Zootopia 2016 ****

zootos-4Hard-boiled noir and political satire are two things one doesn’t expect in a Disney film; perhaps the rise of Pizar has cause Disney to raise their game, because Zootopia, aka Zootropolis, is smart stuff. In a city of animals, it’s quite literally a concrete jungle out there for Officer Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) to negotiate, so she falls back on the help of diamond-in-the-rough fox Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman). They’re on the trail of a substance that unleashes the primal instincts of the carnivores amongst the Zootopia population, a plot device straight out of counter-culture 70’s extreme cinema like God Told Me To or Blue Sunshine. Of course, Zootopia doesn’t go too far down this road, and everything is satisfyingly sorted with the help of the celebrated comedy sloths, a crime-boss clearly modeled on Marlon Brando and a jolly Shakira song to finish. Zootopia is a colourful delight, popping with sight-gags and clever references for all ages, helped by the fact that the tricky central idea is explored in unexpected depth.

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