Hello everyone! I'd like to introduce a new segment here at Cinema Conversations. I'm calling it the Movie Minute; what that means is that I will be writing a much briefer review of a film than normal, but will still give my opinion about it. The only difference is that it will be far more concise, running around a minute to a minute and a half in read time (though as I had to introduce the concept, this one will be slightly lengthier). They will also be generally free of major spoilers. With that said, let's begin!
Disney films are often hit or miss with me. I tend to despise some, but others I truly enjoy and appreciate. This is one of the latter set. I enjoyed this film immensely, so unlike many of my other reviews, I will not be thoroughly disagreeing with the critical consensus. Zootopia was one of the best films I've seen in a while. It is definitely worthy of the 99% it holds currently on Rotten Tomatoes. Honestly, I find it better than Disney's last four Best Animated Feature winners ( Brave, Frozen, Big Hero 6, Inside Out).
Acting-wise, this film has a stellar cast that sells it well. Ginnifer Goodwin shines as Judy Hopps, a very strong female character that often reminds me of Rey from Star Wars: Episode VII. In fact, there is actually a moment that is a direct parallel with said film, when Judy fixes an old vehicle that her male friend claims she could never fix (just like the Falcon and Finn's response). Speaking of her male friend, Jason Bateman also does a great job as Nick Wilde, the fox that Judy befriends. As for the supporting cast, some excellent performances from Idris Elba, J.K. Simmons, and a few others round out the film.
As for the story and writing, this film features some of the best Disney has ever had. It is a film devoted mostly to social commentary, and it succeeds more than some live action films in this regard. The film focuses mainly on the idea of racial profiling and stereotypes regarding the various animal species, as well as predator and prey archetypes. This is handled masterfully and cleverly, getting in some excellent messages for children. Moreover, the story also parodies some famous films and pop-culture icons; The Godfather gets a pretty remarkable turn with a character called Mr. Big acting as the counterpart of Marlon Brando's iconic role. Other morals are hinted at, such as anti-drug references (which comes with a play on Breaking Bad), feminism, and police relations. All of this is done with finesse and without shoving such ideas down the viewer's throat.
The animation is stellar as well, featuring some of the best Disney has had. Zootopia City itself is lush and colorful, with a multitude of interesting environments that are also featured. Everything bounces with the classic Disney flair and everything is crisp and clean.
Overall, Zootopia is one of the best animated films of the past few years, maybe of the entire Disney library. It is a film that addresses race, gender, police vs. people, societal differences, and various other strong messages. I can say with some degree of certainty that this is another likely Best Animated Feature winner, and I certainly hope it will be. More people of all ages should see it, and more studios should try to emulate its success with social commentary.