Zootopia – released as Zootropolis in the UK and some other territories for reasons that have never been made completely clear – is a witty animated buddy cop movie from Disney that’s set in a vibrant city of anthropomorphic animals, and although it probably comes across a little heavy-handed to adults in terms of the way that it delivers underlining messages of tolerance and harmony, the more important thing is that kids of all ages may be influenced for the better having seen it. I liked it very much: the city itself is an imaginatively-designed and colourful setting, with lots of cool inventions and specially-tailored areas allowing the animals to live together side-by-side (rodents get their own tiny borough, for example), while the voice acting is pretty good too, specifically by stars Ginnifer Goodwin and Jason Bateman. The former plays Judy Hopps, the first bunny rabbit in history to pass the police officer entrance exam, and the latter plays a con artist fox named Nick Wilde, who joins Judy in investigating a plot to turn certain docile animals back to being savages. I was also impressed by Maurice LaMarche’s Corleone-esque kingpin (an arctic shrew!) but best of all are the sloths, doggedly working away in the Department of Mammal Vehicles and subjecting every customer to their own painfully slow brand of bureaucracy. It’s funny enough to forgive and forget about the formulaic plot, and in all honesty 2016 has been so full of bad news stories from around the world that relate to intolerance, fear, prejudice and hatred in some way or other I’m really glad that there’s a mainstream Disney movie touching on these issues, and that it has been a huge hit. No other major animation studio is on the ball, as far as I can see.
Directed by: Byron Howard, Rich Moore
Written by: Jared Bush, Phil Johnston.
Starring: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba, Jenny Slate, Nate Torrence, Bonnie Hunt, Don Lake, Tommy Chong, JK Simmons, Octavia Spencer, Alan Tudyk, Shakira.
Cinematography: Thomas Baker.
Editing: Fabienne Rawley, Jeremy Milton.
Music: Michael Giacchino.
Running Time: 108.