Politics, conspiracies, gangsters and hustlers - just some of the things rookie cop Judy Hopps has to deal with in order to prove her worth.
Leaving the carrot farm behind her, Judy Hopps sets of to start a new life within the Zootropolis police department with dreams of making the city a safer place.Set in a world where all animals, predator and prey, live side by side in harmony, a new recruit in the police department is given the boring job of parking duty only to discover that this perfect harmony is under threat. Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) is a small town rabbit determined not to let her cuteness or tiny stature get in the way of her dreams. Having grown up on her family's carrot farm Judy didn’t want to settle for the easy and simple life like her parents; she knew from a young age that she wanted nothing more than to become the first rabbit in the Zootropolis police department and help make the city a better place.Refusing to give up and not allowing anything or anyone to stand in her way, Judy hops enthusiastically through the rigorous training regime of the police academy and graduates top of her class as valedictorian. Waving goodbye to her entire family Judy embarks on her new life in Zootropolis; a bustling metropolis split into habitat districts such as Sahara Square, Little Rodentia, Rainforest District and Tundratown where animals of all shapes and sizes get along under the watchful eye of Mayor Lionheart (J. K. Simmons) who wants to ensure that the vicious biological instinct predators once had remains in the past.
Despite a number of big cases involving mammals disappearing from the city, Judy is given the arduous job of parking duty by Chief Bogo (Idris Elba) a cape buffalo. Unwilling to let this rain on her parade Judy makes the best of a less than perfect situation and hands out parking tickets like they are going out of fashion. Whilst doing so she crosses the path of Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) a fox who lives up to the stereotypical ‘sly fox’, making his living as an extremely successful con artist with the help of his adorable but badass friend Finnick (Tommy "Tiny" Lister) a fennec fox.
Resigned to spending the rest of her days doling out parking tickets Judy jumps at the opportunity to help Mrs. Otterton (Octavia Spencer) whose husband, Emmitt, despite being amongst the missing mammals is told that the police are doing all they can — which isn’t much. Given only 48 hours by Chief Bogo to find Emmitt or willingly resign, Judy enlists the help of Nick. Dead set on proving her worth Judy and the not so enthusiastic Nick set out to crack the case, but neither of them would be prepared for what they uncover.
Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Zootropolis is directed by Byron Howard and Rich Moore. In the US the film's title is the rather more appropriate Zootopia but for some strange reason the film has been retitled Zootropolis in the UK. It’s a fast paced action adventure with heavy doses of comedy thrown into the mix. The whole film is gloriously bright and colourful which, when mixed with the numerous references to pop culture, keeps the eyes busy at all times.
I’m sure I missed some of the references, but the more obvious ones include a scene reminiscent of Breaking Bad and a blatant nod to the Godfather in a scene featuring an arctic shrew as Mr Big (Maurice LaMarche) who makes an offer to Judy that she cannot refuse. One of the funniest scenes is at the DMV which is run by a host of three toed sloths - which must be some sort of American reference I am missing, but hilarious nonetheless. The attention to detail is impeccable, each lovingly rendered frame has been used to its full potential leaving no dead space in any shot.
Lush animation transports you into the scintillating world of Zootropolis where lion and sheep coexist in harmony.
As with all Disney films there is a moral and a social message to the story which within our current climate seems completely applicable. There are issues within the film surrounding stereotyping and tarring everyone within one group of animals with the same brush. It’s not done in the most subtle of ways but it isn’t overtly preachy either. However the message to dream big and not let anything hold you back is painstakingly evident - even the soundtrack by Shakira (who also voices the pop star character Gazelle) contains the line ‘I won’t give up, no I won’t give in till I reach the end’.
Feel good messages aside, Zootropolis is a highly enjoyable film. The voices are cast superbly and completely match the characterisations on screen. Idris Elba demands respect as authoritarian chief Bogo. Jason Bateman is ideal as sarcastic and witty Nick Wild and is complimented perfectly by Ginnifer Goodwin’s do-gooding, spritely Judy Hopps. Nate Torrence voices the character of Clawhauser, a somewhat over weight, camp cheetah that mans the reception desk at the police station - and is brilliant. I really can’t find fault in any of the characters or cast in their roles.
Zootropolis is a fun film packed with jokes that a younger audience will understand and plenty of references for the older audience to keep them entertained as well. Visually it’s hugely pleasing and the storyline has a few twists and turns that will ensure you remain switched on. It’s only slight downside is its predictability, although that aside, it was a film that I originally didn’t think I would enjoy but I am pleased to say it proved me wrong.
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