How times have changed. Back in the 1930s when he was introduced, Donald Duck created quite a stir for waddling around town with no pants.
It’s called evolving, I suppose. “Predators and prey living in harmony singing ‘Kumbaya’,” Nick jokes. Because, you see, in the Utopia of Zootopia, “you can be anything you want” (because apparently there are no septic tanks to clean).
Hopps moves from a farm to the big city to realize her dream of being a cop. She’s the worst at the academy but thanks to the mayor’s “Mammal Inclusion Initiative” (good grief!) she lands a job as a meter maid. There, she stumbles on a crime that could tip the peaceful balance of their egalitarian community.
Personal favorite Bateman (see below), with his trademark wry sarcasm, steals the show from the effervescent Goodwin who … wait, I can’t do it. I gotta get this off my chest…
I’m not sure why, it certainly doesn’t further the plot, in fact, it’s actually distracting, but “Zootopia” yields to the obnoxious orthodoxy of the extreme politically correct. It starts with a bizarre non sequitur, Hopps chiding someone for calling her cute: “A bunny can call another bunny ‘cute’ but it’s not appropriate for other mammals to say it.” Huh?
Later, when she questions the notion of sloths running the DMV (a very funny scene, by the way), Nick cracks, “Are you saying because he’s a sloth he can’t be fast?” And who runs the ice cream shop and asserts his right to refuse service to foxes? A bull-headed bull perhaps? No. An ass? Of course not. It’s an elephant, which happens to be the GOP’s symbol. Politics are way out of bounds here.
Whew, that felt good. OK, where was I? Right, the cast. Idris Elba, J.K. Simmons and Tommy Chong round out most of the voices, with Shakira singing as pop star Gazelle.
Smart and entertaining tributes to “Shutter Island,” “The Godfather,” and “Breaking Bad.”
Co-written by one-time Rochesterite Phil Johnston, who was also behind ”Wreck-It Ralph” and the wonderful comedy “Cedar Rapids.”
Some clever moments and a provocative message about unshakable natural instincts, but mostly what it should be: lots of fun.
His gift is subtlety
Jason Bateman’s gift is understatement and the ability to get a laugh with lines as seemingly inconsequential as, “C’mon!” He’s come a long way from his first film, 1987’s “Teen Wolf Too.” Of course there was the 2011 runaway comedy hit, “Horrible Bosses,” and these other notable roles.
“Juno” (2007) Bateman played half of the couple angling to adopt Minnesota teen Juno MacGuff’s (Ellen Page) baby. His deliberate looks of engagement and sparse dialog were brilliant counterparts to the self-important Juno.
“Hancock” (2008) As a public relations expert, Bateman sets-out to fix the image of superhero non grata John Hancock (Will Smith).
“Identity Thief” (2013) After Melissa McCarthy hijacks his identity and ruins both his credit and career, Bateman tracks her down and brings her back for a reckoning. A buddy road trip reminiscent of “Midnight Run” with just as many F-bombs.
“Bad Words” (2014) Speaking of F-bombs, you wouldn’t think it was possible for a film about a national spelling bee to earn an R-rating, but when Bateman finds a loophole and enters the contest, street rules apply. A wild comedy.