Zootopia (2016)

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On the one hand this is a cartoon about a bunny wanting to be a cop, with lots of fish-out-of-water gags as the naive rabbit is variously patronised.  On the other hand, the main themes of standing up for what you believe in as well as cultural/racial tolerance are really quite serious.  This last point is particularly relevant in the political climate these days as some people believe that all members of one particular religious group are evil.

Of course this is a Disney animated kids film though, and as such it does everything right.  The jokes are thick and fast, the creation of the utopian animal world is excellent with so much detail that repeat viewings will doubtless reveal ever more unnoticed touches, and the voice cast it excellent.

The story works really well (perhaps surprising given how many people seemed to be involved in writing), as Judy Hopps (rookie bunny) investigates predators who are mysteriously reverting to their wild nature despite having lived in harmony with prey up until now.  In this way, those important themes of cultural tolerance and believing in yourself are very deftly dealt with; unnoticed by the target audience, but importantly present.  To go into any more detail about the story would be to sell it short and do disservice to a plot which is almost as clever and inventive as the world in which it is set.

Perhaps most importantly, my 3.5 year-old son loved it, and when Gazelle (Shakira) did her dance number at the end, he was wiggling in his seat and pretending to sing.  Brilliant.  But, you know, that’s just, like, my opinion man.

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