Judy Hopps is a bunny with a dream. She wants to move to the big city and become the first ever Rabbit Police Officer, but no one believes she can. Even Judy’s parents tell her to give up her dream, but she’s a tough cookie who keeps on trying.
Sounds like a trite little bedtime story you’d read to your kids, but don’t be fooled. Zootopia is anything but trite with directors Byron Howard (Tangled, Bolt) and Rich Moore (Wreck-It Ralph) steering the ship. Throw in a writing staff that includes Jim Reardon (WALL-E), Josie Trinidad (The Princess and the Frog) and Jennifer Lee (Frozen), and you just might have a classic on your hands. Because Zootopia isn’t just about Judy Hopps’ struggle to realize her dreams or the discrimination that holds her back. At it’s heart, Zootopia is about the ignorance and FEAR we are all capable of, and how often we let it guide us.
Pretty heady stuff from a Bunny Cop, right? That’s precisely why you need to see Zootopia.
See Zootopia also for it’s surprising anthropomorphic Animal Kingdom. I was reminded of the movie Cars, because of the unexpected ways they worked animals into real life. Where do hamsters sit on the bus and how does a giraffe get a latte? These are the questions that Zootopia answers. We also find out that the entire DMV staff is made up of sloths, which is one of countless inside grown-up jokes. Yes, Zootopia might be a kid’s movie, but I cry-laughed through about 80% of it.
There are too many great messages in Zootopia to count, but my favorite comes from the unexpected friendship between Judy the Bunny and Nick the Fox. Sure, it sounds like another bedtime story, but onscreen it is surprisingly sweet and true. Judy and Nick remind us that sometimes we have to let go of preconceived notions and simply have faith in each other. After all, if a bunny and a fox can get along, why can’t we? –A+
(Zootopia opens nationwide March 4th.)