Zootopia features a world of anthropomorphic animals that mirror our own. It’s Disney’s most detailed work yet, as the urban jungle features a wide variety of species and backdrops. Even though we don’t get a complete tour of Zootopia, it feels expansive.
Using a whodunit detective story with an empowering message, the story takes us from the countryside of rabbits to the seedy side of the metropolis with a Corleone-esque lemming. In one action sequence, Hopps runs after a thief in a pint-sized city.
Taking advantage of its setting, there are clever animal puns. They behave like humans but still adopt a lifestyle close to the natural order of the animal hierarchy. Predators (including large aggressive animals) take on dominant roles while the Preys fall into subservient ones. This includes a police force run by a cape buffalo and a DMV operated by sloths.
The script takes it one step further by tackling a timely issue well suited for its premise – Zootopia uses specie-ism to examine racial prejudice.
Officer Judy Hopps points out that cute is derogatory for rabbits and carries a fox repellent. Nick Wilde once tried to go against societal expectations like Judy, but eventually gave up and embraced his stereotype.
Ginnifer Goodwin and Jason Bateman are a perfect fit for their roles. The rest of the supporting cast is also spot on including Idris Elba as Chief Bogo, Shakira as pop star Gazelle, J.K. Simmons as Mayor Lionheart, and Jenny Slate as Bellwether.
Even with its mature lessons, Zootopia remains an entertaining movie thanks to its endearing characters. The choice of animals for the leads – a bunny and a fox – also enables the movie to have frenetic action sequences and amusing banter.
Zootopia offers the same formula – an easy to follow plot, adorable characters, and witty humor – but takes the opportunity to say something more. There’s adorable imagery for the kids, quips for the adults, and a timely lesson of recognizing one’s own bias.
Zootopia is an entertaining tale with detailed animation, perfectly cast voice actors and a surprisingly smart script that examines prejudice.