If you went to the movies this weekend, the odds are overwhelmingly good that you saw Zootopia. Disney’s latest animated hit grossed approximately $73.7 million in one weekend, and that means that it couldn’t possibly have just been kids buying those tickets. Disney Animation is a hit nowadays with all demographics, thanks to breakout successes like Frozen and Wreck-It Ralph, and the strangely conceived Walt Disney interpretation of the racially charged buddy cop comedy 48 Hrs. is clearly the latest in an ongoing trend.
But what do you do when you get home from Zootopia? What do you watch if you want to recapture a bit of that magic, or find out where it came from? Now Streaming has you covered with five great films to watch if you loved Zootopia, all of them available right now on Netflix. So you have no excuse but to click on them right now…
Robin Hood (Watch It Now)
Before Zootopia imagined a world of anthropomorphic animals, in a world completely devoid of humans, there was Robin Hood, the Disney movie that did it first. And like Zootopia, which is a pretty straightforward buddy cop movie, Robin Hood is a pretty straightforward Robin Hood movie. If you’ve seen this story play out before, you won’t find terribly much to surprise you here.
But you WILL find one of the best cinematic version of Robin Hood ever filmed. This film is a lively and exciting adaptation, with canny animated acting and thrilling action sequences. (The climax, with Robin Hood trapped in Prince John’s castle and climbing a fiery tower, is as good or better than any action sequence in any live-action adaptation.) Disney’s Robin Hood isn’t usually considered one of the studio’s best films, but it’s remarkably solid entertainment and a great double feature with Zootopia. Heck, it’s probably connected somehow: Robin looks an awful lot like Nick Wilde, doesn’t he…?
Mr. Peabody and Sherman (Watch It Now)
Another great family comedy, packed with puns and social commentary. It’s not by Disney, but who cares? Mr. Peabody & Sherman is one of the better animated movies of the last few years, especially from the American studio system.
The film takes the old Rocky & Bullwinkle characters and places them in a modern context, where Mr. Peabody adopts a young human boy and has to fight to keep custody of Sherman. (Single father? Gay allegory? All of the above.) Naturally time travel gets involved, as they both wander throughout the timeline intervening in the lives of Leonardo da Vinci, King Tut and King Agamemnon, learning valuable lessons and making terrible, terrible jokes. (“As far as I’m concerned, they get married too young in Ancient Egypt… or perhaps I’m just some old Giza.”)
The Emperor’s New Groove (Watch It Now)
Too many Disney movies are trying to be timeless tales. One of the most likable parts of Zootopia is the fact that, at its core, it’s just a buddy comedy set against a strange backdrop. This is a concept that Disney tried out before, in the strange and underrated The Emperor’s New Groove.
The film stars David Spade as an Incan emperor whose selfishness gets him in hot water with a sorceress (Eartha Kitt), who turns him into a llama. A series of unfortunate events sends him far away from his kingdom and he must team up with a peasant (John Goodman), who hates his ever-loving guts, to get back home and save the day. But of course, he has a valuable lesson to learn, etc.
Whipcrack comedy in the Looney Tunes vein, that’s what you get in The Emperor’s New Groove. The plot is a bit of a mess (the film suffered from notorious production difficulties) but the rapport between Spade and Goodman, and Kitt and Patrick Warburton (who plays her overachieving henchman) is pure comic gold. You won’t be moved to tears, but you might just laugh until you cry.
Chicken Run (Watch It Now)
Anthropomorphic animals face dire straits in Chicken Run, the kids prison movie to Zootopia‘s kids cop movie. This Aardman Animation classic is a combination of Stalag 17 and The Great Escape, except instead of POW’s the heroes are chickens, who desperately need to flee the coup before they get their heads chopped off.
Into the lives of these chickens, many of whom have achieved a woeful state of complacency, enters a rooster who claims to be able to fly. It could be the answer to their prayers, or it could be a dangerous distraction from more realistic ways to solve their problems. Aardman’s trademark light sense of humor (“The chickens are revolting!” “Finally, something we agree on.”) combines with a very dark storyline to create a film that can satisfying almost anyone in the audience.
The Boxtrolls (Watch It Now)
Another strange and dark stop-motion animated film, this one a potent allegory against scapegoat politics and cultural marginalization. It’s also a dorky film about cheese and monsters. It’s The Boxtrolls, a stylish and freaky little movie about a baby who gets kidnapped by subterranean monsters, but is raised to understand just how kind and harmless they really are. Unfortunately, an ambitious schemer decides to use the Boxtrolls are a boogeyman, and seems dead set on eliminating them from the face of the Earth.
The Boxtrolls is an eccentric film, full of playfully gross imagery and morbid humor. It’s also amusing as heck and very imaginative. It makes questioning social norms seem fun, just like Zootopia does.
William Bibbiani (everyone calls him ‘Bibbs’) is Crave’s film content editor and critic. You can hear him every week on The B-Movies Podcast and watch him on the weekly YouTube series Most Craved and What the Flick. Follow his rantings on Twitter at @WilliamBibbiani.