Movie Review: ‘Zootopia’

Matt St. Clair – Special to the Southern News

Fresh off of winning the Oscar for Best Animated Feature with “Inside Out,” Disney has delivered a masterful animated film that may rival “Inside Out” for the title of the best Disney film in years with “Zootopia.”

 “Zootopia” is about a bunny named Judy Hopps, played by “Once Upon A Time’s” Ginnifer Goodwin, who looks to join the Zootopia Police Department in spite of those around her expressing their doubts about her joining the force due to her short stature. But she gets the chance to prove herself when she tries to solve a mystery along with a sly fox named Nick Wilde, played by Jason Bateman.

Thanks to the strong voice work by both Goodwin and Bateman, their chemistry allows you to be hooked to the screen from the minute they start pairing up. Not only do they pack hilarity, but surprising pathos as their characters begin to learn more about one another.

The characters of Judy and Nick also learn about the film’s universal message about always giving something a try. Even if a goal in life that you aim for doesn’t quite pan out, the best you can do is try again or admit that you tried and move on to a different goal that may lead to something better along the line. You’re going to fall down at some point, but will you stay down or get back up on your feet? I don’t want to spoil how Judy and Nick learn this message. So I’ll just leave it at that.

The film also manages to deal with surprising themes of prejudice. Throughout the film, the animal characters are being discriminated for their attributes, ranging from their stature to the fact they are predatory animals, as if they were human beings being ridiculed for their race, gender or sexuality. When it begins to touch on such subject matter, it becomes almost heart wrenching to watch. The film has its fair share of laugh-out-loud moments. But even in its fantasy scope, it hits a little too close to home.

So overall, “Zootopia” is an adventurous romp packed with Disney’s traditional mix of humor and poignancy. Even if “Inside Out” just won Best Animated Feature, Disney may already have an Animated Feature contender for next year’s Oscars.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

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