Copyright © 2016 by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Fresh from the police academy, Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) joins the force in Zootopia aiming to reduce crimes in the city. Instead, her commanding officer, Chief Bogo (Idris Elba) assigns her to parking duty. Unfazed by the decision, she still does the job admirably. Opportunity arises when a predator’s wife requests the prioritisation of searching for her missing husband. Judy volunteers and is forced to team up with a conniving fox, Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) as he is last seen with the victim.
What a year it has been for Disney. The most powerful brand in 2016, the reported annual grossing for the collective movies from its in-house division to subsidiaries such as Marvel, Pixar and Lucasfilm is a whopping $7 billion. Beginning the year with its record-breaking numbers is the first megahit, ‘Zootopia’, a timely and irreverent tale about racial prejudice.
Poise to nab a couple more gongs for ‘Best Animated Feature’, a third consecutive win at the Oscars validates Disney’s return as a mighty storyteller capable of rivaling Pixar’s once unblemished history for innovation. As a buddy cop comedy, a whodunit puzzler and an oft-told reminder of remaining true to oneself, ‘Zootopia’ is entertaining to the young and astute for mature viewers.
Taken at face value, the visuals are stunningly animated, the jokes rarely miss (but Judy’s interaction with a sloth incites only a mild giggle that lingers more than it should) and the cast delights with exceptional voicing from Goodwin and Bateman. Like the best on-screen mismatch combos before, the duo’s unlikely partnership pulsates with thumping hilarity.
Judy’s intuitive disposition added with the savoir-faire from Nick as a street hustler, the case comes to a satisfying end but what really deserves praise is the ingenuity of conceptualising a mystery that correlates with xenophobia and its implications. The film jabs the matter eagerly in a period of political unrest and it is comforting to witness the reactions are gloriously positive.
Acting (Voice): A
Rated PG for some thematic elements, rude humor and action