With its allegorical approach to stereotype-fueled tension, Zootopia is a lot heavier thematically than audiences might expect an animated family movie to be. But this is nothing new for the genre. Inside Out incorporates cutting-edge neurological research, Happy Feet shines an environmental light, the Toy Story series meditates upon loss, and plenty of others have death – so much death. So perhaps family films should be taken to task if they do not cut deep.
Zootopia sticks out in this field by taking on a topic that is especially charged. Good luck remaining neutral once this cat is out of the bag. Confidence is essential here to achieve success, and that is embodied in our leporine hero Judy Hopps. Her character design – all thumping feet, widening pupils, and perky ears – is all about necessary urgency and perseverance. Ginnifer Goodwin provides the vocal equivalent of all those physical attributes. Jason Bateman as her redeemable fox partner usefully counterpoints with opportunism, while his sympathetic background points to hopefulness.
I give Zootopia 1800 Thumps out of 2000 Sloth Gags.
Jeff Malone is a voracious entertainment consumer and entertainment creator. He currently resides in New York City, where he received his Master’s in Media Studies at The New School. In addition to his pieces on TMRzoo.com and StarPulse.com, you can check out his blog (jmunney.wordpress.com), where he provides regular coverage of Community and Saturday Night Live, as well as other television, film, music, and the rest of pop culture.