CGB Review of Zootopia (2016)

There’s a new sheriff in town and she’s a bunny!
No, seriously, the main character is a bunny cop named Judy Hopps.

This is my review of Zootopia!

Zootopia_Movie_trailer

Judy Hopps, an optimistic rabbit from the rural town of Bunnyburrow, is the first “bunny cop” in the history of Zootopia.  Despite this, her first assignment is parking duty.  However, when an opportunity arises to solve a missing person–er, I mean–otter case (because the resident she is looking for is Emmett Otterton), Judy teams up with a con artist fox named Nicholas “Nick” Wilde and the two form an unlikely friendship as they attempt to find Mr. Otterton and save the day.

The Hits
The jokes are knee-slapping hilarious!  There’s one scene where Chief Bogo says, “We have an elephant in the room.”  He then turns to an elephant character and says, “Francine, happy birthday.”  There is also a really funny scene at the DMV, which is run entirely by sloths.  Yes, it is as relatable and hysterical as you would imagine.
I love Judy Hopps!  Determined, spirited and strong-willed, she is instantly likable.  I appreciate how the script doesn’t make her the cliché “strong, independent female who doesn’t need help from anyone.” She is actually a fleshed-out character who is capable of taking care of herself while also allowing others to give her a hand.
The heart of the story is the relationship between Judy and Nick.  I think Saint Pope John Paul II, who had much to say about holy friendship, would be quite pleased with this duo.  Judy and Nick compliment each other’s strengths and weaknesses.  Judy confronts the criminals who have a grudge against Nick and Nick steps in as Judy’s advocate any time she gets tongue-tied.  I love how they come to value each other as the film progresses.  There’s one sequence where Judy injures her leg.  “I can’t walk,” she says.  Nick picks up her and says, “I gotcha” as he takes her to a hiding spot.  In this particular moment, the gentle hushed tone of his voice conveys his concern and respect for Judy.  Little details like this are worth commending.
This movie tackles timely issues and does so beautifully.  I like how the film has a balanced message that while there are people who do fit the stereotypes of their group, to paint an entire segment of the population with one brush is wrong.  It depicts the unfortunate consequences of labeling a particular group of people.  The movie does have some dark moments.  However, these moments are handled with tact and grace so that children can feel the severity, but still enjoy the film.

The Misses
As much as I love Judy Hopps, I feel that she is a tad too similar to Anna from Frozen.  Granted, I love Anna, but that doesn’t mean I want to see the same character over and over.  To be fair, Judy’s character arch is different than Anna’s, but their personalities are eerily identical.
There actually is an elephant in the room: So Zootopia is depicted as having different sections of the city: There’s the Rainforest District, Sahara Square, Tundratown and so on.  This is one city with differing weather climates happening at the same time.
This raises a question in my mind: Where exactly is Zootopia?  Is it on earth?   When Judy is taking the train from Bunnyburrow to Zootopia, is she crossing dimensions?  Also, whatever happened to the humans?   While I’m glad that the movie doesn’t rely heavily on expositional spiels, there are some unanswered questions about the mechanics of this world.

Zootopia is another homerun from Disney!  Lovable characters, ingenious world-building and a mature handling of current issues makes this one of the best movies of 2016.

Saint Pope John Paul II, pray for us.

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