By Adam Ray Palmer
Today’s Easter Monday review is a little different to most reviews on Cineroom. We are going to start covering a wider range of films and today’s picture is a good start.
In the past, we have only reviewed a handful of movies aimed at children and Zootropolis is the next film to be added to that list.
Zootropolis is the latest addition to Disney’s collection with yet another heart-warming message sewn into an entertaining plot…
In a city of anthropomorphic animals, a rookie bunny cop and a cynical con artist fox must work together to uncover a conspiracy.
If you remove the animal part of the plot, it could well be a gripping thriller. However, as the furry beasts anchor the movie, it’s ends up being a fun, feel-good comedy for all the family. The three main stars (voices) are Hollywood duo Jason Bateman and Idris Elba with lesser-known actress Ginnifer Goodwin starring as the courageous bunny Judy Hopps (obviously).
Disney have had a remarkable past five years with with impressive movies including Big Hero 6, Frozen and Wreck-It Ralph - their inspiring run continues with their latest outing.
As always, there is a deeper message to be found by the children and Zootopia (the American title) is no different. Judy Hopps wants to follow an ‘impossible’ dream and she is told it will never happen. She wants to be the first bunny cop and prove that anyone can be anything. The film’s message is certainly a welcomed one yet it should be a given this day and age – I guess it is quite sad that we still need to re-affirm it.
There’s a number of things that are impressive with Zootropolis. Firstly, the intricate filmmaking and colouring of the production is notable. The film is so bright and dynamic with establishing shots of a whole CGI world. The cities and landscapes are illustrious and it lights up the cinema. The sequence where we see each part of the animal world is very reminiscent of The Hunger Games as we follow Hopps’ train journey through what seems like different ‘districts’ – this shows off the expert filmmaking involved with the pretty landscapes.
The Hunger Games isn’t the only film that is referenced throughout. The most memorable comedy sequences also give a nod to other pictures. There’s a scene in a drug lab where a worker calls for his colleagues Jesse and Walter – a lovely Breaking Bad joke that you hope the kids don’t understand! At another point in the movie, there’s also an amusing nod to the movie Frozen when Chief Bogo (Elba) comments “Life isn’t a cartoon musical where all your dreams come true, so let it go” – hopefully the kids got that one.
The funniest scene has to go to the ironically named Flash the sloth. Flash helps Judy and Nick with some details about their case but he does everything at a stereotypically sloth’s pace. He’s painfully slow but it makes great viewing for the audience.
Along with some of the aforementioned comedy, there are three other factors I enjoy about Zootropolis. Firstly, there’s a powerful and mature scene that takes place just over half way through where Judy is talking to the press. A few journalists twist what she says and makes her reveal the predator animals are turning ‘savage’ – it reflects the modern day world intelligently. Secondly, the film also keeps the audience guessing with a ‘whodunnit’ style of narrative which keeps the adults entertained too. It may be predictable near the end but the primary audience is of course children. The final aspect I enjoyed is that every character is an animal. It’s quite refreshing not to see a human at all, I think this is only the third time Disney have done this.
On the whole, Zootropolis is good family fun and worthy of a cinema trip. Although, it does have an unreasonably long run time of nearly two hours which is surprising for a kids film. On another plus point, the inclusion of Nick the fox is the perfect medicine for Hopps' 'chasing her dream' storyline as that gets a tad too sugary at times. With the introduction of Bateman’s fox, it alleviates this storyline with his sarcastic and dry personality. Thanks to many scenes of magic, Zootropolis is a triumph.
Cineroom’s Rating: 4.5 Stars
Zootropolis is currently showing worldwide in selected cinemas – Certificate PG