“What is it with wolves and howling?”
A spate of missing people. A city where people from all walks of life live together. 48 hours to solve the case. Sounds more like a Steven Seagal film than the latest from the makers of Frozen. Yet, Disney have channeled their inner Michael Moore to serve up a Good Cop, Bad Cop adventure for the Inside Out generation.
In a city where mammals have evolved into anthropomorphic versions of their natural selves, harmony between previous predator and prey is at a perfect balance. Until it isn’t. The only hope in restoring this balance? A bunny cop and a sneaky fox. This story has been told many times before, but rarely with such colour, humour and humanity.
Zootropolis highlights the things Disney does best: emotion, inspiration and world-building. You buy a ticket to a Disney film expecting to cry. Inside Out, though packed full of ‘Joy’, has real moments of sadness. Zootropolis is no different. A similar story of learning that two minds are better than one, feelings will be hurt, obstacles will see our heroes stumble, but retribution will be sweet and satisfying.
Zootopia/tropolis/mania, whatever it’s called today, is primarily a tale warning against discrimination. Animal-to-animal stereotypes and face-value judgments populate the early moments in Zootropolis and leave our heroine, Judy Hopps, fighting for what she deserves. This discrimination, which comes from all sides, is shown as the destructive force it is, as hard work and the right attitude shine the light to success. This fable advises the same morals that most Disney classics do, with respect and acceptance being championed from the off.
Though treading familiar and central ground, Zootropolis stands head and shoulders above many of Disney’s lesser products through the world it builds. Champions of the tiny details, Disney has made a world where all of nature combines. Tropical rain-forests border frozen terrains. Elephants and giraffes live alongside mice and lemmings, with no reported incidents of death by squishing. It is the subtle consistencies that breath life into the city. It recognises hippos would travel by water, but would need to be dried off before work, as well as the fact that where one lemming leads, the rest would follow. Telling more about human nature than most live action features, animals are comatosed by their phones and are more focused on their public appearance than the world around them. This is to say nothing of the nods to Disney’s past, and future.
This all comes together, creating something close to a perfect storm. Yet, this is not the near-revolutionary, instantly classic behemoth of Inside Out, but it’s a delightful experience nonetheless.
Images courtesy of youtube.