IMAGE: Disney, Wikipedia.org
Predator Lives Matter.
Somewhat new to Disney is the police procedural, and they nail it. It’s kid-friendly, yet suitable for mature audiences. The progression of the plot isn’t very complex or convoluted. Every place visited has a purpose to the overall narrative, and no place becomes over-used. The action scenes, while predictable, are exciting in the moment, and the pressure and stakes rise with each new scene. To mention, the villain is the weakest part of the movie, and isn’t really needed. It puts blame on an individual instead of society as a whole, barring any actual change from happening.
There is also a moment where it feels like the story can stop, but it keeps going, getting deeper into the world. The main message of treating everyone the same, no matter the species, rings true to our own world, especially as of this writing. It’s also clever of the writers to save this message until the last act of the film: What the audience thinks is an animal police procedural is actually a study on human society! Here it is presented in a way both children and adults can connect to, and that is something special.
My PLOT RATING is 9 / 10.
Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) is our optimistic protagonist. From the start, she really puts her heart into everything she does. She reacts with emotion to most situations, but logic and her training takes over. She finds creative ways to get around obstacles despite her stature, and is usually not deterred from any challenge. Judy is a great protagonist whose learned values are conflicted by society and she learns to overcome preconceived notions. She has a lot of great tearful scenes that Ginnifer Goodwin performs very well.
Nick Wilde is a stereotyped animal, but one of the best characters in the film. He’s sly, wily, and manipulative. He knows his way around others and can find his way around any social situation. While his kind is marginalized, he has learned to live with it. He takes advantage of the kindness of others for a living. He does grow to be more respectable as the film goes on, but it’s such a joy to watch his sly mind work.
Aside from the main two leads, there is an incredibly large supporting cast. I don’t really want to spoil them all, but they’re all used fantastically in every moment with the exception of the last-second villain. They all don’t overstay their welcome and some of them come back as well. While I won’t specifically list their names, I’ll list a few of my favorites by animal: cheetah, weasel, sloth, and shrew.
My CHARACTERS RATING is 9 / 10.
The jokes, gags, and general dialogue here are all excellent. Every emotion lands. It’s also very witty and clever, each character having unique accents, speaking patterns, and mannerisms. Every single one of them is memorable (the sloth scene has some of the best timing I’ve ever seen). The dialogue, while pushing out jokes, also reveals deeper themes of prejudice and the slight ‘racisms’ perpetuated day to day. There is a lot of heart and self-discovery in the dialogue where characters actually take a step back and assess their behaviors, and a great scene of apology that audience members should keep in the backs of their heads.
My DIALOGUE RATING is 10 / 10.
The effects have gotten to a point where excellent is normal now. Everything looks phenomenal here. The water, hair (fur, too!), and environments are all beautiful. How the backgrounds interact with each other as far as biome placement and the general city-scape is beautiful. Yes, we get a city here, but we also get a variety of some beautifully realized environments based on the animals, and I especially loved the scaled-down town for mice and shrews.
My EFFECTS RATING is 10 / 10.
The music here is sourced from a variety of nationalities and a wide variety of instrument types. The score during action scenes is mostly orchestral, and the film uses a lot of cues from horror and dramatic films, but keeps to the ‘animal’ vibe. The music also made me laugh at a few points. Michael Giacchino always puts out a great score and this is no exception.
“Try Everything” (Shakira) is incredibly catchy and exemplifies the theme of the movie: to never give up, even in the face of adversity.
My MUSIC RATING is 10 / 10.
As of this writing, Zootopia could not be more relevant. This is a film that should not be skipped over or forgotten. This is a film that should set an example for others how to behave. While the film has a very solid and intriguing plot, it doesn’t really deal with the issue at hand of systemic racism. Instead of society at large, the single villain is blamed, and I just hope that people get the greater message…
The characters here are all perfect, well-rounded, and balanced out, with dialogue unique to each character, with an even spacing of jokes, drama, and heart. The effects and music are both great, complimenting each other and shining in their visual and audio capacities. Shakira’s “Try Everything” is an anthem to those who are struggling.
If you are, don’t give up. Look for a new angle. Try EVERYthing.
IMAGE: Disney, Disneyparks.disney.go.com
My OVERALL RATING for Disney’s Zootopia is 96%.
Lin Manuel Moana