I want to throw in a disclaimer in this review really fast and predict that most people who read this review will probably enjoy this movie more than I did. Typically, when I enter these types of movies, I expect it to be primarily geared towards kids but hope that the movie will have enough intelligent humor and subtlety to where it can be appreciated by adults. And while the former is certainly true for Zootopia, the latter is unquestionably untrue.
Nearly everything I enjoyed about Zootopia can all be found in the commercials for it. Everything I didn’t enjoy about the movie was essentially the other 105 minutes. This is the most annoying animated movie I’ve seen this year, including Kung Fu Panda 3.
However, before I try to vaguely describe why I didn’t like this movie, I should say that the animation was often very visually appealing. Even though all of the events surrounding the animation were trivial, formulaic, and less subtle than a punch to the groin, my eyes were often impressed by what the visuals were showing me.
A lot of concepts they used for this city were nice too, but they were short-lived and most of the aspects are demonstrated in the trailers.
I also liked that huge buffalo cop chief, but that’s probably because he played to my cynical, realist tendencies. Also, he’s played by Idris Elba.
Aside from that, Zootopia is simply not made for people like me. Every single joke in this movie was plucked from the low-hanging fruit tree. There are very few times in this experience where they told a joke and I didn’t think “I’ve heard this joke before in other movies or content multiple times.” When you boil down the humor in this movie, it’s all dumb animal puns, witless slapstick, substandard pop culture references, and in-your-face social commentary. Surprisingly, the only jokes I actually laughed at were in the trailer which I’ve seen over a dozen times. I’m almost positive I laughed at those jokes mainly because my mind was so desperate to laugh at something in this lazy movie that I picked the stuff that was sort of funny that I already saw.
A lot of the plot points in this movie are also fairly predictable/overused and some of them seemed fairly rushed through. I called the twist in the movie at least fifteen minutes before it happened.
But quite honestly, the thing that bugged me the most was the movie’s agenda. I remember being bugged by the inner message of Kung Fu Panda 3, but now that I’ve seen Zootopia, Kung Fu Panda 3 seemed as subtle in their message delivery as “The Lady in the Van” by comparison. This movie could easily be retitled “Leftism: The Movie (With Animals)”. Every single piece of social commentary was a talking point that leftists often use. It almost made me wish that I didn’t follow politics as much as I do because as someone who tries to be keep up with current events, the messages that they were trying to push slapped me over and over in the face.
Now as I’ve said before in my Kung Fu Panda 3 review, if the general message of a movie is one that I disagree with, it does not affect my overall grade for a movie in a major way. So if the only issue I have with a movie was its agenda, then it would receive a high score. But Zootopia is also a dumb comedy with little more than four or five chuckles, the vast majority of which are found in the trailer, and it follows tropes and plot points that are predictable and overused. So it’s only another downside that it fails at delivering its agenda in a way that’s subtle, intelligent, or non-divisive.
With that being said, if you have a child (or are a child) and you don’t follow politics as much as I do, you will probably enjoy this movie a lot more than I did. I am disappointed in myself for not liking this movie more than I did, but I just can’t help it if I can’t appreciate a formulaic comedy with humor that doesn’t challenge your mind at least a little bit, or excruciatingly obvious social commentary that makes me extremely defensive, and I’m giving this movie a 4 out of 10.