“We all make mistakes. No matter what type of
animal you are, change starts with you.”
Judy Hopps, Ginnifer Goodwin
[dropcap]F[/dropcap]rom the producers of Wreck-It-Ralph and Lilo & Stitch, comes the unique world of Zootopia (or Zootropolis if you’re from my neck of the woods). Based in a world where humans don’t exist and animals walk on two legs, Disney’s latest film takes a fun look at the lives of our furry friends in a city where both predators and prey coexist – and is a deliberate deviation from Disney’s last big hit, Frozen.
“From the largest elephant to the smallest shrew, the city of Zootopia is a mammal metropolis where various animals live and thrive. When Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) becomes the first rabbit to join the police force, she quickly learns how tough it is to enforce the law. Determined to prove herself, Judy jumps at the opportunity to solve a mysterious case. Unfortunately, that means working with Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman), a wily fox who makes her job even harder.”
Zootopia’s greatest strengths lie in the simplicity of its story, a collection of top rate voice-actors and unbelievably realistic CG texturing. Another thing that came as a nice surprise was that the film manages to cleverly tackle real-world issues like racial prejudice, stereotyping, and class, for a children’s audience. For once, it was nice to see the tiny humans treated more like people than simple-minded Disney cash cows – well.. on the story side at least.
One of my favourite things about the movie was the interaction between the two main leads. Their witty back and forth is both engaging and hilarious to watch, and it’s all thanks to their surprisingly talented voice-actors. The loveable Judy Hopps is played by the equally adorable Ginnifer Goodwin – better known for her role as Snow White in ABC’s Once Upon A Time. Zootopia’s first lady-bunny cop Judy is quirky but driven in her goals to be her best self, and is a surprisingly good female role-model of the tiny little bunny kind. Jason Bateman plays the other part of this loveable duo, as the light-handed fox Nick Wilde. Bateman is best known for his TV and movie comedic roles, like his role as Michael Bluth in Arrested Development TV series, but seems born for the voice-acting life with his dry humour and impressively emotional delivery in later scenes. Together, they make an incredible duo who are essentially the heart and soul of the movie, but they are also strong enough separately to drive their respective character stories.
For a children’s film, the writing was excellent and its comedy style reminded me of Toy Story – another children’s film made for adults. One of the scripts greatest triumphs was that its comedy was less of the laugh-a-minute that modern children films have come to rely on, and was instead more emotionally driven and imaginative. It’s been a long time since I’ve found myself in a movie theatre where people were truly enjoying themselves and adults and children alike were laughing out loud! Some of my favourite comedy scenes included the Mousefather and the naturist park.
However, above all else, it is the CG quality that sets Zootopia above all the other films this year. The hyperrealism and level of detail put into the CG texturing of the animal fur is beyond anything I’ve ever seen. The effort put into just one square inch of this film shows just how much love the filmmakers put into every second of this film – and trust me it shows. It’s a step above today’s ‘typical’ animated films and it definitely knows it.
For some reason, I set out not wanting to like Zootopia – or even see it. I don’t know if it was the cheesy Disneyfied feel that I got from the trailers, or just that I feel that being an adult that I’m not meant to like designated ‘kiddie’ films, but I’m glad that I did. The combo of great lead actors, an excellent script and a heartwarming story has made this film one of my favourite Disney’s in a long time, as the film unwaveringly stays true to itself and its characters. If this film could make me crack a smile on my old haggard face, then it’s sure to put one on yours! Let’s just say, this film is a dead cert for the upcoming awards season – and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s up for more than the ‘Animated Feature’ awards!