RELEASE DATE: 4th March2016
RUNNING TIME: 108 min
STARING: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba, Jenny Slate, Nate Torrence, Bonnie Hunt, Don Lake, Tommy Chong, J.K. Simmons, Octavia Spencer, Alan Tudyk, Shakira, Raymond S. Persi, Della Saba
DIRECTOR: Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Jared Bush
WRITERS: Jared Bush, Phil Johnston, Byron Howard,
PRODUCERS: Clark Spencer, Brad Simonsen, John Lasseter, Monica Lago-Kaytis
PRODUCTION BUDGET: N/A
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: http://disney.co.za/
Its crazy animal fun in this buddy cop animated fiesta
Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) has always wanted to be a cop, but there’s never been a bunny cop on the force before. She fights through all the red-tape to achieve her dream and gets assigned to Zootopia, the massive jewel of a city in the middle of the animal kingdom. Unfortunately, no one, including Chief Bogo (Idris Elba) wants her there, thinking she’s not a real cop, so she’s assigned to meter-maid duty. Undaunted, Judy takes it on herself to search for a missing animal, Mr Otterton, after meeting his wife (Octavia Spencer). This leads her to teaming up with a con-fox, Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman), to help her navigate the inner working of the city. Soon the two find themselves wrapped up in a conspiracy deeper than they could have imagined as they try to survive feral animals, and the distrust they feel towards each other.
WHY WATCH IT
I’m a huge fan of Disney Animation, whether it’s their classic princess animated films, or their more recent projects like the recent Oscar winner Inside Out, Disney always delivers. Of course, Inside Out was a Disney/Pixar film, not only Disney Animation, but it’s technically the same company. I loved virtually every animated film to come from Disney and Pixar, except for their last one, The Good Dinosaur. It just didn’t live up to the standard created by the other projects these companies have created. That’s not saying it was bad, on the contrary, it just wasn’t good enough to be compared to Inside Out, Big Hero Six or Frozen, so Zootopia had a lot to live up to, especially since it had to make up for what was lacking in The Good Dinosaur.
Well, it does, and more. It is awesome. At heart Zootopia is a buddy cop film. The new, naïve and almost obnoxiously optimistic rookie cop, pairs up with the street wise hustler to solve an unsolvable crime. As they work together they start to see each other differently and actually become friends. It’s a tried and true plot that works virtually every time, but this time around the cop is a bunny and the hustler is a fox. This aspect adds a second level to the entire story. On one hand, the animals are so cute that the kids watching the film are going to enjoy seeing these animals, walking and living like ordinary people, while the parents are going to see the deeper, more complex social issues that are addressed in a subliminal, almost unconscious way. It’s smart and well written and exactly what I was missing from The Good Dinosaur.
The characters are well written, and well-drawn, and really endearing to the audience. I loved all of them, especially the leads, and the sloths, which are some of the funniest things I’ve seen in a long while.
Of course, the characters wouldn’t have much to do without an incredible city for them to search, and when I say incredible I mean it. Zootopia is completely awesome. Made up of several levels, including the Sahara level, which is sand dunes as far as the eye can see, the tundra, which is frozen lakes and heaps of snow, inhabited by polar bears and penguin, the rain forest level, which is exactly that, a rain forest with huge trees and a cable car system, and the main city, made up of massive sky scrapers and small apartments. Each section of the city is so intricate and well researched that it comes to life on the screen, as if you could really step out of your chair and onto the screen to be part of that world. It’s amazing to behold. Add to that the incredible intricacies of the animation of each and every animal on the screen. The way the fur moves in the wind, the way they move, especially when they become feral, it is really a masterpiece in animation.
I love animated movies, and I didn’t think there was going to be one better than Inside Out for a while, but Zootopia matches it in all the best ways. I look forward to the sequel, since with characters and locations like this there needs to be at least one sequel, and a TV show, and a website and everything else that the studio can do. If you love animated films as much as I do go and see Zootopia on the big screen, then buy a copy on Blu-Ray and enjoy Zootopia in your own home over and over again.
Jon Broeke (@jonbroeke)