April 4, 2016 -- This Disney animated film is the best animated film I've seen since “The Incredibles.” The story is structured like a cop buddy murder mystery film with a message about diversity thrown in for good measure. There is no murder, however, the mystery to be solved is what happened to a missing weasel and 13 other animals who have gone missing in the city of Zootopia, where predators and their prey live in harmony.
The hero is a plucky, idealistic bunny, Judy Hopps, who believes in the promise of Zootopia. She moves from the farm to the city and graduates from the police academy with top honors, but she is not taken seriously by the grumpy Police Chief Bogo, who puts her on parking meter duty. The ever upbeat Judy determines to be the best parking meter maid she can be and works hard at her job, but longs for real police work. She jumps at every opportunity to do so.
One day Judy tails a Foxy scam artist, Nick Wilde and his partner Finnick, who cleverly turn a small donation from her into a large payoff. When she learns that Nick may have been a witness to the disappearance of a weasel, one of several missing animals, she figures out a way to make him cooperate in her investigation. The two become unlikely partners.
Judy manages to maneuver her boss, Chief Bogo, into letting her pursue the missing persons case, but like any grumpy police boss, he gives her 48 hours to solve the case, or she has to agree to go back to parking meter duty. Nick and Judy make a good team, but there are a lot of problems with the investigation. A key witness disappears. Key government officials are conspiring to hide the truth from the public.
Along the way, Nick and Judy cross paths with a local crime boss, Mr. Big, a shrew. They discover a secret lair where animals are being held in cells, but solving the missing animals case is the just the first part of a more complicated plot which forces Judy to confront the power of fear, which comes to divide the unity of the animals of Zootopia. She is also forced to confront her own crisis of faith.
While there is a serious theme about diversity and the power of self esteem in this film, it is also a very funny movie. A lot of the humor in the story is based on the characters of Judy and Nick, who make a great pair. I enjoyed this film a lot. I saw it in 3D, and the 3D effect was quite effective. There is also a pretty good song by Shakira (who does the voice of Gazelle) which might get an Academy Award nomination (along with the film itself) next year. This film rates an A.
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