This week, guest blogger Shauna McCauley is talking about the latest Disney film Zootopia. Read her review to get her take on the new movie now in theaters. movies-1262361__180

Shauna writes:  I’ve been a lifelong fan of Disney films, and the warm critical reception that Zootopia had already met with made me hopeful.  What I found in Zootopia was a complex story about dreams, growing up, and prejudice.  In a world where animals have evolved to the point that their society looks a lot like ours, a rabbit, Judy Hopps, abandons small town farm life to be a cop in the big city, and gets a bit more than she bargained for.  The stellar voice cast led by Ginnifer Goodwin (Once Upon a Time) as Judy, Jason Bateman (Arrested Development) as fast-talking fox, Nick Wilde, and Idris Elba (Luther) as the tough and gruff water buffalo Police Chief, Bogo, brings this diverse group of characters to life, and brings the overflowing abundance of heart to this film.

But, the character’s voice is only part of their essence; this is an animated film after all.  Artistically, the digital animation is relatively similar to what we’ve seen from Disney in recent years with films like Tangled and Wreck-It-Ralph, with clean lines and vivid colors.  One point where the animation in this film really stands out, though, is the variety of environments created, from farm town, to rain forest, to arctic tundra.  All these are viewed as the characters race through an entertaining script peppered with saucy one-liners, and references to The Godfather and Frozen, among other things, which, along with a bubblegum pop soundtrack, keeps what could have been a much darker film light and energetic just like its main character.

Zootopia shows how people cope with challenges to personal dreams, and confronts prejudicial stereotyping in a way that is easily identifiable to adult audiences, and non-confrontational to child audiences.  By presenting these big issues in this format as a sort of dialog between characters, maybe we can start to have serious and loving conversations about this in our own lives.