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Zootopia (2016) Reviewed By Jay

United States, 25 December 2015


Jay´s Review

In this surprisingly adult PG movie (it's like a detective story), all the animals wear clothes, predators no longer eat prey, everyone gets along and life is good. We are in a city populated by anthropomorphic animals, among which are a con-man fox and a cute bunny who is a rookie cop. Our two main characters suddenly find themselves find themselves working together as they stumble into a conspiracy that threatens the peace.

Three directors (!) and ten writers -- (It always makes me nervous when it takes a committee to create a movie) -- did a good job. The plot unfolds as we admire the grit and determination of one small bunny rabbit who has always dreamed of making the world a better place.

Celebrity voices and the characters they represent:

  • * Ginnifer Goodwin ("Once Upon a Time") is Judy Hopps, an ambitious little bunny who has always dreamed of being a cop. She aces her written tests but flunks the physical part. This only means she works harder (a GOOD lesson!); so we watch her train some more and succeed. Her life on the police force isn't what she had pictured so she isn't happy, but she IS a smart little bunny!
  • * Idris Elba ("Luther") Chief Bogo wants that worthless little rabbit off his force. He sees no future for Judy and doesn't want to see her around. Even Elba's VOICE looms as he forces her to be a meter maid despite her sterling results from the academy.
  • * Jason Bateman ("This is Where I Leave You") Foxy Nick Wilde is always on the lookout for a new scam. He completely fools sweet-hearted Judy when she first meets him, but she doesn't stay fooled. She isn't above a trick or two, either!
  • * J.K. Simmons ("Whiplash") Mayor Lionheart is a politician...period.
  • * Jenny Slate (Lots of TV) Bellwether is the mayor's assistant, overworked and overwhelmed. She befriendsJudy at just the right time.
  • * Octavia Spencer ("The Help") is Mrs. Otterton, a worried wife who can't seem to get anyone at city hall to care about the mysterious disappearance of her beloved husband...except Judy.
  • * Raymond S Persi ("Frozen") I have a special spot in my heart for Flash, the sloth. Watch Judy's incredulous reaction when she realizes how much time it takes him to say a few words! There are many other talented voices who convey parental concern, bureaucratic frustration and ferocious rage, but professional voice actor Persi is a cut above.

This is rated PG, so expect a scary chase scene or two and threatening animals, but no profanity or blowie uppie stuff. The artistry is wonderful (the 3D however, is unnecessary).

Using motion capture and Computer Generated Imaging, the writing, acting and craftsmanship are brilliant. I'm amazed by the subtle touches in both expression and body language that inhabit today's "cartoon" characters. Children in the audience, both young and old, were very, very quiet as they absorbed lessons about trust, bullying, friendship, prejudice, loyalty, determination, family love, and the importance of following one's dream. 

Oh! And let's not forget Shakira, who was perfect, both as the spokes-gazelle for Zootopia and the vocalist who provides happy-ending dance music for the final credit scroll.

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