Four-and-a-half out of Five
“Zootopia” is much more than the first bunny-buddy-cop-action comedy. It also brings a fresh perspective to animated-animal movies.
Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) is an optimistic and idealist bunny who travels to Zootopia, the animal land of opportunity, to be the first bunny police officer.
Not that anyone believes she’ll be any good.
While she’s there, animals mysteriously go missing. Judy is on the case, trying to finish the job — with the forced help of a sly and cynical fox named Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) — before a strict deadline that could end her career.
“Zootopia” has been dominating the box office ever since it opened March 4, and the packed theater means plenty of people are lining up to enter this animal world.
It’s easy to see why, because this movie has everything: story, characters, animation and a life lesson.
The story is easy to follow, even for younger audiences, and it’s not often you find such an intricate mystery in a “kid’s movie.” But it’s not all serious. There are more than enough laughs and jokes for all ages, and the full theater was constantly busting with laughter.
All that clue-finding wouldn’t be nearly as fun if we didn’t have two lovable characters to lead the way. Judy and Nick couldn’t be more different: Their personalities and outlook on the world are polar opposites. The matchup makes for great chemistry and a lot of laughs. Judy and Nick are also perfectly cast with Goodwin’s upbeat, enthusiastic tone and Bateman’s dry sarcasm.
Not only do the characters have unique personalities and voices, but also looks. The animation in “Zootopia” is spectacular and creative. There’s a whole world making up Zootopia, from buildings, transportation and stores that fit all the creatures living inside. The look of the bunnies, foxes, yaks, elephants, polar bears, weasels, otters and wolves, is a charming animal/human mashup.
That theme carries over to the story line. The characters in “Zootopia” may be animals, but it’s all about us humans. The characters have prejudices, stereotypes and fears about other animals and expectations of what they can do and who they are — such as all foxes are liars and bunnies can’t be cops. However, the lesson delivery doesn’t feel preachy; the allegory opens the door for conversation long after you leave the theater.
“Zootopia” is a film that’s becoming an endangered genre: a family movie. Kids, teens, parents and grandparents can all find something to enjoy in “Zootopia.”
The entertaining story, fun characters and clever animation — combined with a moral that’s not in your face — makes you want to see it again as soon as it’s over.