Granger on Movies: ‘Zootopia’
Updated 4:00 am, Monday, March 14, 2016
Fairfield Citizen film critic Susan Granger reviews the new movie, “Zootopia.”
Is it too early for a 2017 Academy Awards prediction? “Zootopia” will not only be nominated but, unless Pixar tops it in the next few months, the Mouse House will win Oscar gold for Best Animated Feature.
In Zootopia’s modern metropolis, anthropomorphic mammals have evolved beyond their primitive predator/prey status, each species living peacefully within its own appropriate habitat, like Sahara Square, Tundratown, Rain Forest and Little Rodentia.
Plucky Judy Hopps (voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin) is an idealistic rabbit who is not content to work on her family’s carrot farm with her 225 siblings. When a bullying, red-furred fox bothers her classmates, she shows an early aptitude for conflict management, becoming the first bunny to enroll in Zootopia’s Police Academy.
Despite graduating at the top of her class, Bogo (voiced by Idris Elba), her gruff Cape buffalo boss, makes tiny Judy a lowly meter-maid while larger, more experienced officers investigate an intriguing case involving 14 missing mammals.
Protesting, “I’m not just some token bunny,” rookie Judy becomes obsessively determined to write more parking-violation tickets than anyone ever before.
Some of the funniest, most inventive sequences visit the Department of Motor Vehicles, staffed by slow-moving sloths, and the hideaway of a Godfather-like gangster, Mr. Big (Maurice LaMarche), plus a musical interval with pop star Gazelle (voiced by Shakira) warbling “Try Everything.”
Deftly directed by Bryon Howard (“Tangled”), Rich Moore (“Wreck-It Ralph”) and Jared Bush, who share scripting credit with several others, it’s an imaginatively amusing, subversively relevant, heartfelt parable/police procedural about tolerance and acceptance
Children will enjoy the action-packed comedy, while adults will find plenty of topics, like diversity, prejudice and stereotyping (“dumb bunny,” “sly fox”), to discuss on the way home.
On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Zootopia” is an intrepid 10, summed up by Judy’s appeal, “No matter what type of animal you are, change starts with you.”