Sunday, March 6, 2016

Zootopia - Movie Review: Simply a Good Movie

Good world building, great animation, and a solid story equal a movie that can’t really be picked apart.
Zootopia starring Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, a host of other talented voice actors, and directed by Byron Howard. The movie is a basic buddy cop film with a fun but predictable twist. It has a great message of believing in yourself and not judging others by their surface appearance. The film is just an overall well put together movie which anyone young or old can enjoy. It’s doesn’t have groundbreaking storytelling or animation, but everything it tries to do it does well.
The best aspect of the movie is its world building.  I loved the initial exposition setup the film gives. It was clever and instantly drew you into the world they were creating. Then the buildup and introduction to the city was done in a way to fill you with wonder. Granted this was aimed more for kids, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t affect me. You become engrossed with the all the animals and how they interact. Big and small and how they go about the grind of everyday life. It’s such a rat race, now if only they would have made that reference, well maybe not. The world wouldn’t have been so enthralling though without the fantastic animation.
It’s not earth shattering, but the animation is extremely well done. Some scenes you can’t tell if the background is in fact animated. My four year old said WOW the first time the city is seen. It is impressive and all of the different environments we are taken through is well done. The facial expressions on the characters are also handled deftly. Good animation is sometimes underappreciated, until you see it done poorly. The sloth DMV scene shown in the trailers is a great example of how seamless and well done the animation in the movie is.
The great animation wouldn’t have been as effective without great voice talent. Ginnifer Goodwin does a great job as the Officer Hop. Bateman is perfect as the sly fox. My favorite was probably JK Simmons as the Mayor who is also a Lion. I don’t know if I have ever not liked JK Simmons in a role. Hell he makes Farmers commercials enjoyable. I also enjoyed Alan Tudyk who played a Weasel and was part of a great chase scene in the movie. Which is another good point about the film, it’s pacing. It flows and keeps you engaged for the entire runtime.
The film also had some fantastic pop culture references. I probably missed quite a few homages and tributes, but I loved the Speed and Breaking Bad references. They even made fun of Frozen and other Disney movies in a very self-aware way which is not usually seen in Disney animated films. One other person laughed in my theater when a Breaking Bad easter egg was thrown out, so at least someone else caught it besides me.
The humor overall was well done and it had the right mix for kids and adults. My four year old was cracking up regularly, which made me laugh. He did cover his eyes at one point that seemed a little scary, but it wasn’t bad and he enjoyed being scared and the movie overall. My eleven year old didn’t like the film. He thought it was unbelievable. I’m not sure what he expected in an animated movie about talking animals, but that’s was his opinion of the film.
The only negative I saw with the movie was its predictable plot. I saw who the real bad guy was early on in the movie, and it was formulaic. This being said I don’t really see it being a big drawback on the film, because imbedded within the overall plot is the movies message about believing in yourself and not giving up on your dreams. Along with not judging other people just by their appearance or stereotype. I didn’t think either message was heavy handed, and nor do I think it’s just for kids. We all could do with a reminder of this lesson every once in a while.
Zootopia is just an overall good movie. It probably won’t win an Oscar for best animated film, but it is something I can watch over and over with my kids and enjoy watching. This movie is well Worth Seeing. If you don’t have kids I don’t think you have to rush out and see it. I would have said to go out and see Inside Out for example if you didn’t have kids, but if you do decide to go see and the movie you won’t be disappointed leaving the theatre.

So did you go and see Zootopia this weekend? If not are you planning on seeing it with all the positive reviews it’s getting? If you have seen it what did you think? Comment and let me know. 

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