The movie stars Jennifer Goodwin (Once Upon A Time) as rookie bunny cop Judy Hopps, and Jason Bateman (Arrested Development) as Nick Wilde, a con artist fox. They live in a world of anthropomorphic animals, where prey and predator live together in perfect harmony--or so it seems. Now these once primal enemies are thrust together to try and crack a city-wide conspiracy.
First off, the movie is long. At 108 minutes this is the longest animated Disney film ever made besides Fantasia, and that is really a series of short stories. Full of plot twists, Zootopia does have a lot to cover. But by the time we got to the third storyline I started wondering, what are we still doing here? I imagine by that point some of the kids in the audience may also become pretty fidgety.
But the length is not solely due to the story; the movie also has a pretty big anti-racism message they are not subtle in delivering. Perhaps all Disney’s movies do this to some extent, but Zootopia seemed to especially bludgeon its viewers. Then again, given the current political landscape, maybe that's what this movie needs to be doing. #MakeDonaldDrumpfAgain.
All that said, there was plenty about this movie I did enjoy. Nick Wilde has one-liners galore delivered in perfect Bateman fashion, and Idris Elba as the water buffalo police chief, J.K. Simmons as the mayor, and Nate Torrence as the cheetah receptionist are great as well. The movie is also full of pop culture references, from The Godfather to Breaking Bad, and many crime noirs in between. But the movie's best moments definitely happen in the DMV scene when Hopps and Wilde are trying to run a license plate.
Kids are going to like this movie, of that I have no doubt. It is brightly animated, funny in both its sight gags and clever dialogue, and features catchy music from a Gazelle whose voice took me an embarrassingly long time to recognize. The movie feels weighed down from the attempts trying to cram too much on screen, but it still a delivers a valuable message and is worth taking the kids to see. B