Screen Squinty’s “Zootopia” Review.

Film: Zootopia.
Directed by: Byron Howard and Rich Moore.
Running time: 108 min.
Released: 2016.

Zootopia is a Disney computer animation feature that centers on the story of Judy Hopps in a classic underbunny story of a small town nobody with big dreams of making it in the big city as a cop, yet finds that she still has to deal with being a prey animal in a predator dominated field.

While the story at its core is something that has been done many times before, a discrimination story, though a Furry version, Zootopia does at least present it in an interesting, engaging, and fresh manner by combining it with the premise of an entire world of evolved anthropomorphic mammals with an actual somewhat explained back history, and combines it with a really great bit of intrigue, well balanced humor, and great characters.

The animation, particularly on Zootopia and all its various environments are cleverly designed and gorgeously rendered giving a very real, very present feel to the setting, particularly combined with the really great character designs have its own unique charm.

The plot flows really well, playing with events and expectations a little, and not afraid to really build up the reveals, while taking time out to focus on the little moments, which gives it a more relaitable engagement and feel for the spectators instead of smashing from one scene to the next with nary a breath in-between, which has been a common problem with many films nowadays and outside of animated shorts and Steven Universe, has a presentation so smartly and wisely utilized its flow of time so perfectly.

The narrative meanwhile is really good! it is very much a serious series of events in which an overarching conspiracy/mystery is going on, and during the times when it is in focus, they treat it in a serious manner with surprising little humor, which they save for interactions between the various characters and background gags.

The film also utilizes its moral lesson smartly (though rather bluntly), but doesn’t tread that fine line in to rehash preaching that often turns off the viewer from a rather important lesson. No one here has the moral high ground, everyone has both obvious and subtle faults and points of view that are both conscious and subtle, and is used as a device for character development, adding a layer to the dynamic between Judy and Nick.

Speaking of Judy, voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin (Snow White from Once Upon a Time), and Nick voiced by Jason Bateman (Michael Bluth in Arrested Development)- and did a stellar job with the voice acting- brought character dynamic that was just brilliant! Their growing relationship provided not only some of the best dialogue,and the way they worked off each other in action scenes, humorous scenes, and the final confrontation felt very natural and between them carried the overall tone of the movie all the way through (also unrelievedly this was a non-romantic pair for once, kudos for going against an overused trope, particularly for something from Disney).

Overall this was a feature that super-seceded expectations by presenting an all-around great film by taking a common sometimes overused concept and made it interesting with some creative and well thought out animation, narrative flow, and some great characters.

A definite recommend for viewers of all ages.

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