Zootropolis (2016) Review

Disney have created an animated film which will continue to offer entertainment with every watch. This is because the background and environment the main characters are a part of is alive with ingenious design, inside jokes and clever ways to bring the world of Zootropolis alive.

It is a world which really stretches the premise and takes full advantage of the creative potential. A world where mammals have evolved like humans, to live in a similar way, means that a whole city is built to accommodate creatures of all shapes and sizes. From a train with three different doors, the sizes varying depending on the animal or different districts of the city being totally different environments, from a Tundra to a rain-forest, the world continues to offer new surprises if your eagle-eyed enough.

The design of the world is ingenious

Disney manage to fit a great story within this world too. It is a tale with many different facets and elements but at it’s heart it is a buddy-cop film. The mismatched partners, Bunny Judy Hopps and Fox Nick Wilde, voiced perfectly by Ginnifer Goodwin and Jason Bateman, investigate the disappearance of an Otter. It leads them through the whole city, meeting various characters and delivering the message the movie wants to express effectively.

Disney have had varied success with their “morals” but they seem to have taken a page out of Pixar’s book by not necessarily throwing it into the audiences face with every opportunity. For starters, the message of “follow your dreams, no matter how inconceivable” is a tired one but a message that is told well here. The idea of a “cute” Bunny becoming a cop, a job usually reserved larger mammals, delivers the moral well.

There is an important message in the movie

It is the second message which will surprise and makes Zootropolis a better movie because of it. Zootropolis delivers a message of tolerance and acceptance. Actions of the main character lead to prejudice and misconceived notions. It is a relevant and poignant message, which is told at a time it is sorely needed. It is also a more effective part of the story than the initial moral and packs a larger punch.

That isn’t to say the movie is a serious, dramatic animation. It is very funny and this is back down to the creativity of the story telling. Sloths work at the DMV, in one of the movie’s funnier scenes, while both the Chief of Police, voiced by ever-impressive Idris Elba and desk clerk Clawhauser, a very funny Nate Torrence, keep the tone of the film light.

Hopps and Wilde are great characters

The biggest success is the chemistry of the central pair. They have a very real story that develops effectively as the film progresses. The biggest compliment is that there is real potential not just in the environment but also in the characters of Policewoman Hopps and Hustler Wilde. A sequel is not just inevitable but also very welcome.

Overall, Zootropolis manages to offer a new take on the anthropomorphism that Disney have relied on before. This is a whole world designed around the idea of evolved animals and it makes for some creative genius. The story also offers a very real and effective lesson, one that is needed now more than ever.

Rating – 4.5

(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)

I’d gladly go back to Zootropolis

 

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