My kind of whimsical entertainment from the fantastic Mr. Anderson. Truly beautiful!

P.S. Full disclosure: I absolutely abhorred the cloying Moonrise Kingdom.

P.P.S. Tilda Swinton only showed up for 5 minutes and she was amazing as always.

Rating: ★★★★★

(Originally published April 27, 2014.)


ZOOTOPIA (Byron Howard, Rich Moore, 2016)


My notes on Zootopia:

1. As a kid, I wanted to be a lot of things when I grow older. I had a phase that I dreamt of becoming a fireman, another as a really intelligent teacher. I finally decided on becoming a doctor after a tough internal debate if I should actually be a dinosaur (preferably a brontosaurus). That dream (my mother’s mostly) of wearing a stethoscope officially got crushed when I saw blood and immediately fainted.

2. This film opened with a school play that showed the evolution of animals from a prey vs. predator world into one where anyone can be anything, where a rabbit named Judy Hopps (voiced by Once Upon a Time’s Ginnifer Goodwin) didn’t have to be a carrot farmer like her parents (and 275 other brothers and sisters) and actually become a police officer. Although it was still a cartoon meant for kids, its themes dealing with prejudice and acceptance were uplifting and refreshing.

3. The city of Zootopia represented different species of animals thriving with each other. The diversity could be seen with familiar human traits assigned per group that sometimes bordered on stereotypes but always grounded to reality. I loved how the buildings and doors varied to accommodate each animal type (the hamster chute, the hippo pond, the high tubes for giraffes ordering Jamba Juice) and how some famous brands were incorporated for familiarity (a bitten carrot logo on a cellphone, a mouse shopping in Mousy’s, the Zuber cab service, and the lemming bankers from Lemming Brothers Bank of course). These details would definitely fly over kids’ heads but were welcome treats for adult viewers. (My favorite throwaway joke: “Let us acknowledge the elephant in the room” and then the camera focused on an actual elephant celebrating his birthday. My second favorite throwaway joke: “What do you call a three-humped camel?” “Pregnant.”)

4. Was it just me or did Nick Wilde closely resemble The Fantastic Mr. Fox?

5. Speaking of details, one scene called for Judy and Nick to dive inside a toilet bowl and before doing so, Nick placed his phone inside a plastic bag to avoid it from getting wet. In a normal cartoon, this would have been ignored with the excuse that it was a kiddie flick where animals talked, but this film was just on point in everything.

6. The biggest source of laughs had to be the Department of Motor Vehicles run by sloths. It took forever for them to finish what they were doing that the queues never ended and most of the customers were already frustrated and impatient. Anybody who recently renewed their license or lined up for a public document (SSS Card, NBI clearance) would be able to relate. At least I could picture them as sloths if I ever got bored.

7. Pig Hero 6, Wreck-It-Rhino, Floatzen, Wrangled. Even the animal world was not free from piracy.

8. My newsfeed had been filled with hate (coming from both sides) for the last few days. Maybe it’s time we listened to a talking bunny who said, “We can’t let fear divide us. The more we try to understand each other, the more exceptional we will be.” Preach!

Rating: ★★★★★