FILM OF THE WEEK: Zootropolis (PG) *****
Creatures great and small live in perfect harmony in Byron Howard and Rich Moore's animated feature that continues Disney's winning streak under the creative leadership of John Lasseter.
Zootropolis is a beautifully crafted story that elegantly combines a noir detective thriller, buddy cop comedy and coming of age story with the studio’s trademark visual splendour.
It’s a tour-de-force of laughter and tears, accompanied by a gorgeous genre-melding orchestral score from Michael Giacchino that tugs the heartstrings.
Screenwriters Jared Bush and Phil Johnston create lots of twists and turns, each set piece with valuable life lessons about tolerance and teamwork.
Zootropolis even cheekily pokes fun at Frozen’s song of empowerment, Let It Go, before unleashing its own infectious anthem, Try Everything, sung to the rafters by Shakira in the guise of a chart-topping diva called Gazelle.
Bunnyburrow carrot farmer Stu Hopps (voiced by Don Lake) and wife Bonnie (Bonnie Hunt) try to dissuade their daughter Judy (Ginnifer Goodwin) from pursuing her dream of becoming the first serving rabbit police officer in Zootropolis.
But still, Judy earns her police badge as part of the Mammal Inclusion Initiative championed by Mayor Leodore Lionheart (JK Simmons) and his second in command, Assistant Mayor Dawn Bellwether (Jenny Slate).
Judy is initially assigned to traffic duty by Chief Bogo (Idris Elba), who doubts her abilities.
In order to prove her worth, the new cop on the block vows to solve the case of a missing resident.
‘I will give you 48 hours to find Emmitt Otterton. You strike out, you resign,’ growls Chief Bogo.
With the clock ticking, Judy gathers evidence from concerned wife Mrs Otterton (Octavia Spencer) and implores a con artist fox called Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman) to help her break the case.
Working with an animal who should be her sworn enemy, Judy stumbles upon a grand conspiracy involving Arctic shrew Mr Big (Maurice LaMarche), who presides over the criminal fraternity in Tundratown with his polar henchbears.
Zootropolis is 108 minutes of unadulterated joy, rendered in exquisitely detailed animation.
Vocal performances are flawless, particularly Goodwin as the dreamer with a big heart, who truly believes that anyone can achieve their dreams if they put their paws to it.
Hop to it – Zootropolis is the bunny’s whiskers.