ZOOTOPIA (2016) – My rating: 8/10

zootopiaI’m beginning to like cartoons more and more.  Zootopia is a great animated story that sends a great message to all ages.  It has a large diverse cast that ventures into a few hairy situations from time to time.  In the world of Zootopia, mammals, predators as well as prey peacefully coexist.  An Optimistic European rabbit from rural Bunnyburrow, Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) realizes her dream of becoming a police officer in urban Zootopia.  You might notice these mammals have been anthropomorphized so they are representing the same issues of discrimination as though they were human.  So, despite being the police academy valedictorian, Judy is relegated to parking duty by Chief Bogo (Idris Elba), an African buffalo, who doubts her potential because she is a rabbit. On her first day, she is hustled by Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) and Finnick (Tom Lister Jr.), a con artist duo of foxes.

Day two on the job, Judy abandons her parking duty to arrest a thief named Duke Weaselton (Alan Tudyk) who stole plant bulbs. As Chief Bogo begins to reprimand Judy, an otter named Mrs. Otterton (Octavia Spencer) enters his office pleading for someone to find her husband Emmitt, one of fourteen predators who have gone missing. When Judy volunteers and Assistant Mayor Dawn Bellwether (Jenny Slate) praises the assignment, Bogo reluctantly gives her 48 hours to find Otterton on the condition that she resigns if she fails.

After determining Nick was the last one to see Otterton, Judy blackmails him into assisting her by covertly recording his confession to tax evasion. They track Otterton to a limousine owned by crime boss, Mr. Big (Maurice LaMarche) who reveals that Otterton, his florist, went “savage” – reverted to a feral state – and attacked his chauffeur, Manchas (Jesse Corti). At his home, Manchas mentions that Otterton had been yelling about “night howlers.” Moments later, Manchas himself turns savage and chases the pair. Judy saves Nick by trapping Manchas and calls the Zootopia Police Department (ZPD) for help. When Bogo and other police arrive, Manchas has vanished. Bogo demands Judy’s resignation, but Nick reminds Bogo she still has 10 hours to solve the case. As they leave, Nick shares his childhood story with Judy that he was bullied as a child for being a fox. Deciding there was no use in fighting prejudiced ideas about fox behavior, he became a con artist.

From this point, the story gets better as the search intensifies.  More characters enter the picture and more lessons are learned.  This clever tale is truly worth every child’s attention.  Of course I have to stop here so I don’t spoil the rest of the story in case you intend to see it.  Zootopia is on DVD/Blu-Ray and is definitely a worthy piece of animation with a profound message — check it out!

[ZOOTOPIA WON the 89th ANNUAL OSCAR AWARD for Best Animated Film]

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