Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Zootropolis

‘Zootropolis’, directed by Byron Howard, is Disney’s latest kid’s film, and shows that you should never give up on your dreams. Judy Hops (Ginnifer Goodwin) is a small bunny who’s grown up on a farm in the countryside with her farmer parents and her 275 brothers and sisters. Since a very young age she’s wanted to be a police officer, but has constantly been told that she’ll never be able to do it, and so she might as well just become a carrot farmer like the rest of her family. Determined to prove everyone wrong, Judy manages to join the police force and gets stationed in the heart of Zootropolis, a giant city where all kinds of animals live together in supposed harmony.


Judy isn’t taken seriously by the rest of her colleagues though, and when she finally manages to land a proper case by chance, she ends up having to use the help of Nick Wild (Jason Bateman), a devious fox criminal who specialises in his dodgy ice lolly business and tax evasion. Despite not getting along, the two have to overcome their differences when the case turns out to be a whole lot bigger than anyone expected.


As with a lot of recent Disney movies, ‘Zootropolis’ delivers a powerful message – you shouldn’t dislike or hate others purely because of what they look like or what species they are (translate: what colour skin they have). Unlike previous films, however, they’re not going for subtlety this time. There’s loads of great messages and morals to be found in this film, from believing in yourself and others to accepting everyone for what’s inside rather than out, but it just felt a bit forced. Generally children are cleverer than they seem, and don’t really need this sort of obviousness to actually understand the message conveyed. 

One thing that really stood out within ‘Zootropolis’ was the extensive world-building – the creators have designed a brilliant location that allows the whole animal community to integrate, and it’s actually pretty clever. From districts to suit different animals’ needs (including a tiny hamster town that features tubular walkways between buildings) to hilarious personality ideas based on animal traits,, ‘Zootropolis’ is clearly very thought-out, and it’s these little things that really add comedy to the film.

The characters are also great – immediately likeable and each with their own personal charm. Some are based off of popular film references such as ‘The Godfather’ and ‘Frozen’, with a lot of jokes that appeal to the adult audience as well as the younger ones. Some of them I wasn’t quite so sure about, such as the very obvious ‘Breaking Bad’ reference in the second part of the film (I’m not really sure how to explain that particular scene to an inquisitive child, and I don’t think I want to find out), which made the film seem a bit confused in its target audience – certain parts seemed to contain so many adult jokes that I wasn’t sure if kids would still find them engaging. Nevertheless, it did contain a whole host of good comedy that, combined with the characters, made a great watch.


There’s a lot of reviews out there raving about this being one of Disney’s best works, and I think that it potentially could have been if the story was as well considered as the world-building and the characters. I felt the story really let it down – yes, the message was important, but the plot just wasn’t that new. The twists were a tad obvious, and some of the scarier scenes didn’t hold interest as much as the less serious, more comical scenes. 

It was a good watch, and it certainly got the important messages across from the start. It felt a bit rushed at the end, and so wasn’t as good as I was hoping for though – I’m giving it 3/5.

★★★☆☆


Hannah Read


Zootropolis at CeX


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