Zootropolis (2016)9:22 AM
Welcome To The Urban Jungle.
This review contains spoilers.
Zootropolis (or Zootopia outside of Europe) is directed by Byron Howard (Tangled, Bolt), Rich Moore (Wreck-it Ralph) and Jared Bush. The film Disney's 55th Classic animated film and features the voices of Ginnifer Goodwin (Once Upon a Time, Walk the Line), Jason Bateman (Horrible Bosses, The Gift), Idris Elba (Prometheus, Pacific Rim), Jenny Slate (Obvious Child, The Lorax), Shakira and many others. "In a city of anthropomorphic animals, a rookie bunny cop and a cynical con artist fox must work together to uncover a conspiracy". Zootropolis has a lot to live up to - following big Disney hits such as Frozen, Tangled and Big Hero 6 - can it reach those heights?
Yes it can. It has been a few days since I saw Zootropolis and I still think it is one of Disney's best. The film could easily be so generic and cliche but its message is what sets it above the rest (similarly to Frozen and its message in the princess genre). I loved this film - I found it so upbeat, happy, inspiring and I now just want to visit Zootropolis. The voice acting is fantastic, the animation is top notch - in my opinion, this film gets nothing wrong.
I'm going to start with the quality of the animation. Disney definitely don't disappoint with how Zootropolis is animated - the fur of Nick Wilde was so colourful but also so detailed, it was just very impressive. Disney and Pixar definitely lead the way when it comes to their animation quality - Disney definitely just widened the gap from its competitors. Zootropolis is generally a very bright and colourful film which helped to make the film feel even more upbeat. However, the film did have some darker moments (in the Rainforest area) but I thought the animation here was strong as well - especially with how the weather (rain) was animated. Zootropolis just showcases why Disney is the leader in its field - the animation is on another level. I also really liked the qualities of the characters and how they acted very similar to what you would expect the actual animals to act. My favourite example of this is Judy Hopps' ears - I loved them - they were a big part of her character and the way they moved and twitched was excellent. I also liked how she actually put her earphones in her ears rather than most films with animals that usually still wear them on the side of their head.
The world building in Zootropolis was outstanding - I actually want to visit the city. I thought the scene where Judy Hopps was travelling on the train and entering Zootropolis will become iconic for this film. Not only do we get to see all of the cool different areas of the city but the music was a perfect fit - this could become as iconic as the entrance to Jurassic Park. I wanted to visit all of the areas we got a glimpse of in this scene - they all looked super cool and I wanted to see what types of creatures lived in each. The door is definitely open for this universe to expand - Zootropolis actually felt like a city and I really think Disney will and should make the most of this across other platforms.
As I briefly mentioned, the voice acting in Zootropolis is exceptional. I really think Ginnifer Goodwin is Judy Hopps - she was excellent - quirky, likeable, sweet - everything the character needed to be. Jason Bateman was more recognisable as Nick Wilde but he still was really great. I honestly think the duo had such great chemistry - it was also nice to see in a film a male and female duo that aren't love interests and are just friends. Bateman was brilliant though. Shakira's role in the film was very small but I love her song - 'Try Everything' is excellent. Idris Elba is also really good in the film. The voice acting is just strong all round in this film - ZOOper!
For me, the strongest element of Zootropolis is its message. Disney have once again found a way to fit an important message into a children's film. Racism is a key theme in this film - it is handled visually and through dialogue. For example, when Judy Hopps says that it is ok for other bunnies to call her cute but not for other animals to do so. This particular line of dialogue isn't something that kids will think much into but adult viewers will certainly understand what is meant by this. Zootropolis is all about breaking stereotypes and that you shouldn't judge anyone - Hopps has prejudgements about Nick Wilde from her past but she learns he isn't as bad as she thought foxes were. Zootropolis also tackles issues surrounding gender - the film shows that males and females can work together - not only with the leading duo but with the whole staff team of the ZPD. I just really liked the message of this film as it will hopefully teach children to be open to everyone and to 'try everything'. It really is hard to dislike Zootropolis when it has such a good and strong message as this.
I also really liked all of the clever references within Zootropolis. From referencing other Disney movies to TV shows like Breaking Bad. I loved the amount of Frozen references in the film - the line 'life isn't a cartoon musical where your dreams come true, so let it go!' was a fantastic and clever reference to Frozen. The scene that took place in the lab with the nighthowlers was a great reference to Breaking Bad that older audience members are only likely to understand - yet another example of Disney being great at making their films appeal to all audience members. The brands in Zootropolis are also fantastic - these can be seen from posters of the film but all of the puns are very clever. These references added to the humour - did I forget to mention that Zootropolis is also a very funny film?
Zootropolis really does introduce some fantastic characters into the Disney universe. Since watching the film, I have become a little obsessed with Judy Hopps - my bank account has suffered due to her merchandise. Hopps proves that no matter who you are, you can be capable of doing anything if you put your mind to it. For instance, when she is given the role of meter maid, she is a little down but that gets back up by setting herself a big goal. I just really liked how positive Hopps was. Nick Wilde is also a great character - even though he does fit into some of the stereotypes of foxes, he is also so much more and is living proof in the movie for kids that not everyone is the same, no matter what they look like. Chief Bogo also works as the realist in the film - he keeps the characters grounded and is a character that has real life application - everyone knows somebody like that. Bellwether is also a really interesting character that does teach kids to not have prejudgements of people - Bellwether turns out to be this big mastermind villain but did anyone see that coming? No because she's only a little sheep - your species doesn't define what you will be like.
The story for this film was actually pretty original. I was worried it was going to be quite generic but I haven't seen anything like this in an animated movie. I think the twist is what really sets it apart - you don't see it coming at all - not only do you not see Bellwether as the villain coming but you don't see what a night-howler actually is coming either. I think Disney are getting quite good at keeping their films exciting with constant twists and turns - Zootropolis is filled with them. Both Frozen and Big Hero 6 have had unexpected plot twists, Zootropolis is no different. I also liked how the 'prologue' for the film was actually a big part of the actual story - it introduced the audience to why Hopps was afraid of foxes which makes it even more ironic that she becomes almost best friends with one. Nothing is said or done in Zootropolis without reason - if you looked into most dialogue, everything ties together and I think that is really clever. Oh and that line 'it's called a hustle sweetheart' is brilliant.
Zootropolis is absolutely fantastic. It may not be as smart and deep as Inside Out but it is certainly a much more upbeat and fun film to watch. I think Zootropolis gets it just right - it has the powerful message that young and older audiences will understand but also has the humour and great characters that everyone will enjoy. The pop culture references are also fantastic. Zootropolis just has a universal appeal. Goodwin and Wilde help to create two great characters for the Disney universe that I can't wait to see more of. If it's only March and Disney have already treated us with Zootropolis, just think of what they could have in store for us with Finding Dorey and Moana!? Zootropolis is outstanding in every way.
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