Cute and clever in equal measure, this is an animated movie to gladden kids and adults alike.
The setting supplies the cuteness, 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 cleverness comes from a script that 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. However, unlike the knowingly grown-up jokes that are sometimes inserted into other animated movies, the crafty nods to Chinatown and The Godfather feel totally fitting here.
The vivid characters and lively action mean that even if younger viewers miss the references, they can still enjoy the fun.