Zootopia Review: Hop on Top

Chad White
Loves: A good Disney movie, Jason Bateman
Likes: Talking animals
Dislikes: Stereotypes
Hates: Animal racism

Try everything.

A Disney movie about “being the best you can be” is all too common. But a Disney movie about bigotry, oppression and overcoming those and other obstacles is fascinating. Zootopia, Disney’s latest franchise (I guarantee this will be a franchise), highlights many thematic elements found in more adult movies. The main characters have to deal with constant hate and bias in order to realize their dreams. The result is a movie that stands out to the bigger kids in the audience but is equally enjoyable to any age.

Zootopia follows Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) a rabbit from the country who’s looking to make a name for herself as a police officer in the city of Zootopia. She teams up with hustler Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) in order to find out why predator animals went missing and why they are suddenly attacking citizens of the city. The leads are joined by an admittedly grab bag cast with Idris Elba, J.K. Simmons, Tommy Chong, Octavia Spencer, Jenny Slate, Shakira, Nate Torrence, and Alan Tudyk just to name a few. Each character is acted with a comfortable assurance, leaving the audience with a trusted view of how life in the fictional city works. Elba’s Chief Bogo is unnecessarily rude to his newest recruit and his angry tone gives off an annoyed vibe with each conversation. Simmons’ Mayor Lionheart is almost the same way toward his assistant, the sheepish Dawn Bellwether (Slate). But they are juxtaposed with the giddiness of Torrence’s obese cheetah Officer Clawhauser and hilariously slow speaking sloth Flash (Raymond S. Persi).

To add to the warmness of each line read, Disney’s Animation Studios should get high praises for the way the city looks. Zootopia is beautiful from the chilled white of the tundra to the dark green hues of the rainforest, no section of the city’s 12 burrows falters. And the fur of every animal waves in the light breeze that comes with every movement. The script is fine if not predictable with its simple but trying story. You’d have to be negligent to not figure out the main villain as the mystery plays out. As mentioned in the introduction, however, the themes are the real stand outs. Racism against animal kind, injustice towards those who are different and overcoming stereotypes take the center stage as Judy Hopps becomes the first rabbit on her police squad. She learns throughout her journey that no matter how well she does at her job, there are still those who will hate her for who she is. But even then she beats those odds to win the respect of her peers. Predators, too, learn that there’s still hate toward them because of their checkered past with prey. It’s a heartwarming story with captivating subject matter for a kid’s movie.

Should you watch Zootopia?

There’s no doubt about it. Zootopia is one of the best animated non-princess Disney movies. It paints an interesting parallel with our world. Zootopia is about predators and prey living together but there’s no real harmony. There’s still going to be hate amongst the world. We just have to make sure there’s a little less every day.

Notes

  • I laughed way to hard at a tax joke in the first five minutes of the movie. Like, crying laughter.
  • Anytime you see J.K. Simmons in a cartoon, you know he’s going to be some kind of antagonist.
  • This, like Good Dinosaur, has the strangest cast for an animated movie. It’s as though Disney and Pixar have gone through every actor they could and now they’re running out of people to put in their movies.
  • Kristin Bell is literally in here for one line. Was she in the Disney offices one day talking about Frozen stuff then they asked her to “do this thing real quick?”