Try and fail but never fail to try. That is one of the key messages conveyed by Disney’s latest animated film, Zootopia.
Zootopia is the 55th animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series and is a comedy-adventure film following the adventures of Judy Hopps (voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin), a determined rabbit police officer, and Nick Wilde (voiced by Jason Bateman), a con artist and the very definition of a sly fox.
The film depicts the unlikely partnership and friendship that develops between predator, Nick and prey, Judy, as they work together to solve the mysterious disappearances of predator civilians from their homes in the mammalian utopia, Zootopia.
Zootopia’s plot begins when Judy, a little rabbit (and I do mean little literally) from the rural town of Bunnyburrow achieves her long-time dream of becoming the first rabbit police officer. Alas, despite being top of her class, Judy is shunned by her fellow officers at the Zootopia Police Station due to her size and nature as a prey, and is tasked with parking duty instead of being part of the team investigating the disappearances of a number of predator civilians.
It is in her line of duty, ticketing cars, that she meets Nick and immediately becomes his first con victim. Though Judy is one smart bunny and the con-er becomes the con-ee. Thus begins the rather unrealistic pairing of predator and prey as Judy enlists Nick’s help to uncover the deeper conspiracy behind the missing predators.
Zootopia is typical of a Disney film. It has heart. The entire film is based on the concept of friendship and community between mammals who one would never think of as being capable of being friends. Judy is a wide-eyed rabbit who believes in the goodness of all kinds of mammals and isn’t afraid to get up close and personal with predators. Nick on the other hand, doesn’t have any issue with prey, however, having been scarred by a traumatic experience in his childhood, prefers to live out his life alone and on his own terms. That all changes when he meets Judy.
The bond that develops between the pair is sweet and touching. Despite being initially difficult to work with, Nick believed in Judy and believed that she had what it took to solve the case. Similarly, Judy saw potential in Nick. She saw that there was intelligence, kindness, and good in him, something that he had long since forgotten. In other words, the unlikeliest couple turned out to be most suited to work together. This dynamic between the pair resonated with me mostly due to the dynamic between myself and someone close to me. This person is very much like the eternally optimistic Judy, who believes in good things and positivity, whereas I am more of a recluse, like Nick, who at times pushes some people away out of fear of repeating past mistakes. My Judy keeps me grounded and positive and shows me the many beauties of this world, and I teach my Judy about the realities of life. Sounds drab but it makes for a great relationship.
The characters in Zootopia were all very likeable, there was not a single character that I couldn’t enjoy, from the great lion Mayor of Zootopia to the little, itty bitty sheep, who is the Assistant Mayor. Even the bad guys, headed by a Marlon Brando-esque, Godfather-like, Mafia boss named Mr.Big was rather likeable and kinda cute. One of my favourite characters though was the Chief Police Officer (voiced by non-other than Idris Elba). He worked hard to appear tough and in control with a no nonsense attitude, but secretly was a fan girl at heart.
I usually deem a film as a success when there are no character flaws that I found annoying or disliked. Zootopia was definitely one of those films with amazing characters all around. Besides, it’s a Disney movie. There was no way it could have gone wrong.
The characters were all charming, witty, funny and amusing in their own way, which made for some good laughter, and other rather nice feelings, as you would with a Disney film. Not only were the characters colourful, the scenery and urbanisation of Zootopia were fantastic and brought everything alive. The entire metropolitan city was a perfect utopia for all mammals. I could definitely understand Judy’s desire to move to Zootopia rather than continue at Bunnyburrow where the greatest accomplishment she’d ever have is selling carrots.
As with any Disney film, there is always a lesson to be learnt. In Zootopia, this lesson was for Judy to realise that she can’t do things alone, that she does need help from time to time and that of everyone, Nick was most suited to be her partner. She also comes to learn that predators are no longer savage creatures and that being vile and ferocious is not predetermined by genetics. They have evolved. What Disney is trying to teach here is that everyone deserves a second chance and to not be judged based on stereotypes. Not to mention the biggest lesson of all; to never lose hope and to keep trying, just as Judy does to prove to her colleagues that she isn’t a puny rabbit and that she is capable of serving and protecting the citizens of Zootopia.
Finally, one of the things I loved most was the music used in Zootopia. Just like other Disney films before, music is key to creating that relaxed, feel good atmosphere. This certainly was the case in this film. Shakira’s end credit song was a nice way to end the film and left me feeling slightly mushy and happy inside.
Zootopia comes highly recommended and I do hope you get the chance to watch it. Let me know what your thoughts are. Did you figure out the twist?