“Zootopia”: Movie Review

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Incorporating heart-felt themes and hilarious comedy for both younger and older viewers, “Zootopia” is ambitious in scope and will probably delight every movie-goer who has retained a spark of humanity prior to entering theaters.

Set in an all-animal world where predator and prey have evolved to coincide and take human characteristics, the setting is rife with visual splendor and humor. Many of the animal’s occupations offer comical social commentary in themselves, such as the MVA being run exclusively by sloths.

The film’s plot revolves around the young carrot farmer Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) who dreams of moving to Zootopia in order to become the first bunny police officer. Working on sheer determination and force of will, Hopps soon becomes Lieutenant Hopps of the ZPD, an idealistic but ever-enthusiastic champion of morality.

This paragon’s idealism becomes under immediate threat from the discrimination set against her by the bigger, stronger species in the police department, as well as the rest of the city. Tackling modern issues of racism and acceptance, the movie gracefully balances between substantive issues and preaching a common message.

Additionally, the film offers a more cynical perspective from the scathing eyes of local con-man Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman,) a prototypical fox looking for quick cash through shady means. Hopps and Wilde clash fairly early on, and their natural inclination towards hostility remains an underlying tension for most of the film. Each feels wronged by the other’s species or biological designation. (Read: racism racism racism racism racism.)

However, their evolving relationship quickly becomes the focal point of the story, as both parties come to realize the strengths and values of the other. This usually drab and clich development is done so well and with such chemistry between the two lead voice actors that for once I was able to overlook the simplicity of story in favor of its genuine charm.

“Zootopia” offers consistent humor as well as a light-hearted and optimistic outlook without feeling campy or resorting to cheap solutions to the very adult problems displayed in the movie. The nearly innumerable sight-gags and references to other movies as well as real life give the film a refreshing energy that is sometimes lost in movies desperately clawing to handle large societal issues.