I’ve finally seen Zootropolis (otherwise known as Zootopia, if you live outside of the UK)! I’ve been looking forward to this movie ever since the concept art of a shirt wearing fox and police officer bunny leaked online, and I’m happy to say Zootropolis far exceeded my expectations and more.
Zootropolis is set in a world entirely populated by the animal kingdom, where the animals have evolved into intelligent, walking, talking beings, quite like us humans. This is explained quite cleverly in the movie’s first few minutes of runtime, so you quickly understand the universe you’re being introduced to.
However, just because all animals now walk, talk and behave intelligently, doesn’t mean they don’t have prejudices against other animals. In fact, the themes of bullying, stereotypes and cultural diversity are all at the slap-bang centre of the story.
Main protagonist Judy Hopps, a rabbit from Bunnyburrow (voiced by the amazing Ginnifer Goodwin from ABC’s Once Upon A Time), knows this more than anyone else. All her life, she has been told by her peers to stop following her dreams because in all of history, there has NEVER been a police officer bunny. Stereotypically, all the police officers at Zootropolis are shown to be much larger species (such as rhinos). However, Judy is determined more than anyone not to give up, so she completes and passes her rough, gruelling course with the training academy, and continues to become the first rabbit to work as part of the team on the Zootropolis Police Force.
However, on her first day at work, Judy is put on Meter Maid duty. Safe to say, she’s disappointed. Determined to debunk a real crime, Judy follows a suspicious-looking fox, being already wary of them after an unpleasant childhood experience with one. She soon discovers that said fox is a smooth-talking con-man who goes by the name of Nick Wilde (voiced by the incredible Jason Statham). Being the clever bunny she is, Judy eventually blackmails Nick into helping her solve Zootropolis’s biggest crime: the disappearance of 14 predatory animal citizens.
What I love about the characters in this movie is there really is more to them than meets the eye. For example, Clawhauser may look like an intimidating Cheetah who’s large in stature from a distance, but he’s really an innocent, adorable, huggable guy who loves nothing more than eating donuts and listening to the latest tracks by pop star Gazelle (who is brought to life by the beautiful Shakira, and has an awesomely catchy song that accompanies the movie perfectly). Judy and Nick’s initial relationship evolves into one of the most caring friendships as they help each other to solve the case by putting their differences aside combining their skills. However, it turns out they might have a little more in common than they think.
As I mentioned earlier, Zootropolis has some very strong themes of injustice amongst cultural diversity at its centre. The themes are blatant throughout the entire movie (both physically and metaphorically) and cannot be ignored. But I personally feel that cultural diversity is SO IMPORTANT in today’s society, and kudos to Disney for portraying it in a movie that is entirely family-friendly, completely enjoyable and has exactly the right attitude towards the often delicate subject; showing that just because you might be unique, different, or viewed as “weird”, it doesn’t mean you’re flawed; it’s what makes you special, and what makes you “you”. Judy in particular is a character who can definitely be viewed as a positive role model for children everywhere. She won’t let herself be stopped short of achieving her police officer dream by racial, stereotypical or gender boundaries, no matter how many hard situations fall upon her. And that is lesson we can all learn from Judy, no matter our age, gender or cultural background.
On a lighter note, Zootropolis has an absolutely hilarious sense of humour. Myself and my friend found ourselves laughing out loud for the majority of the runtime! The scene with the sloths is a personal favourite of mine, although there is lots of others too (of which I won’t give away… You’ll just have to watch the film and find out!). Oh, and did I mention just how gorgeous the animation is in this movie? You can just tell the animators and concept artists worked long and hard to make the world of Zootropolis bright, colourful, idealistic and, in true Disney fashion, MAGICAL.
All-in-all, Zootropolis is a clever, fun, fresh new kind of Disney movie with a good soul, and I’m happy to say it’s now a new firm favourite with me! It is suitable for all viewing ages, although I will admit some of the 3 year olds in our cinema where getting a little tiresome and kept talking loudly/crying towards the latter half of the film… This could be because be because the runtime is fairly long, and they were perhaps just a little too young to fully understand the plot. I don’t want to say that goes for all 3 year olds though as each and every child is different, after all! There’s a lot here for adults to enjoy too. And for us true hardcore Disney fans, Zootropolis has a whole bunch of awesome Easter Eggs! Make sure to keep your eyes (and ears) peeled when watching, and see how many you can spot… There sure is a lot!
Have you seen Zootropolis? Let me know what your thoughts were by tweeting me @MandyJean