FlixChatter Review: Zootopia (2016)

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Ever since Pixar’s been making movies, I always thought that their stories are superior compared to Disney in that they appeal to adults as well as children. Well, Disney’s clearly been improving year after year. Wreck-It Ralph, Big Hero 6, Frozen, they all have pretty mature, thought-provoking themes with teachable moments for people of all ages. This time with Zootopia, its themes of overcoming prejudices feels as timely as ever, whilst still being an enjoyable ride from start to finish.

It starts out typical enough for a Disney movie. A smart and ambitious rabbit named Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) dreams of becoming a police officer despite the fact that no bunnies ever did. Even her own parents didn’t initially believe she’s got what it takes and encourage her to follow her family tradition and be a carrot farmer in rural Bunnyburrow. Thankfully, Judy’s resolute enough to defy them and against all odds she does become a police officer. She’s an instantly likable character and right away I was invested in her journey.

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The story pretty much begins on the first day Judy’s as an officer in Zootopia, a city filled with anthropomorphic animals. Though she’s relegated to parking duty by Chief Bogo (Idris Elba), somehow she ends up solving a crime. That leads to yet another mission to rescue a missing the husband of a female otter who’s been pleading with the police force to help her. Judy’s not only defied the odds that a rabbit can be a competent officer, but she’s proven to be a valuable asset to the force with her resourcefulness.

I love that Zootopia is NOT an animated musical that occasionally burst into songs. It even takes a little zing at Disney itself when Chief Bogo said to Judy ‘Life isn’t some cartoon musical where you sing a little song and all your insipid dreams magically come true. So let it go.’ Ha! The plot is more of an action mystery thriller that is as clever and quick-witted as the movie’s protagonist. The team of writers (at least seven of them credited on IMDb!) keep playing with my expectations throughout, cleverly weaving the themes of widely-held stereotypes and discrimination without taking away the fun of an animated adventure. Just when I thought the story is going one way, it turns out to be another. I love being surprised when watching movies, and this movie does that time and again, and I was left in awe every time.

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The strength of Zootopia also lies in the chemistry of the two leads, Judy and the sly fox Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman). Disney’s no stranger to putting together unlikely pairings and this latest one is as delightful as ever. They end up finding similarities in regards to defying stereotypes of their kind, and the developing bond between them is fun to watch. Some of the funny scenes in the trailer, i.e. the one with the Sloth, is still hilarious in the movie, but I think there are even more memorable scenes than that one.

There are interesting characters we meet throughout their journey, I especially love the scene with Mr. Big (Maurice LaMarche) and his introduction is a hoot! Elba’s voice is always a highlight in any movie and he’s memorable here too as Chief Bogo. Jenny Slate‘s Bellwether and Alan Tudyk‘s Duke Weaselton round up the excellent voice cast. Despite not having a big musical number, it does have a fun song Try Everything featuring Shakira, who also has a cameo as popstar Gazelle.

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Just what I expect from Disney with its $150mil budget, the cinematography is absolutely spectacular. The five boroughs of Zootopia are beautifully rendered, and each has a fitting name that describes its own unique characteristics: Savanna Central, Sahara Square, Tundratown, Little Rodentia and Rainforest District. The chase through all the different boroughs are a ton of fun that made me wish I had seen it on the big screen!

Kudos to the trio of directors: Byron Howard, Rich Moore, and Jared Bush for creating such a fun, enjoyable ride of a movie that’s also smart AND has a big heart. This is another winner from Disney that I don’t mind watching again and again.

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Have you seen ‘Zootopia’? Well, what did you think?
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Long Weekend Roundup: An underrated Bond flick, a Sci-fi Horror and some TV Watching

Happy post-Thanksgiving weekend! Hope those of you in the States enjoyed your long weekend off, spending time with family and perhaps got some sweet deals from Black Friday? I was quite bummed that I missed the Amazon big sale on the Pixar’s BRAVE 3-disc- st blu-ray, it was only $8 bucks on Thursday from 2-6pm but I thought it was Friday! 😦 Ah well, I guess I’ll wait a bit longer until there’s another good deal for it.

Well, I got 5-days off this weekend so it’s movie-watching time in the comfort of my entertainment room. We actually skipped the cinema all week long as there’s really nothing that made the trip worthwhile. So it’s a lot of rewatching and catching up on older movies, including my third rewatch of Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol which was still a lot of fun! I still got goosebumps watching Tom Cruise on top of that Burj Khalifa skyscraper!

I also got to rewatch On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, something I’ve been wanting to do but finally iTunes has it available to rent.

I think I saw this movie years ago when I was growing up but my memory of it is hazy. So I felt like I have seen this for the first time now and I actually enjoyed it. Ok so George Lazenby is far from being my favorite James Bond and there are some silly parts, especially those with all the girls at Blofeld therapy session, ahah, and what’s with him and the kilt? 😀

Back to Lazenby though, I don’t think he’s a terrible Bond, he just doesn’t seem all that charismatic. He does have a lean, athletic physique and handles all the action and fight scenes stuff very well. He even looked manly wearing a ruffled shirt! Perhaps if he had done a couple more films, I might like him more than Brosnan but I guess we’ll never know. I quite like Telly Savalas as Blofeld, he’s not super menacing but not cartoon-ish either. Diana Rigg is fabulous as the beautiful and feisty Contessa Teresa ‘Tracy’ di Vicenzo, the kind of brain + beauty combo I like, just like Eva Green’s Vesper. Now I know why my friend Michael likes Rigg so much 😉

I think the action stuff is excellent, especially the ski and sled chase scenes. But it’s the love story aspect that separates this Bond film from the rest, and that end scene when Bond cradles Tracy’s lifeless body in his arms is so heartbreaking. Even though I already knew it’s going to happen, I still teared up as he said, ‘It’s ok really, we have all the time in the world.’ Speaking of which, that score by Louis Armstrong is absolutely beautiful… it even has a tinge of sadness to it which is perfect for this film.


The one movie I have not seen before was the sci-fi horror vampire flick Daybreakers. I’m done with the review but I will post that separately as it’s quite long.

On the TV front, I watched some episodes of Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome in 10-minute increments on YouTube, which was pretty decent even though whoever plays the young Adama is not nearly as charismatic as Edward James Olmos but whatever.

My hubby and I are still hooked on Once Upon A Time show so we watched a few more episodes of that too on Netflix Instant. Robert Carlyle as Rumpelstiltskin/Mr Gold is still the best thing about this show but I’m warming up to Ginnifer Goodwin & Josh Dallas as Snow White and Prince Charming. We might actually finish Season 1 by end of the year!


Well, that’s it for my long weekend round-up. Any thoughts on these films/shows? What did YOU see this past weekend?