Monday, March 14, 2016

Review: Zootopia

For those of you who have not yet seen Zootopia, I cannot recommend it highly enough.

I was not that excited about seeing it, frankly -- a Disney movie about a bunny who wants to be a cop?  Whatevs.  I went mostly because the kid wanted to see it so badly, and since my child almost never wants to go see a movie, we'll take her to anything.

Spoilers from here on out:


It's been a long time since I saw a movie as wonderful, and as wonderfully done, as this one.

From the opening scene, which features our main character, the bunny Judy as a nine-year old in a school play, the movie is both delightful and engaging.  I literally started laughing in delight in this opening scene, and I don't know that I stopped being delighted -- even in the heart-breaking scenes -- until the credits rolled.

Judy (voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin) dreams of being a police officer.  She will go to Zootopia, that Great City, where any animal can be anything, and become a police officer.

No rabbit has ever been a police officer, as her parents point out.  It's just not in their biology.

This is the thesis of the movie, essentially.  Does biology rule, or are we animals more than our biology? Zootopia (the city) was started on the belief that we animals could throw off our biology, that we could be anything -- that lions could join hands with sheep and make a great society where all can be what they will.

Near the beginning there is just this absolutely amazing scene, where Judy takes the train (or a monorail, I guess it is) into Zootopia, and it is indeed a shining paradise.  The animators have done such a job here.  The movie is worth watching for this sequence alone.

And the movie gets better from this point on.

Judy goes through training at the police academy -- a tiny rabbit among these great predators and giant bulls and such.  Entirely over-matched, she does not surrender. Another brilliant sequence.

Having graduated, she is employed at the center of Zootopia (much to her parents' dismay). Her squad chief is an African buffalo, wonderfully voiced by Idris Elba.  He has no patience for this bunny who thinks she can be a police, and puts her on traffic duty: she's a meter maid.

Determined to be the most brilliant meter maid ever, Judy is in the midst of doing that job wonderfully when she meets a Fox hustler, Nick.  Sadly, due to some childhood experience with a bully, Judy hesitates to trust foxes.  Though she overcomes this, the underlying doubt lingers.

There is also the main plot, which is a missing persons case.  To wit, the disappearance of over a dozen predators.  Judy finds herself assigned (she thinks by her own wits) to one of these missing predator cases -- and with Nick's help, manages to solve the case.

But that's where the movie just starts getting interesting.

Because this is not -- as it might seem at first -- a movie about a young girl (rabbit) going to the big city and making good.

This is a movie about what happens when good people make mistakes (as we do).

This is a movie about what happens when social media (tumblr, Facebook, CNN and Fox News) seize on 10% of a story and present it as all the story.

This is a movie about what happens when we substitute stereotypes for reality.  ("Not saying all Muslims are like that, I'm just saying...." "Well, sure, individual black people are okay, but black culture in general, see..." "I'm not saying it's his fault.  It's just biology, right?")

This is a movie about why choosing good over evil, hope over hate, progressive over reactionary, Social justice Warriors over anything else, is always the right move.

And -- maybe most importantly -- this is just such a lovely, delightful, amazing movie.

With furries!

Go see it now.


Anonymous said...

OMG. I just read the wikipedia page, and current events aside, some screenwriter has pretty amazing nerd-cred. Assistant Mayor Bellwether is a SHEEP.

delagar said...

The movie is filled with delightful touches like that.

If you see it, don't miss who the lab assistants in the underground drug lab are. :)