From Wreck-It Ralph to Frozen to Big Hero 6, Disney's other animation branch, outside of Pixar, Walt Disney Animation Studios, have been delivering one great project after another in recent years. Their latest animation, Zootropolis (or Zootopia as it's better known as, in the U.S), has arrived but can it continue the studio's winning streak? Here's my review.

If there's one thing that Disney can do well, for the most part, it's create creatively rich, accessible and thoroughly entertaining films - be it coming from Pixar or Disney's other animation studio. From the inside of a little girl's mind to inside a video game to a city inhabited by anthropomorphic animals, this is a studio that know how to deliver creative, ingenious worlds for us to transport to. The latest from Disney's animation canon - the first of two this year, with the musical Moana following up in November - takes us inside to the aforementioned animal-inhabited city by the name of Zootropolis and Disney-alumni's Byron Howard - who helmed Tangled and Bolt  - and Ron Moore - the mind behind Wreck-It Ralph - lead the way, having created yet another unique and fulfilling animated flick that is one of Disney's best in years.
The story follows the idealistic, over-enthusiastic bunny Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin), from the suburbs of Zootopia, intent on making her name as a police officer. However, feeling that her small size means she is not too suitable to fight for the law, Chief Bogo (a rhino, voiced here by Idris Elba) keeps her to more timid jobs like parking duties. Feeling that she is destined for more, Hopps soon stumbles across a corrupt case within the city and enlists the help of the slick, con-artist fox Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) - who is blackmailed into helping her - to aid her in making sure that predators and prey can live in Zootropolis in harmony by uncovering this conspiracy theory that is going on. Of course, the pair have to make sure that they can make the typical fox and rabbit tension and rivalry work out themselves first.

Howard and Moore, who wrote as well as directed, have written such a brilliant story with Zootropolis - one that is immensely entertaining and accessible by all. The story takes the conventional buddy-cop formula and adds a unique, refreshing twist on it and, whilst it does veer into conventionality on occasion, it's a screenplay that is very commendable for its efforts of standing out from the crowd. It's also one of Disney's more mature films in recent years. Whilst we have fluffy bunnies trying to save the day, the heart of the premise is fairly dark and veers into compelling, more "adult" territory and tackles some rather mature themes such as racism, stereotypes and even politics. There is a lot of humour aimed towards the older demographic within the audience too; hell, there are references to The Godfather and Breaking Bad. In a kids film, full of colourful animation and talking animals running around and lots of visual gags and humour and ideals aimed towards kids.
Yet, I feel as though the term "kids" film doesn't justify Zootropolis. Sure, the stunning and beautifully realised visuals and animation are colourful and energetic and this world is magnificent, full of such great, riveting characters, and the fulfilling narrative has a lot of great messages for the little ones, but there is a lot that will hit home with older audience members too. This is definitely one for the whole family. Because, at the same time, despite some adult jokes and mature themes, a lot of the humour and visual gags are hilarious and fun for everyone and it's premise is still accessible by all and it's a satisfying and entertaining watch for all audiences - from little kids who get soaked up in the colourful aesthetic to the youngsters whose minds will be challenged by what Zootropolis offers right up the adults who can be inspired and entertained by this picture too.

The film isn't perfect, however, and there are a lot of scenes which felt unnecessary or irrelevant and that dragged a little and the occasional joke which didn't work all too well but, in the end, Zootropolis is a true delight. The stellar voice work is incredible, with Bateman and Goodwin cast so perfectly and playing off one another so brilliantly; the animation is gorgeous, this world and these characters are so meticulously crafted; the direction and story are great, offering a satisfying and accessible narrative. The film is hilarious too and just spades of fun and it's one that the whole family can enjoy - with aspects pleasing the kids and aspects pleasing the adults. Zootropolis is an entertaining and very relevant film and it is definitely up there alongside Disney's best works. Oh, and Shakira's song "Try Everything" is damn catchy.

Packed with heart and wit, Zootropolis is yet another stunning gem from Disney; an intelligent, beautiful and tremendously fun delight.

Tagged as

About the Author

Awais Irfan
Founder of Oasis Awais, and avid lover of life, Awais Irfan's love of writing and film is unequivocal. Ever since he was a little kid, he has loved the cinematic experience; so much so, he is studying Film Production in Glasgow and hopes to be the next "big thing" in directing.

Related Posts