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Zootopia (2016) – Disney’s Colorful Gang of Lovable Characters

Spying a review of an animated motion picture here is unusual to say the least. However I recently watched the much raved about Disney Studios film, Zootopia and as I couldn’t resist an opportunity to chat it up, today’s review happened. 

Being anything you want is Judy Hopp’s motto. She believes no matter your heritage with a little moxy and determination, you can become anything. This is why, despite her family being gardeners (specifically carrot farmers), Judy (voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin) let’s nothing deter her from the police academy. She wants to help people, and being a cop is the way she chooses to do this. Graduating at the top of her class, Judy becomes the first rabbit to wear a badge, and with an idealistic attitude, she leaves for the great unknown: Zootopia.

The large metropolitan world of Zootopia isn’t kind to Judy. Her excitement quickly deflates when she’s belittled by her boss who assigns her to parking duty. Eventually two things happen that change Judy’s life. First she meets Nick (voiced by Jason Bateman), a fox who is all about the “hustle” and second, she stumbles onto a kidnapping case with grave ramifications. 

No matter your personal feelings on Disney’s conglomerate, one thing they do well is the business of movie magic. This recent gem is no different. Zootopia is the kind of film that’s a delight from opening credits to closing titles. Its target age may be the younger crowd although I was anything except bored during its colorful 90+ minutes. I was giggling over the adorableness and (appropriate) dramatics before ten minutes were gone. This said, there are some “issues” I would argue with it about.  
Unfortunately, I felt like the writer’s pushed their PC agenda overmuch. Politics were subtly woven into the script which for me, lessened what otherwise might be been the perfect animated film. (To say nothing of the fact I felt they didn't have a place in this film.) As a viewer, I understand this was the story’s message however it came across as overstated and therefor lacked being endearing. Let me be clear, I don’t necessarily disagree with the smaller scope of this film’s message. What I do disagree with is the way in which they try to impress it upon society. Explaining it more thoroughly might not be something I have the words for and would likely not come across as I’d like it too, so I’ll leave it at that.

Beyond these complaints, minor though they are in comparison to the larger picture, Zootopia is 100% pure sunshine. I loved its characters, its whodunit mystery and the sleuthing that results from this as well as the entire look of the film (one of my favorite scenes involves Judy riding the subway into Zootopia). It goes from sweet and innocent child-like to intelligent storytelling that somehow remains charming in its innocent bubble of joy. The vocal talents are wonderful and also include Bonnie Hunt, Jenny Slate, Idris Elba, and cameos from Kristen Bell and Josh Dallas (Ginnifer's husband). Plus its theme song (recorded by Shakira) is a toe-tapping delight that’s a story onto itself. 
The comedy of the story is brilliant. I liked the tongue-in-cheek fragments, the nuances of which were added for the delight of adults (though the humor isn’t tawdry). I loved Judy’s optimism and ensconced beliefs to do whatever it takes to right a wrong. The strong (and playful) friendship between its lead characters is also endearing. At the end of the day if animated films are your jam, watching this darling film is something you shouldn’t miss out on experiencing. Zootopia is quite surprisingly a spot of magic in its own way. Or in other words, hashtag cuteness overload!  
Content: There’s a few instances of innuendo in the script including an instance when Judy is embarrassed to discover her investigation led her to a nude society. (The scene depicts animals of varying size and species “in the nude.”) The film earned a PG rating.
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  1. I laughed SO hard at this movie. New family favorite for sure. <3

    1. Same, Meghan! I adored it SO very much. But then who wouldn't love unlikely besties Judy and Nick!? <3

  2. ZOOTOPIA!!!! Saw it back in March in a cinema full of small kids. And I absolutely loved, loved, loved it! From beginning to end! It made it on my favorite movies list and I've been recommending it since. It wasn't just funny but filled with great life lessons that I think are great for both kids and adults (Ex: Work hard, believe in yourself...etc). And the characters were lovely. Definitely see me watching this over and over.
    Great review as always, Rissi!

    1. I agree, Titi. This one is pure sunshine from beginning to end. I loved that it promoted such an optimistic and hard working lead; Judy proved that with determination AND hard work (we must always be willing to put in the word), you can achieve so many things.

      I'll be watching this one over and over again too. The comedy was always spot-on. :)

      Thanks - as always, for reading and being a visitor. :)

  3. I still haven't seen this one yet, but it definitely sounds pretty adorable! Great review as always, my friend. :)

    1. It IS adorable, Kara; and I can't resist the cuteness that is Judy and Nick. Hope you enjoy - and let me know what you think if/when you can the opportunity to see it. :)

  4. Thought this one was adorable and I'm usually not a big fan of animated films, with a few exceptions like Tangled and Frozen! :) I'll probably be watching it again soon since my sister Mia has been begging to re-watch. Totally agree that it really pushes an agenda though - hate it when they do that especially in movies targeting younger audiences. An absolutely perfect review, Rissi. :)

    1. Animated films of the princess-y variety tend to be my favorite as well, Bekah. That said Zootopia was darling! Another of my recent animated finds are the Kung Fu Panda trilogy - those are so cute! Have you seen those?

      Yeah, I felt like its purpose in the storytelling was to be "politically correct" and that sort of bugged me because it was SO obvious. But I overlooked that (mostly) because Judy and Nick are too cute.

      Hope you enjoy the rewatch - and as always, thank YOU for reading. :)

    2. Oh, yes!! I've seen all the Kung Fu Panda movies, largely because of Mia but I thought they were pretty funny! Especially the first one, but then again the first in a series is usually the best. :)

      Judy and Nick were awesome and, as you said, too cute! Trying to decide if I should rewatch it tonight or catch up on Mr. Robot... decisions, decisions. :D

    3. They are funny. Super cute and of course, along with Zootopia and the Minnion franchise, I have my all-time animated favorites. Oh, and naturally I'd throw the new Disney princesses on the list too. For reasons. ;)

      Right!? How do we decide on which fangirl obsession to indulge in? I have that debate all too frequently and will probably be in such a dilemma tonight. Another episode of Chuck or start S2 of Nikita or... so many choices! ;)

  5. I thought it was a cute movie and some of the messages (like you can be anything you want to be) were really inspiring. I thought some of the other messages were pretty heavy-handed for a kids movie. Let's let the kids think for themselves and not push things on them-- is my feeling on it :)

    1. Hi Michelle! My apologies for the delay in replying to your comment. I so appreciate you stopping by. :)

      Some of the messages (in terms of how they shoved them on us) were, for me, a bit "too much." That said, like you, I thought this was a darn cute little movie. :)


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