For Disney’s 55th animated feature film instead of going back to their roots with a fantasy full of royals, sidekicks, villains and songs, they decided to try something completely different: Zootopia. In a city of anthropomorphic animals, living like people, a fugitive con artist fox, Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman), and a rookie bunny cop, Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin), must work together to uncover a conspiracy that could tear the fabric of their great society apart.
This is one of best movies of 2016. Granted, it is only March and there are nine months to go still, but I maintain that even by December when everyone is making his or her best-of list this will be on it. It’s just that good. From start to finish this is one great animated film, not only in animation but also in story and heart. It’s really what Disney does best: make us look at our inner being and realize we can really do anything and be anything we want, even if it takes a fox and rabbit to make us see it.
We meet Judy Hopps, an ever-positive rabbit who wants nothing more than to be a cop. She wants to protect and change the world, by showing everyone you can be whatever you want to be if you just believe. She grows up to be the first bunny cop of Zootopia. She meets obstacle after obstacle. Almost everyone around her doesn’t believe she can be a cop. But her ever-positive attitude soars high and always tries to stay above their negativity.
She is one of the best optimistic and confident characters ever, a wonderful role model for kids of all ages, but mostly for little girls, showing them that no matter what anyone says, they can be and do anything. And Judy shows us that with every scene; even when she has bad day, she really always tries to stay upbeat no matter what.
Along the way she meets Nick Wilde, a sly, fast-talking con fox. He always has an ace up his sleeve and is ready to pull a hustle to get what he needs. Not a bad guy, just a guy of circumstance. Due to plot, Judy and Nick end up having to be a team. Each has something on the other, which makes for some of the best comedy dialogue in the film. They decide to work together and make the best of it. But of course Nick is always trying to pull one over on Judy; sometimes she wins, sometime he does. But all their adventures thoughout the film are fascinating and great to watch.
Nick and Judy are two great characters to add to the Disney family. They’re both funny, positive, and deal with a lot of real situations that could help many kids out in their time of need. Making their characters that much better are their voice counterparts in Ginnifer Goodwin and Jason Bateman, who are both just fantastic. Goodwin really embodies the role of a Disney heroine. Bateman lends his normal snarky humor to nature’s snarkiest of all mammals, the fox. Both are wonderful and because this movie is going to make all the money, I look forward to seeing these two again someday in the future.
As the movie rolls on we learn more about the world we’re in. Zootopia is set up in districts; each is a different environment for the different species that may live there. For example there is a Rain Forest District, where all the indigenous animals of that climate live. There’s a snow tundra district too, and so on. It’s one of the best thought out ideas for a movie like this. One of the best scenes in the movie is watching Judy travel to each district on a train as she arrives in Zootopia for the first time; just one more wonderful concept that makes this movie more alive and grand.
This isn’t a normal Disney flick where there’s a princess or prince who meets someone, song, a funny sidekick shows up, song, villains do something bad, song, the end. Not once did I figure out what was going on. This was something completely new. This was like watching an episode of Law and Order but with animals. It’s so new and different. Loved it.
There are many inside jokes from other Disney films thoughout the movie that are fun to catch. And the voice casting on the other animals characters is awesome. Idris Elba as Police Chief Bogo, a water buffalo, is amazing. He is so funny, without being funny. His scenes are great. Octavia Spencer, J.K. Simmons, Jenny Slate, Maurice LaMarche, Alan Tudyk and Shakira: each brings their own voice and wonderful talent to their role no matter how big or small. All the heartstrings are pulled for different reasons.
The plot ends up being rather simple: predator vs. prey, the idea that no matter how evolved each predator is, their basic primal urges are in the their DNA. Predator animals attack without reason. Judy falls into this plot without knowing it, but when she figures out what’s going on and who’s behind it she stops at nothing to get the truth.
It’s a wonderful movie with beautiful animation. It’s brilliantly well-rounded, thoughtful, and inclusive with a great message that’s rich and timely, all while remaining fast and funny. I consider it to be one of Disney’s recent best and I hope the world does too.