Review: Zootopia, B+
Rated PG, 108 minutes
The charming new Disney animated effort "Zootopia" is as energetic as a rabbit and as clever as a fox, so it's no surprise that these two animals headline the well-worn but fun new film, which is one of Disney's most colorful animated movies of late. From the largest elephant to the smallest shrew, the city of Zootopia is a mammal metropolis where various animals live and thrive peacefully together. When Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) becomes the first rabbit to join the police force, she quickly learns how tough it is to enforce the law. Determined to prove herself, Judy jumps at the opportunity to solve a mysterious case that threatens the very nature of Zootopia. Unfortunately, that means working with Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman), a wily fox who makes her job even harder. Directed and co-written by Bryon Howard, Rich Moore and Jared Bush, the delightful new animated movie "Zootopia" is filled with many references and homages to other classic Hollywood films, not to mention many genuinely funny moments. Of course, the young set may not pick up on these referenes, but they'll have a giggly time, and it also has a solid message of inclusion, racial harmony and just plain getting along. Goodwin of TV's "Once Upon a Time" and Bateman make for a good pairing, and they help carry the film through its more predictable moments that works the buddy-buddy cop angle heavily in "Lethal Weapon" form, and pay attention for references to "Frozen" and "The Godfather." There are many clever nods throughout this particular animal kingdom, such as dividing up Zootopia in New York City-style burroughs such as the Frozen Tundra and Little Rodentia, though the most memorable and funniest scene is having the slow-as-molasses sloth's work the DMV (here standing for Department of Mammal Vehicles), as well as the movie's final scene. You'll hear a diverse array of colorful voices, including Jenny Slate, Oscar-winners J.K. Simmons and Octavia Spencer, Alan Tudyk, Bonnie Hunt and in another humorous scene, Tommy Chong. There are a couple of brief parts that may frighten the younger ones, but otherwise, "Zootopia" is smart, enjoyable and spry, along with a nice closing scene from pop singer Shakira as a pop-singing gazelle.