Director(s): Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Jared Bush
Starring: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba, J.K. Simmons
Judy (Goodwin) is a bunny who dreams of more than being a carrot farmer like her parents, and she follows her dreams of being a police officer in the big city of Zootropolis. On the case for some missing mammals, Judy must prove herself, and learn to work with the unlikeliest of companions, a fox called Nick Wilde (Bateman).
Walt Disney Animation Studios has had a pretty good run over the last 6 years. Films such as Big Hero 6 and massive hit Frozen, have proved that this non-Pixar branch of the Disney computer animated family can really stand alongside their hugely successful sibling. Zootropolis (or Zootopia if you’re in America) continues this winning streak.
On paper this seems like a run of the mill family-friendly, furry, odd couple story, and indeed it ticks those boxes, but Zootropolis is more than that. It’s super smart, with razor-sharp wit, and enough to keep the kids and adults happy at the same time; something Pixar’s last offering, The Good Dinosaur, should’ve paid attention to!
There’s some top notch visual gags here; it rather reminded me of the amazing background jokes Aardman incorporate into their claymation films. It absolutely warrants repeat viewings; some of them happened so fast I feel there’s tons I missed. These will whizz over the kiddies heads, but to the discerning parents, it’ll be a real treat. There’s a wonderful scene involving a weasel selling some knock-off Disney DVDs with titles such as “Pig Hero 6” which is well worth looking out for.
Indeed there’s so much going on in Zootropolis that you won’t quite know where to look; as Judy travels into the city for the first time, you too will find yourself staring aghast at all the wonderful scenery and business.
Along with the visual gags, there’s some absolutely sterling references to some very adult shows and films including The Godfather and Breaking Bad. Parents, good luck explaining to your little ones why you’re laughing so much when they don’t get the joke!
Whilst you can very much take the odd couple storyline at face value, there’s also some great social commentary on how we perceive, judge, and treat those around us, and some great use of characters to represent different occupations. The builders are beavers, and there’s some scene-stealing sloths at work in the DMV! Once again, the little ones won’t appreciate this, but the adults will love it.
You might have gathered this already, but this is a very “adult” children’s movie! The kids will love the cute characters and will be able to take something away at face value, but don’t be too surprised if you find their interest wavering. Now as an adult who loves intelligent kids movies, Zootropolis was perfect for me, but it’s always worth noting these things.
Really the only thing I didn’t like is that at some points it felt like a vehicle for Shakira’s latest single. The real-life popstar does crop up playing the animal singer “Gazelle”, but for me it just felt a little ham-fisted and too much of an obvious “hey go and buy the soundtrack” cameo for my liking.
I saw this movie and you should too. I should never be surprised by Disney, but I’m genuinely surprised by how much I enjoyed this movie! It’s super smart, adorable, funny, and has a little something for everyone, but a lot more for the big kids and young at heart (yay!). Absolutely worth a watch, and maybe even a second watch!
Agree with everything I’ve said, or am I a terribly misguided idiot who has got it all wrong? Please let me know in the comments, and don’t forget to share as well.