Hello, Spongey here.
It’s safe to say Disney’s been on a roll lately. They have been producing solid cartoons like Gravity Falls and Star Vs The Forces of Evil, they’ve bought very big brands like Marvel and Star Wars, and their animated film slate has really improved. While they foundered in the mid 2000’s, starting 2007, everything seemed to turn around.
Every film since then has been critically and commercial successful , with one of them being the highest grossing animated film of all time. And still won’t refuse to leave, but that’s besides the point.
Disney is now where Pixar once was, with everyone anticipating their next film and loving them. Here’s hoping none will be irrationally hated. They took a break last year, which is fine because they have two films for us this year!
I thought Tangled, Princess and the Frog, Wreck It Ralph, and Frozen were all great while Winnie the Pooh and Big Hero 6 were pretty solid too. So I was looking forward to their next few films, and of course now we have their first offering of the year.
It kind of seemed like a filler movie, but it still looks like a pretty creative idea. Each new trailer sucked me in more, and I was getting more interested in it. Although it got slight controversy, due to beign called a “Furry” movie.
Despite the fact that they’ve done this before, even going way back to Robin Hood. Despite that, it had some decent hype. And with the director of Ralph,. Co-Direct of Bolt and Tangled, and Co-Creator of Penn Zero on board, how could it go wrong?
I guess we’ll have to see. Say, how do the critics feel so far?
….Damn! That’s…insane! It can’t be THAT good, can it? Now I have to see this! Let’s see if this romp is another Disney winner, or a bit of a misstep.
This, is Zootopia
In a world of anthropomorphic animals, Judy Hopps wants to be the first bunny cop, but everyone doubts here and treats her like a lesser being. On top of that, she gets tangeld up in a case that turns out to be bigger than she thought, and she needs help with a sly fox to crack it wide open.
The structure of this movie is more than a little typical. It’s a buddy cop story, where they have to learn to get along as they find out a small case actually effects the whole city. Even the twist is something we technically have seen before.
Usually, with these kind of movies there will be an extra layer to make this a more invovled story….And this certainly has it! Yeah, lead you on there. In this case, it’s the animal world itself.
This world has predators and prey together, and while most movies like this wouldn’t address this, this one really does. I’ll get into that in a bit, but story works that in a rather interesting way. It even effects the main characters in big ways.
They put a lot of effort into crafting this animal world, with how each species acts within their little corners. They milk this for jokes, but also create a really cool looking world with it, and the fact that it plays into the story makes it even better.
Speaking of jokes, this isn’t the funniest film ever, but it has plenty of good moments, including the banter with the leads, and one bit so funny I won’t spoil it. And yes, even the Sloth bit is funny despite being ruined by the trailers.
But for a lot of people, the big draw will be the message, Being a Disney film, of course this would have a moral about how racism and sterptying is bad.
Yeah, that’s really the message. The whole thing is about how people stereotype various animals, either thinking a bunny can’t be a serious cop, or that a Fox can only be a blood hungry predator.
The whole story is built around this. It’s…such a strange subject matter for a family film, but it’s handled really well! It’s actually my favorite aspect of the film. I like how the story revolves around this message.
And they don’t just preach on about it either, they actually show us how it effects people. We even see it from both sides, as both predator and prey are treated like lesser beings. They could have just made prey perfect or whatever, but everyone is capable of being stereotyped, even if the minorities obviously get it worse.
This even applies to anyone, not just races in real life. The way it’s told may make kids think, instead of just being another dumb moral. This even involves a scene that’s pretty brutal by Disney standards.
Now, the story itself stilll isn’t perfect. Like I said, the structure is pretty typical, and there aren’t a ton of huge twists. The mystery is written in s way that kept me invested, and I didn’t predict it until close to the end, so that’s good.
But still, they could have made the basic story more complex in certain areas. Also, the pacing is a little rushed in some spots. Not to a terrible extent, but sometimes it goes a tad too fast. It even opens a bit too quickly, and has the obligatory rushed ending.
But that’s a small gripe. It still works as a Buddy Cop story since the development is passable, and it hits the notes in a solid but standard way in some areas. But what really makes it work is the message.
Not only is a good message, but it’s done a very solid way, being put into the story well. Fro a family film, it’s pretty thought provoking and well done. So even with the pacing and story issues, it still succeeds due to a well crafted world, and a very surprising but well done message.
With Disney, you can always expect top notch animation, and this entry does not disappoint. I can make this one quick, as there isn’t much to say.
The character animation is very good, with every animal being distinct and well done. Some even have little quirks that make them feel more real. There have been more realistic animals, but this handles a great variety of them.
The highlight is the world itself, as it feels like a real big city that happens to have a lot of animal stuff. There a lot of tiny things in the background that just add up. The entire movie is about this world, and they put a lot of effort into making it seem real.
That’s pretty much it. As per usual, Disney puts a lot of effort into creating a great world with top notch character animation, with great attention to detail. There are better looking Disney films, but this still looks very good.
Once again, not a ton of huge ones to discuss, but there are plenty of little ones. In this case, it works.
First up is Judy Hopps, voiced by Gennifer Goodwin. She’s a very likable protagonist with her upbeat attitude and determination. She’s a bit cliché but just the way she acts made me like her from the get go.
She’s even flawed, as she is prone to stereotyping people too, just unintentionally. But she clearly knows it’s wrong and this keeps her likable. The way the film is written helps make her a solid main character.
Then there’s her unlikely partner, Nick Wilde, voiced by Jason Batmen. He’s a bit on the cliché side, but his con artist nature makes him enjoyable. Especially his backstory, which I won’t spoil. Although their development could have slightly better, as it still a feels a bit on the typical side.
But it’s still well handled enough due to their charm and the message they use with them. The rest aren’t as important, but we may as well go into them. There’s Chef Buffalo, voiced by Idris Elbra.
He’s the angry chief, but he’s not too overplayed, thankfully. He falls into the more typical category, but he’s okay. There’s also the fat dispatcher guy, who is pretty enjoyable, as he gives us a scene that amounts to a character saying the kid friendly version of “That’s our word!”
Yeah. We also have Judy’s parents, voiced by Bonnie Hunt and Don Lake, who serve their roles fine for the two scenes they have. There’s also Mr Big, voiced by Maurica LaMarche, the walking godfather reference…who is actually funny. Never thought the oldest reference ever could still be funny.
Good on them. Then we have the Mayor, voiced by JK Simmons. Interesting how he’s in two animated films in a row. His role is pretty interesting but I won’t spoil it. It’s not for the reason you might think though.
His assistant is a sheep voiced by Jenny Slate. She’s got some amusing moments, so she’s fine.
And of course Alan Tydk, voicing Duke Weaslton. …Get it, cuz his character in Frozen was Duke of Wesselton? Hardy har. He’s in top form and gets the best joke in the movie. And spoilers, he’s not involved with the villain twist!
Yes, they finally broke that trend with him being involved in a villain twist. You don’t ever think he’s the villain, just that he might be working for them, maybe. But his role is just being slimy.
That’s actually about it. I left out discussing the villain for spoilers reason, but there is another minor flaw. The reveal is good, but once they appear, they are there for like 5 minutes before being defeated.
Their big motivation speech even isn’t that much. They are not given enough time to be amazingly memorable. But that’s not a huge deal.
Only two really get huge development, but they are a likable and well written duo, and all the little characters play a role in some way, even the Sloth. This is a case where a bunch of little characters works since it adds to the whole feel.
It’s not the most complex cast, but they work in their own way.
While the structure is typical, the pacing is a tad rushed, and only a couple characters get huge development, this is still another Disney winner. The animation is again top notch, creating a very interesting world with two very likable leads, and a story that features a surprising yet well done and mature message.
It’s not Disney’s best and it’s not 99 percent good, but it is another very solid film. It’s pretty unique even though it’s still kind of filler. I’d recommend it if you have a family film with a smart message and unique elements.’
I’d only stay away if you aren’t’ a big Disney fan, or just don’t like the buddy cop structure, which is fair. Otherwise, have at it is. It’s a very enjoyable film with plenty to offer for kids and adult, as per usual with Disney.
Man, if the filler one is this good, I can’t wait for Moana!
Not too sure about the next general, but if The Little Prince doesn’t open near me, the next may be the most anticipated superhero team up ever. …Or least, depending on your point of view.