Zootopia… best movie of 2016?

Vivek Kasubaga, News Editor

Zootopia is by far the best movie of 2016. While Disney Animation has recently had a return to form with its Oscar-winning movie Inside Out, movies like The Good Dinosaur have failed to impress the Academy or the box office. That is why I was so glad when Jared Bush’s Zootopia came out strong with a $75M opening weekend. Was it warranted? Absolutely.

Zootopia is a film about a metropolitan society, represented by animals. These animals imitate people in the 21st century: they walk on two feet, go to work, drive cars, etc. When Judy Hopps, voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin, becomes the first rabbit to join the Zootopia police force, she wants to make a point to prove to the metropolis that she deserves the job. Involved in her newest case is Nick Wilde, a sly fox (voiced aptly by Jason Bateman), who gives her some trouble along the way. It is hard to describe much more of the plot without venturing into “spoiler alert” territory.

The animation and editing of the movie is beautiful and seamlessly done. Unlike Pixar’s last product, The Good Dinosaur, this movie has consistent CGI that is never out of place and truly works in a single environment. The color palette that Byron Howard has chosen for this movie is extremely lively and pleasing to the eye, regardless of whether you are engaged in the plot or not. Another impressive aspect is the musical score. It is subtle but effective, which is one of the studio’s biggest differences from scores in earlier movies like Finding Nemo and The Incredibles.

The characters and aesthetics of this movie find their groove early on. Each Pixar movie has its own distinct tone, and Zootopia sets itself up as a light-hearted movie with some extremely deep allegories. Ginnifer Goodwin and Jason Bateman have great chemistry as Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde, the classic duo of hard-working perfectionist paired with the sly corner-cutter. The voice acting is great from all perspectives, especially Bateman’s turn as the comic rather than his previous typecast monotone roles in previous movies, such as Identity Thief, Arrested Development and Horrible Bosses. Ginnifer Goodwin provides the upbeat voice required for her character with enough excitement to contrast the duo. As far as the setup of the movie, Zootopia is a warranted tour de force.

Zootopia not only serves as a children’s movie, but it subconsciously works as a social justice piece. Many animals are directly associated with stereotypes; sloths being slow, wolves being dangerous, bears being stupid, etc. The producer manages to take these characteristics, and relate them to stereotypes in society, something that makes this movie so revolutionary.

At one point during the movie, society pits itself against a minority group of predators when a single animal commits a crime. The movie quickly explains that treating animals based on a certain stereotype is wrong. These allegories to the real world are meaningful and deep, which is a great lesson to instill in a children’s movie. Zootopia is a prime example of Disney Pixar returning to form, and this movie stands with the finest of the Disney classics.