Zootropolis / Zootopia – Movie Review

This movie’s title is different according to the region, even in English, apparently. Why would they do that!? Anyway, I recently watched Zootropolis in the Glyndwr Film Club (what a nice experience!) and here are some thoughts about it.

I didn’t know what to expect from Zootropolis. The hype train had been huge, lots of people said it was amazing, there has been controversy regarding furries… Whatever. To be honest, I had zero interest in this movie so I didn’t read any reviews, watched any trailers whatsoever, and went to the screening with no expectations.

The first surprising thing in the movie is the animation itself, which is incredibly good. It seems no detail has been overlooked, and the result is jaw-dropping. Every movement, every character, every place… The world of Zootropolis looks and feels alive. It is a beautifully designed world where lots of ideas and workarounds have been thrown in in order to make the coexistence of animals of such different sizes possible, which was fun and quite astounding.

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Story-wise, this film is quite surprising, as it delivers a deeper story than most children movies, and a pretty interesting one too. The script is a lot of fun, with lots of hilarious moments for both kids and adults. Discovering the humour doesn’t rely on bathroom-related jokes was a pleasant surprise, which says quite a lot about comedy these days. There are a couple of references to cult classic films that are a delight for the older viewers. A couple of exposition-heavy scenes feel a bit out of place, but aren’t dull either, as the snappy script makes them as entertaining as any other.

The characters are the typical Disney movie characters, so they took no risks there, which did little in their favour. A rabbit with lots of ambition that achieves her goals by being good and a bad guy who turns out to be a good guy are the protagonists of this film, which is not a problem by itself, but the way the plot advances is as cliched as always, unfortunately. The villain in this movie is very lacking too, being just pure evil once again, with no real motivation other than being bad and racist.

Speaking about racism, a lot of people praised this movie for its social commentary, which isn’t all that great. The message is obviously very positive, and it’s simple enough for any kid to understand, but it is too spoon-fed at times. This is not a huge deal, but a more subtle way of delivering that same message would have make a world of difference.

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Giving everything spoon-fed wasn’t limited to the film’s message, either. There is a twist near the end of the movie (which I won’t spoil for you, of course) that is way too predictable. Of course, this movie is for kids and things can’t be overly complicated, but a particular moment in the movie ruined what could have been a good surprise for a large portion of the audience, and removing it wouldn’t change kids’ experience in any way.

It struck me how this movie actually uses extortion as its main way to make story progress at many times. Even the protagonist makes use of this technique to convince her friend help her with the case she has to solve, not once, not twice… but throughout the entire movie. Not too educational, if you ask me!

The theme song of the movie, Shakira’s “Try Everything” was quite annoying, actually. It tries way too hard to be the next “Let it go” kind of success, but the song being such a bore, it doesn’t quite deliver.

All in all, this was a good movie, but too similar to every Disney movie from recent years, unfortunately. Astounding animation, great voice work and well thought out story makes Zootropolis a joy to watch, for kids and adults alike. 7/10

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