I recently had the pleasure of watching the animated buddy-cop comedy mystery film, Zootopia (also released as Zootropolis in some areas).
In a world populated by anthropomorphic mammals, a rabbit from rural Bunnyburrow named Judy Hopps fulfills her childhood dream of becoming the first rabbit police officer in Zootopia, an urban utopia.
Despite being the police academy valedictorian, Judy is relegated to parking duty by Chief Bogo, who doubts her potential. On her first day, she is hustled by Nick Wilde and Finnick, a con artist duo. The next day, Judy abandons duty to arrest Duke Weaselton, a thief who stole plant bulbs. Bogo reprimands her, but a female otter named Mrs. Otterton enters Bogo’s office pleading for someone to find her missing husband Emmitt, part of a string of disappearances of predator individuals.
Judy volunteers, causing Bogo to fire her for insubordination. However, when Assistant Mayor Bellwether praises the assignment and informs Mayor Leodore Lionheart Judy is taking the case, Bogo reluctantly gives her two days to find Otterton, on the condition that she must resign if she fails.
Judy discovers that Nick was the last one to see Otterton, so she blackmails him into assisting her by covertly recording his confession to tax evasion. They track Otterton to a limousine owned by crime boss Mr. Big, who reveals that his florist Otterton went “savage” – reverted to a feral state – and attacked his chauffeur Manchas. At his home, Manchas mentions that Otterton had been yelling about “night howlers.”
Suddenly, Manchas himself goes savage and chases the pair. Judy saves Nick by trapping Manchas and calls the ZPD for help; when Bogo and other police arrive, however, Manchas has vanished. Bogo demands Judy’s resignation, but she is saved by Nick, who reminds Bogo that she still has ten hours to solve the case. Now friends, Nick opens up to Judy as they leave, revealing he was bullied as a child for being a fox and subsequently became a con artist, resolving to live out the stereotype of a fox.
Bellwether gives Judy and Nick access to the city’s traffic camera system and they discover Manchas was captured by wolves, which Judy surmises are the “night howlers”. They find Otterton and the other missing predators imprisoned in an asylum where Lionheart has been keeping them hidden and trying to determine the cause of their strange behavior. Lionheart is arrested and Bellwether becomes the new mayor.
Judy, praised for cracking the case, asks Nick to join the ZPD and become her partner, which he happily considers. However, Judy then unintentionally upsets Nick by suggesting a biological cause for the recent predator behavior at a press conference. Having wanted to accept her offer, Nick instead refuses and angrily leaves. A guilt-ridden Judy subsequently quits her job amid a wave of fear and protests against predators, a minority group.
Back in Bunnyburrow, Judy learns from her parents and reformed childhood bully Gideon Grey that “night howlers” are toxic flowers that have severe psychotropic effects on mammals. After Judy returns to Zootopia and reconciles with Nick, they find Weaselton and discover that the bulbs he was stealing were night howlers intended for a ram named Doug. Locating Doug at a lab hidden in the subway tunnels, they find him creating a night howler serum which he has been injecting into predators via a dart gun.
Before they can bring the evidence to the ZPD, Bellwether intercepts them and steals it, revealing herself as the mastermind behind a prey-supremacist conspiracy. Judy and Nick are trapped in a pit by Bellwether’s henchrams after Nick refuses to abandon Judy when she is injured. Bellwether calls the police, intending to use the serum to make Nick kill Judy, but Nick has disarmed the weapon by replacing the serum pellets with blueberries, and Judy has recorded Bellwether’s confession. The police arrive and arrest Bellwether.
Lionheart denies any knowledge of Bellwether’s plot, but asserts that he imprisoned the savage predators for the “right reasons.” Judy rejoins the ZPD, and Nick joins to become her partner and the first fox police officer. The savage predators are cured by an antidote. During the film’s closing credits, popstar Gazelle holds a concert to celebrate, with Bellwether and her accomplices angrily watching in prison.
It was a remarkably entertaining film, with plenty of the previous mentioned mystery and comedy throughout. The plot was engaging, the soundtrack was excellent, and the animation was fantastic. The voice actors all did an excellent job, though special praise must go to Jason Bateman who was incredible as Nick Wilde. The film also hit home ragarding a number of very current issues, and that is something that it should definitely receive a lot of praise for. Overall, a terrific film that I’d certainly recommend to anyone.
Thanks for reading.