by Martin Hafer
It’s quite amazing how far computer graphics have come in films. Watch an older film like Toy Story or Shrek and you’ll see what I mean. They were the cutting edge CGI movies when they came out but when seen today you realize just how far they’ve come since then. As an experiment, try watching one of these older films and then see the best computer animated film you can find, Zootopia, and you’ll see just how far they’ve come. The characters not only are gorgeously animated but the film is so rich in texture. Scenes of the characters flying through a rain forest or walking in a bustling metropolis simply look astounding. Combine with that some of the nicest 3D effects you can find and some very lovable characters and you’ve got a winner.
The story is set in a world without humans. However, these animals act and dress much like people. Oddly, however, the predators and prey have somehow worked out their differences and live in peace. However, despite it seeming like a paradise, there still are some prejudices in this world. Animals are often locked within expectations…and the cute bunny, Judy Hopps, finds out the hard way about these expectations. As a child, she wanted to be a police officer…but she finds that the expectation is that they be the huge, hulking animals…the wolves, the rhinos, the elephants and the bears. But Judy is persistent and fights these prejudices in order to become the first rabbit cop…but along the way she learns that hard way that she, too, has prejudices of her own and her new unlikely friend, a fox, helps to show her that she, too, has a way to go when it comes to expectations. Fortunately, while this strong message of political correctness and inclusion is clearly there, it’s not obnoxious in its presentation. Additionally, there is a mystery within the story that is clever and diverting…and offers some nice twists as well.
So is the film perfect? Not quite. Unlike the typical CGI film, this one did not have a short the preceded it and because of this I felt a bit cheated since this has become the norm for most computer animated films from major studios. Additionally, some might find the message within the film to be a bit heavy-handed…though I didn’t mind. Overall, this is a great film for all ages….something that makes it a major plus for families. Parents won’t feel like taking a nap and kids will be captivated because the film, if anything, is amazingly cute!