It is difficult to believe but it has been a decade since Disney last released a movie about talking animals, with the Adventures of Winnie the Pooh being their last. The studio, made famous by the likes of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck have steered clear of what them famous following a dire run of movies in the formative years of the century. Having rediscovered both commercial and critical success in recent years with the likes of Tangled, Frozen, Wreck-it Ralph and Big Hero 6, Disney have now returned to their roots with Zootopia, a buddy-cop movie about a rabbit and a fox trying to find a missing otter.
The rabbit in question is Judy Hopps, a country girl with plans of leaving behind the family carrot business and one day achieving her dreams in the big city of Zootopia. Despite the objections of her family Hopps joins the police force and moves to the big smoke, only to be confronted with difficulties from every angle. Her boss, Cheif Bogo, an African Buffalo, assigns her to traffic warden duty, believing her to be of no use to the force, and then to make matters worse on her first day she is ripped off by a scheming fox called Nick.
After getting caught in an altercation with a thief that causes a lot of disruption in Zootopia, Hopps is told she has 48 hours to find a missing otter, otherwise she is out of a job. Desperate for help she turns to the Nick ,and the two combine to uncover a city wide conspiracy theory that threatens to chuck the whole of Zootopia into chaos.
It’s no great secret that Disney are rather apt when it comes to playing with different genres, and here they have managed to take a classic LA cop’s story and turn it into a richly thematic, laugh out loud children’s movie. As they did with last year’s Big Hero 6, the studio have created a gloriously imaginative world that the characters inhabit, one brought to life by its candy coloured and picture perfect animation.
Disney also take aim at the adults in the audience here as well- a Godfather inspired sequence involving an arctic Shrew voiced by Maurice LaMarche is arguably the movie’s funniest, whilst a later scene parodying Breaking Bad will delight TV fans the world over. LaMarche is not the only actor to provide some notable voice work for the cast though- Nick the Fox is voiced by Jason Bateman at the top of his game, whilst Hopps herself is voiced by the suitably energetic Ginnifer Goodwin, whilst Idris Elba and JK Simmons also make notable turns as the Chief of Police and the Mayor respectively.
Disney’s return to the days of talking animals has been a long time coming and Zootopia is yet another trophy in their ridiculously impressive cabinet. Bold, hilarious and blissfully silly Zootopia may already have next year’s Best Animation Oscar on its mantelpiece.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐