About the Film
“Zootopia” is the Walt Disney Animation Studios latest feature length animated film. It tells the story of a small town bunny, Judy Hopps, who follows her dream to become a Police officer in the big city of Zootopia, where “anyone can be anything”. She quickly learns that life in the big city is not as ideal as she had envisioned and she has to work very hard to overcome the stereotypes of what a bunny should be.
Mammals have started to go missing in the city and the ZPD (Zootopia Police Department) is mobilized to solve them. Judy works her way onto a case that turns out to be related to this disappearances and partners up with Nick Wilde, a fast talking, small time con artist fox. The film follows the two of them on their adventure as they work to solve the case and overcome not only the stereotypes, fears and prejudices of the residents of Zootopia but their own as well.
Zootopia is a modern city created by animals for animals and in it predators and prey, big and small all co-exist. There are several neighborhoods with different cultures just like any modern city. Except theirs are based on animal habitats. For example Sahara Square, Tundratown, Bunnyburrow, Little Rodentia and the Rain Forest District. For more on the districts here is an earlier post. For an overview of the cast, including the voice talent, here is an earlier post.
My First Impressions
“Zootopia” far exceeded the expectations I had going into the film and these expectations were already elevated based on what I saw back in October. When I first heard about the film I had set a rather low bar, “Home on the Range” was the most recent animal film that popped to mind. In October I was introduced to some of the characters and shown a couple sequences that hinted at what may be coming but no details on the plot were given at the time. Now after seeing the final product I walked away entertained on several fronts and would recommend the film.
This was a very complex animated film that can be viewed in quite a few ways – it is part buddy film, part crime mystery, part comedy, and part social commentary. While the movie had its fair share of comic relief it did not shy away from taking on some social issues ranging from bullying to prejudices that are applicable to our human world as much as it was the animals in Zootopia. It managed to do this in a manner that did not come off as preachy or over the top. The filmmakers made their statement on the issues but tried to keep it on a level that was understandable to most and not over reaching.
The motto of Zootopia of “anyone can be anything” and of the theme song “Try Everything” performed by Gazelle (Shakira) are both messages that can be emulated by all and are very positive and hopeful.
As you would expect from a Disney animated feature the film works on many levels so kids are entertained as well as adults and everyone in between. I would caution parents that there are a couple of more intense moments in the film with animals behaving like “wild” animals, but overall the film should play well for most kids. It will give you opportunities to talk with them about bullying and stereotyping people too.
I walked out of the theater wanting to see it again so I could pick up on some of the details. The layers upon layers of detail and activity in many of the sequences you want to see again to see what you missed. The train ride into Zootopia that works to set up districts and give you the lay of the land is an incredible sequence.
I would recommend “Zootopia” for all. I found it to be enjoyable and interesting and for me those are the two most important aspects of a film.
A couple of notes:
A couple of closing notes. There was no short attached to this film as there have been with recent ones. Also nothing after the credits if you are wondering. Lastly I watched the film in 2D so I cannot comment on the 3D or IMAX aspects of it. It played well in standard 2D to me.
Click here to view all my Zootopia posts including a closer look at the Districts, Characters some of the research of the film, trailers, and the Tujunga campus where most of the film was created. Also a post on Zootopia in Disney California Adventure – It has a sneak peek in the bug’s theater and a presence in the Animation Building in Hollywood Land.