Tyler Ku’ulani Lopez
Zootopia is the latest offering from Disney in their long line of dominating animated movies. No one else in the business makes tear-jerking, heart-wrenching, gut-busting, dramatic animated movies like these two companies and they did it again. Zootopia follows an absolutely adorable bunny named Officer Hopps as she attempts to solve a complicated case and earn the respect of her fellow officers. The movie tackles some pretty topical themes like racism, sexism, and prejudice but it wraps it around cute animals!
1. Writing– 9/10
The writing is brilliant. They’re able to use animals to create hilarious stereotypes that help set up jokes throughout the movie. It’s clever without being condescending, it’s funny without forcing jokes, and it’s genuinely touching when it needs to be. You know, the typical Disney kind of writing that can make you laugh and cry and feel all the feels you remember feeling your whole life.
2. Direction– 9/10
This movie had three whole directors on it! Byron Howard, Rich Moore, and Jared Bush. Well Jared gets only a “co-director” credit so maybe more like two and a half directors. All three of these gentlemen helped make some of the best animated movies in the last five to six years. Byron directed Tangled, Rich directed Wreck it Ralph, and all three of them were involved creatively with a dozen other animated movies and TV shows through the last 20 years. This movie they brought it all and dern it if it wasn’t a success.
3. Cinematography– 8/10
The Director of Cinematography of this movie was Brian Leach. If you’re like me, that name means almost nothing to you but Brian has worked on a heck of a lot of movies you probably have heard of: The Mask, Haunted Mansion, X-Men 2, Spider-Man 2, Kangaroo Jack, Armageddon and of course the greatest movie in his portfolio Inspector Gadget. This movie is no different from an Armageddon or an Inspector Gadget. There are some sweeping moments in this movie that are gorgeous and truly capture the wonder of this new animated world. (oh that’s good reviewin’!)
4. Acting– 10/10
Seriously the acting was great. The movie stars the lovely Ginnifer Goodwin who is best known as Snow White/Mary Margaret Blanchard on the show Once Upon A Time. She is tremendous as Judy Hopps and captures your heart quickly and easily. The movie also stars Jason Bateman who is his typically fantastic Jason Bateman-y self. Other notable roles go to Idris Elba, Jenny Slate, Bonnie Hunt, Don Lake, Tommy Chong (yep that Tommy Chong), Nate Torrance, or the secret star of any movie he is in J.K. Simmons. They’re all fun, funny, charming, and great in their roles.
5. Editing– 8/10
Maybe the best testament to a movie that is only 108 minutes long is that the pace was perfect. There was no down time in the movie, but there was plenty of time for characters to develop the right way. There weren’t any awkward cuts or jarring moments in the movie that were confusing. It was all well executed. I’m rambling… Next!
6. Sound– 8/10
The sound editors for this one must have had a ton of fun. Most of the sound needed was just animal noises and city noises. See editing: it’s all good!
7. Score/Soundtrack– 8/10
The music in this movie was handled by Michael Giacchino. If you don’t know that name, he’s done kind of a ton of things in the last 20 years or so. He’s worked on Call of Duty, The Incredibles, Lost, Mission Impossible III, The Muppets, Ratatouille, all three new Star Trek movies, Jurassic World, Inside Out, Cars 2, and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. SO. YEAH. The music is good. Also Shakira is in this movie as a singing Gazelle and she has her own song at the end complete with tiger dancers. It’s maybe the best part of the movie.
8. Production Design– 10/10
This was one of the best ideas Disney has had in a while. Zooptopia creates a new world that is unique, interesting, and fun for really any age. It’s animals living in harmony like humans in their own respective habitats! What’s not to love about that? This movie could be Disney’s most creative world building in decades. It’s right up there with It compares favorably to really any of their collaborative movies with Pixar like Toy Story or Finding Nemo.
9. Casting– 9/10
The only one who I wasn’t crazy about was Nate Torrence as Clawhauser because well… I could have done it but I wasn’t given the part! Just kidding I didn’t even audition. They wouldn’t let me in. Anyway! The cast was brilliant like I said earlier and they fit together almost perfectly in this movie.
10. Effects– 9/10
The effects in this movie were fantastic! My wonderful fiancee gleefully giggled (what a sentence) at Judy’s nose twitching. The faces of the every animal character were well crafted and capable of showing human emotions even if they had snouts. The movements of basically every character were smooth and precise. It’s the effects you come to expect from Disney’s animated movies.
Overall Score: 8.8/10
Whoa! I never check the score until after I write all my reviews so 88 is a surprise to me and seems high! This movie earns it though. I thought last year Inside Out was one of the best animated movies in a long time and I think Zootopia might have been just as good if not better. It’s heartfelt, smart, and funny. I definitely recommend it. I thought it brought the perfect amount of seriousness (not like Up which was super depressing) and levity (I don’t have an example for an animated movie with too much levity…). Go see it!