-A socially conscious animated comedy with wondrous vision.

Disney Animated Group is responsible for some of the best family pictures of all time, whether it be the classics of the 1960s and 70s like Bambi, The Jungle Book, Fantastia, among others, but now, over the last few years, they’ve also become the most successful CGI animated studio with such hits as Frozen, Big Hero 6 and Wreck-it Ralph. Last week, they hit the level of those films again with the timely and excellently made Zootopia.

The big fuss about why Zootopia is so good stems from the ability of the film to appeal to both the children and the parents. It’s beautifully animated, using some great animal CGI (it’s kinda what we hoped The Good Dinosaur would be more like), but it also preaches social messages of inclusion and community, allowing diversity not to come between us, but rather to bring us together.

The film tells the story of Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) who leaves the rabbit community of carrot farmers where she grew up with Mom (Bonnie Hunt), Dad (Don Lake) and a stereotypical amount of siblings. She dreams of being the first rabbit police officer in Zootopia, essentially the embodiment of the American Dream to the animal kingdom. While there, she becomes embroiled in a scandal that has the now tame predator animals attacking and then disappearing from the smaller, prey animals. To aid her with her investigation, she befriends a sly fox named Nick (Jason Bateman), and the begin their investigation together, to the dismay of the slightly prejudiced police chief (Idris Elba).

In addition to being very socially timely, it’s also very satirical. The laughs that the film works for are well-earned, and it’s done through very solid visual comedy or through good script writing. When we see are character being discriminated against to further the message of the movie, it never feels preachy, instead it feels light and comical, almost like it’s slowly massaging the back of the close-minded in order to get them to self-awarely laugh at the attitudes they hold. Bateman, like usual, shines as the most comical role. If someone asks what is the easiest/best way to spend two hours at the theater in this young year, you may want to say Zootopia, even to the older viewers.

 

4.5 stars

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