Welcome to the world of Zootropolis (known as Zootopia in the US). A city that holds all the animals of the kingdom living in unity. Made up of various zones to house each animal family, predators and prey working and living side by side in a world where even the smallest of creatures with the biggest dreams can succeed. With various high profile names taking on the voices of the leading characters Disney Animation’s latest film delivers a unique and clever offering. Zootropolis ensures its younger audience will enjoy seeing all the animals from Rabbits to Lions come alive on screen while giving in to its older audience with subtle adult humour, it’s a film for everyone.
Judy Hopp is a rabbit that from an early age wanted to become a police officer. Undeterred and proving the rest of her family and friends wrong she passes her training and enlists with the ZPD (Zootropolis Police Department). Unfortunately for her, the excitement and enthusiasm that has driven here to become the first Rabbit on the force quickly dwindles after being assigned to parking duty. Everyone meanwhile is investigating bigger crimes, one involving the disappearance of 12 predators that no one can locate. Wanting to achieve so much more and prove all her doubters wrong Judy agrees to solve the missing predator’s case within 48hrs, if she fails she will hand in her badge. Unfortunately for Judy this means working closely with Nick Wilde, a wily fox who knows how to hustle people.
It’s a hustle by Nick that first brings these two characters together but Judy gets her revenge which means Nick has no other choice but to work with her and resolve the case. It’s hard not to fall in love with Judy and her charisma. Her never say die attitude and no matter what hurdle is in front of her she will try to jump it. Disney certainly created a wonderful lead that you hope your children would aspire to follow. Caring, thoughtful yet passionate and resolute all the qualities we hope our children would hope to have. Maybe some of the adults in this world could take note too. But it isn’t just Judy that makes Zootropolis a warming and heart felt film. Disney as gone out of its way to ensure each animal has their own unique personality. The depth and intricacy of the characteristics just makes you laugh out loud at various points while the subtle mannerisms of the animals just brings them more to life than you would imagine. Two great examples are Judy stomping her foot which starts slow but then hurtles at what seems like a million miles an hour and a Sloth talking really slow. It’s perfect in every way. There are many more just like this throughout the film, some more obvious yet others not so.
It’s called a hustle, sweetheart.
Viewers with a keener eye than some will notice that once again the props in the film at times resemble apple devices. This seems to be a given now in films by Pixar and Disney and those of you who know the history of Steve Jobs will understand the connection. It’s not a bug bear but something that if you keep an eye open for it you will notice more and more. For example, Judy has a phone and when it calls the buttons that appear mimic the iPhone, the headphones she uses are iPhone ones too. A great little difference though is the phone is manufactured by Carrot rather than Apple. If you are quick enough you can spot the vegetable design on the back of the device. It is clever and does make you try and notice other bits Disney may have snuck in.
There have been reports that some younger children may get quite frightened during some darker scenes and it’s understandable. A few of the animals turn savage and appear to be filled with rage but given it has a rating of PG expect to see some scenes of this nature. Maybe for parents just be a little mindful of what your children may or may not get scared of.
In summary Zootropolis is a wonderful family film. With voices from Idris Elba and no other than Shakira there is something here for all ages. The storyline isn’t as solid as other animated films but it’s enough to allow the film to flow to its conclusion without getting bored. You will definitely want to see it again as it’s filled with subtle moments of humour which you may miss on your first viewing. You will fall in love with all the characters which is credit to Disney and the way they have brought to life animals to the big screen.
Reviewed by Jon Elliott