Length: 108 minutes / 1.8 hours
Let me just start by saying that I’ve really become a fan of Disney’s animation since about 2010. Before then, I was wild for Pixar, but around the time Tangled (2010) came out, Pixar hadn’t been making the quality films I had become used to. Instead, Disney was now churning out great films like Tangled (2010), Wreck-It Ralph (2012), Frozen (2013), and Big Hero 6 (2014). Their latest film, Zootopia (2016), certainly upholds the level of quality expected of this animation studio.
Not only were the visuals stunning (as always), but the plot and characters were all on-point. As is almost expected of a film meant for children, but made with adults in mind, there were a number of popular culture references that I found myself laughing uproariously for while the rest of the audience missed the joke. From slight alterations to animal-themed products (i.e. “Cub Soda”), to jokes pertaining to certain animal characteristics (i.e. the population sign for Judy’s hometown), nothing gave me more joy than the blatant Breaking Bad reference (or should I say, Breaking Baaaaaaaad, to keep in line with the animal puns). Certainly, this film was entertaining and fun.
However, I also found its message to be quite deep and meaningful, if not outright modern. Humans are a diverse bunch of people, but when we anthropomorphize animals, we see these differences come to the forefront much more directly. If this movie helps teach kids that they can do whatever they dream of if they put their mind to it, that their past and history don’t have to affect their future, or that they can’t judge a race of people based on common stereotypes, then this film will be an incredible triumph. Especially with the threat of ISIS and the growing fears that Muslims are “predators”, this film is quite poignant to show that generalizations about people groups will start driving a society apart.
Overall, a solid film with a minor weakness I just can’t put my finger on, I give Zootopia 4.5 stars out of 5.