Review of Zootropolis, Disney’s new animated kids movie

Disney’s Zootropolis is out in cinemas just in time for Easter break, and we couldn’t be hoppier 😉 And no, fellow mums, it’s not just because Idris Elba makes a mighty fine* Chief Bogo, but it’s an absolutely cracking film, with something for everyone.

Disney have been pulling out all the stops over the past decade, wowing us with big, beautifully crafted films again and again. With the belly laughs and stunning animation of Frozen and Big Hero 6 firmly etched in our memories (probably forever), we were looking forward to the next Disney animation, almost regardless of story or setting. In fact, we actually thought it would be okay if Zootropolis (also known as Zootopia) ended up being a ‘filler’ movie – you know, one of those films that’s more about filling the school holiday calendar than filling our hearts.

Instead, we found ourselves mesmerised by the most richly woven scenes and incredible attention to detail – right down to the frighteningly realistic way the wolves’ fur moves in the wind, how different animals might walk if upright, and what you might find in the food court if giraffes had money to spend.

Distracted by the extraordinary setting, it took a moment to realise what a bold step Disney had taken with the storyline too. The allusions to racial discrimination, gender discrimination and bullying are impossible to miss – Disney have managed to tackle those delicate subjects with aplomb and talk about inclusion and equality without preaching.

Finally, being a Disney movie, it will come as no surprise that Zootropolis oozes humour – we were literally guffawing with laughter, possibly even more so than the kids. I don’t mean a casual chuckle now and then… I mean, you may well snort popcorn out of your nose, multiple times, and if you are watching the movie with a 7 and 9 year old (as we did!) they’ll be in fits of giggles for days on end. Be warned.

So what’s it about, then? In essence, Zootropolis is about a bunny (Judy Hopps, voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin) who wants to break out of farming life and do something no bunny has ever done before. She’s always dreamed of becoming a police officer in the big city of Zootropolis, where anyone can be whatever they want to be. The trouble is, while animals of all shapes and sizes live side by side in Zootropolis, she finds that small-mindedness is rife in the big city too, and things aren’t always as peachy as they look from the outside.

Discriminated against for being just a cute little bunny, she finds herself edged out of the jobs that the bigger, burlier police officers get to take on, instead assigned ‘meter maid’ duties, much to her parents’ delight.

Soon, though, things start to shift in her favour, giving her the opportunity to prove her worth. As you’d expect, she stumbles across a clue that might well crack a huge case her fellow police officers have been trying but failing to solve. Now, every good crime mystery movie hero or heroine needs an unlikely partner, a true “frienemy” – someone who makes her question everything she thought she knew about friendship, loyalty and trust. Enter Nick, a charming fox con artist whose dry humour could never have been anyone other than Jason Bateman. Strangely (and rather delightfully), he is somehow more Jason Bateman as Nick Wilde than he is in his human roles.

Together they embark on what can only be described as an exciting, pacey, twisty-turny crime mystery, and both do some growing up in the process.

It’s snappy action, witty dialogue, belly laughs and believable characters throughout, so if seeing a bunny on the posters you were hoping for ‘cheesy girly movie’, this is not it.


Zootropolis is in UK cinemas on Friday, 25th of March 2016.

*Yes, it pains the writer to admit that she might have a small crush on a water buffalo.

Written by Janis P.


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