Review: Zootropolis

Otherwise known as Zootopia, a title which was in fact changed purely for the UK, although it’s unclear what brought a necessity for that. This is the big Disney release, at least at the moment, and delves into a world where animals live as humans do and no longer attempt to maim or eat each other, in that world is one bunny who decides, despite there being no precedent, that she will become a cop. While trying to prove herself she must work together with a con-artist fox to uncover a conspiracy, which makes it sound much more serious than when you accompany it with images from the film. Voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba, Jenny Slate, Bonnie Hunt, J.K. Simmons, Octavia Spencer, Alan Tudyk and Shakira, as well as the rest of a long, long list.

The voice work is undeniable here, each actor matched with not only the actual animal they’re representing but the personality types, it’s harmonised really well; Goodwin’s upbeat and peppy voice serves our lead Officer Judy Hopps perfectly but none more better suited than Elba as our angry buffalo of a police captain. Each voice is fairly distinguishable which makes it difficult to not see the actors as each of their characters talk but it doesn’t hinder any enjoyment of the film.

Then there’s the sheer imagination of it all, if anyone should be good at that it’s Disney, and they most certainly are; the detail and thought that has gone into creating this world is magnificent. Each part of the city of Zootropolis is split into environments suiting each kinds of animal from rainforest to desert to snow and each also incorporating the animals living as humans to make interesting homes to explain how it would work. There’s also a good mix of making their behaviour human but not forgetting the traits of each animal, making the comedy a fairly even batch of animal jokes and comedy relating to the story. There’s also huge nods to various film and TV, of course the most obvious being shown in the trailer with Mr Big our arctic shrew crime boss who clearly resembles The Godfather, but as not to spoil anything I won’t point out any others.

The story itself is a fairly solid basis, it is enjoyable to watch a bunny working with a fox and countless other animals to which their interaction would be very much different in our world, and using the animals’ traits as humour, the slow sloth or the sly weasel is good but it feels fairly thinly spread throughout the film and not a constant source of comedy. The rest of the comedy coming from the situation, goes the same way, it’s funny in its moments but it isn’t terribly consistent throughout. The plot starts out fairly well paced but as it moves into the middle becomes slightly slow and loses track of the entertainment, only just managing to pick it up toward the very end.

This feels like one of those films that ends up looking slightly more fun than it actually is, as well as that it seems to be an overly obvious metaphor that everyone should get along and not fight which, though a valid moral, doesn’t do much to improve the story. It’s made well and is a great idea, that just doesn’t end up as entertaining as it should be.

Verdict: 7/10

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