ZOOTOPIA (original release date: March 4)
Zootopia is an absolutely charming and clever animated film in the spirit of the classic Disney movies that inspired it. With fantastic voice work by Jason Bateman, Idris Elba and Ginnifer Godwin, Zootopia is set in a fantastical, bustling, urban metropolis where everyone goes about their everyday lives—work, school, shopping, driving, riding the subway, even petty crime. It just also happens to be a world without humans. Zootopia is inhabited only by animals, all types big and small, and they coexist in a perfectly balanced utopia. One day, however, that perfect balance gets upset and the city’s harmonious existence is threatened until Judy, an energetic rookie cop—who happens to be a teeny, tiny rabbit, hungry to prove herself fit to serve alongside her fellow, much larger, officers—is determined to take down the villains and bring peace back to Zootopia. Along the way, Judy gets help from a wise-cracking con-artist fox and, together, they prove not only that a bunny and a fox can work together, but that anything is possible if you just believe in yourself.
Ok, it may sound a bit much, but if ever there was a package to deliver such smaltzy messages, Zootopia is it. The animation is first-rate, the music is perfect and the voice acting is spot on. But what makes Zootopia so uniquely enjoyable is its cleverness, which is found in every detail of the film. The animators at Disney are never happy just delivering an average film, they have to inject their special magic into every frame, and Zootopia is loaded with subtle humor, sight gags and so many referential jokes it makes repeated viewings essential to catch them all.
Overall, Zootopia is a thoroughly entertaining and impressive film with heart, brains and more cuteness than you might be able to handle. But try, because it is well worth the effort.