I FINALLY SAW THIS MOVIE! It took me several months and a lot of shitty movies along the way, but I finally saw it and I am so damn content! I mean, it is Disney. They have to work hard to fail and even their failures are enjoyable to watch. Zootopia is a wonderful movie, plain and simple. It is sweet, caring, has a great message, and is easily going to be one of the best movies of 2016. But okay, I’ve been doing this for four years now and everyone knows we are not going to stop at that. Let’s dive into what makes this movie so damn good.
Not willing to be held by back societal norms, rabbit Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) excels at the police academy and is sent to work in Zootopia, which as always been her dream. Once she arrives though, she realizes life isn’t what it is cracked up to be, and she is quickly stuck with the position of meter maid. One day, a family comes in asking about a missing otter which puts Judy on the case by sheer force of willpower being in the same room at the same time. Along with the help of fox and small time hustler, Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) the two set out to discover what dark secrets are lucking inside Zootopia.
Judy and Nick are a Perfect Buddy Cop Duo
While any good movie can have two great leads, it takes a special kind of movie to have two characters that compliment each other like Judy and Nick. When it comes to buddy cop movies, this may be one of the most important aspects of the film. The two characters need to be dysfunctional, but functional enough to work well together. There needs to be a bridging and growth between the two that makes them both better at the end of the film. There also needs to be a subtle fear that one does not know or understand what the other are going to do. Riggs would be nothing without Murtaugh from Lethal Weapon and Judy Hopps would not be as amazing as she was without Nick and vice versa.
Judy is a small town person with wild dreams and misconceptions of life in the big city. She needs someone more grounded in the city reality to keep her from wandering too far into the cosmos. At the same time, Nick is somewhat jaded by life. He needs someone to help him find some more joy in the world and take pride in himself. They also are able to teach each other about perceived prejudices that they have against one another and how they can cope with these prejudices which we will get to in the next section. Simply put, they are the perfect duo.
One of the Best, Effective, and Sincere Commentaries on Prejudice I Have Ever Seen
This movie isn’t just the story of someone who was told their whole life they could not do something because that was just the way things worked, but it is also a story about how racism can crop up in a subconscious sense. Certain bits of societal racism that says that you must fear this person because they could be a threat to you.
The scene in the police station in which Nick scares Hopps after a mishap in speaking to the press which prompts her to go for her pepper spray shows that, even though Nick is a wonderful person, because he was a predator, Hopps has a fear of him built into her mind. Both Hopps and Nick face prejudice from scene to scene, trying to make it through the world with their own pitfalls and problems to trail behind them. It is an excellent bridging of worlds and a great message to try to look past harmful racial tendencies that we have buried deep within us.
The Story is Somewhat Generic
The area that Zootopia tends to fall short on isn’t necessarily the story but the story structure. All things considered, the buddy cop story they tell is somewhat uninspired. A person goes to the big city looking to make a difference only to find that life isn’t what they thought it was, as a cop they are looking to get a promotion and are held down for X reason, they get their big break case, they explore the various underworlds of the city, and eventually they catch the perpetrators all complete with the trademark twist at the end.
Admittedly, they do try to change things up a bit by having the hustling con come on as the buddy cop opposite. But even then, I have seen things that have also done something to that extent before. It doesn’t lose too many point for the fact that it was done exceptionally well. But, ultimately, I was hoping for just a little more original content for the story.
This is easily going to be a contender for movie of the year. While the rest of the year is yet to be seen, I feel confident that there will be few that will beat it. The partnering of Judy and Nick is perfect, the action is awesome, the music is top rate, and the message that challenges prejudice makes it a whirlwind of excellency. While there are minor problems, they are easily overshadowed by a stellar feel good movie.
Final Score 4.5/5
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