Ginnifer Goodwin and Jason Bateman find their cartoon niche

By Alynda Wheat
Updated March 04, 2016 11:10 AM
Credit: Disney

The big city isn’t for everybunny, but righteous rabbit Judy Hopps (Ginnfer Goodwin) is absolutely certain that’s where she needs to be – in Zootopia.

It’s a magical place where animals of every sort come together to make the most of themselves and their world.

At least, that’s what the travel brochures will tell you.

Zootopia – like real life – is a little more complicated, which is partially why it makes such a great film. A little realism never hurt anybody, particularly when it’s delivered with such a smart script and stellar voice performances.

Goodwin is charming and chipper as Judy, the first rabbit on the ZPD (prey don’t usually land jobs traditionally taken by predators).

She’ll need to keep sharp to outwit Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman), a sly fox on the hustle, who just might be the key to solving a missing mammal case puzzling the force. Bateman and Goodwin have fantastic chemistry, helped by his sardonic, punchy delivery.

Don’t be surprised if Zootopia ends up becoming a kids’ detective series, based on how fabulously these two go about working the case.

But there’s more to love about this film than just its two compelling leads. The supporting cast, including Jenny Slate, Idris Elba, Bonnie Hunt, JK Simmons, and Tommy Chong as a totally mellow yak named Yax, are not just wonderful but memorable.

Plus, the art direction is eye candy, with Zootopia districts like Tundratown, Sahara Square and the teensy Little Rodentia to marvel at.

And then there’s that script that serves Bateman terrific one-liners and gives Judy a fully formed, kick-tail personality. Plus, it makes the salient, ever more necessary point that while it’s tough to live in a melting pot, a little understanding goes a precious long way.