Eppler: 'Zootopia' comes along at just the right time

Eppler: 'Zootopia' comes along at just the right time

At first glance, "Zootopia" is just another brightly colored 3D animated movie where animals voiced by celebrities make wisecracks, wear people clothes, walk upright, and generally don't do much other than be cute and marketable. But a deeper look reveals old fashioned storytelling mixed with a modern progressive message of tolerance and satire of PC culture.

In Zootopia, animals live together, if not always in harmony. There are social classes with predators in most of the positions of authority, stereotypes holding certain species back, and of course, there's the counter culture.

Our hero is Judy Hopps, voiced with spunk by Ginnifer Goodwin, who leaves the family carrot farm to be the first rabbit police officer in the big city. When she takes on a case finding a missing animal, she blackmails a street hustler called Nick Wilde for help. He's a fox voiced with sly humor by Jason Bateman who looks a lot like Disney's "Robin Hood" with a tie.

"Zootopia" turns into an old school who-dunnit with some genuinely surprising turns. There are also a number of classic movie references from "Chinatown" to "The Godfather." It's all hugely entertaining and fun with an optimistic message about inclusion. And in an election year dominated by xenophobia and cynisism, it couldn't have come at a better time. 

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