Director: Byron Howard, Rich Moore, Jared Bush
Cast: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Shakira, Idris Elba
Has it ever happened to you that your parents ask you what movie is running this week and you suggest ‘oh there is this really good animated movie out now, you should check that out’?
A frown inevitably follows these words and your dad dismisses it, saying ‘No, that’s for kids, suggest a movie for grown-ups.’ Well, now is the time to push him to the theatre and make him watch this because he’s totally going to thank you later.
Zootopia is a brilliant new movie set in a world where man doesn’t exist but the animals have evolved like man has in the real world. From furry bunnies to mighty bulls, every animal walks on two feet, wears clothes and runs the world. They all live in peace and with an agreement to not hurt each other. The predators and prey all have equal opportunities to succeed in life and though a few hiccups may arise, it is nothing they can’t deal with.
Our window into this world is Judy, a little she-bunny, Judy (Ginnifer Goodwin) who always dreamt of becoming a police officer. However, everyone seems to think her dream is too far-fetched. How can a ‘cute’ (which is a politically incorrect term to address them with) and frail rabbit punch goons and fight crimes? Well, she does become an officer but to prove herself to her seniors, she has to crack a case of missing persons in just two days and helping her out is a popsicle-hustling fox, Nick (Jason Bateman).
This duo of natural prey and predator become the best of friends, trying to find the truth behind it all and in the process, we experience with them a lot of thrill, lung-popping laughter and at the end, an introspective question that you would not expect to come as a by-product of a Disney-animated movie.
You question yourself if you have ever harshly judged someone, categorised them for something that has never been in their control? Why does the wolf always have to be the ’big bad wolf’ while the lamb is always ‘meek/gentle/innocent’. Once they have evolved, they have all put their savage past behind them. Why can’t we, as humans also put this generalisation and categorisation behind us? Why does one race have to be mighty, scary and fearful while one is thought of as meek, docile and timid?
In Zootopia, these generalisations come across the path of our two protagonists and while one gives in to the pressure and becomes what the world expects him to be, a cunning, sly fox challenges the logic and proves them wrong by becoming the first bunny police officer of Zootopia.
From what all you have read so far, it may seem like a heavy, serious movie with a moral lesson at the end but it is not (at least it is not just that). It is loaded with innumerable scenes that will leave you in splits. Watch out for these: Sloths running a government office, a hilarious commentary on the way ‘humans’ in government offices seem to work at times.
That five-minute scene was the absolute best until we were introduced to Mr Big.
Mr Big is actually a teeny-tiny mafia boss mouse who talks and acts exactly like Marlon Brando from The Godfather. ‘You come to me on my daughter’s wedding day…’ he says and the entire audience is left rolling with laughter (at least I was and another reviewer in the hall beside me which made 100% of the hall’s strength on a Friday first day, first show). I can count a few more but the sword of ‘word-count’ hanging on my neck won’t let me and also because I want you to discover them for yourselves.
Zootopia has great voice performances from Ginnifer Goodwin and Jason Bateman who suit their characters perfectly. Goodwin’s shrill but sweet voice is the best choice for the Judy, the bunny and Bateman’s soft but impactful voice did full justice to Nick, the fox. Special mention goes out to Shakira for her voice as pop singer Gazelle and giving the movie a theme song you can swing to.
This one is a perfect choice for a movie night with the entire family. Your dad and mom will enjoy it for the commentary it makes on society and its illogical prejudices, all the while cracking witty jokes on animal puns. Your kids will love it for the adorable animation and the thrill of an adventure while you will love it for both of these things.
P.S. There might be some animated animal nudity in there somewhere so keep that in mind before you book your tickets. Just kidding. It is nothing more than what you have already seen in Madagascar.
The author tweets as @soumya1405