“Zootopia” in review

    Walt Disney’s new animated film “Zootopia” presents a charming tale of inclusion and acceptance

    More stories from Sadie Sedlmayr


    You know the feeling you get at the pit of your stomach from laughing so hard you forget to breathe? Such was the case with this laugh-out-loud, feel-good motion picture.

    Bryon Howard’s “Zootopia” tells the comical yet clever story of a modern mammal metropolis where predators and prey live in segregated harmony, a place where childhood dreams do come true.

    This 2016 3D animation is a buddy-cop mystery crime comedy and a throwback to noir films in which the culprit is never who it seems.

    What sets this Walt Disney flick apart from the rest is its ability to tackle all-too-human issues of stereotyping, prejudice and racism through the visual wit of computer graphics, fast-paced storytelling and humor galore.

    Daydreaming as a child bunny about becoming the first ever rabbit to join the police force, Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin), finally gets her wish twenty years after being the valedictorian at the police academy. On her first day on the job she quickly learns the ropes and sees just how tough it is to enforce the law when she gets hustled by a sly fox that goes by the name of Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) and his partner in crime.

    From here on out intrigue, mystery and adventure ensue as Judy sets out to prove to herself and others that even a cute, innocent bunny has what it takes to take down the bad guys.

    The plot continues to thicken when Judy learns Nick was the last one to see the lost husband, Otterton, one of the many disappearing predators gone missing due to strange behavior. As a result, and given only two days to crack the case by water buffalo Chief of Police (Idris Elba), she blackmails him into assisting her on the wild goose-chase.

    The story-line gets messy when Judy and Nick find Otterton, and the other missing predators, imprisoned in a secret asylum where Mayor Lionheart (J.K. Simmons) has kept them as case study for their increasingly erratic behavior.

    The case was solved and everything seemed well and right in the metropolitan city, until at a press conference Judy blamed the hazardous break-out from predators as a biological cause and, in return, lost Nick as her wingman in the process.

    Praised by the masses for bringing order back to the city, but guilt-ridden by the fact that the once peaceful co-existence between predator and prey was now up in shambles as waves of protests and fights break out amongst the two groups.

    Seeing the treatment of predators as sub-mammal and inferior to prey reach its peak, Judy is forced to face her reality and make a choice: find a way to reverse what is and go back to what was or let things continue the way that they are.

    In terms of the voice acting, I found myself deeply enthralled in all of the voice variations throughout the film. Goodwin is delightful as the always animated and positive Judy, while Bateman has the idyllic pessimistic voice of wisecrack, fast-talking Nick down pat. Elba’s vigorous baritone voice commands attention early on but also fits perfectly with the ruggedness of his water buffalo character.

    Make sure you catch “Zootopia” at 9 p.m. Friday Sept. 9, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday Sept. 10 and 2 p.m. Sunday Sept. 11 at Woodland Theater.