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5 Reasons Zootopia Hops To A Perfect Beat

In case you haven’t heard, Zootopia isn’t your cookie-cutter animated flick. Yes, it hits some familiar family-friendly notes, but this is a movie with something on its mind. On top of that, it’s also wall-to-wall funny, visually striking, and wildly imaginative. So bring the whole family, because this one’s got something for everyone.

If you still need further convincing, here’s five more reasons to take a trip to the bustling city of Zootopia.

1. An Ambitious Allegory

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Zootopia is full of adorable sight gags and celebrity voices, but what really makes it stand on its own two paws is its surprisingly sophisticated take on diversity and equality. Things begin relatively safe with the story of a small-town bunny (Once Upon a Time’s Ginnifer Goodwin) who, against all odds, achieves her big dream of joining the police force in the city of Zootopia. But things get refreshingly progressive once she’s embroiled in a missing mammal case with a con-artist fox (Jason Bateman) and a predator-versus-prey conflict ensues.

2. Smart Storytelling

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Had Zootopia followed a more conventional path that probably wouldn’t change its box office return, but directors Byron Howard, Rich Morre, and Jared Bush have made something that almost resembles a kid-friendly Big Lebowski. It obviously doesn’t reach the subversive heights of that Coen brothers’ film, but nonetheless is a sprawling, genre-savvy send-up on the classic detective story. You don’t have to be a film snob to appreciate all the MacGuffins, red herrings, and old-school genre nods the film’s central mystery has to offer, but it’s a refreshing gesture for a movie featuring a “zelfie” ad campaign. Besides, you’re probably more of a cineaste than you think.

3. A Bouncy Human Cast

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Goodwin and Bateman are equally tops as Zootopia’s dysfunctional detective duo, but the film also boasts an impressive and diverse cast of supporting talent, like Idris Elba as an intimidating buffalo police chief, J.K. Simmons as the city’s lion mayor and Jenny Slate as his sheepish (literally and figuratively) assistant, Octavia Spencer as a forlorn river otter, Tommy Chong as a spaced-out Yak, and pop sensation Shakira as pop sensation Gazelle, who belts out the film’s original song, “Try Everything.” There’s a tonne more talent worth calling out—like Canadian news icon Peter “Moosebridge,” but there should be some element of cameo surprise, no?

4. References Kids Will Dig and Only Adults Will Get

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At least we hope your kids won’t get all these rather mature pop culture nods. To wit, Canadian comic Maurice LaMarche voices a Don Corleone-channeling arctic shrew ironically named Mr. Big. There are even allusions to other hard-boiled detective films like Chinatown and L.A. Confidential. For something a little more current, at one point there’s a Jesse and Walter reference inside a makeshift lab. And while your kids may recognize the skewed Disney titles on a blanket of bootleg videos being sold on Zootopia’s black market, they’re hopefully unfamiliar with that trade.

5. The…………Sloths

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These…sloths…talk…and…move…super…slow…and…it’s…pretty…hilarious.

Zootopia hops onto 3D and 2D screens today. Watch the trailer below:

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