From the studio that brought you Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph, Frozen & Big Hero 6, Zootopia surfaces as a highly original, incredibly refreshing, thoroughly engaging, surprisingly timely & delightfully subversive beast fable about prejudice & stereotype that not only marks a new creative high for Disney but is arguably the finest film that this legendary animation studio has come up with in their Revival Era, so far.
Set in a world inhabited by anthropomorphic animals, the story of Zootopia takes place in the titular metropolis and follows a bunny cop named Judy Hopps who, despite her par excellent performance in the class, is assigned parking duty by her superior. But when she volunteers to undertake a missing-predator case, she is given 48 hours to solve the mystery or resign, following which she blackmails a sly fox into helping her, and uncovers a sinister conspiracy.
Co-directed by Byron Howard & Rich Moore, the duo put up an intriguing world on the screen that does have a fresh quality but there is still a deep sense of familiarity to it. However, where the two leave a lasting impression is in finding that perfect balance between its consistently gripping storyline & moments of pure hilarity. The writing staff also deserves a mention, for their screenplay brims with numerous pop culture references, parodies many renowned classics & handles its topical themes with care.
The 3D animation is absolutely top-notch, for the images retain its crispness, clarity & vibrancy from beginning to end. The animators put up a vast number of characters on the screen, ranging from the largest elephant to the smallest shrew, yet they are all given a well-defined arc. Cinematography further enhances the overall look n feel of the story with its fluid camerawork, splendid use of colour palette & spot-on lighting. Editing provides just enough screen time to all the relevant characters while moving the plot forward at a blistering pace.
The cast is wisely chosen, and all the actors do a competent job in lending their voice & soul to the mammals they play. Ginnifer Goodwin brings a bubbly side to the new cop in town and confidently plays her role. Jason Bateman plays his part with finesse plus his voice really fits his cynical con artist character. Also, the chemistry between the two is a highlight in itself. Michael Giacchino’s ebullient score seamlessly blends in & compliments the narrative while Shakira beautifully wraps everything up with a catchy, uplifting & wonderful song that smartly summarises its themes & message.
On an overall scale, Zootopia finds Disney stepping out of its comfort zone to tackle a bold, ambitious & risky project, and it is one gamble that pays off tremendously well in the studio’s favour. Also, its arrival couldn’t have been better, considering how its elements of prejudice & stereotypes mirror the racial hostilities present in our very own current social environment. An ingenious blend of sophisticated storytelling, jubilant humour & thought-provoking themes that amazes, entertains & enlightens without ever compromising with the fun factor, Zootopia is a definite delight for viewers of all ages, and is undoubtedly the best film of the year, so far. Strongly recommended.