Sunday, June 5, 2016

Video review: "Zootopia"

“Zootopia” belongs in that midrange of Disney animated flicks, good enough to entertain youngsters but without enough originality or appeal to keep parents engaged 100 percent of the time. On video it’s less the sort of thing where the whole family curls up on the couch to watch it, and more something you pop into the player, hand the kids a bowl of popcorn and go do something else.

Similar to last year’s “The Good Dinosaur,” this is an alternate Earth where critters evolved into the dominant species (here, humans don’t even exist). Ginnifer Goodwin lends her voice to Judy Hopps, an ambitious rabbit from the country who dreams of making it in the big city as a police officer.

But when she arrives, Judy finds that Zootopia isn’t quite the colorful utopia it seems, despite its otherwise amazing qualities. The critters tend to divide themselves up, with the smaller ones like herself as followers and the big, powerful beasts – lions, bears, tigers, rhinos, elephants, etc. – holding all the positions of power. The grumpy police chief (Idris Elba) isn’t too crazy about handing a hare a badge.

She bumps into Nick, a shady fox on the make voiced by Jason Bateman. In exchange for not busting him on his illicit frozen popsicle caper, Judy enlists Nick in helping her run down the mystery of why some former predators seem to be reverting to their animalistic ways.

(Though the different species don’t hunt each other anymore, the exact nature of the food chain remains rather ambiguous.)

“Zootopia” is a message movie where the message sometimes smothers the film’s entertainment value. It’s all about striving to be more than you are, and not judging others by their superficial qualities. I just wish the movie could’ve summoned up a little more ambition itself.

Bonus features are pretty expansive. There are seven deleted scenes; the “Try Everything” music video by Shakira; “Scoretopia,” a featurette on Michael Giacchino’s music; an introduction of deleted characters; “Z.P.D. Forensic Files,” a compendium of all the movie’s hidden Easter Eggs; a travelogue with filmmakers researching animals in the wild and at Disney Animal Kingdom; a making-of documentary featurette; and roundtable interviews with the cast and crew hosted by Goodwin.

Movie: B


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