“If the world’s only gonna to see a fox as shifty and untrustworthy, there’s no point in trying to be anything else.” “Nick… you are so much more than that.”
One of their more notable original modern works, Disney animation’s 55th film Zootopia (annoyingly renamed to Zootropolis in the UK) is a delightful and endearing buddy cop romp, featuring one of the studio’s most astonishing, fully realised worlds and primary character dynamics ever created on screen to date.
From the very opening frames, Zootopia immediately grabs all attention and interest in its remarkable envisioning of a sprawling anthropomorphic metropolis. Though the concept of animal civilisations is by no means new, directors Byron Howard and Rich Moore give it an inventiveness and livelihood all its own, imbuing it with sumptuous texture, intense detail and a recognisability that never veers too far into replicating our own world. Although, aside from its worldbuilding, the most significant aspect governing the film is its direct and explicit exploration of bigotry and race relations, with its screenplay skillfully and even at points subtly carrying this out through dialogue, working well in creating the crux of its sincere heartfulness. The real components tying the Zootopia together, however, belong foremost in one of Disney’s most dynamic and scintillating main duos, Nick and Judy. In addition to Jennifer Goodwin and Jason Bateman’s ever-charming, ever stellar voice-work, the pair’s brilliant chemistry and connection easily get the audience constantly invested and engaged in the narrative mystery whilst pushes its subtext much further, cementing them in equal measure to the likes of Pixar companions like Sulley and Mike. This is where the film also garners most of its laughs, wit, and depth; being altogether topped with a sterling score by Pixar mainstay Michael Giacchino, a solid ensemble of supporting characters and fluid, and exciting action.
Though to a degree largely misguided in several aspects of its didactic allegory, Zootopia remains pertinent in beginning to educate more unknowing and young viewers, striking several very strong emotional chords in the process through its wonderful character work. It is undoubtedly passionate and extremely loveable at every moment and stands near the top of some of Disney’s best, particularly with its exceptional leads.
Check out the trailer for Zootopia below: