Yes, I missed this in theater, unlike a good portion of the country. I just honestly had no interest. C’mon, a world of evolved animals? I figured it would be cute, but without a lot of interesting nuance or meat, with a simple family-friendly message. So, I admit I was somewhat wrong, but only somewhat.
Yes, it is cute, but despite a total of 7 credited writers (usually a horrible sign) the story and execution of the tale was entertaining and with at least an eye to providing some adult entertainment in the mix. In many ways, I have to admit, I ultimately liked it better for its result than Inside Out, which was often more self-conscious and forced. Zootopia is out to have fun, but its messages of defining your own life and anti-prejudice are both timely and fed to the audience in entertaining ways.
The voice talent is impressive as well. Jason Bateman (This is Where I Leave You) and Ginnifer Goodwin (Something Borrowed) lead the cast with some great comic ability. Bateman gets quite a bit more range out his role, but since it was originally the lead for this flick, that isn’t too surprising. His backstory is quite a bit richer than Goodwin’s. She has some depth, but is really there to drive forward the story and serve as a role model. She is a symbol of sticktoitedness more than anything else. A worthy and important message, given the audience, but not a particularly deep emotional river.
Other voices that stood out were Idris Elba (Luther), Nate Torrence (Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip), Jenny Slate (Obvious Child), J.K. Simmons (Terminator: Genisys), Alan Tudyk (Welcome to Me), and the great man of a thousand voices, Maurice LaMarche. In addition there is a nod to the marketing power (or hope of power) by including pop stars, like Rhianna (Home) and Talyor Swift (The Giver); Shakira makes an appearance as well.
This is still a kid’s film. The plot and approach are often obvious. The issues and relationships are all dealt with far too easily. But there is enough to entertain a wide range of ages via the story, dialogue, and references. And the resolution and foreshadowing are all rather cleverly layered in. If you haven’t seen it yet, it is an amusing way to spend some time, maybe even more than once.