Disney have upped their game and produced a roaring success. We snorted with laughter while being drawn into an absorbing mystery played out by loveable characters. Two opposable thumbs up for Zootropolis. Now available on home media.
A friend texted me to see if we wanted to see the film. It wasn’t particularly on our radar, the kids hadn’t badgered us to go even after seeing the trailer. But we were up for a bit of cinema fun with friends, so we snagged a family ticket for Dukes at the Komedia on a soggy Saturday.
Zootropolis is about Judy Hopps, a bunny with dreams of being a police officer. And against all odds, she gets through her training, in an Officer and a Gentleman parody sequence I should add. The plot isn’t particularly original but that absolutely doesn’t matter because the rest of the film’s elements score off the charts. The animation is superb, specifically the intricate detailed design of Zootropolis city, which has a multi-ecosystem theme park feel. The numerous mammal species were captivating providing rich fuel for my kids’ imaginations. You would have to watch several times over to notice them all. And even though I dislike the concept of zoos in real life, the title is a nod to the mixture of animals living side by side rather than animals in captivity.
But what stood out for me was the script, artfully bounced around like a beautiful tennis rally by the actors, in particular Ginnifer Goodwin, as Officer Hopps and the uber-talented Jason Bateman playing the wily fox, Nick Wilde. While the kids were laughing at identically lemmings single filing out out the bank to buy ‘Pawpsicles’ the adults were sniggering at the Lemming Brothers Bank dig and hustler foxes selling off the discarded red-stained lolly sticks as ‘redwood’. Even the Department for Mammal Vehicle scene with Flash the sloth used in the trailers was hilarious end to end, a joke us Brits aren’t likely to get unless we’re regular consumers of U.S. shows (the waiting time at their Department for Motor Vehicle centres is notoriously long).
As the plot unravels, with a few clever twists even my 7-year old understood, it’s apparent to the grown-ups the story is a poignant but sad metaphor for our currant political climate. Donald Trump and his supporters should be locked in a cinema and made to watch it.
Perhaps the best film experiences are ones where you haven’t been exposed to multiple trailers or reviews beforehand. I certainly maintained a self-imposed information black out with The Force Awakens and the film had me on the edge of my seat, surpassing all expectation. It was the same with Zootropolis (given the curiously hopeful title of Zootopia in the U.S.). It has a very Disney ‘happy ever after’ without a princess in sight and thankfully NO love story just the Toy Story-esque message about the importance of friendship. For the more skeptical adults this may be ironic coming from Disney who still score low on gender stereotyping and multi-racial representation. But is a film I would be happy for my kids to watch repeatedly with little intervention needed from me to correct sexism or role stereotyping.
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