Zootopia review

2016s 3rd film.
2016’s 3rd film.

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My opinion right after watching film

My opinion right after watching the film is that I like how it is a symbol of racism, and how flawed the world is in positive and negative ways. I am sick of the formula that I am starting to notice in the more recent films that this film is plagued with, but it is a strong and enjoyable film nonetheless.

Production

The film was announced to the public at the D23 event in 2013, and the concept of it was created when director Bryon Howard wanted to make a film like Robin Hood, but wanted the world to be a combination of the natural and human worlds. In regards to the research, it took place in Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and major cities such as New York City, San Francisco, and Las Vegas, Paris, etc.

The film was initially supposed to be a James Bond-like spy film, where Nick Wilde is the main character, and Judy Hopkins (named Hopps) was his sidekick. Soon enough, the film was changed to focus more on the police than spies, and the roles of Wilde and Hopps were switched, making Judy the main character instead.

Story

The film starts with a child bunny named Judy Hopkins (Della Saba and Ginnifer Goodwin), who is in a lay talking about how Zootopia came to be, focusing in predators and prey. She announces that she is going to be a cop, and after the play, she gets into a fight with a fox named Gideon (get the reference?) Grey (Phil Johnston) about how he is the predator, and her friends are still weak. Her parents Bonnie (Bonnie Hunt) and Stu (Don Lake) tell her that it is good to conform to their reality, and to live safe; telling her that her dream of being a police officer instead of a part of the family farm is ludicrous.

I like how they created a rural area (where Judy's family lives), and the urban Zootopia, where we see different types of prejudice depending on the area that the characters are in. Judy manages to navigate through the Police Academy with her talents and height. She then moves to Zootopia after getting a job.... where she is a parking ticket officer.
I like how they created a rural area (where Judy’s family lives), and the urban Zootopia, where we see different types of prejudice depending on the area that the characters are in. Judy manages to navigate through the Police Academy with her talents and height. She then moves to Zootopia after getting a job…. where she is a parking ticket officer.

Her boss Chief Bogo (Idris Elba) is not impressed with her, and wants her to leave as soon as possible. Judy ends up meeting the fox Nick Wilde (Kath Soucie……… and Jason Bateman), who is in an ice cream shop trying to buy a large smoothie for his sidekick disguised as a baby elephant Finnick (Tom Lister Jr.), whom Judy has to force the store to serve, instead of him being refused because he is a negro fox.

She is soon realized that she was conned when she sees the two melt the large popsicle to create many small pawpsicles to sell to chipmunks. All I have to say is that Nick…….. instantly reminds me of Flynn and Kristoff; typical snarky, sarcastic, smug male character that we are starting to see all the time. Nick tells her that she should go back to her farm time, since she is not a good cop, and he has been doing this since he was 12.

After a thief runs past her, Judy takes it upon herself to capture the rodent for an arrest, but is lectured by her boss. Mrs. Otterton (Octavia Spencer) shows up in an urgent panic, as her husband Mr. Otterton, who has been missing for weeks, and the police still has no leads. Judy tells her that she will take the case in her hands. As a way to get Judy to leave, Bogo tells her that she has 48 hours to complete the case, or else she has to resign.
After a thief runs past her, Judy takes it upon herself to capture the rodent for an arrest, but is lectured by her boss. Mrs. Otterton (Octavia Spencer) shows up in an urgent panic, as her husband Mr. Otterton, who has been missing for weeks, and the police still has no leads. Judy tells her that she will take the case in her hands. As a way to get Judy to leave, Bogo tells her that she has 48 hours to complete the case, or else she has to resign.

The only person who supports her at all is the sheep assistant of the mayor named Dawn (Jenny Slate), who publishes that she is now on the case. Judy looks at the last sighting of the otter, and sees the pawpsicle in his hand, and Nick’s tail.  Nick ends up blabbing on him avoiding tax payments despite making a lot of money since he was twelve, which she records, and uses to blackmail him into helping her. They go from sighting to sighting, which leads to Otterton being last seen in a limo, which belonged to his friend and employer Mr. Big (Maurice LaMarche).

He is about to freeze them, but his daughter Fru Fru (Leah Latham) tells him to stop, since Judy saved her life when a huge donut was about to crush her when Judy was arresting the thief. He decides to cooperate, and tells them that he never got to see Otterton, since the limo crashed got into a crash and was traumatized before they got to Tundratown. They go to the driver Manchas (Jesse Corti)’s house, and was told that Otterton turned into a monster, and attacked him. She calls for assistance, and when they arrive, Manchas bails before he can give his statements, which causes Bogo to demand her resignation. Nick tells them that there is still 10 more hours left, an they leave.

So we learn that Nick wanted to be aboy'ss cout when he was younger, and when he signs up to pledge his loyalty, he is bullied and harassed, as the others put a nuzzle on him. He is subsequently booted from the club, and he vows to be what everyone expects of him. Where have we heard of this from? It is sad, but this is getting a bit repetitive.
So we learn that Nick wanted to be a boy’s scout when he was younger, and when he signs up to pledge his loyalty, he is bullied and harassed, as the others put a nuzzle on him. He is subsequently booted from the club, and he vows to be what everyone expects of him. Where have we heard of this from? It is sad, but this is getting a bit repetitive.

They get help from Dawn to track down where Ottertown was captured to, and this is tied to the Night Howlers. So the two end up at the location, and this all ends up with the Mayor (J. K. Simmons) admitting on knowing and not doing anything with the condition of the predators’ conditions. All of the people that went missing was found in the area, which lead to Judy solving the case, and the mayor being fired. During a press interview, Judy does not have enough PM experience to be careful with her answers, and it is turned into an anti-predator campaign, as the town things that it is in their biology to go “savage” and “primal”. Nick turns on her because of this, refusing her offer to be her partner at work, also noting the fox repellent that she still has in her possession.

After the segregation grows worse and violence ensures, Judy resigns, and goes back home to work for the farm. The hottest pop artist Gazelle (Shakira) is disappointed with what happened to Zootopia, and Mrs. Otterton is saddened at her husband’s state.  Judy is reunited with Gideon, who has reformed, and became the town baker, who is also in business with her family. She soon realizes that the Night Howlers are flowers, which causes her to rush back to Zootopia to beg and apologize to Nick for her ignorance, which he forgives her for. All of his leads to Dawn being the mastermind of all of this, since she wants to reign in power, since the 90% prey’s fear will make things a horrible place for everyone else. She tries to shoot the night owl ball to Nick, which were replaced with blueberries, so he does not become savaged. Her confession is recorded, and Dawn is arrested. This is the FOURTH CONSECUTIVE FILM to have a surprise villain. WDAS, please take a note; we are getting tired of it, and it is BEYOND formulaic at this point. The film ends with all of the predators being cured, Judy being reinstated in the police force, Nick graduating the Police Academy, and the two becoming police partners.

As a person who would be considered a minority, I really enjoyed this film, and how ti expressed how prejudice is found within good and bad people. It shows how ignorance is bliss, and how educating oneselves, and not judging can do harm. The film has really strong characters, and a heavy plot, but I am noticing that this film has some formulas established in the past few films of the canon that I cannot get over. I do not think the company was expecting this film to be as big of a hit that it turned to be.
As a person who would be considered a minority, I really enjoyed this film, and how it expressed how prejudice is found within good and bad people. It shows how ignorance is bliss, and how educating oneselves, and not judging can do harm. The film has really strong characters, and a heavy plot, but I am noticing that this film has some formulas established in the past few films of the canon that I cannot get over. I do not think the company was expecting this film to be as big of a hit that it turned to be.

Characters

There are many different characters in the film, but most are too minor to mention. I like all of them in their own way though, so it says a lot about the characters in this film.

She is a strong protagonist. I like how she is the typical sweet and optimistic Disney character, but they go out of their way to show that she does have flaws herself, that she does acknowledge and fixes. You need a relatable character, and she is it.
She is a strong protagonist. I like how she is the typical sweet and optimistic Disney character, but they go out of their way to show that she does have flaws herself, that she does acknowledge and fixes. You need a relatable character, and she is it.

 

I do enjoy Nick, I really, really do. But the thing is, I would be lying if I said that he was one of my favourites. It is just that I have seen his type way too much in Disney recently, which I have mentioned in the past in this blog. Kristoff, Flynn (who was already a copy of Aladdin), etc. I did connect to Nick in the aspect that he is a minority who is judged, and constantly have people fear and think negatively of you over something you cannot change. He is a strong and relatable character as well.
I do enjoy Nick, I really, really do. But the thing is, I would be lying if I said that he was one of my favourites. It is just that I have seen his type way too much in Disney recently, which I have mentioned in the past in this blog. Kristoff, Flynn (who was already a copy of Aladdin), etc. I did connect to Nick in the aspect that he is a minority who is judged, and constantly have people fear and think negatively of you over something you cannot change. He is a strong and relatable character as well.
He is not just the tough boss cop who is slightly bigoted. He does have a sensitive and giddy side. He does come around, and his motivations are understandable.
He is not just the tough boss cop who is slightly bigoted. He does have a sensitive and giddy side. He does come around, and his motivations are understandable.
I have to admit that I was shocked when she became the villain. I liked how demure and dainty she was, just going on with her life. Turns out, she is sick of not being in power, and always being put down, so she is using the ignorance and fear of others to gain power.
I have to admit that I was shocked when she became the villain. I liked how demure and dainty she was, just going on with her life. Turns out, she is sick of not being in power, and always being put down, so she is using the ignorance and fear of others to gain power.

Animation

I am shocked with how much they were able to create with the imagination. I am always one to go awe about new worlds, and how they create these worlds through animation to blow our minds. The textures were great, and they had to create so many animals and tools in such a variety of different sizes. I am impressed.

Music

The score from what I recall is decent enough. Nothing is really memorable about it, and there is no specific theme to it. I know Shakira sings the main song of the film, which carries the theme of the movie, and the journey of the film well enough.

Reception at Release

When the film was released on March 4th of this year in North America, as of May 24th, the film has made a bit short of a billion dollars; grossing $334 million domestically, and $649 million elsewhere, with a current amount of $983.9 million. It is currently the second highest grossing film of the year, behind Captain America: Civil War, and is the highest grossing animated film of the year.

Critically, it received large critical praise, reasons involving the thought provoking essage of prejudice, while maintaining the family-theme rating that Disney is accustomed to.

Final Score

Story: 9/10

Characters: 8/10

Animation: 10/10

Music: 7.5/10

= 34.5/40 = 86% (yes, it outranked Beauty and the Beast)

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9 thoughts on “Zootopia review

  1. “= 34.5/40 = 86% (yes, it outranked Beauty and the Beast)” Dang, I’m impressed. I also snickered at that extreme close-up you have of Nick.

    I’m glad Disney made a movie about prejudice. Talking animals have always have been a good way for Disney to broach human issues, like classicism, since Lady and the Tramp, and a lesson for kids about acceptance and understanding seems perfect for a time when racial and gendered tensions are at high.

    As for what you said about the surprise villain formula (and Nick feeling familiar) (and Judy’s eyes looking like Anna’s, Elsa’s and Rapunzel’s), I am starting to worry about a Disney Renaissance scenario, where Disney sees that that sort of plot worked great for Wreck-It-Ralph and Frozen and decides to make it the default structure for every film from now. I tend to think Mulan would have been a stronger movie if it hadn’t adhered to the Disney Renaissance formula, and Tarzan was pretty bland and by the numbers, so I suspect Disney will stop with the surprise villain thing when the movies start to suffer for it and people start to get tired of it.

    1. Thanks. I only chose that picture for him because all the others were extremely large.

      I completely forgot about the Judy eyes comparison, and am worried about the same thing regarding to a Renaissance-like formula. If Moana has a surprise villain, I will be forced to go and rant. Mulan, Tarzan, and even Hercules would have been MUCH better if they did not follow the formula. Let’s just hope that they don’t change things before it is too late.

    2. honestly, I don’t see what’s wrong with the character design of Judy. That is just the Disney signature style, a design style that has been iconic to Disney for years. Like how anime has a distinctive sameness to them that makes them iconic and memorable, Disney’s style is the same. I understand that they maybe should make more films with differing styles, like Sleeping Beauty and Pocahontas, but if you look at the overall picture, you can notice that signature style, and that’s what Disney wants.

  2. I really liked this film. You’re right about Nick being similar to previous Disney male leads, but it was pretty decent to see a male character or this type who is not a love interest.

    Dawn Bellwether’s twist…I’m fairly neutral about it. I don’t think it was better than the one from Wreck-It Ralph, but it may have had better hints than Frozen and was less predicable than Big Hero 6. However, I think Bellwether had the worst “follow-through.” It seemed that right after she’s the villain it goes right into the climax. Like, she was responsible for the whole mess, but her only problem seemed to be Mayor Lionheart so it seems to be a weak motive. Also, how Judy and Nick defeat her is kinda lame (they’re just kidding around).

    So, with a rating higher than Beauty and the Beast, is it also one of your favorites?

    1. Beauty and the Beast is technically not one of my favourites, but there is a lot of quality to it. I don’t see this film as my top 10 favoutites, but it is pretty close up there.

      I will agree thay she had the worst follow through, since she was found out at the relatively quick climax. Nick does get a few points for not being a love interest.

  3. Great review! I also enjoyed Zootopia as well. It’s another good addition to the Disney Revival era. The way they tackled the theme of prejudice was really well done and it made it stand out from any other Disney film.

    However, like you I’m also starting to get a little bit tired of the formula Disney has in their recent films. It seems they have to have a surprise villain in all of their films now. I will give this film a pass however, since this is a Crime/Drama film and those films tend to have surprise villains. I will be very mad however if they do this in Moana.

    The other I have noticed is that Disney has started to make fun of themselves. They did it in Wreck it Ralph, they did it in Frozen and now they did it in this film. It feels like Disney is ashamed of their old films.

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