This weekend Disney’s Pixar invites us to another fantastic world of their creation. Zootopia is the vast city where animals of all species big and small come together to live in a present day metropolis.
Juddy Hopps voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin (Something Borrowed, Tinkerbell the Legend of the Neverbeast, Once Upon a Time *series) is an adorable bunny whose dream is to be the first bunny cop much to her parents disdain. Tiny and not very strong she beats the odds and accomplishes this task emerging from the academy as the top in her class. To her great delight, she is then assigned a spot in a precinct in the heart of the great city of Zootopia! The start of her first day on the job is a blast! The end of it…not so much. Nobody takes her seriously enough to really put her on a job, instead Water Buffalo Chief Bogo; Ibris Elba (Avengers: Age of Ulton, No Good Deed, Thor) places her on meter maid duty. But a run in with a petty crook places her before Mrs. Otterton; Octavia Spencer (The Help, Insurgent, Get On Up) a grieving wife who’s husband is one of several missing person’s cases, to whom Judy promises to find and bring home. More than a little irritated that Judy has made a promise to close a case they haven’t even hit a dent in Chief Bogo informs her that she must resign if the case is not solved within 48 hours. And of course Judy brazenly accepts.
In comes Nick Wilde a sly con artist fox voiced perfectly by Jason Bateman (Horrible Bosses, Bad Words, Hancock) Judy had a not so pleasant run in with the fox her first day on the job, however her one and only lead is that Nick was one of the last people to see Mr. Otterton before he disappeared. A little blackmail goes a long way and soon Nick finds himself grudgingly assisting Officer Hops on her case to find the missing Otter. However the deeper they dig, the more they find that’s it’s much more than a simple missing person’s case. The disappearance of this seemingly sweet Otter opens up a shocking scandal that shatters the once peaceful Zootopia and Judy finds it’s up to her and Nick to completely solve the case to make things right again.
Hey, can you do me a favor? Can you look at Pixar’s first job Toy Story and then see this movie? I want you to be amazed at just how far they have come with their 3-D animation. Every little muscle movement, every breath, facial feature was so fantastically captured and it’s just glorious to see it all play out the way it did. I loved this idea of placing Zootopia in our timeline to showcase our obsession with cell phones, Starbucks and stupid apps that we easily become addicted to. Zootopia proposes a great mystery story line that you easily fall into and it moves along well enough to keep your little one’s attention but is still clever enough to give a surprising twist that you never saw coming.
What most kid movies do is try to give out a message to kids, whether it’s about never being afraid to be who you are (The Peanuts Movie) or the importance of the environment (The Lorax) or the importance of family (Name any Disney movie). Most of it is hidden underneath the colorful animated singing cute characters that are supposed to hold your child’s attention, but with Zootopia I don’t believe that message is hidden at all. Our kids are learning about tolerance and in this case species-ism..? That’s right Judy Hops is a species-ist plain as day. At the beginning of the movie she has a fight with her school bully a mean fox and after that ALL foxes are bad. It’s actually how she and Nick met on her first day of work. She saw him looking just a little out-of-place on the busy sidewalk and followed him with the idea that he was up to no good. She was right, of course, but of all the other animals out there she singles out Nick. That’s profiling and that’s wrong and that’s the lesson our kids need today says Pixar. It’s a good message and it comes at a very good time.
Rated PG for some thematic elements, rude humor, and action.
Rotten tomatoes have this family film at a 98% fresh! I believe that’s the highest this year so far!
The only thing I was disappointed in was the fact that we couldn’t delve more into Zootopia. The city is broken down into districts and we have the snow district, sierra district, the rain forest district etc. That hour and 48 minute time frame is just not enough to see everything but I really wanted to! I don’t say this often, but I sincerely hope we get a sequel for Zootopia to see more of that amazing world. It’s beyond belief. Pixar really outdid themselves with this one. Bravo!