DIR: Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Jared Bush • WRI: Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Jared Bush, Josie Trinidad, Jim Reardon, Phil Johnston, Jennifer Lee, Dan Fogelman • PRO: Clark Spencer • ED: Jeremy Milton, Fabienne Rawley • DES: David Goetz • MUS: Michael Giacchino • CAST: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba, Jenny Slate, Nate Torrence, Bonnie Hunt, Don Lake, Tommy Chong, J.K. Simmons, Octavia Spencer, Alan Tudyk and Shakira
Before I get into my views on this film I must make clear that I am fully aware that this is a tonally light animation film. However, hidden within this ‘tonally light animation film’ is an elegantly told crime/mystery. It is also a fable about system failures and political corruption. In this anthropomorphic world a seal named Bunk Morland and a badger named Jimmy McNulty wouldn’t be out of place. There is (kind of) a Stringer Bell in the character Chief of Police Bogo who is voiced by Idris Elba, a water buffalo, who must report to Mayor Lionheart (Simmons) a lion.
There is a chain of command in Zootropolis, our hero rookie cop Bunny Hops (Goodwin) is at the bottom of it. Zootropolis is set in a world where the animal kingdom can get along civilly. Predator and prey can live side by side in the name of commerce. How this came to be is unexplained (as is the question as to what the carnivores eat). Our idealistic hero enters Zootropolis fresh from the police academy and ready to make a difference. She is swiftly brought down to earth by Chief Bogo who puts her on parking ticket duty. There is something amiss in Zootropolis however. Predatory animals are mysteriously reverting to their wild ways. It is up to Bunny and a fox named Nick Wilde (Bateman) (an odd couple situation) to crack the case against the odds and the pressure from superiors and society.
Not only does Zootropolis have a strong plot but also a fantastic message of tolerance and inclusion for audiences of all ages. Especially in the world climate we have found ourselves in today with the likes of Donald Trump and Isis attempting to poison our minds and outlooks on the world we live in. Zootropolis’ message is to treat everyone as an individual and don’t be too quick to judge.
Grievances lie in the film’s third act which is a little bit stretched, giving the feeling that it has two parts. This is a minor structural problem. Zootropolis ,while entertaining, is not consistently funny. Pop culture gags and parodies of The Godfather (1972) and Breaking Bad (2008-13) seem tired and unoriginal. Admirably, Zootropolis shares the same positive message as Fitz Lang’s Metropolis (1927), a silent film made 89 years previous. We as individuals have the authority to make our world a better place.
PG (See IFCO for details)
Zootropolis is released 18th March 2016