“Welcome to the urban jungle.”
Directors: Bryon Howard, Rich Moore, Jared Bush (co-director)
Stars: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba, Jenny Slate, J.K. Simmons, Octavia Spencer, Shakira
Spoilers will follow!
When I went to go see this film, there were no furries. I’m sorry if you were in the theater with people howling at the screen at some parts. That’s truly unfortunate and your opinion of the film shouldn’t be based entirely on that because it’s a really great movie.
Zootopia creates a full world immediately! Although the exposition is quite long, I believe it is necessary because you need to see how they carefully crafted this world to accommodate all of the animals. The various sizes of the animal transport models are cute to amazing. The world is built as each district is introduced until we eventually make it to the carrot farm. I think that Disney did an amazing job at showing how an elephant and a hamster could theoretically live in the same habitat.
The characters are fully developed and interesting. Judy Hopps is very endearing and easy to root for. She wants to be the first bunny cop. There’s never been a bunny cop before and everyone is telling her no. Sound familiar? Her perseverance to be the best is quite impressive and changes your outlook on bunnies. On the flip side, Nick Wilde is a fox who abuses the market to sell popsicles and the sticks and everything else. He’s known to be sleezy because he’s a fox. The strong amount of stereotyping between the animals makes for interesting banter. Just from Judy getting mad that Clawhauser calls her cute to Nick getting “out foxed” by Judy is something that most movies fail to achieve in their full length. Judy’s character has a lot of development surprisingly considering she is supposed to be the “perfect” character until she makes her fatal flaw. Her flaw was making an assumption based on the facts that she was given that there was something in predators DNA that made them go “savage”. It was an interesting way for the majority group to attack the minority group.
This movie takes risks and never backs down. And I love it for it. It would be easy to write this off as another movie trying to get people stirred up by race issues, but the way that the film incorporates race is by showing people what it’s like to encounter systemic racism. We know that the other group is different than us. Is it in their DNA? Is it just who they are? Or should we just accept people and treat everyone with respect. There’s a great scene where Nick provokes Judy to grab her fox repellent to show her that she’s not as noble as she might think. It was a great metaphor to explain that we think we’re not racist but we always have a safety measure in place because we still don’t fully understand the other side.
This movie was actually light hearted as well. The jokes hit most of the time. My theater was laughing and having a great time. Well except the couple next to me who was Snapchatting but maybe it’s because I swatted the phone out of her hand 20 minutes in. Stop using the flash in a movie! Okay Rant over. One of my favorite scenes is when they go to the “natural” resort and Judy gets to see the free attitude. It’s interesting to see her conservative mind try to adapt to the liberal thinking style. But it was funny to see animals in their “natural” state in an urban Zootopia.
The only flaws I have for this is Shakira is forced in too heavily in my eyes and the blueberries were a little too hinted at for the bate and switch. I thought that Shakira’s song doesn’t actually make any sense at all. Do everything? Like drugs and drinking? Doesn’t exactly seem like the premiere message to kids. Although, I understand it’s mainly about following your dreams. And I just wish the blueberries didn’t show up right before the bate and switch. I thought they were perfectly fine when Nick was eating them in the car. I didn’t think we needed to see them again until the end. Otherwise, this movie was nearly flawless in my eyes.
Overall, Disney brought the fire! I don’t know how they predicted that race issues would be dominating headlines or that police brutality would still be a hot topic. This “children’s” movie challenged more adults in the theaters than expected. I’m glad this movie beat Frozen for highest selling animated movie in the first weekend because, as a whole, it is more important than Frozen ever will be. Maybe now we can let it go?
Score: 9/10 watch out for carrot pens.