By Thomas Simpson
Walt Disney returns with their 55th animated feature, Zootopia. This is a world where animals have evolved to a more human state and features some of the best exposition I’ve seen to explain how. The opening scene sets up the themes and plot points in the form of a school play, explaining how prey and predator used to have an acrimonious co-existence but now live harmoniously in Zootopia, a large metropolitan city. It’s the first of many clever moments in this wonderful movie.
Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) is a young rabbit who dreams of becoming the first bunny cop in Zootopia. She leaves her naive rural upbringing and travels to the big city after graduating top of her class at the Police Academy. She soon discovers that urban life is going to be more difficult to crack as Judy finds herself lonely and struggling to make an impression on her new boss, Chief Bogo (Idris Elba). There is hope for Judy when she volunteers to take on the case of a missing otter although she wasn’t expecting to team up with a street hustling fox called Nick (Jason Bateman).
Zootopia is an excellent film that provides regular laughs while delivering a thoughtful and meaningful message. The allegories for racism and prejudices are anything but subtle, yet they don’t insult your intelligence as it’s done so brilliantly. Younger minds might not understand the depth to the script however it’s clear to any age that the message here is don’t treat people poorly because they’re different.
Goodwin and Bateman have magnificent chemistry as the unlikely alliance between rabbit and fox leads to a hilarious buddy movie that tastefully ticks all the right boxes on a list of tropes. Nick’s sneering arrogance wittily conflicts with Judy’s wide-eyed optimism that makes for an engaging partnership that highlights the strengths of both actors as well as depth of the characters.
The animation is as stunning as you’d expect with incredible detail given to everything from the foreground to the back. The world of Zootopia looks amazing with the cuter stars presented so adorably that they elicit the intended responses with ease.
The script is littered with Easter eggs aimed at adults whether it be gags or throwaway lines. If your kids have been wanting to see Zootopia, then take them. If they haven’t, take them anyway and use them as an excuse to go see it for yourself. I doubt you’ll be disappointed.