Zootropolis (2016)

Please note: this film was released as Zootopia in the US and elsewhere, but for some reason was renamed Zootropolis for the UK.

Little Judy Hops wants nothing more than to be a police officer when she grows up – which everyone around her thinks is a joke, given there’s never been a bunny cop. Ah yes: welcome to a world of not just talking animals, but a world where evolution has removed the split between predators and prey. Except, old stereotypes die hard, and careers like the police force are still dominated by the big and the bad. Judy, however, is nothing if not smart and resourceful and above all determined – and becomes Zootropolis’s first rabbit cop.

However, her challenges are far from over. Seen as an ‘affirmative action’ token, she’s not taken seriously by her boss and colleagues, instead given meter maid duty. Determined to prove herself (again), she’s soon got a foot in the door on the city’s biggest case: fourteen mammals have gone missing, with no apparently connections. Dragging a shady con-artist of a fox along with her, Judy must solve the case, or lose her career and life’s dream.

Zootropolis was surprisingly fun, I thought. The messages are loud and clear, and yet somehow not shoved down your throat as the story unwinds. While nothing massively original, there are enough little touches that really made me smile. For instance, unusually for a talking animal animation, Zootropolis is home to a mix from elephants down to tiny shrews – and the little background touches of the practicalities of such a diverse population are well thought out, rather than glossed over unrealistically (!). The grown-ups are allowed a few jokes (e.g. the Walter and Jesse reference to Breaking Bad), but in the main the story isn’t so dumbed down as to need the relief.

Overall, the character arcs are predictable, and the story hits all the fairly generic plot-points you’d expect, but it’s done well and raises more than a few smiles along the way.

Not designed to be a classic of the animation genre, I’d say, but a nice bit of light relief.

Released: 25th March 2016
Viewed: 2nd April 2016
Running time: 108 minutes
Rated: PG

My rating: 7/10

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