Movie Review: Zootopia (2016)

Released on March 4th, 2016, Zootopia received positive reviews from critics. It became the first top-grossing film after Frozen, which had been released in 2013. It became one of the top ten best films of 2016 by the American Film Institute, as well as earning Best Animated Feature Film at the Academy Awards, Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice Movie Award, and the Annie Award.

Zootopia is set in an anthropomorphic world, where mammals are divided between prey and predator. The movie opens in Bunny Burrow where a young rabbit by the name of Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin), puts on a school play with her classmates about what they want to become when they are grown up. Judy says she wants to be a police officer and everyone laughs. That just made her work harder. As soon as she was old enough she went through the police academy as the only prey animal but graduated as valedictorian. Judy is assigned to the central part of Zootopia with Chief Bogo (Idris Elba) at the helm. The Chief doubts her abilities and assigns her to parking duty. While out doing her job, Officer Hops was coned by Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) and Finnick (Tommy Lister). Later that day though, she witnesses, Duke Weaselton (Alan Tudyk) steal a bag of crocus bulbs. Judy drops the parking duty and gives chase, arresting him. Chief Bogo however is not pleased and reprimands her. During their meeting, Mrs. Otterton (Octavia Spencer) interrupts begging for help on finding her missing husband. Emmitt Otterton was one of the fourteen missing predator cases. Judy quickly volunteered when Assistant Mayor Dawn Bellwether (Jenny Slate) comes in. The chief has to accept Judy’s volunteered assignment and gives her only 48 hours to solve the case or she resigns. 

Finding out that Nick Wilde was the last to see Emmitt, she starts by finding him and blackmailing him into helping by recording his hustle math. Together they find out that he was taken from a limousine owned by the crime boss, Mr. Big (Maurice’s LaMarche. They go to see the crime boss only to be told that Emmitt had suddenly just gone “savage” before attacking his driver. Their next stop was to the chauffeur Manchas’ (Jesse Corti) house where the only information was given was that Emmitt had yelled night howlers just before he attacked. Just then, Manchas turns and chases the duo through the rainforest district before Judy traps Mancha and calls for backup. Unfortunately, Manchas escapes before they arrive. Bogo at that point demands that Judy resigns right there, Nick steps in to defend her as he knows how he feels to have prejudice experiences.

Judy and Nick go to City Hall to check out the traffic cameras. They see that wolves had taken Manchas to Cliffside Asylum. Judy assumes that is what Emmitt meant by night howlers. Nick and Judy sneak into the Asylum to learn that Mayor Lionheart (J.K Simmons) was locking the savage predators away to learn about their behavior. Judy and Nick out the Mayor who is arrested on pretenses. Bellwether takes over as Mayor. 

During a press conference where she’s praised for closing the fourteen cases, she asks Nick to join the force but they state that the savage behavior was due to biology. This upset Nick and he declines the offer. The citizens use it as hateful speech and discrimination against predators. Upset by the consequences, Judy resigns and returns to the family farm in Bunny Borrow. While home, Judy learns that night howlers are crocus bulbs and they give a nasty side effect when exposed to the neurotoxin turning the mammal savage. Judy returns to Zootopia to apologize to Nick. Together they ask Mr. Big for help with interrogating Weaselton. They learn that the stolen crocus bulbs were for Doug (Rich Moore), a ram, who was making a drug in the subway system and using a dart gun to shoot the mammals. 

Nick and Judy find Doug and retrieve the serum but as they were on their way to the main office of ZPD, Bellwether and her minions appear in the Natural History Museum. She tells the minions to stop Nick and Judy and get the serum. She then reveals that it was all her idea to make prey mammals superior through fear. Judy gets injured and Bellwether shoots Nick with a dart. Nick turns on Judy while she secretly records Bellwether’s admission. Nick then turns on Bellwether revealing that he switched the serum with blueberries. Bellwether gets arrested and Mayor Lionheart is released and returned to his role, admitting he had no idea about her plans. The savage animals were cured and returned to their families and Nick Wilde graduates from the police academy and becomes Judy’s partner. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Zootopia was amazing on so many levels but was also scary for kids. If your children easily scare, this is not the movie for your family, however, otherwise it has so many great lessons on racism and not judging someone by their looks but by their character. That being said, for us adults, the Easter eggs are *chefs kids* brilliant and hilarious. Even if you haven’t seen those particular films you should be able to get it. This was the first film I took my little one to in a movie theater and he was hooked, he was just over 3 years old.

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