Movie review: Zootopia

The police procedural about political corruption in Zootopia takes several turns I simply did not anticipate.

zootopiaIsaiah 11:6 reads, “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb.” In Zootopia, the newish animated film from Disney, the big city is populated by anthropomorphic mammals, who, in our world, are predators and prey. Yet they work together, usually in harmony.

Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) is a rabbit from rural Bunnyburrow who wants to be the first rabbit officer in the Zootopia Police Department, much to the misgivings of her go-along-to get-along parents (Bonnie Hunt, Don Lake).

Judy graduates at the top of her class, but is assigned to parking duty by Chief Bogo (Idris Elba), a water buffalo who doubts she can do the job. When Mrs. Otterton (Octavia Spencer) arrives to plead for someone to find her missing husband, one of over a dozen missing mammals, Judy volunteers. Assistant Mayor Dawn Bellwether, a sheep, (Jenny Slate) texts Mayor Lionheart (J.K. Simmons) the news of Judy taking the case.

Beyond this, the less you know about Zootopia, the better. Jason Bateman is tremendous as Nick Wilde, a red fox who is a small-time con artist. Tommy Chong is an enlightened yak, and Shakira plays Shakira if she were a gazelle. A bunch of voice actors, who you’ve probably never heard of, are marvelous.

Without being too preachy about it, this movie is ultimately about stereotyping and prejudice. The animation looks great, and the police procedural about political corruption takes several turns I simply did not anticipate. The sloths at the DMV seem to be out of a great Bob and Ray routine, and The Godfather is referenced.

My whole family saw Zootopia, in 2D, not 3D, on a Sunday afternoon at the local Madison Theatre. Parts of it may be too intense for very small children. But it is a very fine film, and worth seeing, even if you don’t have a child to take with you.

But don’t read the Wikipedia page, which is spoiler city.