Before You Head to the Movies: A 5-Year-Old’s Zootopia Review

| | | |

Walt Disney Animation Studio’s 55th feature, Zootopia hits theaters everywhere tonight! I’ve been so excited for this since they didn’t release a movie all last year! Now we get Zootopia and Moana both in one year! (Excuse my momentary Disney film geek-out).

My mini Disney movie critic, Lil’ J and I screened it last Thursday and as we walked out she told me she wanted to see it again, and that it is her new FAVORITE movie (I’m noticing a trend every time we see a new Disney movie). I feel like I have so many things to say about Zootopia, but don’t worry, I’m leaving out the spoilers.

Mother-daughter Zootopia review

What’s it about in a paragraph? Well, the walking, talking, career-driven and clothed animals replace humans in this story of Zootopia. Rookie officer Judy Hopps is the first bunny to join the police force and she jumps at the chance to crack a case and needs help from a sly fox. The movie gives adults a heavy dose of action and humor, and the kids are laughing right along at some jokes even they understand.

The animals basically act as humans in this movie, a lot like they do in Robin Hood (and Nick Wilde–the fox in this film actually resembles him, right?!).

Zootopia is a compelling movie that both adults and children will love. A lot of the humor (some of it a little off-color) went over my 5-year-old’s head, but there were enough little funny scenes that she still enjoyed and laughed at.

There are a few things I think are important to consider before seeing this movie.

Skip the trailers

I’m noticing Disney is giving away all of the goods in the previews lately. What’s up with that? Remember the trailer for Princess and the Frog? I thought Tiana was going to be a Princess in blue not be a frog for half the movie! Talk about keeping the suspense hidden. They don’t do too much of that anymore.

I was grasping at every new trailer before Inside Out and when I saw that movie I felt like I’d seen all of the funny parts. I purposely skipped the trailers this time so I could go in blind. I did see one with the sloths because it aired before The Good Dinosaur in theaters. It’s still funny (and a little different), I just knew it was coming.

I’ve watched the Zootopia trailers a few times since seeing the movie and the handful of jokes I thought were funniest were all in the trailers. So skip those if you haven’t seen them yet so you can enjoy it and be surprised. If you want another way to build up your excitement with your kids try printing these fun coloring sheets or this activity page.

zootopia review picture

It’s a little scary!

I don’t really know how else to put it. For a little kid’s movie it was pretty darn scary. Or perhaps a better word is startling. I’m trying to think of another animated Disney movie with I can deem in the same category for action, suspense and surprises. Maybe similar to parts of Big Hero 6 or The Good Dinosaur if looking at recent films, or Lady and the Tramp (remember that rat scene?). This is the first Disney Movie where I remember actually being startled, as in jumping in my seat. Lil’ J was too, but she laughed about it. She’s afraid of A LOT but this movie didn’t make her cry or cover her eyes, so I guess that says something; however, that night she did want to sleep in our room because she was afraid of animals jumping out at her.

You’re the best judge for your kids, if they startle easily you may want to prep them, see it first, hold off until DVD, or just email me and I’ll tell you when you can cover their ears/eyes.

Lil’ J wanted me to tell you what she thinks about that: “My brother is 2, and it would be too scary for him. But for me, and other kids that are 5-and-a-half, or 6 it’s not too scary.” So there’s you have it from my proud 5-and-a-half year old.

There’s a strong captivating message

I noticed two strong awesome messages in the movie. One being to not give up on your dreams, and another to not judge a book by it’s cover. Both important takeaways that are great conversation-starters with our kids. I can’t help but feel like Disney animators are trying to change the world with this movie. We’ll MUST discuss this more after you’ve had a chance to see this! Just thinking about it makes me love this movie even more.

Zootopia movie poster

Where does it rank for Disney?

Overall we both loved the movie. We’re going to see it again as a family (well, minus Big T unless he convinces me he can sit still) because I actually think even my husband would get a kick out of it (I mean come on! There’s a bunny cop!).

So where does it rank on my Disney movie list? I’m partial to the movies from Disney Renaissance era and musical features (counting down to Moana!) but Zootopia has a great story. I’d say it could be in my top 15, but once I get over the shock of it not being the cutesy kiddie movie I expected and I’ve seen it a few more times I’ll be able to more accurately place it for what it is.

Regardless, I can’t wait to add it to our collection later this year!

zootopia picture

My 5-year-old’s Zootopia review

What did you think of Zootopia?: “It was SUPERSTAR Awesome!”

What did you like about the movie?: “The fox and the bunny weren’t friends, and then they learned how to be friends.”

What was the message of the movie?: “The bunny dreamed big! Because she always wanted to be a police officer and then she became a police officer, and that was good.”

Anything else you’d like to say about the movie?: “Yea! [SPOILERS]”

Is it too scary for kids?: “No, it’s awesome! So at the beginning [of the post], say it’s superstar and at the end say it’s awesome! I want to see it again and again!”

Recommended ages

I’d recommend it for families with kids ages 7+, but Lil’ J says all of her 5 and 6 year old friends should see it. So take it as you will!

Let me know when you see it! I can’t wait to hear what you think!

Similar Posts


  1. I’m looking forward to seeing this with the Grandchildren. How fun that you interviewed your daughter. I’m going to borrow that technique for when we see it. It will be fun to see what they say.

  2. I can see where some of the things in this movie might be scary to a little one. I think it is always important to talk to little ones before and after movies. I have see a few of the trailers for this movie and I can’t wait to go and see it.

  3. Thanks for this review!! Appreciate it – going to wait a bit for my 3.5 year old to see it.

  4. My 7 year old was very scared and confused. Afterwards she said she didn’t like it and to please not buy it. I didn’t understand the jokes. My husband said they were from the GodFather movies and Breaking Bad. I think a sensitive child would be scared during this movie. I think it would be a compelling conversation starter for older kids/ teens.

    1. Thx for your thoughts. My 7.25yr old saw it 2 wks ago on a whim w a family friend- first big day out wo us and she is still scared going to bed. Even the trailers don’t show intensity so how could I know- broke my own rule- esp seeing after that it was pg. Tonight we watched 2 funny clips but then I really got her to laugh by talking about Peppa pig and silly scenes from it. She went right to sleep finally. Ah parenting . Should have googled zootopia scary before saying yes!!! And yes, we skip the scary parts of frozen as well.

  5. We had an 8 year old and 5 year old who were both so scared they wanted to (and did) leave the movie repeatedly. Not all kids perceive the excessively dark tone and perilous situations the same way.

  6. I rarely ever leave comments on websites but I have never appreciated a movie review more. Having your daughter review it also was super helpful. Thanks!

  7. My son was six and this film really scared him , not what I thought this film would be like , I’m ok having a little adult in these kids films but this was like watching a cartoon about the news and all that’s bad in the world ,sorry I see enough ugliness happen in the world don’t need it in a kids film , so a little warning if you have a kid that perhaps suffers from night terrors or is autistic I suggest you stay away .

  8. I see you don’t monetize your website, i’v got idea how
    to earn some additional cash using one simple method, just
    search in g00gle for; ruthiezx’s method

  9. when the rabbit and fox speak to the panther. He turns savage. My 6 year old girl started to freak out and i was trying to calm her down in the movie theaters i have never seen her so scared.

  10. Came across your review AFTER watching this movie with my 5 year old son and 6 years old daughter. The movie was no big deal for the boy, but the girl is ridiculously scared ever since. All she talks/cries about is that bloody otter. She can’t go to the toilet by her self anymore, she can’t be alone in her room at all. It was such a mistake for us to watch it as it turned our lives upside down. We talk to her about it every day, we watched numerous youtube clips with cute otters etc. Nothing helped so far. It’s been 2 weeks like that and we’re running out of ideas, what else to do to calm her down. 🙁 If I could turn back time… 🙁

  11. Shes the one who rocks! I love that superstar! I Love Zootopia as much as her! I’ve seen it like 3 times in theaters and I watch it all the time

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *