Zootopia – 4/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

ZootopiaZootopia – 4/5 – The greatness of storytelling is the idea of mimicking fantastical realms within a context of believability.  With film, we can experience different time periods, places and imaginative things through the lens of a director.  This is fairly true with animated films.  From the character(s), story or the visualization of the world, you find an experience that is truly to its worth.  Disney’s Zootopia is that kind of world where the existence can only be as big as the imagination, but one that plays themes of everyday life.  Through the characters, stories, strong themes and overall entertain value, the experience is noteworthy.  Outside of the common approach, Zootopia is a film that will have you feeling that true escapism; a worthy family fun experience.

Premise: In a world of anthropomorphic animals, a bunny cop and a feisty fox must work together to solve a conspiracy that might unravel their world.

Some people say that voice acting isn’t as difficult as acting.  On the contrary; voice acting is harder to perform.  You have to bring worth to a CGI created character through the application of one’s voice.  Zooptopia’s cast of colorful characters would not have been great if it wasn’t for the people behind the voices.  There’s a huge list of well-known actors/actresses of voice actors; which can be refer to through the IMDB page.  In short, I’ll describe them as one cohesive group.  No matter if it is the main two characters of Judy Hopps and Nicke Wilde, the Head of the Police force, the Mayor of Zootopia or the plethora of side characters, you feel the immersion, wealth and purpose to every individual on screen.   There is a true sense of emotional veracity; as you see a fusion of their thoughts, interactions and bravado on screen.  The communication is as fluid as an everyday interaction with a family member, co-worker or a stranger on the street.  It is magnificence across the board.  There is no lacking of attachment (from the top down), as you feel strong characterization as each individual has a mountain of layers to who, what and why they are who they are.  The voice acting is stupendous and quite possibly the best I have seen in an animated film in a very long time.

The direction takes a twofold approach.  In that approach, there are two styles at play.  The direction of the first half follows a chronological path being infused with the basic tropes that mimic a cop/procedural story.  The direction in the second half turns into a methodical driven narrative focused on a fleshing out the dramatic thriller ends.  Each half becomes a important to each other; bring purpose to why there is this twofold approach.  The first half is described below:

First Half – A chronological focus as the audience is introduced to the main character(s) and the world of Zootopia (Exposition).  There is surficial layering of themes (social issues) as it pertains to these human-like animals (Classes, Gender, Biased work place and common prejudices).  Linear narrative uses ‘fate’ device to place main characters through the unsolved ‘missing victim’ cases.  Linear thread focused on typical Investigative techniques and procedural tropes.

The first half is predictable, but its strength is in that linear driven method.  It is even keel; not going too far overboard with the fanaticism and applying the basic ideals of our world in the contest of these ‘human-like’ animals of this script.  It helps drawn in the audience and place a focal on the context of story, theme and the main characters.  Continuing along the introduction, it blends surrealism in a realistic fashion, allowing you to slowly believe this scenario to something that is not (at first).  I reiterate that it is predictable and linear, but it helps the audience stay steadfast in its colorful entertainment.  There are one-liner and situational comedy, a high-stakes chase and the ‘ultimate’ (plot device) race against time for Judy Hopps and Nick WIlde.  Once we get into the bulk of the film’s story, the two-fold approach flips the script; sending plot twists that rips out the obvious and creates an ambiguous tale.  This creates something deeper within the social themes that were introduced.  The second half is as followed:

Second Half – Plot twist reveals ‘behind the mask’ situation of the world.  A directive that takes a method approach; unfolding layers of the surficial context to a heighten state.  A deepen complex of the characters with flaws found in societal issues.  Drama and thriller elements blend together to create a story driven narrative with principle.

This second half helps bring rationale to the clichéd first.  The enjoyment of the world becomes more enthralling within a reflection of the human condition.  This ‘Zootopia’ takes the fanatical realm and blends it with common society.  The value bleeds from this imaginative directive to create a colorful but meaningful commentary about everyday life.  As the audience watches Judy and Nick face crazy odds, the honesty of their flaws creates an about face of who they are and how true they are to each other.  This fleshes out further ideas of friendship, truth and humanistic flaws.  With that deepen characterization; we become a part of the characters epiphany like message.   Being a Disney film, it still has to be approachable for kids.  We then get a film that takes the previous colorful antics and blend in these daunting themes; leading into the final stretch.  As the story heads into the climax, the ‘ultimate’ plot twist is revealed.  This creates the typical ‘fallen hero rises again’ arch.  This helps bring closure to all that started in the first half, but does give you the obvious ‘ever after’ styled epilogue.

The visuals of this film are just beyond comprehension.  What I mean by that is at its heart, the cinematography is breathtaking.  From the creation of animals and there ‘human-like’ interactions to the various attributes built into the sections of Zootopia, you feel as if this is a real world to live in.  The sensational computer generated aspects bring the abstract through a grounded appeal.  This creates a sense of individualism at the film’s core.  You see raw realism coated in fanatical elements; seeing a broad sense come to life in a delicate touch of immersion.  You are a visitor to a world with a layer of truth, believable situations and emotional girth through CGI.  The Score is an acceptable addition to the film, but it does stand out as the weakest link.  You have the aspects of resounding sounds and sweeping orchestras, but don’t provide that power like most background music.  In time it is redeemed by the unique tracks that mimic the animal world.

Zootopia is an experience for all ages.  From the colorful imaginative world to the context of the deep layers of social themes; it is a film worthy of the Disney catalog.  If you’re a fan of anything Disney, this is worth the full price of admission for the whole family.  You will not be disappointed.

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