An animated movie to gladden kids and adults alike. 4/5 stars
This cute and clever movie is set in an exuberantly anthropomorphic world populated by animals of every stripe, who walk on their hind legs, wear clothes and display all too recognisably human traits.
The delightful script combines sight gags, satire and a cunning mystery plot with some wholesome moral lessons about prejudice and diversity.
Bright-eyed and cotton-tailed, rabbit heroine Judy Hopps (voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin) is the city of Zootropolis's first bunny cop. Set on solving a series of puzzling disappearances among the city's residents, she cajoles con-artist fox Nick Wilde (a slyly funny Jason Bateman proving an ideal foil for Goodwin's perky zeal) into helping her.
Film noir aficionados will love the way the film sets up and solves this mystery and, unlike the knowingly grown-up jokes that sometimes pop up in animated movies, the crafty nods to Chinatown and The Godfather feel totally fitting here. And the vivid characters and lively action means that even when younger viewers miss those references they can enjoy the fun.
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A film critic for over 25 years, Jason admits the job can occasionally be glamorous – sitting on a film festival jury in Portugal; hanging out with Baz Luhrmann at the Chateau Marmont; chatting with Sigourney Weaver about The Archers – but he mostly spends his time in darkened rooms watching films. He’s also written theatre and opera reviews, two guide books on Rome, and competed in a race for Yachting World, whose great wheeze it was to send a seasick film critic to write about his time on the ocean waves. But Jason is happiest on dry land with a classic screwball comedy or Hitchcock thriller.