Nothing can quite prepare you for the startling impact of Zootopia. Disney’s new film is a revelatory incantation of distinct, near-unbelievable postmodern sensibilities that touches ponderously on racism, homophobia, gender identity, sexism in male-oriented professions, fear-mongering in mob mentality and doing away with culturally imposed stereotypes by a hierarchically classist social order, to name a few.
It is, by a miracle of concise, masterful storytelling, also a thematically correct neo-noir that calls to mind the works of its genre Gods: Hitchcock; and lord have mercy on my soul for saying this, even the hilariously inept lead detective of P.T. Anderson’s Inherent Vice. Zootopia takes a stand on nudist wellness centres, calls a sloth Flash, and hints ever so subtly on marijuana use.
This is a movie where the old, ever-reliable approach of tabula rasa works the best. Do not read the synopsis, watch the trailer, or read reviews which narrate scenes from the film. Screw that. Go to the movie, watch the kids enjoy the colorful paparazzi of its grandiose, echoey realm of unabashed imagination, and let yourself, as an adult, gape in stunned amazement at the instinctual depth of the narrative. Zootopia possesses a fearless showcase of ballsy moral dilemma, economic inequality and a Godfather bit so funny even thinking about it hurts my stomach.
A character in the film says, “This isn’t some musical where you sing sweet songs and all your insipid dreams magically come true. So let it go.” Sorry, Elsa.
Zootopia joins the pantheon of The Lego Movie and Inside Out to become the next Hollywood animation giant that takes squarely measured shots at everything we, as a civilization are doing (and doing wrong), and hits home, hard. I applaud with complete submission. Holy crap.