Zootopia Review: Don’t Call Her Cute

Photo Credit:http://www.ew.com/article/2015/11/23/zootopia-trailer

Right from the start, Zootopia delivers it’s message often and without subtlety. This is a colorful inclusionary piece that breaches race, gender, and orientation with a hop and a roar.

We follow Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) as she pursues her dreams from her family’s carrot farm to the big titular city to become the first bunny cop. But once there, her water buffalo boss (Idris Elba) puts her on parking duty. She immediately learns that getting away from your roots and being where you thought you wanted to be doesn’t always go the way you wanted. Judy’s ambition and drive make her instantly lovable, but she’s flawed in some really interesting and complicated ways that pertain to the film’s message.

But between all these socio-political meditations, Zootopia also achieves a pure sense of wonder. Judy’s arrival to the bustling metropolis is one of the most beautiful computer-animated scenes in the entire genre. A city divided into a savannah, a tundra, a rainforest, and midtown Manhattan populated with a massive and diverse roster of mammals makes for a visual splendor that surpasses most recent Pixar efforts. Disney spared no expense here and the result is astounding.

But as the sense of wonder begins to leave the foreground, Judy’s lingering stereotypes toward predators, including her fox friend Nick (Jason Bateman), take center stage. The script doesn’t hold back in dealing with this, playing like a long, furry think piece on modern racism and inequality. The resolution to it all is a little too on the nose, but rewarding¬†nonetheless. This is a message after all that deserves the heavy spotlight. With these topics usually not this thoroughly discussed in so-called children’s entertainment, Zootopia feels like Chi-Raq combined with Netflix’s Bojack Horseman slapped with a PG rating. And why should adults be the only ones to receive the message? It’s going to be up to the kids to pursue true equality after our generation is long gone. Zootopia confidently pushes for them to make the right moves, making it already one of the most important films of 2016. Grade: A-

By Matt Dougherty

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