About: Zootopia is a animated buddy cop action adventure movie by Walt Disney World. The film went through several production changes, including a radical change in the direction of the story, as Nick Wilde was originally meant to be the main character and Judy his sidekick. However, it was changed so that Judy became the main protagonist to be more interesting, which most likely was a great change for the movie and its success. It has a 98% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It grossed $1.012 billion dollars internationally and has received critical acclaim.
The Plot/Characters: Zootopia’s plot centers around Judy Hopps, whose only dream since she was a kid was to become a cop even if it meant becoming the very first bunny cop. In a world where predators and prey have found a way to work together and get along, moving past the primitive nature of their old roles, Judy is still looked down on for being a Bunny. Despite all this, she sticks it out and becomes a police officer stationed in the center of Zootopia. Only, she’s immediately assigned as a Meter Maid. Desperate to prove herself, she keeps pushing until she is given an ultimatum to either solve a case in 48 hours or resign. With the help of a foxy con-man… Literally… I mean, he’s a fox; named Nick Wilde, can Judy get to the bottom of the mysterious disappearance of 14 different predators in time? The direction the movie could have gone in would have been super cliche, but it takes its time and develops a pretty interesting mystery. I won’t spoil anything for you though!
One of the things that I absolutely adore about this movie are the characters. You’ve got the strong willed Judy Hopps who is desperate to prove herself, optimistic in the face of the adversity and striking out to realize her dream. Only to be left disappointed at the reality and really questioning whether or not she made the right choice. This is super powerful, as often we’re told to “follow your dreams” or “a dream is a wish your heart makes” through Disney. This time they are actually finally saying “hey, look, reality is different. Sometimes things just don’t work!” Fortunately one of the charming things about Judy is her tenacity and her brilliant mind. But she still has weaknesses, including her worry instilled upon her by her parents about the dangers of foxes.
Now Judy meets Nick Wilde, a cunning character that has it all figured out. He’s seen people come and go in Zootopia, attempting to make their dreams come true. And fail. So he sticks to what people would expect from him; ripping people off the best way he knows how. And he’s good at it! Slow to get to know but also intrigued by Judy and finally forced to cooperate when he is roped into the ride, Nick slowly shifts his perspective and grows closer to Judy, prompting more looks into what made him the person, or animal, he is today.
The transition and growth from both of these characters as they come to interact with each other is just great. Believable, heart warming and hilarious. And of course, there are interesting side characters. JK Simmons playing the lion mayor was just pure gold. There’s also a variety of side characters all with their own personalities and traits that bounce off of Judy and Nick as they go. They also do a good job of bending things to not only make fun of stereotypes, but also make puns and play off of the jokes when they fit in. For instance, the chief addresses “the elephant in the room” and congratulates him on his birthday.
Animation: When it comes to animation coming out of Walt Disney, they have certainly made amazing strides in their department. Zootopia has animation that is truly stunningly beautiful. The world is immersive, characters models look great and are very diverse, the colors are beautiful and there is a lot of detail work put into textures, including all of the animal fur throughout the movie.
Comedy: Puns, puns and more puns! But there are jokes tossed in throughout the movie that are typically smart, creative and hilarious. One of the brilliant things about the movie is the diversity of the jokes. Situational humor is used a lot as well, as the characters comment about their situation or their facial expressions show the whole thing, like Judy’s horror when they go to a nudist camp for animals while Nick mockingly grins and teases her, enjoying her torment as an elephant flexes in front of them. There’s also a desk clerk at the police headquarters that inserts himself into an app where he’s dancing next to a gazelle (played by Shakira). The desk clerk is goofy and like the Jack Black of animals. But it makes it even funnier when the stern, no nonsense chief is caught red handed by him playing on the same app. And of course, let’s not forget the DMV being run ENTIRELY by sloths. Most likely you’ll at least get a good laugh or two at the social commentary hidden in this movie. Also… What do you call a three humped camel?
Overall: This movie is just pure gold. Though it could have gone the route of trying to bash you over the head with its message, its subtle enough and well done enough within the plot that it comes off genuine. The characters are interesting, the humor is phenomenal and smart while still being enjoyable for children and even has adult jokes thrown in! The animation is just gorgeous and the world that the characters are encompassed in is vast, creative and believable. You can tell a lot of hard work and love for the movie went in to its creation. I cried, I laughed and I definitely want to hit the replay button on this movie as soon as I possibly can!
Should you check out this movie? I’d have to say… YES. Absolutely! Why are you still here? Stop reading this.
No, I’m serious. It’s like 5 bucks on Amazon to rent or something.