Brings timely mes­sage of in­clu­sive­ness and em­pow­er­ment

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE - By AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS in Los An­ge­les

Just when it was look­ing like an­i­mated an­i­mal movies had run out of any­thing orig­i­nal to say, along comes the smartly amus­ing, crisply rel­e­vant Zootopia to hand­ily demon­strate there’s still plenty of bite left in the an­thro­po­mor­phic CG menagerie.

Boast­ing a pitch-per­fect voice cast led by Gin­nifer Good­win as a right­eous ru­ral rab­bit who be­comes the first cot­ton-tailed po­lice re­cruit in the mam­mal-cen­tric city of “Zootopia”, the 3-D ca­per ex­pertly com­bines keen wit with a gen­tle, and very timely, mes­sage of in­clu­sive­ness and em­pow­er­ment.

The en­gag­ing re­sult should eas­ily ap­peal to all crea­tures greatands­mall, giv­ing this pre­mium Walt Dis­ney An­i­ma­tion Stu­dios ef­fort is a paw up on spring break en­ter­tain­ment, not to men­tion the sum­mer ar­rival of Uni­ver­sal’s an­i­mated The Se­cret Life of Pets.

As the Zootopia Po­lice Depart­ment’s sole bunny of­fi­cer, ide­al­is­tic Judy Hopps (Good­win) dis­cov­ers that break­ing bar­ri­ers can be an up­hill climb, es­pe­cially when the other cops in the force are mainly of the more im­pos­ing ele­phant/rhino/hippo ilk.

Al­though in­trepid Judy can’t wait to col­lar her first perp, Bogo (Idris Elba), Precinct 1’s gruff cape buf­falo po­lice chief, has other plans, as­sign­ing her to park­ing duty, where she proves her worth by writ­ing 200 tick­ets be­fore noon on her first day.

But when a num­ber of “Zootopia’s” res­i­dents abruptly go miss­ing, Bogo gives Judy the green light to do some big time po­lice work and she finds her­self part­ner­ing with Nick Wilde (Ja­son Bate­man), a sly, world-weary scam artist of a fox, in a 48-hour bid to crack the case.

Nim­bly di­rected by By­ron Howar­dandRichMoore, along with co-di­rec­tor Jared Bush, who shares screen­play credit with Phil John­ston, the romp serves up plenty of sharply ob­served satire (a DMV manned en­tirely by sloths is played to hi­lar­i­ously pro­tracted ef­fect) wrapped up in ju­di­cious life lessons that never feel preachy or shoe­horned-in.

While Good­win and Bate­man are a voice-cast­ing dream team come true as a dys­func­tional duo who learn to fol­low their in­stincts over pre­con­ceived no­tions, they’re joined by a nicely di­verse sup­port­ing en­sem­ble that in­cludes J.K. Sim­mons, Tommy Chong, Oc­tavia Spencer and Shakira as a gazelle pop star who per­forms the film’s orig­i­nal song, Try Ev­ery­thing.

Also mak­ing their lines count are Jenny Slate as a notso-sheep­ish sheep who serves as “Zootopia’s” preda­tora­verse as­sis­tant mayor and Mau­rice LaMarsh as an arc­tic shrewver­sion ofDonCor­leone namedMr. Big.

Visu­ally, the “Zootopia” can­vas pops thanks to a gor­geously vi­brant color pal­ette and whim­si­cal ar­chi­tec­tural scales or­ches­trated by pro­duc­tion de­signer David Goetz. His work is in keep­ing with an all­mam­mal par­al­lel uni­verse com­posed of dis­tinct mi­cro­cli­mates like sunny Bun­ny­bur­row, icy Tun­dra­town and self­ex­plana­tory Lit­tle Ro­den­tia.

Com­poser Michael Gi­acchino, mean­while de­liv­ers a typ­i­cally buoy­ant score, play­fully toss­ing in mu­sic cues that pay af­fec­tion­ate homage to BernardHer­rman­nandNi­noRota.

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