Zootopia Movie Review

Disney’s Zootopia might be a kids animated pic, but as the studio has proven over and over  again (especially with certain Pixar entries) – there are important adult themes at play here. These are mainly focused on not letting fear and prejudice overcome our diversity and the betterment of society. If that sounds like a message we may need in 2016, your animal instincts are correct.

Zootopia is a gorgeously drawn land in which all animals live in harmony. Well, mostly harmony. There’s still crime in the world and that leads precocious bunny Judy Hopps (voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin) to dream of being a police officer for the ZPD. She would be the first of her kind to join the force as it’s made up of “predator” animals. Those predators make up just a fraction of the population as opposed to the “prey”. And it’s the pre judgment of these predators that serves as the pic’s dramatic through line.

Hopps is determined to prove history wrong in her new job, but her first lowly assignment is parking meter duty. Wouldn’t you know, however, that the assignment puts her smack dab in the middle of a big case where various animals are going missing? She soon teams with petty con artist Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) and their adventures bring them to various sectors of our title like the Rainforest District and Little Rodentia (which is adorable).

The clever plot from screenwriters Jared Bush and Phil Johnston offers some genuine surprises as it unfolds. There’s political corruption and there’s well constructed action sequences that we’ve seen in many detective tales (or should we say detective tail here?). We also have some bits that will make parents laugh as much as their little ones. The sloth scene/DMV scene is pretty genius. There’s even a nice Breaking Bad reference for the old folks.

Even if Zootopia never completely reaches the heights of the studio’s masterpieces, it comes darn close a lot of the time. You’ll be happy kids receive its worthy message of individuality and perseverance while being howlingly entertained. Maybe its message is one the grown ups should pay attention to as well.

***1/2 (out of four)


Top Ten Summer Music Hits of 2006: A Look Back

Today on the blog, we look at the top ten tracks that were monopolizing the airwaves ten summers ago. Last week, I gave you the top tunes from 1996 and two weeks ago – from 1986. You can read those posts here:



As I did with the previous posts, I’ll rate the song on a scale of 1 (summer bummer) to 10 (seasonal masterpiece) and answer the most important query: is it on my iTunes?

Let’s get to it!

10. “Snap Yo Fingers” by Lil Jon feat. E-40 and Sean P.

The middle of the previous decade was heavily dominated by club bangers when it came to hip hop. “Snap Yo Fingers” is basically, well, another one with Lil Jon’s signature shouts and a solid assist from Bay Area legend E-40. For what it is, it’s decent.

My Rating: 6

Is It On My iTunes? No

9. “Over My Head (Cable Car)” by The Fray

I’ll be totally honest here. I completely forgot about this song – the debut single from the Colorado based rock group. Verdict? Pretty good, though it probably says something that I forgot its existence.

My Rating: 6

Is It On My iTunes? No

8. “Unfaithful” by Rihanna

Written by Ne-Yo , this slow track from Rihanna’s second album shows off her fine vocals. It’s not at the very top of her slow tempo ballads, but it’s memorable.

My Rating: 8

Is It On My iTunes? Yes

7. “Buttons” by The Pussycat Dolls feat. Snoop Dogg

With an assist from The Doggfather, The Pussycat Dolls had a smash hit here. It’s no “Don’t Cha”, but it’s catchy.

My Rating: 7 and a half

Is It On My iTunes: Yes

6. “Ridin'” by Chamillionaire feat. Krayzie Bone

The Houston rapper had a phenomenon with the most smooth ditty ever about the issue of racial profiling. I’ll give it a 7 and a half. It might deserve more, but it really wore out of its welcome.

My Rating: 7 and a half

Is It On My iTunes? No (but it would’ve been in 2006)

5. “It’s Goin’ Down” by Yung Joc

Atlanta rapper Joc had a club smash here. Like “Snap Yo Fingers”, it belongs in that danceable, yet easily forgettable sub genre of hip hop.

My Rating: 5 and a half

Is It On My iTunes? No

4. “Me & U” by Cassie

Bad Boy artist Cassie had her only major hit here with this club friendly and pleasing track. No more, no less.

My Rating: 6 and a half

Is It On My iTunes? No

3. “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley

Who knew a collabo between Danger Mouse and CeeLo Green would mark one of the most fantastic pop creations in years? It might have been overplayed, but this song is a masterpiece.

My Rating: 10

Is It On My iTunes? Yes

2. “Hips Don’t Lie” by Shakira feat. Wyclef Jean

Columbian singer/dancer Shakira had her largest hit (and her best) with this instantly dance-worthy creation with an assist from Wyclef.

My Rating: 9

Is It On My iTunes? Yes

  1. “Promiscuous” by Nelly Furtado

Timbaland was at the top of his game in 2006 and it shows with his production here on Furtado this groovy Furtado song.

My Rating: 9 and a half

Is It On My iTunes? Yes

And there you have it! This list will return next summer with 1987, 1997, and 2007…



Zootopia Box Office Prediction

Disney looks to end the box office domination of Deadpool next weekend with Zootopia, the studio’s 55th animated feature. It’s quite likely to succeed. The animal tale features the voices of Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba, J.K. Simmons, and Shakira.

The pic has amassed positive reviews (currently 100% on Rotten Tomatoes) and it’s already done brisk business in overseas markets. Zootopia arrives just four months after a rare animated disappointment for The Mouse Factory – November’s The Good Dinosaur, which took in a much less than expected $121 million domestically.

That said, with a dearth of family fare out there, I expect this to improve on Dinosaur‘s numbers. An opening in the mid 50s seems most plausible.

Zootopia opening weekend prediction: $54.4 million

For my London Has Fallen prediction, click here:


For my Whiskey Tango Foxtrot prediction, click here:


For my The Other Side of the Door prediction, click here: