Zootropolis (2016) – Film Review

A story we’ve seen before reimagined in a clever and funny way

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Zootropolis aka Zootopia (when it opened in the US) is a film about a rabbit, Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin), who is determined to leave her carrot growing family behind and become the first rabbit cop in the big city.  Despite many setbacks she achieves her goal but finds herself limited to putting parking tickets on cars by a police captain (Idris Elba) upset by the political interference of Mayor Lionheart (J.K. Simmons).  Her opportunity arrives in the form of a kidnapping case where she reluctantly draws upon the services of a hustler Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman).

There is nothing particular new about the themes of this movie.  It’s about tolerance and living in harmony (predators and prey) and the damage that can be done to society by fear and the divisions it can bring.  Given the current fear of terrorist attacks in Europe the timing of its release is almost prescient.  Why this film succeeds is the result of the world that has been built by the animators.  A large amount of thought must have been given to the layout of Zootroplis and its neighbouring districts.  The attention to detail (as you would expect from a Disney property) is amazing with my favourite part being the mini town created for rats and similar animals.

The laughs come consistently from start to finish with arguably the adults enjoying it more than the kids.  I was particularly impressed by the vocal work of Bateman who does a great job as the ‘sly’ streetwise fox with the heart of gold just waiting for his opportunity to do good for society.  There’s a fun song and cameo appearance by Shakira as a gazelle that plays over the end credits complete with dancing tigers.

We’re not quite in Inside Out (2015) territory with Zootropolis but its high end stuff and I can see why it has made so much money on the other side of the Atlantic.  If this was Siskel and Ebert it would be a double thumbs up so my rating is 4/5.

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