Steve’s Wonderful Reviews of Disney: Zootopia


Release Date: March 4th, 2016

Inspiration: N/A

Budget: $150 million

Domestic Gross: $341.3 million

Worldwide Gross: $1.024 billion

Rotten Tomatoes Score: 98%

IMDB Score: 8.0/10

Storyline (per IMDB): From the largest elephant to the smallest shrew, the city of Zootopia is a mammal metropolis where various animals live and thrive. When Judy Hopps becomes the first rabbit to join the police force, she quickly learns how tough it is to enforce the law. Determined to prove herself, Judy jumps at the opportunity to solve a mysterious case. Unfortunately, that means working with Nick Wilde, a wily fox who makes her job even harder.

Pre-Watching Thoughts: We continue on with the canon as we are coming close to the end of the line which is a bit sad considering the road we have taken, and we have this film which is the first of two films to be released in 2016 which itself has not happened in a long time that we have two films released the same year. This film generated a lot of buzz when it came out and many consider it an unheralded classic that ranks up there amongst the best, and it was a film I really enjoyed when it first came out and now I am hoping it holds up well a few years later.

Voice Cast: After the last two films had a relatively small cast to them, we flip the script and have arguably one of the biggest casts in history as there are a lot of voices in this film. While most of them are new, we do have some returning actors as we have the return of Alan Tudyk who voices Duke Weaselton in a minor role and we have Maurice LaMarche who voices Mr. Big, and then we have Phil Johnston who voices Gideon Grey and an annoyed citizen as he also worked on the story and screenplay for the film. Next, we have Raymond S. Persi who voices Flash the sloth in a small, but very memorable role and then we have Jesse Corti who voices Manchas in a minor role. We then have Katie Lowes who voices Dr. Madge Honey Badger in a minor role and we have Rich Moore who voices Doug the ram and Larry the wolf and John DiMaggio who voices Jerry Jumbeaux Jr., and then we have Kristen Bell who voices Priscilla the sloth in a minor role and finally we have Kath Soucie who voices Nick Wilde as a child as this might be the most returning actors we’ve had in quite a while. We now move onto the newcomers as we have Ginnifer Goodwin who voices Judy Hopps in her most recent film role as she has mainly returned to TV, and we also have Della Saba who voices Judy as a bunny and then we have Jason Bateman who voices Nick Wilde in one of his few animated film roles. We then have Idris Elba who voices Chief Bogo in his first animated film appearance in his career, and then we have Jenny Slate who voices Bellweather as she was really getting her career going at this point. Next, we have Nate Torrence who voices Clawhauser in his only animated film appearance to this point, and then we have Bonnie Hunt and Don Lake who voices Bonnie and Stu Hopps respectively in fairly minor roles. We then have Tommy Chong who voices Yax the Yak and we come full circle with his long-time partner Cheech Marin having done a voice way back in the day, and then we have J.K. Simmons who voices Mayor Lionheart in a fairly minor role. Next, we have Octavia Spencer who voices Mrs. Otterman in a minor role and then we have singer Shakira who voices Gazella and also sings the main song of the film, and then all the remaining actors have pretty minor roles like Fushcia! who voices Major Friedkin and . We then have Gita Reddy who voices Nangi the elephant and Tom Lister Jr. who voices Finnick, and then we have Josh Dallas who voices the owner of the flower shop and Leah Latham who voices Fru-Fru. Next, we have the pair of Fabienne Rawley and Peter Mansbridge who voice the news anchors and we have Byron Howard and Jared Bush who voice Bucky and Pronk Oryx-Antlerson, and then we have Mark Rhino Smith who voices Officer McHorn and Josie Trinidad who voices Dharma Armadillo. We then have John Lavelle who voices the head of the mouse construction crew and finally we have Zach King who voices a muzzled wolf. This has to be one of the largest casts we have had and that includes a few other films that have pretty large casts, and it will be interesting to see how the last 3 films end up being in terms of the size of the cast.

Hero/Prince: For the second film in a row, we have a pair of heroes to talk about and that is the mismatched pair of Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde, and Judy dreams of being the first rabbit police officer which she does though she is relegated to parking duty. During her shift, she meets Nick and after initially helping him, she realizes that he is a con artist which he is not ashamed of and leaves her frustrated, and after learning of the missing mammals she offers to look for Emmett Otterton though the chief only gives her 48 hours under threat of resignation. She finds Nick as he was one of the last to see Otterton and she blackmails him into helping her, and they follow a trail as they learn that Otterton went savage and they are attacked by a jaguar who also goes savage. They learn that the missing mammals all went savage and are being held under observation by Mayor Lionheart whom they expose, and Judy offers Nick to be her partner though he feels betrayed after she tells the press that the mammals when savage because they are predators and it is in their DNA. The city becomes divided and Judy resigns as she returns to help her family farm, but after learning what is really behind the predators turning savage she reconciles with Nick and they find a secret lab where rams are creating a serum to cause any animal to go savage. They retrieve the serum and destroy the lab only to learn that new Mayor Bellweather is behind it as she wants to use fear to stay in power, and she tries to turn Nick savage only for Judy and Nick to outsmart her and she is arrested. Hopps returns to the police force as Nick joins and becomes her new partner as they work on their next assignment. Judy is a classic case of someone who tries to do something for a greater good even though society doesn’t accept her being a police officer, and she does her best to overcome the odds and prove that she belongs despite being a rabbit. On the other hand, Nick has resigned himself to be what society has deemed him to be as a fox and he has no problem messing with Judy, but he proves to be a lot more than expected and Judy offers him a chance to be his partner. But their friendship goes awry as Judy believes predators are naturally savage which hurts Nick and causes widespread fear, and she loses hope and ends up quitting before quickly turning it around and reconciling with Nick. The pair end up saving the day in the end and Nick finds his true calling by becoming Judy’s partner, and as a pair they are solid heroes for the film and it will be interesting to see where they stack up amongst the other heroes and princes.

Princess: N/A

Villain: We have been in a trend of the villain being someone that you wouldn’t think is the villain and we get the surprise twist at the end, and that trend continues here as our villain for the film is the sheep called Bellweather. She serves as the Assistant Mayor to Mayor Lionheart who treats her like garbage and she finds kinship with Judy, and she even helps Judy and Nick access the traffic cams which allows them to find the building where the missing mammals are being kept. They learn Lionheart is behind it and expose him which leads to his arrest and Bellweather becomes Mayor, and she offers Judy a chance to be the face of the ZPD though Judy resigns after learning that predators and prey are becoming fearful of each other. After Judy and Nick reunite and find the true cause of why predators are becoming savage, they try to reach the police station though Bellweather confronts them as they discover that she is behind everything. She reveals that she intends to keep prey fearful of predators and will keep her power growing, but Judy and Nick manage to outsmart her and the plan unravels as she is arrested and sent to jail. When you look at Bellweather, she seems like a simple sheep that tries to do her best only to be talked down constantly, but like most villains she has a secret ulterior motive which comes to fruition after she assumes the position of Mayor. She seems to genuinely care for Judy and wants to see her succeed though it could be she sees Judy as a means to an end, and in the end her overconfidence leads to her downfall as she is outwitted by Judy and Nick. While she might not end up being one of the best villains in the Disney canon, she is definitely one of the more forgotten villains in history.

Other Characters: As mentioned earlier, we have a lot of characters to talk about though for the most part, the majority of them aren’t major as a lot of the focus is on Judy and Nick which it should be though there are still some fairly important characters. To start, we have the other members of the ZPD including Chief Bogo who doesn’t see anything in Judy and relegates her to parking duty, and after she brings in Duke Weaselton he accosts her to the point that he tries to fire her when she offers to take the Otterton case. After being pressured by Bellweather, he gives Judy 48 hours to find Otterton or she must resign, and he nearly forces her to quit after their encounter with Manchas though Nick vouches for her. After they find the missing mammals, Judy earns Bogo’s trust though she resigns in the end, and after Bellweather’s plot is exposed Judy is welcomed back and Nick is brought in as Bogo gives them bigger assignments. Also in the ZPD is dispatcher Clawhauser who is an enthusiastic cop though he is briefly demoted due to the misconception that all predators are dangerous, and after Bellweather is arrested he is restored to his current position. We then have Judy’s family including her parents Stu and Bonnie and her numerous siblings, and her parents are concerned for her safety when she becomes a cop and are relieved when they learn she is assigned to parking duty. After she resigns and returns to their farm, they realize that she was right about being whatever she wanted to be and they support her when she returns. We then have Gideon Gray who is a fox that bullied Judy when they were kids and he even went as far as to claw her in the face, and after they grow up he becomes a baker and is partners with Judy’s parents as he apologizes to Judy for his actions when they were kids. Next, we have Mr. Big the mob boss whose limo Judy and Nick find out carried Otterton when he went savage and they are brought before Mr. Big, and he tries to have them killed until his daughter tells him that Judy saved her and he becomes their ally as he tells him everything he knows. Later, when Duke Weaselton refuses to give info to Judy and Nick, they bring him to Mr. Big who threatens to kill him which forces him to tell them what he knows. We then have Mayor Lionheart who after learning that predators are going savage, he has them captured and kept locked up under the pretense that he is trying to help find out what is wrong with them. After Judy and Nick expose him, he is sent to prison though he continues to claim that he only imprisoned them to protect the citizens of Zootopia. We then have the numerous animals that inhabit Zootopia and its surrounding districts including Flash and Priscilla the sloths who work at the DMV, there is Finnick the fox who is Nick’s partner, there is the aforementioned Duke Weaselton who first tries to steal the Night Howlers before trying to sell bootleg DVDs, and then we have the mammals who become savage including Mr. Otterton and Manchas in addition to the others that are captured. Obviously, there are a lot of characters in this film and while it may seem like there are more than there should be, it does help build this unique world out and showcases all the various types of animals that are able to live in harmony together.

Songs: Much like the previous film, we only have one song to talk about for this film as most of the music in it is just the score which on a side note, the music for this film is very good and not talked about enough and it adds a lot to the film as a whole. But as I mentioned, we do have one song to talk about and that is “Try Everything” sung by Gazelle who is voiced by music star Shakira, and it is a good song for the film and gives a great message about trying and not giving up which is what we see Judy do throughout the film. While it may not rank as high as some of the more memorable songs of the previous films, it is still a good song and one of the better ones for the decade.

Plot: After the last two films were based on something, we go back to having an original story and we take it a step further as we basically create a whole new world where animals are anthropomorphic and act like people. Specifically, the film focuses on Judy Hopps who dreams to be a police officer and she graduates at the top of her class, but she is looked down on for being a rabbit and she is relegated to parking duty by Chief Bogo. After abandoning her post to chase down a criminal, she is reprimanded by Bogo until she volunteers to try and find the missing Emmett Otterton much to Bogo’s chagrin. She blackmails Nick Wilde into helping her and they follow a string of leads where they learn that Otterton went savage, and when interviewing the limo driver Manchas who Otterton attacked Manchas goes savage and attacks them. They continue to investigate and learn that the missing mammals that went savage are being held in a hospital under orders of Mayor Lionheart, but they expose it and Lionheart is arrested as Judy is declared a hero. She offers Nick a chance to be her partner though he refuses after she hypothesizes that since the mammals are predators, they went savage because it is in their DNA and the predators are discriminated against. She resigns and returns home though she learns the truth behind what is happening to the predators, and she reconciles with Nick and they find a hidden lab where rams are creating a serum using Night Howler flowers to cause the mammals to go savage. They destroy the lab and take the serum though they are confronted by Bellweather who reveals herself as the one behind it, and she tries to turn Nick savage though they outwit her and record her revealing her plan. She is arrested and the mammals are restored to normal as Judy returns to the police force, and Nick also joins the force and becomes Judy’s partner as they are treated with more respect from Bogo. We have seen a lot of original stories over the course of these films and while some are certainly better than others, it could be argued that this one might be the best of all though again that is up for debate.

Random Watching Thoughts: Probably the most basic opening title intro ever; That brief moment where everything seems real only to realize it is a stage play; Judy is really milking this death with red streamers and ketchup; At least they were smart to fix the spelling of vicious; Instead of hunting for prey, he will hunt for tax exemptions; If being a police officer doesn’t work, Judy could do well as an actress; Nice subtle touch of having Judy bend her ears down when she puts the hat on; Zootopia: Where Anyone Can Be Anything; That seems like a pretty festive festival, no pun intended; The beauty of complacency; You think they’ve convinced her when they say there’s never been a bunny cop, but she turns it around saying she could be the first; I know rabbits are known for multiplying, but 276 children seems like a bit much; Changing the world, one carrot at a time; It’s good to have dreams as long as you don’t believe in them too much; “Dunnah”; He scratched her in the face and she’s not even bleeding; If you look closely, you’ll see the tickets are not in Gideon’s overalls when he walks away; The drill instructor says that Zootopia has 12 ecosystems, but only mentions 3 so you are left wondering what the other 9 are; Judy certainly “died” a lot of times; Of course, Judy finally realizes that she can use her small size to her advantage; Mammal Inclusion Initiative; Bonnie and Stu were so happy until they realize where she is being stationed; So the claw marks on her face obviously healed as she got older, but it would’ve been cool to see them stick with her to serve as a reminder; Judy quoting Franklin Roosevelt about fear; Stu has no qualms in saying that the weasel he plays with cheats; A fox taser; The train has numerous doors for the different sized animals; Bunnyburrow: Population 81,435,801 and climbing; Introducing the numerous music artists of Zootopia: The Beagles, Destiny’s Cub, Ewe 2, Fleetwood Yak, Fur Fighters, Guns N’ Rodents, Hyena Gomez, Kanine West, and Mick Jaguar to name a few; Is it just me or does the scene of Judy riding the train into Zootopia looks striking similar to Katniss riding the train to the Capitol in “The Hunger Games”?; Fishtown Market; Blubber Chef; Clark Halibut; The giraffes have their own pick up for the juice bar; Judy just listened to Gazelle and now Gazelle just happens to appear on the big LED boards; Complimentary delousing once a month; At least they were upfront with Judy about being loud; She nearly decides to leave the Fox Away behind only to grab it at the last minute; Lucky Chomps; So only bunnies can call each other cute; Clawhauser has a donut stuck in his neck folds; Judy has no idea what she has walked into; Bogo has to acknowledge the elephant in the room as there is literally an elephant in the room; Bogo sees no value in Judy which is why he relegated her to parking duty; He mentions her writing 100 tickets in a sarcastic way and she vows to write 200 tickets before noon; She literally puts the ticket on the car right as the meter expires; I don’t think it is too sanitary to use your trunk to first scoop out ice cream, and then use that same trunk to scoop up peanuts; Those are certainly “Jumbo” pops; Finnick went so far as to get an elephant onesie; I will say the one thing this film does great is comment on the constant discrimination between certain animals; Give Nick credit, he does a great job in making you believe his story; She even had a Junior ZPD Officer sticker on her to give to Finnick; Zuber: Migration at your Fingertips; “Organic Pawpsicles”; Lemming Brothers Bank; They made quick work of those popsicles and didn’t even get brain freezes; Nick certainly has all his bases covered; Podunk, Deerbrooke County; The way Nick describes this makes it seem like he’s seen it happen before; She stood in that wet cement for quite a while before sinking; Of course all the songs on the radio are sad songs; Carrots for One microwave dinner; Stu and Bonnie were so happy to learn that Judy was a meter maid; At least Kudu was somewhat sympathetic of Judy’s plight; That’s pretty cruel to have the kid say that his mom wishes Judy was dead; She’s pursuing a criminal and takes a second to celebrate; Little Rodentia; Judy’s just big enough that she can stop all those buildings from falling over; Duke should be lucky he was thin enough to get around those tubes; Mousy’s; Targoat; Judy just saved Fru-Fru and still takes time to compliment her hair; She popped the weasel; Fun fact, the crocus flower midnicampum holicithias actually exists in real life; Wouldn’t she have the authority to chase a criminal if no other law officer is nearby?; Bogo referencing “Frozen” when he tells Judy to let it go; Of course Bellweather would be right outside the door; Clawhauser says that as a joke not realizing that Judy really did stake her career on this; Of course Clawhauser would think a popsicle could be a murder weapon; $200 a day just selling popsicles; She actually put a boot on his stroller; Judy is right when she says rabbits are good at multiplying; Nick realizes that he’s caught between a rock and a hard place; Her carrot pen just also happens to be a recorder; Finnick was so thrilled to see Nick get hustled; He has certainly accumulated a lot of flies; An animal nudist club; Giraffes vs. hippos in a volleyball match is a total mismatch; Yak says that the elephant can remember everything yet she doesn’t remember a thing and he is able to fully describe Emmett and where he was going; 12 hours have already passed?; I know DMVs are typically slow, but making the tellers sloths seems a bit much; To be fair, I’m sure in his mind Flash will run the plate quickly for Judy; Yes he going’s slow Judy, but that doesn’t mean he can’t remember what you said and you need to repeat it constantly; What do you call a three-humped camel? Pregnant; Nick made sure to point out that he has a fake badge; Of course she throws like a bunny; Who would leave their limos unlocked overnight?; Jerry Vole; CDs are still a thing; A rug made from a skunk’s butt fur; Judy thinks Mr. Big is one of the polar bears because they are big only to learn that Mr. Big is a rodent; Why would he bury his grandma in the skunk butt rug?; Judy should be lucky that Mr. Big’s daughter is the same one she rescued earlier or she and Nick would be screwed; Judy is on the verge of being killed and still compliments Fru-Fru on her dress; Judy went from nearly being killed to being in Mr. Big’s good graces; Mr. Big maybe a mob boss, but he has great wisdom as well; Manchas took a good beating there from Otterton; The switch flipped quickly there for Manchas; Clawhauser is so happy to show that wolf his app while the wolf just wants to be booked; They thought they were safe only to fall and get tangled up in the vines right as the backup arrives; Nick comes through for Judy after she saved his life; Interesting advice from Nick to never let them see that they get to you; I don’t blame Nick for being jaded after the way those kids were so mean to him and put that muzzle on him; Nick does the traffic report as a joke and realizes that they can look at the traffic cameras to find Manchas; Bellweather’s office is pretty much a storage closet; Nick can’t help but play with Bellweather’s wool; The sheep vote; World’s Greatest Assistant Mayor; “Smell-Weather”; A bit of foreshadowing in that Bellweather had a sticky note with a phone number for Doug; That’s a good question from Nick if sheep count themselves in their sleep; Their first intuition of Night Howlers being wolves seems too obvious; Once one wolf howls, the rest of them have to as well; All signs point to that being a former mental hospital; I know locking them up was not the best solution, but I believe Lionheart had good intentions in trying to figure out what happened to the animals; Of all the time for Judy’s parents to call, it would be when they are recording while hiding; That’s quite a long fall for them to survive; Clawhauser is so happy to know that Bogo has the same app that he has; Nick showing off his “badge” to the other officers; gentlemamals; So the way to look smart is to answer their question with another question and then answer that question; She not only gives him an application, she gives him the carrot pen; To be fair, Judy is not a scientist so she wouldn’t know immediately why the predators are going savage; Judy clearly doesn’t want to believe that the predators went savage because it is in their biology, but she can’t help it; Judy trying to keep everyone calm yet she has just stirred up panic; Again, Judy couldn’t help but nearly go for the repellent; Even though this film came out in 2016, it is scary to see how relevant it is in 2020 with everything that has gone on in the world; Poor Clawhauser; Bogo finally accepts Judy as a good cop right at her lowest moment; “Growing Unrest Divides City”; After being so worried for Judy and at one point being relieved that she was a meter maid, Stu and Bonnie finally realize how much being a cop meant to Judy; It is a bit weird that Stu and Bonnie are now in business with someone that used to bully their daughter; Gideon has no problem in opening up and apologizing to Judy; $4 word; Stu has a point in Terry biting Bonnie in the arm being pretty savage; Leave it to Judy’s former bully to be the one to inadvertently make Judy realize the truth behind what is making the predators go savage; Only Gideon would think Judy was talking in tongues; Judy bears her soul to Nick and all he does is record her calling herself a dumb bunny; For being a predator, Nick certainly loves the berries; “Pig Hero 6”, “Wrangled”, “Wreck-It Rhino”, “Meowana”, “Giraffic”, “Floaten 2”, only Disney would make fun of themselves like this; They have a parody of “Moana” which would come out later that year and they successfully predicted that “Frozen” would get a sequel by parodying that as well; A nice callback with Duke correcting Judy with his last name considering the voice of Duke, Alan Tudyk voiced the Duke of Weselton who got upset when they pronounced his name wrong; Judy went from nearly being killed by Mr. Big to becoming Fru-Fru’s daughter’s godmother; What else is the opposite of friendly besides unfriendly?; I’d say they’ve cornered the market on those flowers; That’s quite the setup Doug has to create that serum; I will say that Doug is quite the sharpshooter; That is fairly ambitious by Judy to take the whole subway car with them; I’d say it was premature for Nick to do that victory toot-toot; Yeah, that’s hail when they are still in a tunnel; What must the conductor of that other subway be thinking?; Yeah, none of the evidence survived that explosion; Again, a lot of gasps were probably let out when it was revealed Bellweather was the mastermind behind this; Of course Bellweather wouldn’t get her hands dirty like that; Bellweather is unfortunately right, fear does always work; Judy breaking out her old act from when she was a child; Fitting that all the police officers are predators and they can’t wait to get Bellweather; Lionheart speaking like a true politician saying that he was wrong for locking the predators up, but insists that his intentions were good; Even though there were 14 mammals missing, we only see Otterton actually recover; You can’t help but feel good for Clawhauser getting his position back; Judy has grown a lot from her days dreaming to be a police officer when she was a child; That hippo was so confident that the mustache would suffice as a proper disguise; How funny and cruel would that have been for Judy and Nick to still be assigned to parking duty even after everything they did; Nick still has his popsicle; FST NML; Of course Flash is speeding, it takes him a long time to take his paw off the accelerator and to push the brake; Flash sees Nick and thinks this is his chance to call in that favor for running the plate for them; Our first film ending with a concert during the credits; Mr. Big can’t get out of his chair to dance with his daughter; Bogo not holding anything back with his dancing; That was nice of the officers to let the prisoners watch the concert even if the TV is old; Even Bonnie and Stu made it to the concert, Duke maybe dancing, but he can’t help it and ends up stealing from someone.

Overall Thoughts: Overall, this ended up being a fantastic film and I don’t think anyone ever expected it to be as good as it was. It would’ve been so easy for this film to go way overboard with stupid puns and cliches when it comes to creating this world, but to their credit they did a great job in creating a perfect balance all the while making the film feel relevant in today’s world. That has been one thing Disney has done incredibly well over the years in making the audience feel like they relate to the characters even if the characters are talking animals, and they do a great job in pulling in the target audience which are kids while also pulling in adults as well. The 2010s have been a great decade and we have been on a tremendous run of films with two perfect films and one near perfect, and as we get to the second film of the year we will see if that can keep the momentum going. As for this film, it is a tremendous film and arguably could rank up there as one of the best of all time.

Final Grade: 10/10