Disney goes fur-crazy in their latest colourful animated flick, Zootopia. It's fun, clever and has a lot of substance beneath the surface - so both adults and kids will adore it in their own way.
Zootopia is set in a world populated with anthropomorphic animals of all shapes and sizes; from bunnies and mice to lions and tigers, the idyllic titular town is where ambitious young rabbit Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) hopes to make a name for herself. As the first rabbit to graduate into the Zootopia police force, Judy bids farewell to her huge farm family and heads to big city to make the world a better place - but soon discovers that Zootopia isn't the shiny utopia it's cracked up to be.
Faced with discrimination from her imposing colleagues and lumped with working parking duty, Judy jumps at the chance to prove herself when Chief Bogo (Idris Elba) reluctantly tasks her with investigating a 'missing mammal' case - and with foxy con artist Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) in tow, Judy begins to burrow deeper into the murky underbelly of Zootopia.
Disney have been on something of a winning streak of late; their animation department has delivered winner after winner over the last few years, from Wreck-It Ralph to Big Hero 6 and of course the stratospheric success of Frozen. Zootopia keeps this momentum going, even if it doesn't markedly improve upon its formidable predecessors.
The animation, as always, is gorgeous. The colours and textures look and feel tangible, like you can feel how soft Nick's foxy hair is. The movements and physical comedy is spot-on also; that sequence set in the DMV with the sloths is perfect, even if it's impact is lessened by its inclusion in the trailers.
Goodwin, Bateman and Elba are all fantastic too; Goodwin is chipper and excitable, an answer to Amy Poehler's Joy in Inside Out. Elba is having a ball as the grouchy police captain, but my favourite performance was Bateman as the smooth as butter con artist out to make a quick buck. I could just listen to him talk all day and narrate my every thought.
However, it's Zootopia's intelligent examination of discrimination and societal issues such as class warfare that earns it respect and adulation in my mind. It doesn't shy away from thrusting tentative topics such as racism to the fore; Judy's wariness of Nick just because he's a fox is torn straight from news headlines both in the US and here in Australia, if you can connect the dots. And let's face it, kids are much cleverer than we give them credit for; with any luck, they'll gobble this up and soak in the message of inclusion, acceptance and understanding.
Plus, there is a lot to love for movie fans; Disney riffs on everything from The Godfather to Breaking Bad, giving adults a lot to enjoy also.
The Verdict: 8.5/10
Disney have done it again. Zootopia is a winner in every sense of the word, from the awesome voice acting to its intelligent and thought-provoking screenplay and dazzling animation. Take your kids to see it this Easter weekend for smiley faces and warm hearts all round.
Zootopia is in cinemas across Australia now.