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Movie Review: Zootopia

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Disney has been transforming animals into humans for the past century, from the lovable Winnie-the-Pooh to the intelligent Mufasa of The Lion King, and of course there’s the iconic Mickey Mouse, the leader of it all.

Zootopia, in true Disney fashion, uses this age-old concept—but pushes it to the next level to create a film that appeals to everyone.

This movie instantaneously comes off as a precious and humorous feast for the eyes. While it maintains this fluffy-ness throughout, Zootopia gets “real” pretty quick as we enter the mind of Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin), a bright-eyed bunny with big-city dreams. Judy is the kind of girl who wants to protect the innocent and do the impossible—she wants to be the first rabbit cop on the Zootopia police force.

As she confesses to her parents (Bonnie Hunt and Don Lake) that her heart lies in the city—not in the carrot farming business—Judy waves goodbye to her 273 brothers and sisters, leaving the quiet suburbs of BunnyBurrow behind and boards the train to the diverse metropolis that is Zootopia.

Sound familiar, Suffolk students? Small-town kid who wants to come to Boston?

I digress. The real action begins as Judy faces the typical downs of urban life: crazy neighbors, stuck-up peers, and stereotypes. Lots and lots of stereotypes.

Here is where Zootopia lies in a class all by itself. It introduces the dark aspect of prejudice to children in depicting all sorts of animals trying to coexist. For instance, one stereotype mentioned throughout is the general assumption that all foxes are sly by nature. This is an assumption that Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman), a sarcastic fox aiding Judy in an important case, feels is what the world sees when they look at him.

Judy and Nick are a dynamic duo who are trying to prove to Zootopia there is more to them than meets the eye. When Judy is half-heartedly assigned to a missing person case by her boss, Chief Bogo (Idris Elba), she turns to con-artist Nick, who knows more than he admits.

Zootopia is THE perfect film for college students, touching upon absolutely everything we all experienced when we first left home: the unabashed optimism we feel thinking about the future, the grueling process of getting used to your new apartment, preparing your own meals, being torn down by bullies (only to be brought up again by a quick facetime from the parents), and realizing that it’s okay to go home once in a while—where you will be refreshed and ready to head back to the real world.

Loaded with a star-studded cast, thousands of pop culture references (including a subtle nod to Breaking Bad) and countless plot twists, Zootopia is a new kind of buddy-cop movie within a world that bears a striking resemblance to the one we humans live in.

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