It's been a while since a really good animation film has come out in theaters aside from the mediocre Good Dinosaur. Zootopia is the animated movie people have been waiting for quite some time and it delivers so well.
Zootopia is something of an old-school detective story. What begins as a “plucky young bunny ventures into the big city to prove her worth as a cop” story quickly becomes something a bit more complicated and a bit less cut-and-dry. What is most surprising about Zootopia, beyond its beauty (the film will have you scanning the frame looking for jokes and visual wonders) and hearty laughs, is its commitment to the genre and its underlying sub-texts.
Once its primary case gets cooking, it really does become a gritty, noir detective story, One that brings the subtexts of the era straight to the forefront. A reluctant partnership between an optimistic, rookie cop bunny and a deeply cynical con-artist fox; prey and predator work together to find missing persons and bust the bad guys.
What turns into a simple missing persons case becomes a genuinely engrossing and disturbing mystery. There has been a lot of talk over the last few years about how Marvel has used specific genres to ground their superhero movies in worlds and conventions outside of the so-called stereotypical superhero movie, and that absolutely applies here. Zootopia has a lot to say and says it within the realm of an uncommonly engrossing crime story.
Now with all of this in mind, Zootopia is a phenomenal movie full of laughs and anticipation, and with its underlying subtext, it is a genuinely great film. Next time you go to the theater or your local video store (when it comes out on Blu-Ray/DVD) consider giving this gem a try!