Review: 'Zootopia' a clever social commentary in a cartoon form


ZOOTOPIA: 4 STARS

Around this time of year bunnies usually visit kids with baskets of jellybeans and chocolate.

See Full Article

This March, however, a baby rabbit named Judy "Don't call me cute!" Hopps bounces into theatres bringing with her a message of tolerance. The new Disney film "Zootopia" is social commentary disguised as a furry and funny cartoon.

Growing up on a carrot farm Judy (Ginnifer Goodwin) has dreamed of being a police officer in the city of Zootopia, despite the fact, as her father (Don Lake) constantly reminds her, "There's never been a bunny cop."

In fact, her parents preach the virtues of complacency and want her to go into the family business and become a carrot farmer.

"It's OK to have dreams," says dad. "Just as long as you don't believe in them too much."

The call to service to too strong, however, and she soon graduates for the Police Academy at the top of her class. Despite her small size (Message #1: Never give up on your dreams.) she's sent to Zootopia's city center, a cosmopolitan place filled with hustle and bustle and animals of all shapes and sizes. "In Zootopia," she says, "anyone can be anything."

She's a keener who introduces herself with, "Ready to make the world a better place?" only to be assigned to parking enforcement duty. True to form she becomes the city's best ticketer (Message #2: Be The Best Version Of You!) but is unsatisfied by the work.

When a missing otter case falls into her lap she starts her investigation by questioning a con artist named Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman), a sly fox with a smart mouth and underworld connections. Together (Message #3: We all do better when we work together) they learn to look past sly fox/dumb bunny stereotypes (Message #4: Er… look past stereotypes and don't judge others.) and uncover a plot that threatens Zootopia's basic precept of celebrating one another's differences. (Message #5: There is beauty and strength in diversity.)

There are more messages in "Zootopia" than in Hillary Clinton's private server's spam folder but the film doesn't feel like a Successories motivational poster come to life. The life lessons are nicely woven into the story and washed down with a spoonful of humour. Kids and parents alike should find Flash, the fastest sloth at the DMV funny, although for very different reasons, while a "Godfather" take-off will likely mean nothing to children but give older folks a chuckle.

Co-directors Byron Howard, Rich Moore and Jared Bush pack every inch of the frame with in-jokes, like a billboard for Zuber car services, the carrot logo on a smart phone, or my favourite, the sloth's mug that reads "You want it when?" If the messages don't connect the animation will.

"Zootopia" is more than just another cartoon to entertain the eye. It's a timely and relevant children's tale with a social agenda.



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Details revealed in deaths of two stunt pilots in Tom Cruise movie

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    A full investigation on the deaths of two renowned pilots in the Tom Cruise’s American Made film has been exposed, RadarOnline.com can reveal. In a study, The Hollywood Reporter looked into the fatal incidents, first reported by THR, to see what really happened on the set of the risky war movie. Source
  • WATCH: Halle Berry downs half pint of whisky at Comic-Con panel [Video]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    SAN DIEGO — Taron Egerton is no match for Channing Tatum in a fight and Halle Berry can hold her liquor. Those are just a few of the messages Comic-Con audiences got Thursday at the Hall H panel for “Kingsman: The Golden Circle” that kicked off the annual fan convention. Source
  • Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington dead [Photos]

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Linkin Park rocker Chester Bennington has taken his own life following the death of his good friend Chris Cornell. The singer’s body was discovered at a Palos Verdes, California residence on Thursday morning and sources tell TMZ Bennington had hanged himself. Source
  • Linkin Park singer Chester Bennington dead at 41, says coroner

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- Linkin Park lead singer Chester Bennington, who sold millions of albums with a unique mix of hard rock, hip-hop and rap, was found dead in his home near Los Angeles on Thursday, the Los Angeles County coroner says. Source
  • Linkin Park frontman Chester Bennington dies in L.A. at 41

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- Linkin Park lead singer Chester Bennington, who sold millions of albums with an ever-changing mix of hard rock, hip-hop and rap, was found dead in his home near Los Angeles on Thursday, the Los Angeles County coroner said Thursday. Source
  • Kermit the Frog performer: Firing a ‘complete shock’

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    NEW YORK — The longtime performer of Kermit the Frog says Disney’s decision to fire him from the role came as “a complete shock.” Appearing on NBC’s “Today” show Thursday, Steve Whitmire also pushed back on claims from the Muppets Studio that Whitmire’s “repeated unacceptable business conduct” over many years was to blame for his dismissal. Source
  • Up-and-coming French singer Barbara Weldens electrocuted on stage: Report

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Rising French singer collapsed and died onstage during her concert on Wednesday. According to reports, the Barbara Weldens, 35, suffered a cardiac arrest while she was performing at a church in the small French village of Goudron as part of the Festival Leo Ferre. Source
  • 'Dunkirk' review: Christopher Nolan delivers a white-knuckle thrill ride that doesn't let up [Photos] [V

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    Christopher Nolan makes the battlefield beautiful to look at in his recreation of the epic Dunkirk evacuation during the Second World War. The film is focussed on survival. Nolan weaves together vignettes set on land, water and in the air, initially pulling the audience into the action via the point of view of one man —Tommy (newcomer Fionn Whitehead), a young British soldier desperate to get home. Source
  • Fresh #WheresRey outrage pushes Hasbro to add Rey to Star Wars Monopoly

    Entertainment CBC News
    Hasbro is now offering a Star Wars Monopoly set for sale in the U.S. that includes the female character Rey after an uproar that started 18 months ago with an online plea by an eight-year-old girl to include her. Source
  • ‘A Ghost Story’ casts a bizarre spell

    Entertainment Toronto Sun
    A fatal, off-screen car crash interrupts the picturesque, suburban lives of a young married couple in David Lowery’s “A Ghost Story,” marooning the deceased husband musician (Casey Affleck) in a kind of purgatory as a watchful, mostly benign ghost. Source