Zootropolis – Film Review


Zootropolis – Film Review by Emily Elphinstone

Directors: Byron Howard, Rich Moore
Writers: Byron Howard (story), Jared Bush (story)
Stars: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba

Once upon a time, the vast majority of Disney animations were focused on the dashing hero, and his gorgeous damsel in distress. Recently however, the fairytales have been left behind (or turned into live action adaptations) in favour of more adventurous, contemporary minded animation; and their latest offering Zootropolis is no exception.

Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) is the star of the film; leaving her large family behind to move to the vibrant city of Zootropolis, where animals of all sizes and diets live together; and everyone can be anything they want to be. After a life-long dream of joining the Police, Judy becomes the first ever ‘bunny cop’ through the Mayor’s ‘Mammal Inclusion Initiative’. But on her first day Judy is swiftly consigned to parking meter duty by Police Chief Bogo (Idris Elba, voicing a giant water buffalo). Finally talking her way into a real case, Judy is given only 48 hours to solve it. Reluctantly joining forces with scam-artist fox Nick Wilde (the ever charming Jason Bateman), it swiftly proves to be more complicated than a simple missing mammals case; as Judy and Nick delve into a criminal underworld of gangs, government corruption, and predators ‘going savage’.

Much more than a simple action film or buddy movie (although it is both those things), Zootropolis is not just current in its stunning aesthetics, however entertaining it is to watch rodents in suits glued to their mobile phones. With a strong feminist current, there are great lines about how ‘only a bunny can call another bunny cute’; and there’s no doubt that the female characters control the film, however much they may fight for recognition in their careers. There’s also a real awareness of how discrimination can remain prevalent in an apparently equal-opportunities society; with predators finding themselves targeted in the kind of fear-led xenophobia so topical to the current US Republican Presidential campaign.

With brilliantly well-observed features, such as comments about how ‘it’s good to have dreams, as long as you don’t believe in them’; and staffing the DMV entirely with sloths; there are elements of the film secretly geared more toward adults than the children. It also includes plenty of pop culture references (including Breaking Bad, and The Godfather), and some inspired casting including J.K.Simmons as Mayor Lionheart, and Tommy Chong as stoner Yax; which add an extra level to the wonderfully individual, and entertaining personalities.

Younger viewers may enjoy the characters, the sumptuous visuals, and the catchy (though rather overplayed) soundtrack by Gazelle (Shakira); but with its multi-layered approach and surprisingly relevant themes, Zootropolis certainly holds enough to keep the adults interested too.


Categories: Header, Movie Review, Movies

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