Originally, I was not scheduled to write this review. In fact, I don’t think anyone on The Film Queue team was scheduled to [Editor’s Note: I was. I’m just so damn lazy]. After I watched the movie, I quickly messaged Andres if I could do this piece, and he allowed it. So, without further ado, I’m happy to share my thoughts on the film, Zootopia!
To start things off, I have to praise the concept of Zootopia. The premise deals with how animals (specifically focusing on mammals) evolve to gain human like qualities with a complete absence of human interaction. Past Disney movies have used this similar approach (most recently, The Good Dinosaur) but I felt like the creators of Zootopia took their time to establish a real sophisticated world for these animals while building human-like elements to complement each characters’ personality and the whole setting itself. What is even more interesting is that these animals are aware of their ancestry, indicating that they were taught in the history books that predators like bears used to eat prey such as a caribou, for example. Or in this case, how foxes are supposed to hunt and kill rabbits; which brings me to the two main characters of the film.
I felt the chemistry between Judy Hopps (voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin) and Nick Wilde (voiced by Jason Bateman) was brilliant. You have a determined, goal-orientated little rabbit paired up with a sly, canny, cocky fox and, through them, some of the best dialogue in the film, combining comedy with what I like to call, “detective-talk”. Judy and Nick played off each other so well, and in such innovative ways, that as a viewer it made me feel really excited to see them on screen together. I know it’s early in the year, but as of now, Nick Wilde is my favorite character based on the simple fact that he is just so damn cool!
What I also like about Zooptopia is its awareness of social issues that are relevant in today’s society. I had to think for a while but I believe I have a grasp of what the movie was trying to accomplish. This movie dealt with topics such as gender equality and race. For instance, you have Judy, a “bunny” rabbit, that is the only female on the police department and is always being told “you can’t do this” or “this is not the right job for you”. You also have Nick, who plays a fox that is looked at by society as the stereotypical conniving thief or crook, and that to me is an example of racial bigotry. You also have the main plot of the film, a conflict between predators and prey. Arguably, this can be seen as an example of a clash within a multi-cultured community and how one race/species truly thinks of the other. The creators don’t splash you with these general topics, but drop subtle hints here and there that are appropriate for a younger audience.
Stepping aside from those serious themes, I would like to mention Zootopia’s comedy. I thought that, just like in Inside Out, the comedy was fresh, clever, and fit well with the concept of the story. What really had me crying tears of laughter was the distinction of how animals act like animals vs. how animals act like humans. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I recommend watching the sloth scene. I was literally jumping up and down, slapping my arm-rest, while losing my breath because of how funny it was. And I say “funny” for lack of a better word.
I could go on with the relationship between Judy and Nick, or the social awareness the film presents, but I’d be giving too much away. All that is left to say is go and watch this film now! It’ll surprise you how layered Zootopia is from the first scene to the very end. I dare any 2016 animated film to step up to the plate because this is a definite contender for top 5 movies of this year. Hands down!