*** and 1/2 out of ****
Disney’s Zootopia is a family film in the truest sense of the term. Everyone ranging from small children to adolescents to senior citizens should find something to enjoy in this comic animated detective story.
The film is set in a land where predators and prey have put aside their natural instincts and live together in a city with multiple subdivisions (a tundra, a rainforest, a tiny neighborhood for mice). Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) is the first bunny to join the Zootopia police force, which is dominated by lions, bears, rhinos, and more fearsome animals. When a group of predators go missing, Hopps defies her condescending boss (Idris Elba) and investigates with the help of a con artist fox (Jason Bateman).
The movie’s message about tolerance and inclusion is a worthy one for any child to learn. But messages are useless in films without an entertaining story attached, and Zootopia’s is a lot of fun. It’s reminiscent of the 1988 classic Who Framed Roger Rabbit? in the way in which it merges kid-friendly laughs with a genuinely engrossing detective story. The chase scenes are exciting and the evolving relationship between Goodwin and Bateman’s characters is touching without being sappy.
Movies like Zootopia are the reason why Disney has dominated the family market for so long. Even adults without children should enjoy this one.