Dir. Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Jared Bush
Runtime: 1 hour 48 mins
This 2016 Walt Disney computer animated film is the 55th Animated Disney feature. It has a rating of PG making it suitable for any age group, and it has a runtime of 108 minutes. Depending where you live geographically you may know this film as “Zootopia” or “Zootropolis“. This is a Disney animated buddy cop movie in a world where anthropomorphic animals co-exist.
Judy Hopps becomes the first rabbit police officer to graduate to the Zootropolis Police department. During her very first assignment she gets hustled by minor con-artist fox duo Nick Wilde (red fox) and Finnick (Fennec Fox). Her boss, Chief Bogo is ready to fire her when she takes on an impossible case; to find and recover Emmitt Otterton and thirteen other animals who have gone missing. She enlists Nick Wilde in the investigation as he may have been one of the last animals to see Mr Otterton. The investigation takes the two on a journey of discovery, about themselves, and the coexistence of animals in Zootropolis, and about who holds the power and what they are doing with it.
This is a fun and enjoyable Disney film which ticks all the feelgood boxes that Disney films regularly tick. It is colourful and engaging, while having a story which can be followed by all. It is not too complicated that younger audiences cannot appreciate the fun of what’s going on; and it’s not too simple that an older audience can’t be entertained by the complexities of the buddy cop plot.
Among all the professionally written and delivered characters on show there were plenty of gags and homages to other films, take Mr Big for example, the Marlon Brando style “Godfather“. There were also some cleverly transposed animals in positions you could easily imagine them; for example, a Lion being the major/leader of the pack or Flash the Sloth in a government position where everything happens slowly. While commenting on this I must also point out, as good as it is visually and as good as some of the characters are perceived – if you read into the film (which a lot of people do), then you will find a bit of a mess here too; morally, ethically, and it’s diversity too. For example, there is a lot of virtue-signalling and morality being suggested in this film, which then goes on to make some of the delivery that is occurred a little hypocritical. There are veiled discussion of racism, sexism, and xenophobia on show, which then get easily dismissed for the purpose of happy closure in the feature. Historically Disney does not have the best track record when it comes to morals and isms in its features and unfortunately this does have its issues too. Rather than focus on those failings and commentate on how this makes Disney hypocritical of its chequered past I am going to sidestep them and just focus on the film.
This is fun, it is colourful, the voice acting is good, and it kept me entertaining for the runtime. I do not regret watching it and heck, when I put my 4-year-old cousin in front of this he loved it too and never took his eyes off it. That is what this film should be judged on, and not judging and over-analysing it. At his age I was the same too, it was colourful and entertaining. So, as a spectacle and vehicle to pass time it is good, great in fact. It is pretty, it is entertaining, it has giggles, and it has fun and occasionally cute animals that are voiced wonderfully. Therefore, it is a film I am happy to recommend to audiences young and old. So let’s discuss the elephant in the room….
No – not that one. The ratings…