Just forget the words and sing along

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Fishing in the Discount Bin - Zootopia

Here we go again on Fishing in the Discount Bin, where I sit and blog about one of the movies I own and have just recently watched.  This time out, we get to the most recent Oscar winner for Best Animated Film, Zootopia.  This is in my notes at August 13, 2016.

My reaction to Zootopia was the same reaction I had to another Disney film of late, Frozen.  Yeah, it was good, but I didn't really see it as the game changer many made it out to be. 

This is another film I almost gave a pass to because, well, as I've blogged before, "talking animals making pop culture references" is the one trait of animated films that started turning me off of them.  But then, Zootopia got such overwhelmingly positive reviews, I thought I should check it out.  I mean, hey, overwhelmingly positive reviews talked me into Wreck-It Ralph, and I liked that one. 

But I walked out of the theatre going, "Meh." 

I love reading about the development of animated films.  Apparently, the fox, Nick Wilde, was originally supposed to be the main character, and the rabbit, Judy Hopps, was meant to be the sidekick.  But, as Disney did their story process and the test screenings and all that, they soon discovered that a young woman learning to overcome her prejudices was a much more appealing lead than a con artist who cynically exploits those prejudices.  So Judy became the lead, and Nick the sidekick.  Which kind of explains why the first teaser focused on Nick so much. 

So as the teaser explains, Zootopia takes place in a world with no humans...where animals eventually evolved beyond their natural predatory instincts and learned to live in harmony.  Our heroine, Judy Hopps, seeks to be the first bunny cop.  Through grit and determination, she makes it through the police academy, and becomes just that.  Only to have her dreams mildly crushed when she's assigned to parking detail. 

(On a side note, you missed a huge in-joke opportunity, Disney, by not casting G.W. Baily to voice the police academy drill instructor.  Who better to voice the police academy drill instructor than the drill instructor from Police Academy?)

(On another side note, I found a few too many in-jokes regarding Frozen.  We get it, Disney.  Frozen was a big thing for you guys.  Now let it go.  Gah!  You've got me doing it!) 

Anyways, while out on her beat, Judy has a run in with Nick, and she winds up getting hustled by him.  A few desperate attempts to prove herself later, and Judy finds herself on a missing persons case.  She discovers Nick was the last person to see this missing person, and employs his help, 48 Hours style.  Seriously, though, she's given 48 hours to crack the case.  And soon, she and Nick are busting a conspiracy designed to turn predators back to their natural instincts and go on murderous rampages.  But why? 

As I'm sure you can tell, with the whole predators thing and the above descriptions of overcoming prejudices, there's some not-so-subtle messages in the film about racism and racial profiling and all that.  Let's compare it to another film with some not-so-subtle messages, Wall-E.   How come Wall-E gave me the feels, but Zootopia left me cold? 

Maybe because I'm more of a sci-fi guy, so the robots were more appealing to me.  Maybe because I am so tired of "talking animals making pop culture references."  (Hi, Shakira, playing herself!)  Maybe my expectations were just too high because of all the good reviews. 

I don't know.  Don't get me wrong, Zootopia is good.  The animation is lush, but then, would you expect anything else from Disney?  Ginnifer Goodwin is incredibly appealing as Judy.  I just might start watching Once Upon a Time for her.  I mean, everything across the board is good.  Disney is almost entering a second renaissance. 

But, it just didn't push my geek buttons the right way. 

However, I do think "bunny cop" is just fun to say.  Bunny cop.  Bunny cop.  Bunny cop. 

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