Directors: Byron Howard, Rich Moore and Jared Bush

Rating: A-

I knew very little about Zootopia before I saw it, so I’ll admit I was expecting some kind of strange Madagascar knock-off. Luckily I was wrong. 

Instead, Zootopia is about a world run by animals that have evolved from their ‘savage’ days of being predators and prey. The story follows feisty bunny Judy Hops (Ginnifer Goodwin), who breaks down stereotypes by deciding she’s going to be the first rabbit policeman and moves to the thriving metropolis of Zootopia to pursue her dream. She quickly finds a lead in the Case of the Missing Animals, and with help from sly fox Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman), sets out to save the day! So pretty much a classic buddy cop (or bunny cop) crime film, but this time with animals..

That may seem too cliché, but fast paced action and lots of plot twists (and animal puns!) make for a fun couple of hours. 

The animation is impressive, and the world-building that’s gone into the actual city of ‘Zootopia’ is cool. It’s divided into customized districts for each type of animal, so there’s a Tundratown, a Sahara Square and a Little Rodentia. Shady rodents sell bootlegged copies of ‘animal’ versions of Disney movies (Wreck-it Rhino and Pig Hero 6) while sloths run the DMV and polar bears are involved in organised crime. There’s also a fun cameo by Shakira as pop sensation ‘Gazelle’.

Zootopia may seem like a mindless kids film, but there are clear underlying messages about stereotypes and oppression (some bunnies can be so anti-fox). I definitely wasn’t expecting a kids’ film about an alternate animal universe to be so current. Overall, this is a fun movie, even if it isn’t quite at Pixar or Studio Ghibli level. Definitely a good one to see if mid-semester blues have got you down.

This article first appeared in Issue 8, 2016.
Posted 12:45pm Sunday 24th April 2016 by Jess Alsop.