Zootopia

I finally got around to seeing Zootopia, a film I wanted to see since I saw the previews back when I was at the new Star Wars movie. Starring actors with whom I am mostly unfamiliar, this animated movie is a delight. Set in a time when animals have evolved enough that predators and prey can live together safely, Zootopia is ostensibly about a young lady rabbit who wants to become a police officer.

She's the first bunny to join the force and naturally she faces a certain amount of prejudice. In fact when you get right down to it, Zootopia is about prejudice and bigotry. That's quite a bit of stereotyping going on, which is almost always pointed out by other characters, which is nice. It is a little heavy-handed with the lecturing at a couple of points, but overall the messages go down smoothly.

Judy Hopps, the bunny, is horrified when her superior, Chief Bogo, played by Idris Elba, assigns her to parking meter duties. She was valedictorian for her police training class and is very keen, and the last thing she wants is to be shunted off into meter maid hell. There's a big case going on at the police department with 14 different mammals vanishing. Everyone but her is set to work on the case, and she definitely feels the sting of being left out. But she is one determined little bunny and next thing we know she and an unusual partner are in are on the case, hunting for a missing otter.

This film is beautifully drawn film is beautifully drawn, with gorgeous, lush backgrounds. The characterization of the animals is done so well that the moment Idris Elba's character walked onto the screen, before he said a single word, I thought ooh that guy should totally be played by Idris Elba. On the other hand I didn't even recognize Alan Tudyk's weaselly character, even after hearing his dialogue.

The world building is spot on, with lots of little details that enhance the film. And there are some sly references that will likely go over younger viewer's heads. There is a reference to a character an actor played in a previous Disney movie, as well as a couple of nods to Breaking Bad.

Jason Bateman plays the hustling fox while Ginnifer Goodwin plays Judy. Shakira is fab as a pop idol/mentor called Gazelle. Also adorable are Nate Torrence, who plays a super cute, exuberant cheetah and Raymond S. Persi as Flash, a slow talking sloth that works at the MVA.

There is plenty of action, humor and an interesting mystery with loads of pop culture references. You can watch a trailer here:

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Bonus Treat:
This week's bonus treat a short cooking video from Volpi Foods. My youngest likes to look at these before bed, as they are very soothing and help him sleep. There isn't any dialogue and the music is nice. This particular one is an asparagus and pancetta risotto.