Zootopia

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Zootopia Movie Poster Image
Charming buddy-animal story promotes tolerance, teamwork.
  • PG
  • 2016
  • 108 minutes
 Popular with kidsParents recommend

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 150 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 223 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

Kids will learn about the difference between predator and prey animals and stereotypes about certain animal (i.e. that bunnies are dumb and foxes wily). Kids will also learn the importance of seeing beyond the superficial to what an individual is really like.

Positive Messages

Follow your dreams; anyone can do/be anything if they work hard enough and believe in themselves. Stand up to bullies, and look beyond stereotypes and assumptions to the individuals behind them; folks can surprise you by not being what they seem -- and by changing over time. Individuals from different (and even traditionally opposed) backgrounds can form powerful alliances if they look beyond those differences. Also promotes tolerance, empathy, and multiculturalism -- and everyone's value when it comes to making a difference in society. Courage, integrity, and teamwork are additional themes.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Judy is clever and determined, as well as an optimistic dreamer; she firmly believes anyone can do anything. She works hard, uses perseverance, and is extremely disciplined and self-motivated, even though others don't take a "bunny cop" seriously at first. Nick starts out as an unrepentant scam artist but, through his relationship with Judy, discovers he can be more than the stereotypical shifty fox, just as Judy decided to be more than a carrot-growing bunny. Characters in positions of power turn out to be less than trustworthy, but they face consequences/learn lessons.

Violence & Scariness

Several scenes of danger, peril, and tension. Predators go savage and try to attack other animals, including an intense chase scene involving the main characters and an out-of-control jaguar. Jump-scare moment when a "wild" animal held captive leaps angrily in his cell, scaring Nick and Judy; another upsetting scene when it seems a friend has turned on someone he cares about. Creepy moments in dark places (car lot, buildings) as characters investigate a missing mammal case. Chases and fighting (including on a moving train). Explosion/crash. Mobster has Nick and Judy kidnapped and threatens to "ice" them (drown them in frozen water), but he doesn't go through with it. Antagonists with dart guns get ready to shoot Nick and Judy. A young fox bullies a young bunny, shoving her and clawing her across the cheek; in another sad scene, a young fox is bullied by those he thought were friends. Some of the large animals/predators are intimidating.

Sexy Stuff

Gazelle the singer wears glittery, "sexy" clothes; she and her tiger dancers dance somewhat suggestively. A "naturalist" club is a place for animals who are "nudists" to commune together without clothes (Judy is shocked, but human viewers won't be, as that's how we see animals all the time).

Language

Fairly frequent use of insults/rude words like "dumb" "jerk," "loser," "stupid," "moron," "butt," "shut up," "oh my God," etc.

Consumerism

Real-world brand names get a Zootopia spin (like Zuber instead of Uber or ZNN instead of CNN). Many offline product tie-ins, from toys to books, games, and more.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Zootopia is a clever, fast-paced animated Disney film set in a world of walking, talking, clothed animals that live peacefully together, having supposedly evolved past nature's rules of predator versus prey. It's a story about an eager young cop (Judy Hopps, voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin), and her investigation involves chase scenes (one is prolonged and particularly intense) and jump-scare predator attacks, as well as an explosive crash, sneaking around in dark rooms, allusions to mob activity, kidnapping, threatened torture (a crime boss wants to "ice" key characters -- i.e. throw them in frozen water to drown), and bullying. No one is seriously hurt, but there are times when it seems that they have been/will be. Expect regular use of insult language like "stupid," "jerk," "dumb," "butt," etc., humor related to "naturalist" animals who choose not to wear clothes, and some sexy, sparkly ensembles worn by Gazelle, a pop star voiced by Shakira. There are a lot of jokes for adults that will go way over kids' head (references to The Godfather, the DMV, and Breaking Bad, for instance), but there's plenty for younger audiences to laugh at, too, and it all comes wrapped in great messages about courage, empathy, tolerance, teamwork, and the dangers of reducing others to stereotypes.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 5 and 6 year old Written bySmlbabydoll March 5, 2016

Caution Parents

It is definitely a PG movie, I have a 5 and 6 year old this was NOT appropriate for their age! It had a good message and story but the language and "dark... Continue reading
Parent of a 4 and 7 year old Written byJFG 18 March 6, 2016

Much scarier than we expected

The movie was unfortunately much scarier than we expected. The trailers did not even hint at anything slightly frightening. My 7 year old daughter was frighte... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old March 4, 2016

Best Disney movie so far!

Since I live in a different country, Zootopia came out two weeks ago, but I watched it last week. Anyway, I found it to be really great and hilarious! There wer... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byAgentOfSHIELD March 4, 2016

Great quality, perhaps a bit intense for younger children.

Zootopia was a wonderful addition to the Disney Animated Classics collection! Disney finally decided to try the whole "anthropomorphic animal world"... Continue reading

What's the story?

ZOOTOPIA is set in a world where walking, talking, "civilized" animals live in general harmony with one another, regardless of whether they're predator or prey. When small-town rabbit Judy Hopps (voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin) achieves her childhood dream of becoming the first rabbit to join the Zootopia Police Department, Chief of Police Bogo (Idris Elba) initially relegates her to a safe but boring parking-duty assignment. Meanwhile, the rest of the ZPD is busy investigating 14 missing-mammal cases -- all predators. One day on the job, Judy encounters sly fox Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman), who cheerfully hustles her. But she ends up hustling him right back after promising a worried otter that she'll find her missing husband; with only 48 hours to crack the case if she wants to keep her badge, Judy realizes her best bet is to enlist Nick -- who has plenty of connections -- to help her figure out who's behind the predator kidnappings that are threatening Zootopia's peace.

Is it any good?

Clever and heartwarming, this animated adventure is equal parts buddy-cop comedy, fish-out-of-water tale, and whodunit mystery. With its vibrant visuals, simple but evocative storyline, and important social commentary, Zootopia is a talking-animal pic worth watching with the whole family. Judy and Nick's repartee is reminiscent of classic screwball comedies, and the plot's twists are a throwback to noir films in which the culprit is never who you think. Although the trailer gives away one of the movie's funniest scenes -- when Judy and Nick go into a DMV run entirely by sloths moving slower than molasses -- there are plenty more laughs and memorable bits to make both kids and grown-ups laugh.

And the voice casting is spot on: Goodwin is wonderful as the constantly energetic, optimistic Judy -- who may have gotten into the police academy thanks to the mayor's "mammal inclusion program" but who goes on to prove that even a cute bunny has what it takes to take down bad guys -- while Bateman has the ideal cynical voice to portray the hilariously jaded Nick, who's a fast-talking charmer with a knack for knowing everything he can about Zootopia's movers and shakers. Elba's robust baritone is perfectly paired with the brusque water buffalo police chief; other supporting characters include veteran voice actor Maurice LaMarche doing an excellent Marlon Brando impression to play tuxedoed crime boss Mr. Big, and Tommy Chong as a "naturalist" life coach yak. And then there's Shakira's pop star Gazelle, who sings a catchy theme song that captures the spirit of the movie: "Try Everything." In other words, be who you want to be, not who others expect you to be.

 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Zootopia's messages. How do Judy and Nick challenge stereotypes about bunnies and foxes? How can we apply those messages to human society?

  • Do you think Judy is a good role model? How does she demonstrate courage, integrity, and empathy? Why are those important character strengths? What about Nick? Why is their teamwork unique?

  • Do you agree with Nick when he says that "you can only be what you are -- sly fox, dumb bunny"? How does his opinion change over the course of the movie? How do he and Judy change the way each other thinks?

  • How does the movie address bullying? How did being bullied when they were little affect both Judy and Nick? How did they react to it? What does Judy find out about her bully later on, and what can we learn from that?

  • Do you think it's OK for movies aimed at kids to include humor that only adults will understand? Does it matter if the jokes are racy vs. other kinds of references to things kids aren't familiar with?

Movie details

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