Zootropolis (or Zootopia) is an animated film from Disney animation and is directed by Bryan Howard, Rich Moore and Jared Bush, starring Ginnefer Goodwin and Jason Bateman and co-starring Idris Elba, Jenny Slate, Nate Torrence and J.K Simmons. The film is set in a world where all mammals, predator and prey, live together in the city of Zootropolis. This city’s police force made up solely of large, tough, animals, until Judy Hopps (Goodwin) is appointed as the first rabbit police officer. The film follows Hopps as she struggles to be taken seriously as a cop, and when she tries to prove herself by taking on a case of a missing otter, she must seek the help of a fox con-man Nick Wilde (Bateman). The film is entertaining for both children and adults, as the best family films are, and is full of fun and meaning. It never had me crying but it did make me think and has strong messages that are important for all ages, not to mention smiling and laughing throughout.
The film is beautifully animated and brilliantly written with fast and clever dialogue. It doesn’t play down to children like a lot of kids films do but is instead surprisingly sophisticated at times. There are obviously jokes more designed for children but these didn’t alienate me from the film as they blended in well. The films premise is very well thought out and executed. The world of Zootropolis is very energetic and fascinating so the film remains interesting throughout as I was excited to see how detailed it was. I will say that the pacing was a little off at times though, as there was sometimes a bit too much down time before the next plot point started, but once the next exciting thing happened I was back to being engaged. As for the story itself, it was very interesting and engaging, and had both familiar and original elements. There was some very sophisticated social commentary on the idea of discrimination. The film highlights how a group can be labelled in different ways and how unfair and wrong it is to be judged based on how you were born and how this can affect people differently later on in life, which I found to be a very powerful and important message. There are also parallels with the ideas of corruption, drugs and organised crime, which are handled very well. The films messages feel very powerful and important to teach to children.
Hopps and Wilde are both very strong, well rounded characters, voiced brilliantly by Goodwin and Bateman. Hopps is passionate and determined to achieve her dreams despite social pressures and learns how to grow pasted her own prejudices as well. She is full of charm and enthusiasm, but is also sensitive when it’s required, and so is a strong an interesting character, and one of the best female leads in a kid’s film I’ve seen in a while. Wilde is very witty and funny, and seeing him change and grow from untrustworthy con-man into a great friend and partner to Hopps is very touching. The pair have lots of emotional layers and are interesting, three dimensional characters, as is their relationship, which changes and grows realistically. You care about these characters through their ups and downs and they definitely bring the heart to this film.
Zootropolis is a very heartfelt and entertaining film for both children and adults, with a very sophisticated message of equality that is handled very well. It is far from lazy and was a lot of fun to watch.
P.S. There are a couple of references to well-known crime films and T.V shows, that will definitely go over a kids head and appeal more to adults, which I found hilarious.