jared Bush (“Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero”), opens in theaters on March 4, 2016. Officer Judy Hopps (voice of Ginnifer Goodwin), the very first bunny on Zootopia’s police force, jumps at the opportunity to crack her first case-even if it means partnering with fast-talking, scam-artist fox Nick Wilde (voice of Jason Bateman) to solve the mystery.

    Prejudice and diversity are themes that are heavily present in society today and the fact that Zootopia, a family film, surrounds their entire film around these themes deserves a standing ovation. The creators of the film does not take long to address these themes as the film starts off with a history lesson of Zootopia and how animals were over the whole predator/prey way of living and decided to live in unity. Sounds familiar yet?

    Even though we have predators and prey living in harmony, we do have see the two parties not trusting each other fully. For example, individuals still hold the stereotype against foxes that they cannot be trusted. Unfortunately, thats exactly who our main character, Judy Hopps (a rabbit), teams up with for this mystery. Well, it isn’t unfortunate because the result is a buddy cop film that everyone will enjoy.

    As for the buddy cop element itself, it is pretty simple. You have your mob boss Mr. Big who is actually a tiny shrew, your fast-speaking weasel (both literally and figuratively), your hipster and an adventure through different vibrant landscapes. Our bunny detective even becomes a Godzilla-esque figure as a chase scene goes through a rodent-scaled town which great delivery.

    The investigation does tend to drag but with a message so evident and significant, Zootopia gets a pass. You might of seen the sloth scene in the trailers but the scene is still hilarious on a second watch and so on. Parents and kids will love the well-intended message in Zootopia and the the whacky characters that it contains.

  • Cute, talking animals are, of course, nothing new when it comes to Disney. Whether they are an anthropomorphic swash-buckler or a wide-eyed human’s sidekick, I couldn’t name one of Disney’s animated output that didn’t feature a cuddly creature. Their latest, Zootopia, may seem much more of the same then, with it’s richly-imaged world of upright rabbits, polar bears, hippos and the like, all living together in harmony in the titular metropolis. You can put away your preconceptions however, as Zootopia is without doubt the corporate giants bravest and most relevant picture to date, and one with a strong message for its young audience that will hopefully rub off on at least a few viewers.

    Young, determined bunny Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) grows up in the rural Bunnyburrow, a small town in a larger world where predators and prey have evolved to live together peacefully. Her parents hope she’ll grow up to appreciate the quiet life of selling carrots and raising a family, but she has other ideas, and hopes to one day travel to the big city of Zootopia to become a police officer. Despite facing prejudice due to her gender and her size, she eventually graduates from Police Academy top of her class, and is soon in Zootopia fulfilling her dream. But when she arrives, her colleagues instantly doubt her ability as the precinct is traditionally made up of more formidable animals, and is quickly assigned to parking duty by Chief Bogo (Idris Elba).

    Frustrated at the clear-cut discrimination, Judy decides to be the best parking attendant there ever was. It is while she is stamping every vehicle with a ticket the second they’re in violation that she learns that prejudice goes both ways, meeting the seemingly down-and-out fox Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman), the exact kind of prey Judy suffered physical harm from as a child. Her suspicions turn out to be true, and Nick is indeed a ‘sly’ fox, but comes to learn that he acts like a fox because society treats him and expects him to be like one. Begging for a chance at something more challenging, Bogo gives Judy the task of tracking down missing person Mr. Otterton with an ultimatum that she must resign if she fails. Suspecting his street-smarts may be of an asset to her investigation, Judy blackmails Nick into helping her, and uncover a series of bizarre incidents where predators are returning to their primal state.

    While it may sound like a heavy-handed educational piece on the folly of racism and pre-judgement, it actually isn’t, as Zootopia is also an explosion of imagination for the vast majority of its 110-minute running time. Judy’s arrival at Zootopia, as she is whisked through an array of eco-systems, designed to sustain the many different kinds of inhabitants, is a complete joy. While some jokes fail to hit the mark, like the Godfather gag that may have been funny thirty years ago, others are ingenious. It may seem obvious to employs sloths at the DMV, but the scene is still laugh-out-loud even though they played it in it’s entirety in the trailer. But Zootopia isn’t memorable for its comedy value, but the way it delivers its message. Without being preachy or overly-sentimental, the film actually feel frustrated at society. We have surely evolved past pretty prejudice and stereotyping, so what drives the hate? The film hints at fear induced, which is a bold statement on its own.

    Rating: 4/5

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