‘Zootopia’ Review

Disney’s ‘Zootopia’ defies expectations to deliver a wild ride full of heart and hope for a better tomorrow, with a heaping of animal puns to spare.

‘Zootopia’ runs wild into movie theaters around Montclair.

Photo courtesy of Steven Zang.

For a Disney animated film, Zootopia has everything you’d expect: the personification of furry woodland animals, a relationship between an unlikely duo and so much heart that you practically float out of the movie theater after the closing credits.

Nevertheless, this one threw a bit of a curveball in my direction.

Zootopia is essentially Disney’s excuse to tackle bigger topics that surprisingly have no association to animals whatsoever. Rather, the 108-minute animated film takes a stand against stereotypes, diversity and overall acceptance in the modern age. And here’s the crazy part: it actually works.

Before we get into the heat of the moment, let’s break down the plot. Zootopia focuses on Judy Hopps, a rabbit who wants nothing more than to become a police officer in the city where all walks of life share the streets: the euphoric Zootopia.

When Hopps finds herself center-city as a meter maid, she comes across a bamboozling red fox by the name of Nicholas Wilde. Hence, when Police Chief Bogo gives her one final chance at becoming a real cop, Judy blackmails Nick into helping her find the recently-missing Mr. Otterman. However, what starts out as a 48-hour recovery case ends up becoming the crime of the century, forcing an unusual friendship out of Hopps and Wilde.

This widely-acclaimed adventure film wears a plethora of different hats, from a crime-caping noir to a buddy cop flick for the whole family to even a dramatically-inspirational piece about following your dreams. Regardless, what really takes the cake is how it blends such a sincere story of friendship with an even more genuine message about how such a friendship needs more recognition in our troubled reality. With the help of certain big-name actors, including Ginnifer Goodwin as Judy Hopps and Jason Bateman as Nicholas Wilde, the communication of such a profound life-lesson could not be any more clear.

It was completely surprising how much I enjoyed watching Zootopia,” said Nutley film-buff Jenna Stuiso. “The storyline broke away from the more sugarcoated depiction of the ups-and-downs of life, yet maintained the innocence of children’s movies. I think the film as a whole definitely raised the bar for animated films.”

Overall, Zootopia breaks barriers. It isn’t afraid to shy away from certain truths, despite it using the fluffy, “life’s good” approach to make you think otherwise. And, quite frankly, that’s what brings out the best in this soon-to-be animated classic, breathing out humor and sentiment in the aftermath. It’s honestly enough to leave you screaming “Zoo gotta be kidding me!”

Zootopia is now playing in movie theaters everywhere! Some include AMC Clifton Commons 16, AMC Loews Wayne 14 and even Bow Tie Bellevue Cinemas 4 in the heart of downtown Montclair. For a list of even more local theaters and show-times, visit fandango.com today.

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