Zootropolis (2016) review: Bunny-fronted neo-noir

Film

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Stars: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba

The blurb says “From the largest elephant to the smallest shrew, the city of Zootopia is a mammal metropolis where various animals live and thrive. When Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) becomes the first rabbit to join the police force, she quickly learns how tough it is to enforce the law. Determined to prove herself, Judy jumps at the opportunity to solve a mysterious case. Unfortunately, that means working with Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman), a wily fox who makes her job even harder.”

I’m still not entirely clear why Disney took the decision to change the title of Zootopia to Zootropolis for UK audiences, but whatever the reason, Zootopia/tropolis is a little gem of a film.

Starting out along the well-trod children’s filmic path advocating “following your dream” this tale of a bunny who just wants to become a police officer soon heads off into more grown-up territory, with a surprisingly complex message about diversity, tolerance and embracing difference.

In the tradition of the best children’s films, this is very much a tale the whole family can enjoy, with some in-jokes for the grown-ups (watch out for all the nods to current pop culture) as well as some gloriously adorable antics from the many species of animal, from rhinos to hamsters. Judy sets out on an investigation which has parallels with some of cinema’s finest thrillers, with echoes of Chinatown and Mean Streets interwoven with adorable critters doing yoga and driving tiny cars.

The animation is beautiful, with some truly stand-out characters (I dare everyone not to fall in love with Flash the Sloth) and some wonderful voice performances, Zootropolis will leave you beaming.

9 out of 10

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