ZOOTOPIA (2016) Review
Directed by Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Jared Bush
Over the years, the animals have managed to be civilized and live in harmony with one another, no more food chain, all working for the better of everyone or at least every animal. Zootopia is the urban zone of all animals. It is a city unlike other (of course, it is a city of animals walking in suits) where they have a mayor, shops, parks, police officers and all other you can think of that exists in the normal world.
Disney once again made an entirely new world where their animation is getting better and better. The details in the city and characters are very noticeable that the anthropomorphic characters are effectively brought to life by their animators. From Wreck-It-Ralph to Frozen and Big Hero 6, Disney is becoming more aggressive with their animation studios that we are having not just one feature film today, but two. Zootopia and Moana.
In Zootopia, Judy Hopps, a bunny voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin always wanted to be a cop since she was a child or in this case, a kitten (right term for baby rabbit). That even though she’s a rabbit, which is not really the best and most ideal animal to be a cop, nothing is stopping her to reach her dreams to fight crime, protect and serve the citizens of Zootopia. She graduated at the top of her class and was assigned to Zootopia, but to her dismay she was given the parking tickets job.
We’re not new to a character who badly wants to prove something to be more than what he or she is, to make the people he or she love proud. Hopps meets Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) who’s a fox, a known predator to rabbits. But she puts prejudice aside as they are all civilized animals now, gone are the days that small animals have to be scared for their lives from bigger animals. But she was deceived by Wilde as he is a con artist of sorts. Like all buddy cop films, the two started their hate-love relationship. But Hopps got the biggest break of her career and Wilde is the only lead she has to solve her case which should be unraveled in just 48 hours or she will be forced to quit her job.
So the two teamed up to solve the case, Hopps needed Wilde’s services while Wilde is torn to helping her or be in jail for tax evasion case. The two are cute together and make a good tandem. As it turn out, a simple missing person is bigger and connected to the other missing persons. They made friends along the way and begin to unravel that the animals missing are going wild, turning back to their predatory state where they attack smaller animals.
The two are torn apart as Hopps get the recognition she wanted as a cop but unveiling the dangers of the predators including Wilde becoming untamed and uncivilized again. But as the two patched things up, they solved the mystery behind the larger animals going wild. Hopps is finally happy with her buddy-cop Wilde who also enlists as Zootopia’s policeman.
Zootopia is funny, colorful and has very mature themes for its target audience. It tackles prejudice and diversity not just among friendships but also in the society. But its story is familiar, too familiar it gets to be predictable even with its climax. Disney Animation is known for their heartfelt and ingenious stories and Zootopia might be heartfelt but it falls short on bringing something fresh in the table. There’s a lot of sequences that are meant to entertain the audience like exploring the world in and out of Zootopia and the animal puns are just hilarious.
The film is a decent addition to Disney Animations’ new breed of animated films but it’s not close to Wreck-It-Ralph or Frozen or Big Hero 6 but it’s better than the straight to video quality series Planes. It could’ve gotten better or worse but its attempt in tackling such themes are quite bold but it didn’t feel as if it wanted to be different or be more than its message.
3 OUT OF 5 STARS
Disney’s “Zootopia” opens February 17 in Philippine cinemas from Walt Disney Studios, locally distributed by Columbia Pictures. Rated PG by the MTRCB.