Fluffy and fun, this is seriously one of the best animations from Disney I have seen. The story is captivating and more politically charged than you may expect from a cartoon about anthropomorphic animals. There’s plenty of laughs for both adults and children and it just looks so loved by the detail in every shot.
In the countryside lives Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin), an enthusiastic rabbit who always wants to follow her dreams, which happen to be becoming the first cop on the force in busy Zootropolis. There she gets slung to the job of parking warden by Chief Bogo (Idris Elba) but thankfully it lets her meet cunning fox Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) who may just be able to help with the more alarming spate of disappearances in the city.
Disney have crafted such a rich animation with this movie, it looks absolutely incredible. It’s a very beautiful film, with lots of colour, texture and detail to draw you into this urban landscape of upright walking mammals. It’s 100% a film that warrants repeated viewing, to enjoy the fast paced fun of the story but more so to try and keep up with all the brilliant visual puns that litter the backdrop of mostly every scene. From billboards to pirate DVDs, this film is stuffed full of gags that enrich the environment of this animal world.
Jared Bush and Phil Johnston pen a wonderful screenplay that has enough heart and fun for the kids, but also clever comedy and darker subtext for the grown ups watching. Of course the message about trying and never giving up is nothing original but somehow here with all the additional writing about stereotyping animals for attacks and subjecting them to exclusion is extremely relevant to the worrying topic of what’s happening in the world right now. It’s a political angle that I never expected but gladly accepted because it makes this movie feel so much more necessary and thoughtful than prior Disney films.
Michael Giacchino provides the music, making you feel safe in his capable hands. I mean after a collection of credits such as ‘Inside Out’, ‘Super 8’ and ‘Up’ you know the score is going to be impressive, and it is exactly that. It bounces like Hopps does and it buzzes with intrigue as the mystery of the case begins counting down. On top of this is Shakira’s inclusion as a popstar Gazelle who provides an infuriating ear-worm of a song that may just rival the similarly catchy ‘Let it Go’.
Ginnifer Goodwin makes Judy Hopps come alive with bouncy enthusiasm as she tries to make it in the metropolis. So when she becomes more upset and generally droopy in the ear, her vocal performance makes that contrast more noticeable and you feel for the character. Jason Bateman is great as Nick Wilde, giving him that hustler edge but all the time you know there’s something under the fuzzy orange surface, to make him more human if you will. Idris Elba is booming and fierce as the chief of police, Tommy Chong lands in one of the weirdest yet funniest scenes as clear stoner Yax the yak. Nate Torrence is also a star of the show as an obese cheetah full of camp and admiration for Gazelle and her music.
This is such a magnificent film that serves importantly to children about the message of difference and how to treat that, it’s also funny, clever, well written, paced and animated making it one of the finer Disney releases I’ve seen. Ever.