Action Movie Friday: Zootopia

It is time for Action Movie Friday, where I treat an action movie like an action movie and not like a drama and stuff. All movie reviews are subjective and while I may like something, you might think it’s shit, and vice versa!

Title: Zootopia
MPAA Rating: PG
Release: 2016
Genre: action, buddy cop, animated
Starring: Ginnifer Goodman, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba, Jenny Slate, Nate Torrence, Bonnie Hunt, Don Lake, Tommy Chong, JK Simmons, Octavia Spencer, Alan Tudyk, Shakira, Maurise LaMarche
Director: Bryon Howard, Rich Moore, Jared Bush
Writer: Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Jared Bush, Jim Reardon, Josie Trinidad, Phil Johnston, Jennifer Lee
Distributor: Disney
Budget: $150 Million
Box Office: $1.02 Billion

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 98%

Gingersnaps Rating: Four and a Half cookies!

Summary:

Young bunny Judy Hopps always dreamed of being a police officer. The first rabbit to make it onto the force, Judy is assigned to the sprawling metropolis of Zootopia. A melting pot of a city where anyone can achieve their dreams and make a difference. All isn’t as it seems in the city that claims to be a paradise for predator and prey alike. Fourteen mammals have gone missing and Judy is determined to do her part. Her boss, Chief Bogo isn’t supportive and assigns her parking duty. But when Judy stumbles across a lead, she’s given 48 hours to crack the case. With her career on the line, Judy is determined to prove she’s not some token bunny, even if it means teaming up with con fox, Nick Wilde. The case goes bigger than they ever could believe and could tear apart the ideological foundations of Zootopia itself.

Review:

The first time I watched this movie, I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was. The early trailers and teasers hadn’t given me much hope about it. There hadn’t been a lot to go on about what the plot actually was versus this is just another talking animal movie from Disney. Let’s face it, there have been a lot of talking animal movies, just like there are a lot of princess movies. I wasn’t sure what made this one so special.

Money wise, people didn’t agree with me and went out to see it in droves. This film made 1 Billion world wide on a 150 million budget. They made over two times their budget in America alone. So, hopefully going forward Disney will take what they did right in this movie and apply it to other movies.

The plot is fairly predictable. It’s your buddy cop, young person out to prove themselves standard fare with your typical bosses that don’t believe you (despite having access to all the technology.) Impossible deadlines and let’s add a conspiracy for flavor! The characters are engaging and funny. There is a lot of call backs with the dialogue to earlier parts of the movie. The plot is clearly laid out with one point leading to another so that anyone of almost any age can follow along. There are cute references to other movies too.

There is a lot of good talking points in here about stereotypes and racial profiling. The movie feels very on point with today’s issues. All without feeling too on the nose, so to speak. For instance, in Ice Age, the Rhinos were obviously very ‘black.’ In Zoootopia, none of the animals are based on any ethnicity. The rabbits aren’t standing in for latinos or the irish. No, the rabbits are rabbits. The fox is a fox. No real human race is being blown up to exaggerated proportions and lampooned in the movie. And at the same time, the movie talks about some of the real issues we have with race relations (the same issues we’ve been having since before the Civil War.)

That being said. It’s not perfect or as original as it pretends to be.

Honestly, parts of the plot make me rage. Which on one hand is a good thing because hey, it inspired an emotion. On the other hand, it’s a bad thing because the parts that make me rage and the parts that are as predictable as hell. The argument could be made that if Judy had been believed by Bogo, then there wouldn’t be conflict and we wouldn’t have a story. However, it just gets tiresome. Wouldn’t it be a better story that sure, Bogo is skeptical but hey, he can at least check out her story by, I don’t know, working with her and using all the traffic cams so conveniently in the area? No. This suggestion falls to Nick. Because we need things for Nick to do.

And the part where they put Judy on the stand in front of the media without any coaching from her superiors about what to say and what not to say? That was unbelievable to me. Yes, you put a rookie cop on the stand without any media coaching, she’s going to say the wrong thing and divide half the city when they really don’t know anything about why the crisis is happening. Of course, this is supposed to be a ‘falling into the villains’ hands type of moment. But not only what Judy says out of character for her, it puts a needless strain on her friendship with Nick. (Yes, we’re back to the predictable, ‘I don’t need you’ friends moment in children’s films.)

So, for teeth gritting plot predictability that isn’t entertaining, I’m taking off one bite of the cookie.

Explosion, there was a big explosion, in fact by the second or third explosion of the same thing it really wasn’t necessary. One cookie.

The fights were entertaining. Judy figured out a way to use her small size and strong limbs to her advantage. That being said, there weren’t a lot of fights in the movie. So, if you’re expecting to see Judy mix it up a lot. You’ll be disappointed. Still, one cookie.

I think the best thing about this movie was that our hero was female and a big deal wasn’t made out of the fact that she was female! Gender wasn’t the issue here, her being a bunny was the issue. The inspiration figure for the entire city who got the big billboards and apps was also female! Judy was a good character. I wanted to root for Judy to achieve her dreams and prove the (female) training sergeant wrong. I wanted her to succeed in solving the case, even though I knew she had to or else there wouldn’t be a movie. She made friends with a fox, despite the fact that her childhood bully was also a fox. Now, if the plot hadn’t been so horridly set against her in a predictable way. Still, this is progress. One cookie!

The city and world of Zootopia is fascinating on how they designed it to cater to every animal’s needs. If there is one thing that bugs me, it is the police force and the presumption that Judy is the first small animal on it. Don’t they need people to go undercover say in Rodentia? Shouldn’t they have little hamsters and voles and moles on the force to be able to get into these small places? Judy wasn’t really small enough to go into Rodentia without hurting things. Yes, they need more animals Judy’s size too to fit in with the weasels and foxes and so on. Sure, it’s all well and good for the big animals to go under cover, but seriously, if I was a criminal, I’d be eyeing all the big animals with suspicion if I knew without a doubt that there were no animals small sized on the force. The rabbit or the mouse, yeah, I’d ignore them. Only thing that bugged me. Tiny nitpick. One bite out of the cookie.
Zootopia is a family friendly funny movie with a great female character as the lead. Four and a half gingersnaps!

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