Zootopia

Zootopia

Picture Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

The concept of animals walking and talking like humans has entertained the masses for countless years.  It’s kind of funny how easily and quickly we embrace the idea of animals of every shape, color, size and variety coming together walking, talking and acting just like you and me, but are unable to allow this scenario in real life.

Zootopia follows Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin), a rabbit who dreams of becoming a cop.  We are introduced to Judy at a young age with everything from her family, strangers, her species and her size basically saying that she can’t, she won’t and she never will.  Judy uses all these different barriers to help drive her passion to become the cop she has always dreamed of being.  All her hard work has finally paid off when she becomes the first of her species to be a cop.  She is even more excited that she will be working in the big city of Zootopia.  Zootopia is separated into different areas very much like Disney World, but with different climate zones.  Ready to take on the world and to create change for the better, Judy is immediately let down when the police force do not take her seriously.  When the animals of Zootopia begin to disappear, Judy finds herself fighting with her preconceived notions of what she was brought up to know as bad may not be what she thought when she becomes tied with Nick Wild, a fox and the rabbits mortal enemy.  While trying to fix a smaller problem, the two are thrust into a plot that could cause Judy to lose the job she has been working her entire life for, or the animals of Zootopia losing themselves.

There are a lot of key elements common to kids films.  Coming from nothing, overcoming adversity, following your dreams, following your heart, doing what you think is right even when it is seen as so wrong, being true to yourself, speaking up against injustice and righting the wrongs of the world.  Of course this is all done in a round about way with comedy dispersed throughout to keep the audience entertained.

Something was missing from this movie.  It’s well known that I love Disney, but all you have to do is take a look at the poster to find out what was missing.  Pixar.  Disney and Pixar is one of the most glorious pairings ever to happen to the film industry.  Although Disney and Pixar are essentially one, they are still two very separate entities.  Pixar’s team are creative, driven and believe in themselves.  It may take them some time, but in the end they create gold.  It was Pixar that was able to breathe life back into the Disney movie machine business.

Zootopia has fun lovable characters with that great mix of young and adult humour that is a necessity for films meant for kids.  We need the kids to see the movie, to buy the stuff, but we need the adults to take the kids to the movies and to pay for the things, therefore we must engage both audiences at once.  The film is relatively engaging, but the overall plot of the film becomes a bit complex and begins to lose it’s oomph.  There is one scene; however, involving a sloth that is so hilarious that it may almost be enough to override the rest of the film; almost.  Ginnifer Goodwin and Jason Bateman create a playful banter between the two main characters keeping us engaged until things start to go south.  A little celebrity singer magic is added to try to add some sparkle and comedy to the film with the addition of Gazelle, the pop sensation gazelle voiced by Shakira.  There is a scene involving her character that is ripe with horrible children humour that was a guaranteed hit, and the finale of the film involves a sing along with her character which I’m usually not particularly fond of.  There is a difference between cheesy sing alongs that rely on dancing animals to make you laugh and the golden songs that make you want to sing.

Zootopia is worth the watch for both young and old audiences but I would suggest you have some sort of snacks nearby, preferably ones that you won’t devour in the first 10 minutes, as you will need a pick me up between the middle mark of the film and the last little bit.  We may not ever get back to the classic films of old that will forever be in our hearts, but we can enjoy what we have in the present, right?

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