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Zootopia Movie Review

Haven't done a film review in a while (Sorry about that everyone) but I'm here with a new one, Zootopia!: When Judy Hopps, a bunny from the rural town of Bunnyburrow, becomes the first ever rabbit police officer, she moves to the big city of Zootopia to get to work. For her first big case, she is forced to work with a con artist fox named Nick Wilde in order to solve the disappearance of several missing mammal residents.. I'll admit that when I saw the teaser trailer for this, I was about ready to write it off. While the concept was interesting, it looked a little too corny and cynical for even my tastes: the tagline being "like nothing you've seen be-fur" (har har). And this is from a guy who grew up with Looney Tunes, all the Disney features and shorts, the 70s Robin Hood being a notable example, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Boy, was I wrong! Little did I know that this would turn out to be an engaging buddy-cop mystery film with themes of stereotyping and racism (Irony of ironies). The animation is beautifully done and the world of Zootopia is wonderfully detailed and thought out, from how animals of different regions could all live together in one big area down to how all the businesses and locations could allow easy access for both bigger and smaller animals. The animation and locations are also very strong in atmosphere, ranging from warm and upbeat to dark, suspenseful, and terrifying (this film is not afraid to go dark and deep). The characters are wonderfully designed, animated, and perfectly cast, especially Ginnifer Goodwin as the upbeat and determined Hopps and Justin Bateman as the sly, sarcastic Nick Wilde. At the end of the movie, I felt like they could have gone a little deeper with the Nick Wilde character, but I may have missed a few details (nothing another viewing can't solve). Other members of the cast include Idris Elba, Alan Tudyk, Maurice LaMarche, and Shakira. Except for a small plot hole that I didn't even notice until long after the movie was over (so grasping for straws here) the story is solid, feeling well-rounded, deep, and emotion filled. Really if I had any negatives to say about the movie, it would be because I'm over familiar with the buddy cop, mystery, and optimistic underdog coming to the big city genres. I instantly recognized their tropes and set ups in the first thirty minutes and I think that did momentarily distract me. I also guessed who the surprise villain was (but that may have had more to do with being an idiot and looking at the Wikipedia page a few days previously). All that being said, the story, characters and mystery that used those genres was still really good and solid, and more than enough to keep me interested and entertained. Plus, I love those genres anyway and the tropes and cliches are what make those genres possible (what would science-fiction be without aliens, robots, or outer space for example) so it was unfair of me to judge the use of genre in that way. I haven't seen a good old fashioned buddy cop film in a while and this really delivered, also adding in some new twists and turns. Plus I'm always a sucker for an optimistic underdog story and a good mystery. Like I said above, those are very minor grasping at straws, proves I watch too many movies negatives and I have a feeling that if I watched the movie again, I could totally ignore those minor distractions and my final rating for the film would be even higher than it is now. Some people might be fatigued by Zootopia's theme of racism, especially with what's going on in real life right now, and accuse the film of beating the audience over the head with it, but that's definitely not the case (The Oscars on the other hand...). While there is constant dialogue and exposition references to racism (or rather speciesism in this case), the story handles it very well, spacing it out so that it feels natural in the story and with the characters, with the rest of the time being done visually and subtlety, so that it comes out to just the right amount. Zootopia also teaches its lessons through the story in a fun, interesting way with its engaging mystery and the likable characters. When it does have to be told through exposition, its still done in fun ways like kids putting on a play, and when it has to be serious, its like a good friend having a reassuring chat with you when you know you've messed up. It also comes out at just the right time to be relevant, not speaking down to the audience, and have enough for both kids and adults. At the same time, it was so entertaining and heartfelt that I think it has enough power for quite a while, if not years to come. I'm probably laying it on a little thick at this point, but at the very least, I can definitely tell why its become a hit with critics and audiences. Overall, Zootopia is a great time, having strong characters, an engaging story, beautiful animation, and a lot of imagination. Some people might be distracted by the genre tropes or the theme of racism but the four elements above do so well at delivering with the genre tropes being given new twists and turns and the theme delivered in a believable, heartfelt way that its definitely worth it. If anyone still has complaints, they'll probably be minor nitpicks at most. Zootopia is a wonderful film and I definitely say see it. Rating 4.7 stars out of 5 (will probably be higher when I see it again)


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