‘Zootropolis’ provides something that is rarely seen in films that are directed at the younger demographic. An irresistibly cute but smart and intelligent tale of rabbit and fox. I’m sure that’s going to sound strange but ‘Zootroplolis’ becomes an instant Disney classic and I bet that won’t sound so strange in a few years.
‘Zootropolis’ is about Judy Hopps who has a dream of being a cop. Everyone else around her from a bully to even her parents are saying it’s a really bad idea. But she doesn’t care. Judy pushes forward, passes with flying colours in her class and makes her way to ‘Zootropolis’. Judy soon realises things are not going to be how she imagined them when she is given parking duty on her first day. However, she is determined to prove herself and takes on a missing otter case enlisting the help of a dodgy fox called Nick Wilde. Nick and Judy aren’t exactly friends but not enemies either. They’ll need to work together to solve the case.
The plot was thoroughly enjoyable with plenty of laughs and an intriguing mystery. What is most shocking, unexpected and thought provoking about ‘Zootroplis’ is its adult themes. The plot deals with sexism, racism, politics and drugs throughout also with a heavy focus on reality. Certain instances in the film can actually be quite depressing when you think about how present and past events have affected the characters. As far as humour goes all of it was well thought out and well received bar one joke that really out stays its welcome and is more annoying than funny. I can see what they were going for but apart from two small sections of that scene I just wanted to move on. The plot moves at a fair pace and while looking back it could feel slow at points, humour, action and character moments disguise the lack of pace. The plot and characters also have some twists that you don’t see coming whereas I can usually predict most of the plot of other universal animated films aimed at the younger demographic. There are plenty of culture references and modified brands with a few obscure references that you might not notice including ‘Breaking Bad’. I really appreciated these little nuggets of humour and hope they continue to add them. They really improved the enjoyment of the film and ground it.
‘Zootropolis’ presents a solid main cast which really bring these characters to life. It’s shocking to think that all their lines were recorded separate to everyone else’s, when some of the banter characters’ have to perform you would surely think the actors were in the same room bouncing off each other’s lines.
The supporting cast is comprised of Idris Elba, J.K. Simmons, Nate Torrence and Jenny Slate. They all perform well but are not given room to do much more than offer humour or move the plot forward.
Ginnifer Goodwin (Once Upon A Time) voices Judy Hopps and gives a bouncy (pun intended) performance with heart. Jason Bateman (Horrible Bosses) voices Nick Wilde as the standout performance for me. Most of the film Nick is a care free cunning fox until a point in the film when this facade starts to slip away. Nick and Judy have a heart to heart and was one of two moments in the film that I was close to tears. I really didn’t expect that and the way Jason Bateman delivers his monologue is just heart-breaking. A monologue which we can all relate to which is why the scene is so powerful and affecting.
The animators of ‘Zootropolis’ deserve so much credit. Even though the characters are animals the animators do a fantastic job of both humanising them and using their animalistic structure to emphasise their personalities and emotions. Even the city is beautifully animated and the first time we see ‘Zootropolis’ without spoiling anything, they really go for it and we see a heavy contrast of weather and landscape that is a joy to see.
The soundtrack is so moving when it should be and really hits home the emotion. In contrast to that in chase scenes or the first reveal of ‘Zootropolis’ the music is full of wonder and excitement and they really nail it. Sound is so important in film and doesn’t get enough credit. Music can make or break a film and here they fully understand the mood of the scene and heighten it with the soundtrack to supplement the material wonderfully.
I strongly suspect we will be getting a ‘Zootropolis’ franchise which concerns me as I love it the way it is currently and worry it will get burnt out or lose the themes that are the reason it is so great. Please Disney, let ‘Zootropolis’ be remembered as a brilliant, thought provoking and funny tale of rabbit and fox. Told you it would catch on!