Clever storytelling with a slightly dark undercurrent in Zootropolis a must-see family film

Zootropolis

Zootropolis - Credit: Archant

When you hear that Disney has brought out a film that takes on racism, hatred and discrimination you may well groan and expect schmaltzy cartoon predictability.

Zootropolis

Zootropolis - Credit: Archant

But think again.

Zootropolis is a genius piece of scripting and cinematography that takes a serious theme and cleverly presents it to young children and adults in a way that leaves a lasting impression without the sickly sweet after-taste of an American Blockbuster.

At first glance it looks as if it is yet another animated feature indulging in shameless moral tale telling.

However, the genius lies in a clever mix of traditional Disney characters mixed with a slightly darker undercurrent storytelling style.


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Directed by Byron Howard and Rich Moore the film begins with the wry words “It’s great to have dreams...just as long as you don’t believe in them.” Then in steps heroine, Judy Hopps (voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin), a cutesy bunny with a kick from a rural backwater village with a big dream of becoming a police officer in the bustling metropolis of Zootopia.

Viewers become acutely aware of the anti-bunny and anti female police officer prejudice not helped by Chief Bogo (voiced by Idris Elba), who isn’t impressed to have a rabbit in his police ranks.

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Judy has known from childhood that foxes are not to be trusted but in a clever plot twist she teams up with the wily fox Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman), to solve the case of a missing otter.

Add in initiatives like the Mammal Inclusion Programme, corruption, a mini Godfather-esque boss called Mr Big (a tiny shrew) and a set of sloths that are so painfully slow you can feel the audience willing them to finish sentences, mean the film-makers cleverly deal with sexism, racism and political correctness.

No clumsy endings or cheesy plot here - this is a family film that is a must-see for 2016.

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