Studio: Walt Disney Animation Studios (1 hr. 48 min.)
Plot: A fugitive con artist fox and a rookie bunny cop work together to uncover a conspiracy.
Cast: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba, J.K. Simmons, Octavia Spencer, Shakira
Bottom Line: ****
By Samantha Ofole-Prince
A film of considerable charm, Disney’s latest animated feature, “Zootopia,” which features a strong heroine and a terrific message is a delight from start to finish.
We’ve been conditioned with Disney films to expect positive and inspiring messages and this one doesn’t disappoint with the motto that ‘you can do anything you set your mind to.’
The heartfelt story follows Judy Hopps (voice of Ginnifer Goodwin), an irresistibly cute small-town bunny with big aspirations, she dreams of becoming the city’s first rabbit cop. The odds are stacked against her, of course, because a bunny rabbit has never joined the Zootopia Police Department – or even dared to try.
The cops in Zootopia are all large macho animals like rhinos, elephants and hippos. This doesn’t deter Judy who soars through training, graduating at the top of her class. Sent to Central Zootopia, the toughest precinct in town, she’s relegated to dishing out traffic tickets by her cape buffalo boss Chief Bogo (Idris Elba), who’s unimpressed by her academy record. Anxious to prove her self worth, she convinces the Chief to assign her the missing-otter case, which she tries to solve with the help of Nick Wilde, a con-artist fox voiced by Jason Bateman. The plot hinges on the relationship between these two unlikely characters and how they learn to work together despite their differences and prejudices.
With gorgeous visuals, a relatable tale of achieving the impossible and overcoming bias, there’s a nod to the classic film, “The Godfather,” and the mismatched-buddy-cop comedy “48 Hours.”
A very smart, engaging and energetic film, the voice cast includes Tommy Chong, J.K. Simmons, Octavia Spencer, Tiny Lister and Shakira. As Judy Hopps, Goodwin is a delight to listen to. Completely enthralling, she creates an optimistic character that’s kind, passionate and extremely determined.
“I was blown away that they created an action heroine who is a butt kicking rabbit who is also girly, generous and good,” says Goodwin. “To have an action hero be all those things is really refreshing.”
Directed by Byron Howard (“Tangled,” “Bolt”) and Rich Moore (“Wreck It Ralph,” “The Simpsons”), the computer animation of the characters is expressive and detailed and there’s plenty of raucous humor to keep audiences entertained. One of the funniest scenes includes an encounter with a sloth working at the DMV—the Department of Mammal Vehicles.
Certainly one of the best movies of the year, the story is well paced, the characters are beautifully created and voiced, and the animation is breathtaking. Detailed and well constructed, there are even neighborhoods in Zootopia that celebrate different cultures such as Sahara Square for desert animals, Tundratown for the polar bears and moose, the hot and humid Rainforest District, Little Rodentia for the tiniest mammals.
With its amusing, endearing characters, this film does everything right. It is well thought out, well executed and has a great deal of charm and humor. These are all elements that make it an outright winner.
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This was printed in the March 20 - April 2, 2016 edition.