Hoppin Wylde

My Zootopia mania continues. I’ve listened to “Try Everything” hundreds of times, I’ve been scouring the net for fan art, I’ve sought out interviews, turned the movie over and over and over in my mind. Seriously, I’ve not been this excited about a Disney film (pure Disney, not Pixar) since The Lion King, which took me equally by storm oh those so many years ago. And, while I loved me my Pixar films, even Ratatouille and Wall-E didn’t have me this obsessed. Given I saw TLK in the theatre some 8+ times, who knows what’ll happen here.

Thus far, though, it’s only been twice.  (Edit — I have now seen Zootopia 8 times in the theatre (!))

And I have more to add to my previous impressions… a continuation of my review…

  • After seeing the film a second time, Judy’s “I’m a dumb bunny” during her apology bothers me much less. For one, she is totally breaking down at that point, and that comes from how bad she feels at that moment. (I had taken it as a much more ‘honest’ self-disparaging expression at first) For two, there’s a larger context, insofar as it is much more of a callback to what Nick has called her throughout the film. That’s where it came from. And at the end, when she turns it around and calls Nick a Dumb Fox, and he calls her a Sly Bunny, it all works as a whole.
  • When Nick first calls her Judy – after they escape from Cliffside…
  • Nick makes a choice for the/his future twice – once when he completes the application, and once after Judy apologizes. In that moment, under the bridge, he’s not just forgiving her, he’s choosing a new view and a new path of life.
  • And there’s something about the fact they meet on one side of a bridge, and then end up on the other that I feel is literarily significant… as is the fact they went under the bridge (fox dens and warrens?) OH! Wait! During Nick’s deconstruction of Judy’s dreams at the beginning, didn’t he mention something about living under a bridge?  Cleeeverrrr….
  • The delicious way that Judy and Nick essentially had the same experience as a child – both bullied and attacked due to their species and ambitions – and how both decided different paths after that. And how both, oh so many years later, choose a new path from their escapades together. Nick is the more obvious, choosing to be the scout and good fox he always wanted to be, but Judy is making a new choice too… she is choosing, as an adult, to be an officer rather than becoming an officer (as a dream turned decision as a child) to make Gideon wrong.
  • The animation of the expressions on the character’s faces, oh so good! So darn good!
  • The look in the end sequence that Nick gives Judy that I thought was in the film was… not actually in the film.  It gets cut quickly by credits, so it’s only in the music video if you blink you might miss it. There’s already enough in the movie to ship Judy and Nick so hard, but this look seals the deal (as I said before, it’s a look that to me says “Wow, for the first time, I am aware of how fond I’ve become of you”):
© Disney
© Disney
  • And as for why they seem so destined for a romantic relationship, it’s because they weren’t actually made “an item” in the film. Their fondness for each other grew over time in a non-forced manner, not because the story demanded it as a plot or ‘checkbox’ item, and there was no star-crossed-ness to it. They chose (again, choice!) each other.  It’s a relationship built on understanding and real acceptance, not just of their species, but of who they are (and who they are not). So wonderful.  I have this absolutely sweet, romantic, playful, gentle, vision of the two of them together.
  • Judy’s “I came to make the world a better place… and I think I broke it.” The way she (Ginnifer Goodwin, the voice actress) says that line is devastating. So quiet, so deeply troubled. Judy didn’t quit the force because she didn’t solve a case, she quit the force because she broke her identity, her view of the world. It was a total heroic BSOD.
  • That scene was so beautiful (artistically speaking!) in its destruction of Judy, that the reverse happened at the speed of light was in err, in my book. The film needed to be about 8 minutes longer, with something more there, something to give that sense of that choosing to return and to rebuild, something more about her moment of realization at “bunnies can go savage,” just a bit more to acknowledge what was going on there, emotionally. That would have helped keep it from feeling too convenient and rushed.  (Edit:  I wrote a treatment for just that here:  On the Hopps Farm)
  • Just prior to that, though, when her parents say how they are now working with Gideon and it was Judy’s views that had them consider, the way she says “That’s… really cool,” is also so full of emotion. Super wonderful voice acting.
  • And let me put in another word for all the voice actors and actresses, they all did great.
  • “We need to address the elephant in the room… Francine, happy birthday!” Nice metaphor pun!
  • I wasn’t sure what they were trying to create with Yax, the super fly infested Yak who owns the Mystic Springs Oasis, but the fact that he has a great memory, and doesn’t see it because it’s the elephants who have great memory, could be they just wanted to find the biggest counterpoint to play into a very early-in-the-movie subversion of stereotypes.
  • Also, that the very, straight laced, ordinary, Mr Otterton attends for yoga classes there and it isn’t bawdy or weird or he’s not a secret pervert, is a nice touch.
  • “Oh, sweet cheese and crackers…”
  • That Judy’s neighbors Bucky and Pronk share the same hyphenated last name. (Also funny that they were cameos by the directors of the film…)
  • The way Judy and, to some extent, Nick, curl up when being held by Mr Big’s henchmen, the way kits do when being carried by their mothers… (come to think about it, both bunny babies and fox babies are called kits… )
  • Nick’s response to Judy calling him articulate at the beginning… “It’s rare that I find someone so non-patronizing,” and Judy totally misses it. Another great moment in illustrating how well those things are hidden from our view.

I’m sure this film will unfold even more and more as time goes on. Great, great work!  I’m more than happy to let my obsession continue unabated for weeks.

Disney, if you choose to make a sequel, please, I invite and implore you to give it time to gestate and for a real good story to emerge before you commit to the production. There could be lots of great stories to tell. Let one of them be crafted. What made this film the success it is was good writing and creativity. It’s not about any particular element that’s easily thrown into another movie to guarantee something, it’s about the whole package. A retread that’s just bigger/funnier/more extreme/etc will not do as well. Please let it grow, then proceed. Thank you.

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