Check out the Movie Bears Podcast‘s full review of ‘Zootopia’ in the video below or read on for our mini-review!
When it comes to animated features, you often see praise tempered with conditional phrasing. For example, we may say a movie is ‘good, for an animated film’ or ‘I liked it as far as kids’ movies go.’ With the latest Disney animated feature, ‘Zootopia,’ no such dampening language is needed. It is a damned fine movie, one that we strongly recommend to just about any audience.
Set in a world where predators and prey have evolved past their more base instincts, ‘Zootopia’ follows an eager rabbit named Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) who wants to make a difference as a member of the Zootopia Police Department. When several predators go missing, Judy tries to crack the case with the help of a charming con man … errr, con fox (Jason Bateman).
Structurally, ‘Zootopia’ is a clear case of the right ingredients mixing together to form a satisfying filmgoing experience. The animation is vibrant and detailed, with well-designed characters set against inventive settings. Of course, an animated feature can’t just rely on pretty pictures; Disney has tapped a stellar voice acting cast to help bring their characters to live, featuring the talents of Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba, J.K. Simmons, Tommy Chong, and Octavia Spencer, amongst others. Jason Bateman stands out as a particularly inspired casting choice, showcasing his expertise with slick, smarmy characters to smoothly deliver lines that make the character of Nick Wilde one of Disney’s best in recent history.
Further, the themes present in the script of ‘Zootopia’ are extraordinarily timely, mirroring several real world discussions about race, gender politics, and the role of police in society. The film wears these themes on its sleeve, never masking its social commentary. That said, the magic of ‘Zootopia’ is that it avoids simplistic resolutions to these complex issues. Simply put, ‘Zootopia’ handles the more challenging aspects of some really tough topics with more nuance and sincerity than most films of its ilk.
With ‘Zootopia,’ Disney proves once again that it can combine stunning animation, engaging characters, and sharp writing to craft a film that transcends the limitations of the genre.