Zootopia - If Animals Can Overcome Racism and Sexism, Why Can't We?

Marter | 4 Mar 2016 11:00
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Zootopia is a meaningful message movie about anthropomorphic animals made by Disney. Who saw that coming?

The story is a twisty and thrilling film noir whose reveals play directly off the expectations of its characters - and since they're our points of reference, they're more effective surprises for us, too. With that said, our protagonists are smart, and even the big twists don't slow them down. Judy and Nick are intelligent animals, and the dialogue doesn't dumb them down for the audience, which is wonderful. Their back-and-forth banter, too, is funny.

Zootopia is a wonderfully designed city with a whole host of sections we get to explore - and if there's one thing that I left the theater thinking, it's that I wanted more. We only get to spend a scene or two in some of these areas, and they're rich enough that you could spend entire movies - yes, plural - in each individual one. If Disney was hoping to make a new franchise from which it could make several spin-offs, it got one. It's incredibly well animated, its character designs are great, and it does such a good job at filling every frame with the perfect amount of visual information.

Ginnifer Goodwin and Jason Bateman anchor a tremendous vocal cast. They're great in the lead roles, but they're equally matched by much of the supporting cast. Idris Elba plays a buffalo police chief, J.K. Simmons is a lion mayor, Jenny Slate is the sheep deputy mayor, Shakira plays a pop star gazelle - whose song "Try Everything" is destined to be a hit. Octavia Spencer, Tommy Chong, Nate Torrence, Bonnie Hunt, Don Lake, Alan Tudyk, Maurice LaMarche, and Tom Lister, Jr. - among many others - round out such a rich cast of voice actors.

Zootopia is a meaningful message movie about anthropomorphic animals made by Disney. Who saw that coming? You can expect the "be yourself" message, which is also here, but a film using its animals allegorically to talk about racism and sexism? Well, it worked. Zootopia is a fantastic movie not just because of how effectively it delivers its important message - although that helps - but because of how it combines that with its great animation, fantastic voice work, intriguing film noir plot, and hysterical sense of humor. It's a slam dunk on all fronts, pretty much a must-see, and an easy frontrunner for 2016's best animated film.

Bottom Line: A fantastic movie from start to finish, Zootopia is the animated movie to beat in 2016.

Recommendation: See it if you're a kid and see it if you're an adult. It's one not to be missed.


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