Little critters, big laughs

Image © 2016 - Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Image © 2016 – Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Zootopia’ film review

By Jerrison Oracion, Senior Columnist


Imagine if animals were like humans and had dreams to make it in the big city. Zootopia shows the reality of human life in the animal world. In the film, Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin), a bunny from a small country town called Bunnyburrow, becomes an officer in the Zootopia Police Department. Forced to begin her first shift on parking duty, she meets a con artist fox named Nicolas Wilde (Jason Bateman) who teaches her how to get around Zootopia. Despite their differences, they are forced to work together to find a missing otter named Mr. Otterman.

The film did a great job combining wildlife with city life to humorous effect, and there are a lot of interesting animals. Being the street-smart one, Nicolas knows a lot about Zootopia—his explanations are similar to Deadpool’s goofy monologues, except that they are not punctuated with swear words and crude humour. Instead, a lot of his dialogue is made up of jokes about the natures of different animals. Biology students will likely understand these facts, and find an extra layer of humor in the jokes.

In true Disney fashion, there is a lot of fun visual humor in the film that contrasts the human-like lives of the animals with their wild nature. For example, we see a young Judy doing a play that talks about the history of Zootopia and we see a cub playing organ music that is genius. There is a scene when Judy hears an argument from her neighbors in her apartment, and it sounds like a typical argument. She sees elephants in an ice cream shop scooping ice cream with their trunks (that can’t be sanitary). There is also a great scene where Judy and Nicolas go to the DMV to find a licence plate number, and discover that everyone who works there is a sloth. The sloths all talk and move as if they are trapped in slow motion.

Older audiences will appreciate the self-referential casting gags. Several real-life celebrities play animal versions of themselves: Canadian anchor Peter Mansbridge plays Peter Moosebridge, a news anchor for the Zootopia News Network, and Shakira plays a famous pop-singer named Gazelle. Later in the film, Judy and Nicolas meet Mr. Big, who is a mouse version of Don Corleone from The Godfather, complete with a comedic Marlon Brando impersonation. Eagle-eyed viewers will spy street crooks selling pirated DVD’s of animal versions of famous Disney films including Wreck-It Ralph, Tangled and Frozen.

Zootopia is a fun family film that anyone can enjoy, full of imaginative sight gags and rapid-fire jokes, making for one of the best animated films of the year.