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Saturday, October 8, 2016

ZOOTOPIA (2016)

Irresistible. Country Bunny meets City Fox in Zootopia, capital of a New Age World (more OZ than METROPOLIS) where predator & prey live in peaceful harmony. (In scale-adjusted neighborhoods to match various species.) The odd couple gimmick is that Bunny’s newbie cop and Fox’s two-bit street scammer are forced to work together to find out why some predator beasts are regressing into old savage ways. (With underlying race allegory playing out with minimal forcing, no one says ‘Can’t we all just get along,’ or anything like that.) Here and there, writer/directors Byron Howard, Rich Moore & Jared Bush fall into tired gagging (the Godfather shtick is awfully moldy by now), but most of their character, story & visual ideas are fresh, funny, suspenseful & exciting. Makes you wonder why more animated pics haven’t tried on the Police Procedural format: solid narrative structure; easy character introductions; built-in episodic/picaresque framework; plus, it lends itself naturally to sequels. Special kudos to Jason Bateman’s Fox in the vocal cast; and a tip of the hat to whomever thought of using comic legends BOB AND RAY’s Slow Talkers of America routine* for the sloths who run the DMV office.

LINK: *And here they are, probably from a 1980s TONIGHT SHOW appearance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qvrh73BVraE

SCREWY THOUGHT OF THE DAY: Another overly bright DVD, presumably to compensate for the image darkening in 3D projection systems (or is it from the glasses?). In any event, why they don’t readjust light levels for 2D home viewing is a puzzle.

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