Release Date: March 4, 2016 (US)
Final Grade: 8.5/10
Zootopia is one of Walt Disney Animation Studios’ first feature original screenplays in a while. Directed by creative forces Bryon Howard, Rich Moore, and Jared Bush, the story is about an optimistic bunny named Lt. Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) from Bunny Borrows, who dreams of becoming a big city cop. The catch? She is Zootopia Police Department’s (ZPD) first bunny cop and has to deal with the trials and tribulations that come along with it. On her journey, she gets to interact with a diverse cast of characters that include stars like: Jason Bateman as the con-artist fox Nick Wilde , Idris Elba as Police Chief Bogo, J.K. Simmons as Zootopia’s Mayor Lionhart, Maurice LaMarche as mafia patriarch Mr. Big, Nate Torrence as fellow ZPD colleague Clawhauser, Shakira as celebrity singer Gazelle, and Jenny Slate as Bellwether, the Assistant Mayor of the City. Other notable cast members include Bonnie Hunt, Don Lake, Tommy Chong, Octavia Spencer, Alan Tudyk, and Kristin Bell.
A gem of a movie, Zootopia primarily tackles social issues (prejudices, bullying, stereotypes, social class divides, etc.) while still making it an enjoyable experience for everybody in the family. Most of the references may be caught by the older members of the crowd but clever easter eggs and product placement inserts are items that shouldn’t be missed. Keep a watch out for them. They add to the movie’s humor (which is also expanded by their current marketing campaign). The movie’s title song “Try Everything” performed by Shakira is an important theme that we get to hear and showcases Judy’s determination to follow her dreams despite what others try to tell her.
Similar to most Disney animated feature films, Zootopia is a story of hope and finding that ideal balance. Judy clearly does not want to give up but does the stress of building a name for herself get to her? While it does have some cliches, it leaves an overall positive impression and may or may not start a healthy discussion about important topics that are happening right now. Check your local listing for show times. You won’t want to miss this.