Zootopia is an animated comedy directed by Byron Howard and Rich Moore set in an alternate world ruled and populated by evolved animals who live and function much like humans in their own distinct cities and town, ambitious bunny Judy Hopps wishes to become a cop and partners together with a shady fox in order to solve a mysterious crime case.
If you thought Disney had run out of original ideas with its recent slew of live action re-makes and sequels… well you thought wrong as Zootopia shows there is plenty of creativity, fun and invention to be had with the studio and the film flourishes with vibrancy, a host of colourful characters and some great voice acting that really brings said characters to life. The cast is great, with the actors being really suited to their specific roles, you can sort of tell Idris Elba is Chief Bogo and Batemans’ intonations seep through his dialogue as Nick Wilde which goes to highlight how well the actors do at fitting into their characters, bringing a sense of believability to them.
It’s great to see different animals having parts of their personalities influenced by how they’re perceived/their traits which resulted in some of the funniest moments in the film, the sloths at the DMV for example and the rodent mobster boss with Polar bear henchmen are just two examples, the latter being a play against expectations which was fun.
One of the films strengths on the whole is its inherent sense of light comedy and fun, the titular city being a parallel to our own large metropolises around the world with diverse cultures and ethnicities, represented in the story as different animals with their different quirks, personality types and way of functioning which is played out in several genuinely funny gags and social allegories. So much so that I found Zootopia surprisingly deeper than I expected which was a nice touch, not so subtle parallels to racism with certain animals being discriminated against and pre-judged really brings home what some characters feel and what motivated them while not making the plot feel too dark. Disneys classic formula of an inventive idea with engaging characters and surprising depth is again at work here and it’s a film that kids will enjoy as will teens and adults who will appreciate the smarter and well worked in jokes that go over the kids heads and that’s Disney for you, touching all the bases.
Balancing serious themes with such a fluffy and light exterior in regards to the film is no mean feat with the core of the story being about identity and animals aspiring to be what they want despite what society tells them to while the plot is clearly a family friendly comedy but it works and that’s no big surprise as this is Disney and they know how to make engaging plots and sympathetic characters. And to mention the plot itself, it’s good, throwing you right into the context of the world and getting things going fairly quickly with some slower moments but they’re few and far between as things generally move along at a good pace which helps to keep things interesting and as things develop, a plot point relating to nature and biology re-invigorated my interest and kept me wanting to watch.
. Engaging and sympathetic characters
. Genuinely funny jokes/gags
. Interesting plot, good pacing