Zootopia a joy­ous cel­e­bra­tion of di­ver­sity

The Tribune (NZ) - - YOUR HEALTH - LIAM MAGUREN

Dis­ney has lit a stick of rain­bow dy­na­mite, and it threat­ens to blow away Shane Black’s The Nice Guys for Best Buddy-Cop Film of 2016.

Set in a world of talk­ing an­i­mals, Zootopia not only uses this con­ceit (done to death in an­i­ma­tion) to tell a de­cep­tively clever crime tale, but also to high­light the im­por­tance of di­ver­sity and the dan­ger of dis­crim­i­na­tion.

Those themes seem pretty heavy for a kids film, but the premise is sim­ple enough: Judy Hopps (Gin­nifer Good­win, TV’s Once Upon a Time) is look­ing to make a dif­fer­ence as the first bunny po­lice of­fi­cer. When she’s given a shot at solv­ing a miss­ing per­son’s case, it forces her to part­ner with hus­tling fox Nick Wilde (Ja­son Bate­man).

Dis­ney could have eas­ily vac­u­umed up stacks of cash had the film just been about this comedic odd cou­ple solv­ing the case, hi-fiv­ing each other, and wrap­ping it up with a sing-a-long mu­si­cal num­ber. But Zootopia isn’t look­ing to sim­ply be ‘‘cute’’ – which, hi­lar­i­ously, is con­sid­ered an of­fen­sive la­bel in its world. When Hopps’ in­ves­ti­ga­tion threat­ens to la­bel and seg­re­gate ‘‘preda­tors’’ and ‘‘prey’’, that’s when the film shines a harsh light on some truths about the mod­ern world.

But as weighty as the sub­ject mat­ter is, it never drags the film down from be­ing a glo­ri­ously fun time. From the me­trop­o­lis that caters to dif­fer­ent an­i­mal en­vi­ron­ments, to the sight of an ele­phant do­ing na­tur­ist yoga, the an­i­ma­tors and vis­ual artists knock ev­ery frame out of the park.

And while the film in­vites us to chuckle at the unique quirks of all its species (the sloths tak­ing the com­edy cake), it’s never mean­spir­ited. That’s be­cause Zootopia slices through com­plex so­cial is­sues with a sim­ple mes­sage: our dif­fer­ences can be joy­ous.

As weighty as the sub­ject mat­ter is, it never drags the film down from be­ing a glo­ri­ously fun time.

Judy Hopps (Gin­nifer Good­win) is look­ing to make a dif­fer­ence as the first bunny po­lice of­fi­cer in the ex­cel­lent and thor­oughly en­ter­tain­ing Zootopia.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.