0600 | Zootropolis (aka Zootopia)

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.
Certificate:
PG.
Running Time:
108.
Year:
2016.

Comments 10

  1. Keith July 25, 2016

    I liked parts of this but I found the second half to be a chore. For me the movie doesn’t just touch on the issues of tolerance and profiling. It pounds it into the ground the further it went along. Early on I thought it was very smart with the way in incorporated it into the story. Later though I felt it smothered out the story. But several things really worked (the sloths especially – as you mentioned).

    • Stu July 25, 2016

      Yeah it’s certainly not subtle. It’s hard as an adult to judge the relative merits of a film that’s aimed at kids. I’m not sure how they have responded to Zootropolis generally-speaking, but I guess the message is repeatedly driven home for their benefit. As these things go I thought it was pretty good, though.

  2. Three Rows Back July 31, 2016

    Great read Stu. I was pleasantly surprised by this I have to say. It’s not genius but it’s effortlessly entertaining. Sorry I’ve been a bit quiet recently; time has been at a bit short of late.

    • Stu August 1, 2016

      Thanks Mark, much appreciated. No worries…hope all is good! I liked Zootopia and it has gone up further in my estimation after watching The Secret Life Of Pets, which was nowhere near as good.

  3. Todd B September 9, 2016

    I watched this for the first time just recently, not knowing a thing about it, and was surprised that the story leaned towards a crime mystery, which though simple was quite fun. But I really, really loved the artwork and animation…what a treat that was, and such detail! I could watch it again for that aspect alone. And yeah, the messages were a bit obvious, but like you said, if it helps steer kids in the right direction, I’m all for it.

    • Stu September 9, 2016

      I agree – the animation of the city in particular I thought was really good…and there were lots of ideas at play. I’m a bit down on The Sinister Disney Corporation at times but their animated features are usually intended to be a force for good. And apparently they have theme parks too….who knew?!

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