Zootropolis (2016) – Movie Review

It’s time for your annual dose of animation goodness, and this time around, it’s Zootropolis (or Zootopia, depending where you are from) that has graced the big screen. Walt Disney Animation Studios have brought forward some spectacular animated-feature films over the years, from Wreck it Ralph to Frozen, and it’s safe to say Zootropolis only strengthens their esteemed reputation.

Right off the bat, the animation is absolutely beautiful. Zootropolis does an excellent job in capturing realistic movements and often mesmerising physics, something that is only improving as the years progress. You really get the feeling that each animation is attentively thought out, and it really does show through it’s excellent execution. The film is a delight to witness, and makes for easy viewing.

Besides the on-the-surface message to follow your dreams, Zootropolis also succeeds in sending another vital message to both children and adults alike – to respect and support equality. It became clear as day to realise that the ‘predators’ in this film subliminally reflect ethnic minorities in our culture, and with Zootropolis encouraging unity between the ‘predators’ and the ‘prey’, especially between the intricate relationship between bunny-cop Judy Hopps and cunning fox Nick Wilde, Zootropolis is perhaps one of the most important films for children to watch and understand in recent years.

Although Zootropolis is filled with hilarious moments, both the sloth scene and the ‘Mr. Big’ scene, which is of course an amusing nod to Coppola’s The Godfather, stole the show. It has been a while since I’ve laughed out loud to a film, (the last being Deadpool of course) but I have no embarrassment to admit that I was perhaps the loudest guy laughing in the entire screening. And trust me, to make a guy laugh who has the same sense of humour as Sheldon Cooper, this is a truly remarkable achievement.

However, it’s also sad to see another animated-feature fall into the trap of being another example of the traditional Hollywood narrative, that being; a dream that becomes a struggle, the arrival of an unlikely companion, a built-up resolution which is sealed off with immense recognition. This is a trap that the majority of animated films fail to escape from, and while it’s understandable since it is aimed for children, this cannot be used as an excuse to conform to a narrative that audiences have become so accustomed to. I’m not saying that this narrative doesn’t work, because for Zootropolis it does, but you can’t help but feel like you’ve seen so many films like it.

The finale of the film is also very underwhelming, and to a certain extent, rather ridiculous. You’re telling me that the conspiracy that the narrative is tailored around is due to some faulty-flowers? Come on! It’s almost as absurd as the toxic plants in The Happening. Yes, I once again have to admit that it’s an easy way to reach to children, but for the big kids like me who enjoy these type of movies, it came across as nothing short of half-assed and skimmed over. One more thing – I came to the realisation that Judy Hopps isn’t that good at her job. I mean, she totally blackmails Nick into working with her… you know that’s a crime, don’t you, officer?

For the truth to be told, I had a really good time with Zootropolis. Yes, it may have some silly moments here and there, but this didn’t take away anything from the humour and the overall enjoyment from the movie. Let’s just see if there’s a sequel coming soon, shall we?

VERDICT: B+

A Fun, Important Film!

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