Reel Rating: 5 out of 5 Reels
MPAA Rating: PG for some thematic elements, rude humor and action
Released in Theaters: March 4, 2016 (2D, 3D, IMAX 3D)
Best for Ages: 6+
Genre: Family, Animation
Runtime: 108 minutes
Synopsis: This fast-paced animated Disney film takes place in the world of Zootopia, where animals live peacefully together. But that may change when a young bunny (Judy Hopps) starts her first job as a cop.
Parent Overview: Zootopia includes chase scenes, jump-scare predator attacks, an explosive crash and references to mob activity, kidnapping, torture and bullying. Language includes insults such as “stupid,” “jerk,” “dumb,” “butt,” etc. A pop star gazelle wears sexy, form-fitting clothes. Most of the grownup jokes will go over kids' heads, including references to The Godfather, the DMV and Breaking Bad. The story features great messages about teamwork, tolerance, courage, empathy and working hard to achieve your dreams.
Violence/Gore: Several scenes of peril and danger, including chases, fighting, dart guns and intimidating large animals. Predator animals go savage and try to attack other animals. A “wild” animal is held captive in a cell and scares the scamming fox Nick Wilde and Judy. In one scene, it appears that an animal has turned on his friend. A few tense moments in dark places as Nick and Judy investigate a missing mammal case. A mobster kidnaps Nick and Judy and threatens to “ice” them (throw them into frozen water). A young fox bullies a young bunny, shoving her and clawing her across the cheek.
Sex/Nudity: A pop star gazelle wears sexy, form-fitting clothes and dances suggestively with her tiger back-up dancers. A “naturalist” club features nude animals communing together (Judy is shocked, but viewers just see animals like we usually see them).
Profanity: Insults such as “dumb,” “jerk,” “loser,” “stupid,” “moron,” “butt,” “shut up” and “oh my God.”
Review: Zootopia is super cute. It's the kind of family movie where I started texting and Facebooking people to go see it on my way out of the theater. I told my 18-year-old daughter and 21-year-old son to go see it. I saw the 2D version, but it's also available in 3D and IMAX 3D. So I'll definitely be seeing one of those versions too.
The story takes place in the modern mammal metropolis of Zootopia. The city includes various climate-themed neighborhoods like frozen Tundratown and glitzy Sahara Square. Zootopia is basically a melting pot where animals from every environment live together peacefully because they've evolved beyond prey and predator tendencies.
Young bunny Judy Hopps has been dreaming her whole life of moving off the carrot farm on the outskirts of town and becoming a cop. So she goes through the rigorous training, gets that coveted cop badge and moves to Zootopia for her first job as a cop with the Zootopia Police Department.
The optimistic bunny soon learns that being the first bunny on a police force with big, tough animals isn't easy. In fact, she's passed over for a big missing persons case and assigned the job of meter maid. But the opportunity to crack the missing persons case presents itself, and Judy promises a worried otter that she'll find her missing husband.
With only 48 hours to crack the case if she wants to keep her badge — Police Chief Bogo is a tough water buffalo boss — Judy realizes her best bet is to enlist fast-talking, Nick to help her.
Zootopia is one of those rare family movies that appeals to all ages. Kids love the cute characters, bright colors and fast action. Grownups love the great dialogue, fun storyline and sly humor (there's even a Breaking Bad reference). It's a whodunit mystery, a buddy-cop movie and a fish-out-of-water tale with important social commentary about living and working together.
Judy and Nick’s snappy banter reminds me of any old screwball comedy starring Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. The plot twists are reminiscent of old-time noir films. You’re never quite sure where things are headed.
The voice casting is spot-on, from Ginnifer Goodwin's energetic Judy, Jason Bateman's cynical Nick and Idris Elba's brusque Bogo, to Tommy Chong's “naturalist” life coach yak, Shakira’s pop star Gazelle and Maurice LaMarche’s tuxedoed crime boss Mr. Big.
Zootopia delivers a great message for both kids and adults: Be who you want to be and follow your heart, even if that means being a very small bunny on a tough police force.
Reel Rating: 5 out of 5 Reels