Jeri Jacquin

This Friday from directors Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Jared Bush and Walt Disney Pictures is the story of believing in the city of ZOOTOPIA.

Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) is a bunny who wants to break out of the bunny farm. Her dream has always been to become a law enforcement officer. Going to the academy, Judy becomes the first bunny officer and can’t wait to protect and serve. The problem immediately is Chief Bogo (Idris Elba) who decides that Judy would be better at meter maiding than solving crimes.

The biggest crime in Zootopia is the disappearance of many of its citizens and people want action from Mayor Lionheart (JK Simmons). Judy wants to be part of it all so keeps her eyes and ears open. On her rounds she meets Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman), a fox who is living up to the reputation of being sly. When Judy realizes she’s been had by Nick she isn’t pleased.

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That’s when Mrs. Otterton comes to the station imploring the Chief to help find her husband. In a bit of fast talking, Judy is given a few days to discover new information. The smart bunny turns to Nick who seems to know his way around town and the people in it. Judy also enlists the help of Assistant Mayor Bellwether (Jenny Slate) to track Mr. Otters last known whereabouts.

Judy and Nick become involved in a case that takes them to dangerous places but nothing will stop them from discovering who is responsible!

Goodwin as Judy portrays a delightful bunny that has big dreams. Even with her parent’s supports, everyone is concerned that she might be jumping into something big. Of course they are right but Judy is a strong and independently minded bunny who doesn’t mind proving herself.

Bateman as Nick is an awesome choice. There are lines Nick delivers that could only have been done by Bateman. Nick is living the fox stereotype but learns that there are choices everyone makes – live how everyone expects or live to be the best of yourself.

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Elba as Bogo underestimates his new bunny rookie and that is his first mistake. I like his characters grumpiness for some reason, its funny! I have to throw in a big giggle for LaMarche who plays Mr Big. The whole idea of his character is hilarious and I couldn’t stop laughing.

Simmons as Mayor Lionheart is under the gun to find the missing citizens. I love anything Simmons does so you won’t get a bad thing out of me. Slate as Bellwether is the assistant who doesn’t get much credit for her hard work, especially when the King of the beasts is your boss. She is excited that Judy is on the force!

Other cast include: Octavia Spencer as Mrs. Otterton, Alan Tudyk as Duke Weaselton, Tommy Chong as Yax, Raymond S. Persi as Flash, Maurice LaMarche as Mr. Big, and Shakira as Gazelle.

TUBS OF POPCORN: I give ZOOTOPIA three and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. Disney has once again brought delightful characters and put them with amazing animation. I do have to say that the scene with Flash the Sloth is going to put adults into a huge giggle fit and might not make to many people happy at the DMV. It’s that kind of humor that brings parents to watch films with their kids.

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Keep your eye out for Mr. Big because I certainly couldn’t get enough of that scene. The adults loved the name Duke Weaselton and FROZEN fans will get the joke. Shakira as Gazelle doesn’t get a lot of screen time but she manages to end the film in her own musical way.

The storyline has nice twists and turns and it was pretty cool. Disney brings together every animal you can think of and show how it is possible for everyone to live together. There is diversity in Zootopia and even when a few of the animals are called ‘predators’ and things go wrong, everyone comes together to set things right.

In the end – welcome to the urban jungle!