Zootropolis Review


Playing catch-up with some of 2016’s releases, Lee and Maria review Disney’s Zootropolis.


Your average person can look for a sign o’ the times in many things: current affairs in the news, passed legislation in government, what the kids be listening to, what’s on MTV (what a bleak thought that is), what dance video gets the most hits on the Youtubes, etc. And these are all fine methods, but if you want a real benchmark for how Western society moves forward, you need look no further than the Disney Animated movie.

Whenever an idea has been toyed with over and over in the hands of a thousand executives in the world’s biggest bank, and they deem the idea inoffensive enough to not end up in court over and therefore fit for public consumption, that’s when you know the world has truly decided where they stand on a particular social issue. It happened with Disney’s second-to-last animation Frozen; a film ultimately about true love not necessarily lying in just some stranger you feel fated to marry like Disney so often taught us before, but that it can lie simply within those who care for you most like family. It’s a good message, in fact it’s great, and will be a good message to teach to future kids who now no longer need to dream that someday their prince will come (like me). But was it a new concept at the time? Of course not. Hell, Disney had basically dropped love interests entirely for a period to focus on the power of familial love (remember ‘Brother Bear’ and ‘Lilo and Stitch’?) and the many forms that comes in. So, the next step in denouncing love as strictly a sexual/marital thing seemed a natural one, and while it was great to see realised, it wasn’t exactly an unexpected stance from the company.

Now enter Zootropolis, or Zootopia for you savvy Americans among us, with its attempt at rationalising racism inherent in upbringing, as well as supporting strong women role models, shinning a smaller light on corruption in politics and even the benefits of non-specific platonic love. Pretty heavy stuff for a Disney cartoon, right? Well, yes, in the sense that big budget cartoons have yet to tackle these issues head on as often as we would like. But for most people, these lines of thinking aren’t much news. Racism is bad, corruption in politics is present, women should be able to do any job they want? Not exactly the most mind-bending revelations of all time, and especially not in 2016.

No, the greatness behind these choices is that they are now in a Disney Animation. Let’s face it; Disney isn’t going anywhere. It’s a huge cultural rock for Western civilisation, and its animations have a huge pull worldwide. These issues are now so commonplace that they will be featured in tools parents across the globe will be showing to their kids. That’s a strong indicator for changing times, because it tells us a huge section of kids growing up in this period will have these ideals worked out from a younger age, and be ready to focus on more specific issues from there. These are all great things, and the best part about it is that Zootropolis isn’t even terrible.

Usually it doesn’t matter too much. Kids will watch what they’re shown, loads of kids will watch Disney cartoons and grow attached regardless of quality and, more likely than not, kids will walk away learning the message of a film on some level. But it can only be to everyone’s benefit that the parents, who now have some base levels of taste from the sheer benefit of overexposure throughout  the years, don’t also have to sit through crap just because it’s this year’s Disney movie.

Zootropolis presents us with a gorgeous, creative world filled with memorable characters, great action scenes, justifiable consequences and issues presented in a fun, engaging thrill-ride that really doesn’t let up. It’s smart, it’s genuinely funny, the expressions and motion are perfect, the heroes not only sympathetic but flawed, which makes them more engaging and, ironically, more human (everyone in this film is an animal by-the way, I know I never made that clear, but then I also never made clear the fact I didn’t like Frozen, so all sorts of balls have been dropped today).

Sure, there’s a bad Frozen in-joke in there. Sure, there’s a, frankly, surreal segment featuring pop star Shakiri as a Gazelle that kind of never goes away. Sure, there’s a ‘completely going to date this movie’ overt reference to Breaking Bad. It has flaws, sure. But they all seem that much more pale and insignificant when the film can chug along, tell an engaging story, make you want to spend as much time with its characters as possible and have a great message throughout.

Also I’m a sucker for animal jokes, so there’s the crushing bias that ruins the whole review.



  • Zootropolis was the best film I have seen this year (so far).

  • I would like to go see it again please.

  • The fox is really sexy!

  • The racial themes are well handled.

  • Shakira looks better as a gazelle.

  • The music was terrible.

  • Great world building.

  • There was a cheetah that definitely was Josh Gad, but not really.

  • I liked the mice town.

  • I liked the Godfather references despite not one child knowing what they watching.

  • Stupid Breaking bad reference.

  • Liked the rabbit.



One thought on “Zootropolis Review

  1. Pingback: 2016 in [Big Picture] Review | Big Picture Reviews

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