REVIEW: Zootopia (2016)

Zootopia

Theatrical Release Poster, featuring the U.S. Release Date – Walt Disney Animation Studios

The following is a review of Disney’s Zootopia, also known as Zootropolis in some regions.

I was happy to find out that Zootopia was released one month early in Denmark, much less so to realize that I, at first, had a tough time finding a theater showing it in English near me. Thankfully, I was able to find time to see it in English at the CinemaxX in Copenhagen. Zootopia is the 55th Walt Disney Animation Studios-film, and the first since the release of Big Hero 6 in 2014, which I enjoyed very much.

I had enjoyed the trailers that I had seen from the film, but I was unsure as to whether I would find myself loving a Walt Disney Animation Studios-film for the fourth time in a row. I am happy to say that I enjoyed Zootopia a great deal.

Zootopia follows the bunny Judy Hopps (voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin), an officer with the Zootopia Police Department, who is assigned her first big case: she needs to find Emmitt Otterton, one of many missing animals. With the aid of Nick Wilde (voiced by Jason Bateman), a scheming fox, Hopps tries to show her superiors, and society as a whole, that anyone can be anything if they fight for it, no matter the prejudices against you.

Zootopia follows the structure of a buddy-cop drama, with the opening act showing Judy Hopps’s background, before evolving greatly when we are introduced to Bateman’s Nick Wilde. When I sat down in the theater I had expected the exact moral theme of the story; that no matter the obstacle, anyone can be anything. For a while the film was somewhat predictable. However, an hour, or so, into the film I was surprised to see how much the true underlining story of the film relied on stereotypical assumptions, prejudices, and racism.

At first, the little hints toward the greater underlining story had felt somewhat lackadaisical, and I had feared that the writers wouldn’t follow up on these hints pointing towards racial segregation in a pleasing manner. Maybe I am giving the story more credit than it deserves, but the last act of the story wasn’t very predictable, and I felt that it was a great, brave turn for Zootopia to take. With that having been said, however, the film isn’t all that unique, and only the lengths they chose to go with the story truly stood out.

Goodwin’s Judy and Bateman’s Nick delivered great performances, as you would expect – and they were perfectly cast. As a matter of fact, I didn’t find any voice acting performance lacking real inspiration, even if I thought Idris Elba’s Chief Bogo was underused.

All in all, Zootopia is a great new feature film from Walt Disney Animation Studios. Kids will love it, and parents should adore the character design as well. There is a great reference to The Godfather that older audiences will love, and a tiny Breaking Bad reference that you should like as well.

8.6 out of 10

 – I’m Jeffrey Rex