Zootropolis is Disney’s latest kid’s movie and, while it’s animated, you may be delighted to hear that there isn’t a Princess in sight.
In fact, there’s no humans in it at all. Every character is an animal in a world where hunter and prey have outgrown their primal killing instincts and learned to live in harmony.
The story follows Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin), a rabbit raised in her parent’s carrot farm in the country. She has had lifelong dreams to move to the big city, Zootropolis, become a copy and make the world a better place. When the harsh realities of city life hit her, she relies on street smart fox Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman). Judy’s desire to establish herself as a cop lead her to investigate the mysterious disappearance of several animals in the different zones of Zootropolis.
If the idea of a movie where the lead character believes that everyone can achieve all of their dreams sounds a little too sugary for you, you’ll be relieved to hear that the amount of sarcasm and cynicism from the more world-weary characters balance this out.
What is essentially a buddy-cop movie for kids works a treat. The interplay between Hopps and Wilde is perfectly pitched. The support characters are just as developed. Idris Elba’s Chief Bogo is suitably cop-show gruff and Nate Torrance’s camp front desk cop Clawhauser has a wealth of one-liners. Tommy Chong’s spiritual fly infested Yax has some amusing screen time also. Animation artist Raymond S. Persi puts his pen down and voices sloth Flash who steals his screen time delightfully.
The film manages to cram in a lot of storyline without overwhelming younger minds. We went with Eve (3 1/2) and Jenny (4 1/2) who both stayed glued to the screen throughout.
Watching the mystery of the missing mammals unfolding is very satisfying as the bunny & fox combo piece together the clues. There are a couple of shock moments that even made me jump in my seat, but nothing too scary.
You can see how much Disney has benefitted from it’s partnership with Pixar. The sarcasm carefully offsets what could be an overly-sentimal idea. The easter eggs / thinly veiled references include nods to Breaking Bad, The Godfather, a bootleg dvd scene that refers to a whole host of recent Disney movies and a hilarious Frozen reference from Idris Elba.
It feels like a very complete story, layered and with a wonderfully gratifying resolution.
The film looks beautiful. From the opening scene of a low lit jungle, you know that you’re in for a lush experience. Whether it’s the Amazonian-rainforest zone with it’s deep layers of foliage or the intricate tiny houses in the rodent village, there’s a detailed, colourful, imaginative setting to enjoy.
A train journey into Zootropolis (bizarrely reminiscent of The Hunger Games) showcase all the different zones in their splendour. It’s an enjoyable ride.
Zootropolis is a sweet and enjoyable movie. You hear about kid’s movies that puts loads in to keep the parents happy and none moreso than this. I think I liked it as much as the children did. Parents may also be happy to know that the characters (apart from Shakira’s Gazelle) don’t sing any songs. No “Do You Want To Build A Snowman” nightmares to follow here.
Disney have done a brilliant job here. Perfectly executed and loveable. Highly recommended!