The Disney animated animal comedy Zootropolishas its cake and eats it. In fact you never saw a cake so sumptuously served and then so satisfyingly gobbled down, to the last crumbs of political correctness made comical and right-on pieties baked into a gateau for guffaws. The film is witty, tasty and in best sense bad-tastey. (Iconoclastic, sanctimony-spoofing.) Whatever did we do to deserve it for Easter?
The heroine is Judy Hopps (voice of Ginnifer Goodwin), a young rabbit leaving “Bunnyburrow” — past the city limit sign with the population number clicking upward like a stock exchange board — for a big city police career. The Zootropolis cop chief, a sexist African buffalo (Idris Elba), consigns her to meter-maiding. Hang in, though. On the streets she meets a fox (Jason Bateman) who contrary to foxist stereotyping seems a nice fellow, until consistent with foxist stereotyping he proves a con artist. Blackmailed for his unpaid taxes, he’ll agree to help boost her promotion chances by co-solving a major crime.
Byron Howard (Tangled) and Rich Moore (Wreck-It Ralph) directed and co-story-wrote. Never mind — in fact rejoice — that the crime is so complex it makes Inherent Vice seem like noughts and crosses: a richly plotted, Pynchon-plus conspiracy intrigue involving vanished predator beasts, takeover schemes, an Arctic shrew with a Don Corleone complex (“You come to me on the day of my daughter’s wedding”) and the hysterically sweet and vulnerable — or is she? — deputy Mayor Mrs Bellwether, a sheep (Jenny Slate).
I can’t say more or I’ll be in spoiler land. Just relish the zingy jokes and in-jokes; a slow-burn dialogue scene with sloths that’s an instant classic; the elastic character animation; and the pacy, racy disrespect for PC of all hues and flavours. As eagerly as the film sets before us, in early scenes, its presentation table of “tsk-tsk” righteousness about the stereotyping of beasts and beings, it then laughingly and ravenously wolfs it down — if you’ll allow me a verb that might prejudice your attitude to lupines.