(PG) Starring the voices of Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman

Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) has desired to be a police officer since she was a primary school bunny. Even though rabbits have never ventured into the world of law enforcement, this energised bunny thinks anything could happen in the world of Zootopia. After overcoming overwhelming odds, she reaches her dream of being on the force in the city of animal dreams. Soon after her arrival, reality hits. Being on the police force in this city of diverse species begins to break through her aspirational veneer and almost brings her to the point of despair. Then there is a glimmer of hope and she is presented with a door of opportunity to solve a missing person (or animal) case. With minimal resources and only one lead, she finds herself in an unlikely partnership with a worldly fox, Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman).Through their investigation, they must overcome the internal and external prejudices of this beastly community to get to the bottom of the case of a missing otter. A case that leads them to an even bigger conspiracy with the potential to implode this creature paradise.

Refreshing. That’s a simple statement about this original concept from Disney Animation. It is refreshing to experience a new concept from the studio that seems relegated to a multitude of sequels and live-action versions of their film catalogue. From the creative team that brought audiences the best new animated tales in recent memory like Bolt,Wreck-It Ralph and Tangled, directors Byron Howard and Rich Moore have developed an exciting new world for everyone from adults to teens to younger children (although, there was a crying child sitting behind me; perhaps be cautious when considering taking the entire family). .

The winning directing-and-writing combination of Howard and Moore has opened a door to a world that is rich with potential new adventures for many years to come. The writing and voice-acting generates laugh-out-loud humour through some of the funniest clips in cinemas this year (from an animal naturalist club, to sloths in an office). At the same time, Zootopia pulls on the heart strings of familial ties, friendship and the pursuit of the greater good.

If these components were not fresh enough, the storyline centres on a life lesson … without being too heavy-handed. Quite the achievement in an all-ages movie. Through this tale of animals trying to live in a society like our own, children should be able to see that the differences in people should be celebrated and not feared. An added bonus lesson comes in the reality check given to the ‘you can be all that you want to be’ mantra that pervades western society. The hope of being able to achieve life’s ambitions is not denied by Zootopia, but it is tempered by the message that, often, perspiration must exceed inspiration when it comes to reaching goals. Judy Hopps does personify (rabbit-ify) the need to persevere with life’s ambitions and to make the needed adjustments to achieve them.

Parents and children alike will enjoy Zootopia. Along with the lessons for the children, parents will be able to smirk at the references to The Godfather, Breaking Bad and Arrested Development without being concerned about them corrupting the child-like innocence presented by the storyline. Also, unlike many films that get classified for specific genders, there is something for boys and girls in this new Disney world. The House of Mouse has managed to get back to delivering entertainment that is well-written, entertaining and for the whole family (well, pretty much the whole family).


What are the bigger questions to consider from this film?

Colossians 3:11 – In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilised, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.

When did diversity become a negative word? Unfortunately, the interpretation of this word has become watered down to the point of insignificance. Yet, when it comes to the the heart of the Gospel, diversity is given life, depth and value. Jesus welcomes all to have a relationship with him regardless of background or history. He welcomes all for salvation.

  1. What does the Bible say about confidence?(2 Timothy 1:7, Hebrews 13:6)
  2. Does God care about our goals? (Jeremiah 19:11, Proverbs 16:3)


Russell Matthews works for City Bible Forum Sydney and is a film blogger



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