A con artist fox, a police officer rabbit, a mafia boss arctic shrew, an elephant ice cream parlour owner and a sloth working (very slowly) for the driving licence authority. Welcome to Zootropolis, the newest world from the imaginations of the Walt Disney Animation Studios.
Set in an animal world where creatures live and work side-by-side, it comes with excellent animation credentials.
Directed by the trio of Rich Moore (fresh off the back of hilarious computer game comedy Wreck-It Ralph), Byron Howard (director of Tangled) and Jared Bush (creative leader of Big Hero 6) it sets expectations high as potentially one of the stand-out animations of the year.
The cast also contains much promise. Lead characters are played by Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman and Idris Elba, but it is Shakira’s pop star gazelle we can’t wait to see.
Hollywood insiders say the idea came from a pitch by co-director Jared Bush to Disney’s animation overlord John Lasseter. While it may not seem like a great leap to tell the man who brought toys to life in Toy Story and made motor vehicles more human in Cars that a film about animals with human characteristics would work, the idea was still an instant hit with Lasseter. So excited was Lasseter that he lifted Howard into the air like a baby Simba from The Lion King. Maybe.
The notion that Zootropolis is a new anthropomorphic world owes a lot to the 1973 Disney adaptation of Robin Hood. it too had a cast of creatures acting out the story in the human world. There is no shortage of cool animations in the natural world or in the human world, but this is a first time we’re seeing animals in a world designed by the animals themselves. Who else other than an animal would come up with a newspaper called the Wall Street Gerbil?
Zootropolis is released in the UAE on March 3. Check www.timeoutdubai.com for timings.