Movie Viewed: Zootopia
Family Fave Flicks: The Star Wars saga, Finding Nemo, Toy Story, The Lion King, Despicable Me and Mr. Peabody & Sherman.
Fave movies for grown-ups: The Dude’s Faves (that the kids aren’t ready for): Bull Durham, Goodfellas & Old School
What’s the story: Growing up in rural Bunnyburrow, Judy Hopps enjoyed her simple life, but influenced by a bullying incident she witnessed as a young bunny along with her parents’ slow-paced lives as carrot farmers, she yearned for more. Judy’s goal was to become the first rabbit police officer in mega metropolis Zootopia, and being an optimistic overachiever, she does it!
After moving to the big city and being assigned to the largest police division in Zootopia, Judy is quickly ostracized because she’s not a typically larger police animal, but she’s out to prove her worth, no matter the task assigned. One day while on her beat, Judy encounters a sly fox named Nick Wilde who teaches her a lesson or two about trust, friendship and hard work. Judy enlists Nick to help with the case of a missing otter and together they work to solve one of Zootopia’s biggest mysteries.
What parents may like about this movie: Zootopia is an inspiring tale of how optimism, dedication and determination, even at a young age, can lead to a great future. There were also some very strong messages that about bullying and prejudice that are important for kids to be exposed to in this day and age.
What kids will like: The myriad animals are entertaining, adorable and subtly educational, too. Kids will love the top-flight animation (and grown-ups will, too!)
Concerns: No major concerns as Disney never gets too controversial, though there are some bullying scenes (with a positive spin) and metaphors for racial bias that could resonate with older kids. Also, a key storyline about some of the animals’ ferocious behavior might frighten some younger kids.
Bottom Line: Movie elements ranked on a scale from 1-5, with 1/5 being the least and 5/5 being the highest.
Positive themes: Overwhelmingly positive look at setting goals, achieving and overcoming obstacles on the road to success. Living up to your dreams is a great message for kids, even though Judy’s parents tried to temper hers. Thankfully for everyone, she didn’t let them stop her. Great messages about right vs. wrong and friendship permeate this cuddly flick. (5/5)
Violence/scare factor: There was no real violence in this movie beyond the typical cartoon variety. That being said, one storyline revolves around seemingly domesticated predators reverting to their savage nature. A couple scenes featuring some of these wild animals probably won’t scare kids, but might make them briefly squeeze your hand a little tighter, which isn’t always a bad thing. (1 ½ /5)
Sex/Romance: None. Though a relationship was briefly hinted at. (0/5)
Bad language: It’s Disney, so the closest thing was the word “butt” once or twice. (0/5)
Final thought: Zootopia is classic Disney and sure to entertain kids of all ages. The morals and lessons in this movie are applicable to everyone, including adults. The animation is excellent and there are a slew of jokes purely for the adults, including the sloth-run DMV vignette you’ve surely seen in the trailers. I can’t recommend Zootopia highly enough. It’s a must see for all ages and my early prediction for next year’s Best Animated Feature Oscar.
I was compensated by Fandango Family for this review, though all opinions contained within are solely mine, for better or worse. Also, my family really wants to go to Zootopia now.