Zootropolis: A Review
Zootropolis is a bold, uniquely funny and utterly charming film that truly highlights spectacularly that our differences in appearance does not hinder our similarities underneath.
With Zootropolis, it’s difficult not to touch upon the elephant in the room. The original title for the US release is Zootopia but, for reasons Disney are coy about, the film takes the name Zootropolis in numerous territories. However, this confusion does not obstruct the film, as even all the altered dialogue and graphics flow seamlessly together, matching the quality of the rest of the production sublimely.
The film is set in the fictional city of Zootropolis, a city where mammals live together harmoniously. Following the character of idealistic bunny, Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) as she tries to fulfil her ambition of joining the police force, the plot is driven by her trying to solve a case. During her journey she seeks help from seemingly unscrupulous fox, Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman), who’d rather not get involved.
Interestingly, the film is named after the large city in which the movie is set, which is, actually a change for Disney, as most of their previous films are named after the main character. This carries through in the storytelling where even though the audience do follow the journey of Judy and Nick – a vast amount of the plot is spent on establishing the city. This, fundamentally, makes the city of Zootropolis itself, another character as the film allows its audience to build up a relationship with the city, by showing how the story ramifications affect the entire city and its population, really treating the city as a major character in developing the story.
The performances in Zootropolis are consistent across the board, with the leads of Goodwin and Bateman having a fantastically natural chemistry that rivals past Disney pairings. Idris Elba is fun to devour as a gruff police chief, whilst J.K. Simmons takes on the smaller role of the Mayor of Zootropolis. Alan Tudyk continues his run of Disney animated films, popping up for a minor role, and the audience is even treated to Shakira, who contributes a catchy song to the soundtrack, titled Try Everything.
Brilliantly it seems, Zootropolis is not shy of making a handful of humorous jokes in relation to Disney as a brand, very much in the same way that Guardians of the Galaxy did with Marvel. This utterly hilarious addition is extremely refreshing to devour, and sets up some stand out jokes that set the film apart from similar animal run animations.
What may come as a surprise to many, are the rather topical themes in which Zootropolis chooses to play with. There is a huge focus on identity and persecution, ideas which have connected with a handful of individuals to the extent there are drawing parallels with the ongoing migrant crisis. Quite obviously, the film is for all ages, but it digs so much deeper with its themes than many other contemporaries. Even the most standard-fare messages about being true to yourself and following your dreams are handled particularly well, providing the characters with the expected arcs and development. This paired with the jokes aimed strictly at adults, Zootropolis manages to be successful in its mission to be great entertainment for all ages.
Zootropolis has been dubbed by a few individuals as ‘Disney’s best animated film in 20 years‘ and this certainly has basis of truth, with it truly encapsulating Disney at its best.