Zootropolis, film review: ‘Disney’s good form continues with charming and witty tale’

Zootropolis.�2015 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Zootropolis.�2015 Disney. All Rights Reserved. - Credit: Archant

Strange as it may seem, for around a decade Disney were at the back of the animation field.

Zootropolis.�2015 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

Zootropolis.�2015 Disney. All Rights Reserved. - Credit: Archant

Even after buying up Pixar and putting boss John Lasseter in charge of both divisions, Disney Animation Studios faltered; failing to revive hand drawn animation with the Princess And The Frog, overspending wildly on Tangled.

This decade though it has all come together with big hits including the global phenomenon of Frozen. Their new blockbuster is a magnificent mix of Disney tradition and Pixar innovation.

Zootropolis (originally Zootopia) takes on the cornerstone of Disney animation – talking animals. Anthropomorphism has been an essential a part of Disney’s history and Zootropolis follows through on the logistics of a society of animals.

Here all animals live together harmoniously, having evolved beyond their traditional roles of predator and prey.

Judy (Goodwin) is a rabbit who achieves her dream of becoming a cop in the big city of Zootropolis (a futuristic city divided into various different section, parodying Disney World).

Once there, she finds her career progress being blocked by a buffalo police chief (Elba), who doesn’t believe rabbits are up to police work and that her appointment is just a gimmicky example of affirmative action.

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To get ahead she has to overcome a rabbit’s inherent suspicion of all foxes to team up with one, Nick Wilde (Bateman) and solve a big case.

The moral of not judging someone by their species proves a surprisingly flexible.

The film is impeccably PC (antiracist, anti-racial profiling, pro-feminist, inherently vegetarian), while still espousing the traditional Disney homily of following your dreams and being anything you want to be.

In other places it feels like a sly send up of PC convention. When told that she is a cute bunny, Judy lectures that although it is usual for one rabbit to use that word to another rabbit, other animals doing it is unacceptable.

Mostly though it is just great fun, not quite up there with the Pixar classics, but with that lovely mix of simple charm to win over the kids and sharp humour to enchant the grown ups that is the mark of a top notch animation.

Rating: 4/5 stars.