There is a lot to like in Zootopia. Few films manage to take on prejudice and other world issues and still remain delightful at its core. It may not be as moving as many Pixar films, but no one will leave the cinema with a frown (besides Zootopia is the 55th animated Disney film and all Pixar movies, although not counted as Disney films per se, fall under the Disney umbrella).
Ginnifer Goodwin is Judy Hopps; a bunny who had a childhood dream to become a police officer and made that dream happen by determination and innovation. It’s tough being a bunny with a badge because other animals don’t take you seriously even if they are living in a world where animals are just like us – they wear pants, eat ice cream, and have prejudices. Her commanding officer Chief Bogo (a cape buffalo voiced by Idris Elba) feels like Hopps is a burden to his patrol and assigns her parking meter duty. Not to keep a good bunny down she quickly becomes the fastest ticket issuing coprophagic on the force. In fact she is so invested in making Zootopia a better place she is willing to buy a baby fox an elephant sized popsicle treat after witnessing the ugly side of elephant “size prejudice” towards smaller creatures. His father is grateful and she feels good about her deed until she discovers she has been had. Yup, father fox is no more a daddy than Hopps is Chief of Police. Thus begins a teaming which turns into a friendship (possible romance but I don’t want to read too much into the story) between bunny and fox.
Jason Bateman is Nick Wilde the con artist fox who has connections and friends from all walks of life from the sloths at the DMV to creatures with a “Godfather” bent. Once he is committed to helping Hopps the audience learns that even con artist foxes have sad tales. The two characters play well off each other and there is a general feeling of hurt and guilt when one expresses a prejudice that they did not realize was a prejudice – much like homo-sapiens-sapiens.
Zootopia is a visual treat and will entertain audiences of all ages from five and above – smaller children might not understand the storyline and the movie may prove be too long for them. There are a lot of good messages about how everyone is special and worth knowing…and that even the most innocuous of God’s creatures might have villainy on their mind.
I recommend Zootopia as a fun family outing. It will play well on the smaller screen.