Like many animated movies, ZOOTOPIA is a coming-of-age story. This one is about Judy Hopps, voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin, a bunny who isn't prepared to take no for an answer, even if it means putting herself in harm’s way for the sake of upholding her closely-protected values of equality for all animals; big and small. After an altercation with a fox at a young age in the film’s prologue, young Judy decides to to join the Zootopia Police Force, believing she can make a difference to the world. Her dream comes back to Earth with a thud when her new boss Chief Bogo (voiced by Idris Elba) decides that her talents would be best put to use handing out parking tickets. Undeterred, the ever-eager Judy takes the task in her stride and sets a new record for writing tickets! While out on her ticket-writing rounds, she encounters a fox , Nick Wilde (voiced by Jason Bateman), who tricks her into believing that he and his “son” are just trying to get an ice cream. Judy discovers that it’s part of an elaborate scam by Nick and his cohort, designed to con unsuspecting Lemmings into spending their hard-earned money on recycled treats. Dejected by the turn of events, the next day Judy tries to convince Bogo she can do more; after all she graduated top of her class at the Police Academy. Their conversation is interrupted by a hysterical female badger, Mrs.Otterton (voiced by Octavia Spencer), who tells them her husband has disappeared for no good reason. Judy tells Mrs.Otterton she'll solve the case. Chief Bogo, enraged by her disregard for his orders, tells her that she’s fired! Fortunately for Judy, new Deputy Mayor Bellwether, a lamb (voiced by Jenny Slate), is told by Mrs.Otterton that Judy is on the case. The Deputy Mayor is ecstatic, as she tells Bogo that they Mayor will be thrilled to hear the news of such affirmative action on the Zootopia Police Force!
What could have degenerated into a slapstick adventure actually gets better from the time Judy starts the investigation for the missing Mr.Otterton. Despite the Deputy Mayor’s support of Judy, Chief Bogo insists that she’s only got 48 hours to find him otherwise she’s still fired. Judy - using her smarts - decides the best way to track the badger down is to enlist Nick Wilde, whose street-wise experience she believes will help her get the information she needs faster. The pairing of Ginnifer Goodwin and Jason Bateman’s vocal talents is a winning combination and the various set-pieces they go through make the film’s Second Act an absolute delight to watch. The story is also laced with good-natured humour all the way through and there’s an especially funny sequence between the heroes and a Sloth named Flash (voiced by Raymond S. Persi), who happens to work for the Department of Motor Vehicles; an irony that is bound to make anyone who has ever had to undertake any driver-related administrative enquiries laugh in a way that is truly an acknowledgment of art imitating life! ZOOTOPIA’s finale plays out with some twists and turns, but, follow the story closely, and the reveal toward the film’s end won't come as a surprise. The screenplay, by BIG HERO 6 writer Jared Bush and WRECK-IT-RALPH scribe Phil Johnston, is a winner, as it caters to both young and old audience members. As much as the destination is an important part of a satisfying conclusion, there’s as much joy to be taken in (the bunny’s) journey and the wonderful array of characters she comes across in her adventure.
ZOOTOPIA is out now in cinemas everywhere!