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Disney has a lot to say with 'Zootopia'
ZOOTOPIA Pictured (L-R): Assistant Mayor Bellwether & Mrs. Otterton. 2016 Disney. All Rights Reserved. - photo by Travis Poppleton
Is there anyone that does anthropomorphism better than Disney?

Im sure there are some case-by-case exceptions to the mouse houses talking-animal superiority, but collectively, Mickey and his crew have a long standing tradition of making us fall in love with animated, humanized wildlife.

Thats why, when I say Zootopia is one of Disneys best animated animal movies ever, its not some misleading, categorical compliment. Zootopia is something special, and a movie well be pointing to for years to come as an example what Disney does right.

Like always, lets chat about the highlights:

The premise

Zootopia begins like so many Disney movies before it. A young innocent female protagonist dreams of becoming something more in a place far away from home.

This time the wide-eyed dreamer is a bunny named Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin), and what she wants more than anything is to become the worlds first bunny police officer.

With the help of her wily fox-friend Nick (Jason Bateman), Judy hopes to prove her super-sleuth status by solving a seemingly straightforward missing person's case. But when that case challenges the foundations of a harmonious predator and prey society, Judy is forced to confront what she really believes before she can crack the case and restore balance to the booming metropolis that is Zootopia.

The design

As expected, Zootopia is pretty, though, what big budget animated film doesnt classify as eye-dazzling wonderment these days?

But while Zootopia indulges in an all-encompassing, three-dimensional world of bright colors and razor sharp details, theres something nostalgic about the design of its characters. Each animal looks as if theyve stepped off the set of Disneys 1958 Robin Hood, and that goes a long way in bridging the gap between contemporary technology and classic Disney magic.

Zootopia isnt shy about its beautiful exterior however. When showing off its cityscape or the individual hairs of its furry cast, the visuals on display or impressive. If youre an animation junky that demands envelope-pushing eye candy, youll want to see this on the biggest screen you can find and yes, maybe even pay a few more dollars for the 3-D glasses.

The characters

For the first half of Zootopia, the main players feel like your standard, animated cutouts. Theres the wide-eyed dreamer, the crafty hustler, the hardened police chief and any number of stereotypical side characters. But this is all part of the setup.

Where Zootopia shines is in its ability to help audiences see these characters in another light. Traditional bad guys may not be the terrible people weve come to expect from our assembly-line, repackaged family entertainment. And your out-of-the-box good guys? Well, they may not be so good.

Most of the scenes that will tug at your heart strings involve looking at these characters from a different angle, and that says a lot about the level of storytelling on display. Not only does Zootopia effectively add to already proven character types, but it makes you glad you were wrong along the way.

The family discussion

You probably havent noticed, but theres no place in this article where Ive referred to Judy Hopps as cute, little, or adorable. Thats not because she isnt, but because after seeing Zootopia, it almost seems unethical to refer to bunnies in such a way. I mean, its one thing for bunnies to refer to fellow bunnies as cute, but its really not appropriate for the rest of us.

Zootopia tackles several big, complicated and politically relevant themes without ever feeling preachy. It doesnt even necessarily ask us to change our mind about certain issues, but rather, just give a few of these topics some more thought.

If you dont want to think about politics, thats fine. Zootopia does a great job of folding its weightier topics behind the action. For those of you who do appreciate theme exploration however, Zootopia can leave you with a lot to consider and discuss for your driver home.


Zootopia is a movie youll want to relive as soon as the closing credits begin to scroll. Not only is there too much for your eyes to take in on a single viewing, but Nick and Judy are characters youll want to hang out with again and again.

Beautifully designed, thought provoking and familiar, Zootopia has easily become my favorite of Disneys CG offerings. Its still not ready to knock off some of the better Pixar offerings, but Disney no longer feels like a second-tier studio when it comes to computer animation. If Zootopia is a sign of things to come from any animation studio, then family entertainment consumers have a lot look forward to.