The nice folks at Disney sent me and the mossters to see their latest offering – Zootropolis at the Odeon in Chelmsford. I’d caught a trailer for it, and I thought it would be a decent family film for the half term.
I’d never taken J to the cinema before so was hoping this would hold his attention, and indeed be suitable for him. It’s rated PG for some moments of ‘Peril’ – peril is hard to judge with smaller children, for some it’s too much. Thankfully for J, who is 4 in May seemed okay with the peril, he did turn and say ‘I don’t like this!’ at some of the darker moments, but they were all mostly followed by some slapstick to make him giggle.
So Zootropolis tells the story of Judy Hopps, a little bunny who dreams of being a police officer in the Zootropolis Police Department. Her strong will and ‘can do’ attitude gets her to where she wants be, and is the first ‘bunny’ to graduate the Zootropolis Police Academy. Unfortunately she’s shunned by Chief Bogo (voiced by Idris Elba) and put on traffic duty, where she encounters Nick Wilde, a con artist Fox.
Judy and Nick find themselves involved in a case of missing animals, all from the predator family, which takes them on a journey full of twists and turns.
I found Zootropolis to be an interesting film, on the surface, it’s a ‘buddy movie’ – two very different lead characters, that get along, somehow. There are lots of funny moments and visual gags to keep smaller people watching – but – I took more from the film. There’s a few pokes at other Disney films, references to popular culture – Breaking Bad for example.
Above that, the message of the film is particularly deep for an animated flick – you’ve got a message of ‘Anyone can achieve anything if you persevere and work hard’. There is a strong feminist theme too, the ‘just a Bunny’ comments could easily be ‘just a girl’, and Judy has to prove her mettle more than the ‘non Bunny’ officers. The increasing divide between ‘predators’ and ‘prey’ could be transferred to our society – where we fear those of different religions to ours because of the actions of the few and not the many. There is plenty of food for thought crammed into just over an hour and half.
Whilst I took away a lot of interesting subtext, the kids enjoyed it on different levels, J liked the silly slapstick, and G enjoyed the slightly more ‘grown-up’ side. It’s clearly designed with family in mind, the pacing is just about right, everything nips along at a good speed. J got a bit fidgety in the final act, but, it’s a big ask getting a 3 year old to pay attention to anything for so long.
I did really enjoy the movie, but, there was just something lacking to make it a classic Disney film. I’d really recommend giving it a watch over the Easter Holidays. It’s a fantastic film for a family like mine where there’s a big age gap as everyone takes away something different from it – it’s enjoyable on lots of levels. This won’t be the next Frozen for sure, but it’s a worthy addition to the Disney catalogue.
The Disney Store also have a range of nice Zootropolis stuff too – you can see it here.
All images copyright (c) The Disney Corporation 2016
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