Following on from Disney’s hugely successful CGI animated films of previous years like Wreck-It Ralph, Frozen and Big Hero Six comes something different again in the form of a cute and funny animal story with a astonishingly dark underbelly; Zootopia.
While Wreck-It Ralph explored concepts of the disposable consumerist society, and Frozen gave us a bunch of great songs and some wonderfully nuanced female lead characters, Zootopia goes right to the heart of some of the biggest issues in today’s society; namely (and I’m not hyperbolizing) racism, radicalisation, terrorism and the culture of fear we currently live in!
Kids are going to enjoy this film, they’ll lap it up! It’s a sumptuous visual treat and the storytelling is clear and direct. The main plot is easy to follow and the character are very likeable. There’s a tonne of great jokes and one liners which caused gales of laughter from kids and parents alike in the screening I went to. (The sloths are a real high point) There were even a couple of legitimately scary moments which made the whole audience jump, which may possibly prove too much for the really young or easily frightened. Its got fantastic music too, and while its not a Musical, it always feels upbeat and boppy.
But it’s the parents watching; the ones who can decode the films message, who will have an even more rewarding experience with Zootopia. There’s a strong undercurrent of sly humour that most kids will just not get, and at the centre it’s a powerful story about making assumptions, changing expectations and learning to embrace the strength in diversity and not fear it.
Zootopia is an absolute must watch for parents, kids and in fact anyone with an open mind.