Disney rolls out the cute little animals, and some scary ones to, in its latest Zootopia. The story of a bunny who dreams of being the first rabbit police officer in the city of Zootopia and making the world a better place. It’s also a story of prejudice, diversity and inclusion.
Judy Hopps, voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin (Walk The Line, Once Upon a Time), is a rabbit growing up on her parent’s carrot farm who wants to become a police officer but is constantly told she’ll never do it. After training hard, she makes it only to then face more obstacles as Chief of police Bogo, voiced by Idris Elba (Prometheus, Pacific Rim) sticks her on parking duty.
With the backing of the assistant major Hopps takes a missing person case with 48 hours to solve it or she will be forced to resign. She inadvertently teams up with a fox, Nick Wilde, voiced by Jason Bateman (Juno, Arrested Development) to solve the case which becomes so much bigger then she could have imagined. The predators of the city are going wild, attacking others for seemingly no-reason.
The animation is really nice and suits the story well. The story is good, nothing new, but good though it can lay the message on a little thick at times which sometimes puts the jokes on the back burner. This isn’t as funny as other Disney movies or indeed other animations but it does have its moments, most of them you’ll have seen in the trailers.
J.K. Simmons (Whiplash, Spider-Man) is one of many actors to provide voice work with popstar Shakira, Tommy Chong, Octavia Spencer (The Help, Snowpiercer) and Alan Tudyk (I, Robot, Frozen) all providing their vocal talents too.
I guess ultimately a story about inclusion, how you can do anything, be anyone and we should all get along is poignant at this particular time but I’m not sure a children’s animation movie is the best way to get the message across. It’s not the children who don’t get on, it’s the adults, and the message is hammered home a little too much to the point you are just thinking ‘ok, we get it, just get on with the movie’.
There were a lot of people involved in the story of Zootopia which, regular readers will know, always sets alarm bells ringing for me. The screenplay was written by Jared Bush (All of Us, Who Wants to Marry My Dad) and Phil Johnston (Wreck-It Ralph, Cedar Rapids). Whereby the story credits are: Byron Howard (Tangled Ever After), Jared Bush, Rich Moore (Wreck-It Ralph, Mighty Mouse the New Adventures) who also directs, Phil Johnston, Jennifer Lee (Frozen, Wreck-It Ralph), Josie Trinidad (How to Hook Up Your Home Theater), Jim Reardon (Wreck-It Ralph, Wall-E) and Dan Fogelman (Bolt, Crazy, Stupid, Love).
You’ll have noticed it’s pretty much the Wreck-It Ralph team which was also a really fun film but with an underlying message that was about as subtle as a brick. It seems to be a theme with this team. There isn’t the subtlety of say, Wall-E, though the kids won’t notice, or mind, and I’m sure they’ll enjoy it all the same.
Zootopia is a nice family film that the kids will love. However it misses the Pixar element of the Disney movies more than others have which stops it short of being a great watch for adults too.