In a world that hates cops, why would anyone want to be a cop? Zootopia brings to light an interesting plot line in a day where police are a hot political topic. The movie focuses on a young rabbit named Judy Hopps, played by Ginnifer Goodwin (Once Upon a Time and Big Love). She dreams of being a cop in a world where predators and prey live together, but even in a world of mutual respect, some dreams are simply too big and stereotypes hold you back. She expects a perfect world in which it is easy for a rabbit like her to be treated equally and fulfill her dreams, but it is far from what she expects. Graduating top of her class from the academy, Judy is sent to the center of zootopia to serve on the force. Destroying her expectations, she is made a meter maid and spends her days distributing parking tickets. She meets Nick Wilde, played by Jason Bateman (Arrested Development and Horrible Bosses) by busting his popsicle hustle. When Officer Hopps gets in trouble for apprehending a thief and on the verge of being fired, she volunteers herself to find a civilians husband when the wife comes in pleading for help. Staking her job on this investigation, Judy drags Nick, a sly fox, on a case that could destroy or aspire her dreams, but with only 48 hours to solve the case, will she be able to stay an officer or have to hop on home to be the carrot farmer the world wants her to be?
This film is a stand out film among films this year. It is not shy about a political agenda within our world, and I’m not talking about being a police officer (though I do think that makes it a notable film at this time in our country’s history). This film teaches you dream high and dream big, not letting anyone’s opinions stop you from accomplishing it. In a world that pushes individuality yet still believes there are roles among types of people to be played, this film pushes back and says to believe you can believe what you want to be. It gives hope to a person who believes they are a product of circumstances to believe they can be more than their environment and status determines.
The cast of this film was awesome. Viewers do not always understand how hard voice acting is, believing it is the easier of the two forms when it is actually the harder of the two. Live action films allow the actors to act out and really get into the emotions and story line of a character. Voice acting keeps you stationary in a room with mics, making it easy to fall into a monotone voice and forgets the emotions of the character. Goodwin, Wilde, Idris Elba, voice of chief Bogo (Pacific Rim and Prometheus), and Jenny Slate, Voice of Bellwether (The Lorax and Secret Life of Pets) nailed the emotion and truth of their characters’ roles. I cannot hardly imagine a better cast than this one. With a great soundtrack and in depth sound design behind them, one can only imagine how beautiful it would sound in a IMAX theatre.
One of the most remarkable things about this film is its salute to films throughout the
ages. This film is riddled with pop culture references from Frozen, The Beatles, Breaking Bad and many more. These references come across in various forms through out the movie. Some appear straight forward through quotes or pointed comments. Others appear briefly as DVD bootlegs, manipulated band names, city names, or characters themselves. Probably one of the most used and iconic references is the Mr. Big who is clearly a direct reference to the iconic film, The Godfather. Playing a huge part in the movie, Mr. Big is seen multiple times in the film and even throws a shoutout by replicating the tone of the godfather himself.
This animated film takes the cake for being enjoyable for all ages. There is no cussing in this film. Simply a misuse of the term “God” which appears twice in the film. There is no sexual references, but there is a scene which depicts a nude spa— which is simply animals without clothes on and should not be a concern as children believe animals should be nude and none of the animals are anatomically correct. It should not be judged too harshly when considered for viewing. Violence is a cartoon humor and is no more than you would see in looney toons or animanacs. There is a moment when Judy Hopps scraps her leg and a little blood is seen, but it is minor and hardly note worthy. It is suggested the movie uses a plant based poison which makes the animals revert to their savage ways to be a suggestion toward drugs and our modern day drug war, but I believe that is a stretch and don’t see it as more than an explanation to a means to a external conflict within the plot. There are a few frightening moments which may scare a young child.
With a strong theme, strong lessons on bullying and the power of words, and such a beautiful, cinematic movie, I can only see this as one of the hottest movies of the year and bestow on it a hot rating. This will definitely be a oscar nominee for the 2016 Movie Year.