Zootopia [aka Zootropolis]

"Very Good"

Zootopia [aka Zootropolis] Review


The filmmakers behind Tangled and Wreck-it Ralph join forces for this entertaining animated action comedy, which has clearly been planned as a franchise-launcher. Energetic and funny, the movie is packed with wonderfully engaging characters and animated with clever visual inventiveness. But even though it's a lot of fun, it's difficult to escape the feeling that Disney is trying to sell us a whole new range of products.

The setting is a world populated only by animals, where predators and prey have learned to get along. The story centres on feisty rabbit Judy Hopps (voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin), who grew up under pressure to work in the family carrot-farming business. But she wants to be a cop, even though no bunny has ever made the force. Top of her class at police academy, she's assigned to the Zootropolis Police Department, where Chief Bogo (Idris Elba) makes her a meter maid. But she's too ambitious to write parking tickets all day, and teams up with con-artist fox Nick (Jason Bateman) to look into the strange case of a missing otter, which might be linked to a series of unexplained events in which predators suddenly became aggressive and dangerous.

The writers and directors have a great time with the premise, peppering scenes with knowing references mainly to other movies but also to resonant aspects of society, such as the genius casting of sloths as government workers. And there are also much bigger themes rattling around the edges, from how other peoples' expectations constrain us to how politicians use fear to control the public. There's also a cleverly pointed undercurrent about prejudice and diversity. And at the centre, Goodwin and Bateman give solid vocal performances as natural enemies who find a way to trust each other. Of the supporting cast, Elba is the standout as a buffalo who is all bluster.

The setting also offers the animators with a lot to play with, mainly in Zootropolis' various zones, including a desert, a snowscape, a rainforest and a miniature neighbourhood for rodents. The movie is a riot of colour and motion, with a steady stream of hilarious one-liners and a naggingly catchy Shakira song. It's also so carefully constructed that everything promises more to come, from party costumes to toys, plus the possibility of videogames, theme park rides and, of course, sequels and spin-offs. Thankfully, it's so enjoyable that the audience will be looking forward to new ways to enter into this world. And Disney is going to make a lot of money from it.

Rich Cline

Watch the trailer for Zootopia:



Facts and Figures

Genre: Animation

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Byron Howard, Rich Moore

Producer:

Contactmusic


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