For the Walt Disney Company, making a movie featuring anthropomorphic characters is risky. The first attempt was 1973’s “Robin Hood”, and that turned out alright. Then came 2005’s “Chicken Little”, which turned out to be disaster. Now, we have “Zootopia”, and how does this turn out? Pretty good. In fact, this film can be considered quite good, as there is a lot of creativity presented here. There are some minor problems with the film, but the good definitely outweighs the bad. “Zootopia” is a clever comedy that uses anthropomorphic characters to its advantage.
The plot has anthropomorphic animals living in the city of Zootopia. One of its residents is a rabbit named Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin), who has become the first rabbit in the city’s police force, Yet, everywhere she goes, Judy faces prejudice from almost everyone for not being in her position as a police officer, including her superior, Chief Bogo (Idris Elba). However, this all changes when Judy tackles a missing person case, and gets the help from a fox named Nick (Jason Bateman). Now the two must work together to find this missing person, and unravel an even bigger mystery surrounding the predators of the city.
“Zootopia” definitely excels in a number of things. The story is full of twists and turns, as a good mystery should do, and there are some great comedic moments as well to counter the drama provided. Most notably, a scene where the main characters enter a DMV, and all the workers there are sloths, literally. The music keeps up with the fast pace of the film, and there are moments where the film does slow down to let the audience catch their breath from laughing. The acting is very good, as each actor and actress deliver great performances, especially from Goodwin. She makes the movie stand out the most, and her character of Judy is perfect as the hero who eventually saves the day. But what makes the movie stand out is the animation.
Disney is known for creating wonderfully animated features, but one is an exception. Everything looks and sounds like a feature length cartoon, and “Zootopia” is not an exclusion to the rule. What we have here, is an animated film that almost looks like a children’s book came to life, and was converted into 3D. Everything looks great; the backgrounds look amazing, and the character designs fit their animal counterparts very well. All one can say about this movie is that there is no better time to be a Disney fan when it comes to animation.
With all that said, there are just a few minor nitpicks about the movie. For one thing, the characters do start off resembling the typical character motifs that we know: the hard cop, the energetic hero, and the sly partner. But as the movie progresses, we see them evolve into being likeable, and having a lot of charisma. Then there’s the run time; at almost two hours, the movie could have been shortened down by a few minutes, making it easier to watch.
Overall, “Zootopia” is a good step forward for the Walt Disney Company, and here’s hoping that they produce more feature films with an anthropomorphic cast, too.