Fresh from my first Snooty Ushers review, I am back once again to give you my thoughts on Disney’s latest offering. Now, those of you have known me for long enough will remember a time when I would not waste my time with animation, cartoon pish I used to call it, that all changed when I became a dad (click here for the full story). Ever since Tangled, a Pixar free Disney have been on somewhat of a roll. Does that continue with Zootropolis?
Judy Hopps is a little bunny with big dreams, she lives with her parents and 200+ brothers and sisters in the small suburb of Bunny Burrow. With a future as a carrot farmer ahead her, she wants more. She wants to move Zootropolis, a thriving metropolis where animals have evolved and prey and predators live together in harmony. Not only that, she wants to be the first ever Bunny to make it into the Zootropolis Police Department.
This is familiar territory for Disney, a human free world where animals wear clothes and walk on their hind legs. They have created a vivid colourful society, which is both visually stunning and wonderfully realised. The scene where Judy first arrives at Zootropolis train station is a visual treat that had both me and my 4 year old gazing at the screen with the same expression of wonder on our faces.
Judy Hopps is a heroine for a modern Disney, self reliant and confident in the style of Rapunzel or Anna, she knows what she wants and will stop at nothing to get it. In a fun montage she finishes top of her class at the police academy and is assigned to Chief Bogo’s (a bull police chief played with grumpy relish by Idris Elba) team right in the centre of Zootropolis. She is shunned by her colleagues and immediately assigned traffic duty. She soon finds herself working with Nick Wilde a slick hustling fox (a sarcastically cool turn from the brilliant Jason Bateman) as she tries to prove everyone wrong by solving a missing animal case. To my delight we have ourselves a buddy movie.
Like any other film of this nature, the pair are at odds at first but as they stumble into a high reaching conspiracy, they come to rely on each other and are soon close friends. The whole of prey/predator living together and forming an uneasy truce and living with their differences is a telling analogy to what is going on in the world at the moment (immigration, racism) this is territory in which Disney don’t normally stray and I wont dwell on here. Sure, political analogy will be above the heads of most of the younger audience, but this film is brilliantly layered so that it appeals to all the family. It is bright, colourful and fun for the kids and smart and brilliantly noirish to appeal to the, lets say, bigger kids.
The film itself is beautifully animated with a whip smart script. Filled with brilliant vocal performances from our bouncy, energetic heroine (Ginnifer Goodwin) to our sly sarcastic hustling hero Fox. Other standouts are Nate Torrance as Clawhauser, a campy, obese cheetah and Tommy Chong as a laid back stoner Yak. The cracking noirish story is littered with film and TV references from The Godfather to Breaking Bad with a brilliant nod in the films stand out scene when Office Hopps chases a thieving weasel called Duke Weaslton (get it?).
It will take more than one watch to spot everything going on here (the elephants dressed in Anna and Elsa dresses for example), so go see this, then pre-order the blu ray. Disney’s animation studio takes a real step forward here, the Pixar influence is obvious, and this companies animation juggernaut shows no sign of slowing down any time soon.
A cliche it might be, but this really is a treat for all the family. Unmissable
Thanks for reading. Hope you folks enjoyed yourselves, catch ya later on down the trail.