A Little Background: If you’ve seen any trailers in the last 6 months, you’ve seen the trailer for Zootopia. Why did it stand out some much? Because you just don’t see bit commitment like that anymore. It made me laugh so hard the first time, and with the following four or five times, the laughter did not diminish. But surely, when I’d finally watch the movie, I’d see it coming from a mile away and it just wouldn’t grab me the same way… false. This scene is just great, even when the theatrical segment is longer.
The Film: You can tell when you’re watching the finished product of experienced veterans. And Byron Howard and Rich Moore are certainly that. Howard has been in animation for Disney since 1995’s Pocahontas, and more recently, co-directed Bolt and Tangled. Moore has a long directing history with The Simpsons, Futurama, and more recently, Wreck-It Ralph. These two guys nailed it. I mean, really nailed it. The last animation feature I liked this much was The Lego Movie, and that had a massive advantage with the sentimental factor. Zootopia won me over all by itself.
The story takes place in a modern day city inhabited by mammals, both predator and prey, living in harmony… well, at least in the same way that we humans live in harmony today. We follow an anthropomorphic rabbit on the police force, who is seeking out the truth, as well as her own validation. The plot is front-loaded with laughs and back-loaded with intrigue, and the end result is some kind of film noirish/utopian-verging-on-dystopian detective story. Like if George Orwell decided to write a Raymond Chandler novel… and then it was adapted as a sequel to Who Framed Roger Rabbit. And I have to admit, even being such a fan of the mystery genre, it kept me guessing. There really is something here for everyone, kids, adults, political and philosophical junkies, even fans of The Godfather and Breaking Bad… I’ve said too much, just go see it.
Three Favorite Things: Jason Bateman’s dry delivery and timing that shines even when he’s a cartoon fox, the fact that Disney can still pull it off without Pixar, and of course, The Godfather bits