Synopsis – In a city of anthropomorphic animals, a fugitive con artist fox and a rookie bunny cop must work together to uncover a conspiracy.
My Take – Disney Animation Studios has been on a winning streak lately, the quality as well as the quantity of their films have been skyrocketing & that too with great momentum. From an aspiring restaurateur who became a frog (The Princess and the Frog), a princess with long magical hair (Tangled), a video game bad guy wanting to switch sides (Wreck It Ralph), a tale of two sisters in a wintry landscape (Frozen), and an adaption of a Marvel tale about a genius troubled boy with his inflatable robot companion (Big Hero 6). The studio yet again manages to add another gem to its line-up with awesome film that tells a heartfelt story, while intelligently covering some delicate themes. This film is more of an intriguing caper comedy with thriller elements that not only spoofs the buddy-cop detective formula or generally noir films, but also tackles the themes which are quite relevant today such as racial profiling & discrimination. So what’s to say? Well for starters the film is simply amazing! There were honestly so many things going on I simply wasn’t able to catch every single thing and trust me there is a lot! The scenery and characters are just so organic and the attention to even the most smallest of detail was incredible! Yup, Disney has another winner on their hands! The story follows Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin), a small-town rabbit who wants to be a police officer in a world inhabited by anthropomorphic animals. Upon achieving her childhood dream of becoming the first rabbit cop, she reaches the city of Zootopia only to find out that she has been relegates to a safe, but boring parking-duty assignment. However, things started to change, when she manages to get assigned to a disappearance case. Since she does not get any help from the police force, she taking the help of a street smart, sly fox Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman). When both characters collide, it’s up to both natural enemies to work together when a crime is committed in the seemingly blissful Zootopia. These two have excellent chemistry, in a crime thriller style no less. Disney is well known to incorporate action nowadays, but full-fledged detective work, it’s mental that this works tremendously well. The atmosphere can be dark at several occasions to create dread, yet never too overwhelming for its family friendly nature.
The story unfolds itself to be a heartfelt journey through some visually stunning environments. This ensures the movie never looks boring, as Judy and Nick travel through different parts of the city to solve their case. A lot of time was put into developing the city and all its details. The rain forest district, for example, stays humid thanks to an abundance of sprayers, ensuring the inhabitants feel right at home. While going through their journey, both Judy and Nick learn a lot about themselves and the world around them. Their characters are very well developed and undergo a logical and heartfelt evolution. This is where the movie really shines in my opinion, as it touches on some very delicate issues such as race and discrimination. It avoids being too preachy, but at the same time raises some really interesting questions, both for children and adults alike. These questions are all the more interesting when considering the recent racial tensions in the US and the refugee crisis in Europe. A whole new world can be used to describe the city because of it’s bright, colorful, breathtaking scenery of nature and a thriving, civilized city inhabited by animals, where humans do not exist. But these animals that inhabit the urban jungle of Zootopia have been anthropomorphized. In other words, these animals have human characteristics. Here is a place where animals, be it predators or preys, get along together. Modern day Zootopia is where this film is set, in which their ancestors have already put aside their differences and learned to get along. Here is a film that talks about animals getting along together. If animals can put aside their differences and live together in peace in harmony, why can’t we humans do the same?! The movie stresses (some) strong and positive role models, especially the main characters. But also there are the appearance of crime bosses and shady criminal characters. Certain (roughly considered) adult jokes may be also present in the film. Yet these minor adult moments cannot even slightly mar the positive messages about acceptance, peace and harmony, determination, responsibility, respecting one another in spite of their differences and so many more that I still haven’t finished analyzing. As for the characters, all are done quite perfectly, even the villains are hard not to like! Both main characters were very relate able and each face something special to the story. I found myself at times loving Judie’s kindhearted optimistic nature although I’m a bit more like Nick with his more worldly look on life and the small we get to see of his back story is both sad and tragic and is something that still haunts him as an adult.
Nick is funny, very funny! And a bit sarcastic at times and although he’s not the overly emotional/affectionate type but he does have a heart and he does show it in his own way when the time comes! From what I know of Ginnifer Goodwin and Jason Bateman, the personalities of Judy and Nick fit the real life counterparts perfectly! The film does a very good job and displaying what could be easily understood as bigoted attitudes concerning race, gender, or even sexuality without ever being preachy about it. It also shows rather bluntly that not all stereotypes are completely untrue! The film does have a message however, a very positive one! It’s simply be good to one another. We’re all in this together. The film does have its false steps, but none of them really mattered to me. The introduction is somewhat off beat and uneven with the rest, there are a little too many coincidences and whilst the characters are thankfully in danger many times, they are as many times handed a solution to problems which makes things a little too easy for them at times, yet fortunately the film does integrate these very organically to the point were you roll along, without even thinking about it. Honestly when you think hard about, this film is nothing like your regular Disney fare. Sure it’s got cute talking animals, some childish humor, and like almost all Disney movies it is gorgeously animated and has a lesson to teach, but not just to kids. I believe that this Disney has struck gold with this movie, not just in the terms that Disney will make bank loads of money from ticket sales and merchandise (cause it will), but because they created a truly well crafted, well written, and beautifully, breathtakingly animated film that is sure to delight children and entice their parents. On the whole, ‘Zootopia’ aka ‘Zootropolis’ is an awesome film with great, lovable characters, a beautiful set-up, some great laughs and most importantly: a strong positive message for both kids as well as adults. Watch it!
Rated – PG
Run Time – 108 minutes