Zootropolis

zootropolis

Zootropolis is a computer-animated cop crime comedy film produced by Walt Disney Animation Studios which tells the story of an unlikely partnership between a rabbit police officer and a red fox con artist as they uncover a conspiracy involving the disappearance of predator civilians.

In Zootropolis all kind of animals live side by side but they are all defined by their backgrounds and breeds. Just as rabbits are considered harmless, elephants are expected to have long memories and sloths are deemed to be slow in the extreme.

Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) a rabbit from rural Bunnyburrow breaks free from this stereotype by becoming the first rabbit police officer in Zootropolis. Police Chief Bogo (Idris Elba), an African buffalo, is not happy having a rabbit on the team and assigns Judy to parking duty. Whilst out performing these duties on her first day she meets con artist Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman).

When a female otter, Mrs Otterton (Octavia Spencer), enters Police Chief Bogo’s office pleading for someone to find her missing husband, Judy jumps at the chance of carrying out real police work. With Assistant Mayor Dawn Bellweather (Jenny Slate) giving her approval of the assignment Chief Bogo is forced into giving the case to Judy but on the proviso she solves it in two days otherwise she must resign from the force.

When Judy discovers that Nick was the last person to see Mr Otterton she blackmails him into helping her by recording his confession to tax evasion.

Once they begin their investigations they are soon drawn into the darker side of the city, encountering many dangerous situations, as they discover that someone has hatched a scheme to rid the city of predators by using toxic flowers (night howlers) which unleash aggression in mammals.

Zootropolis is a very funny and well written story, with Judy and Nick making a great double act thanks to superb vocal work from both Goodwin and Bateman.

Two of the funniest scenes in the film are when Judy and Nick meet tiny mobster boss Mr Big and Flash the “fastest” sloth who works in the Department of Mammal Vehicles.

The animation is first rate with the studios developing software which gave designers precise control over the brushing, shaping and shading of fur making it possible to create a variety of character styles for each animal.

Whilst the film tackles themes of cultural sensitivity and political correctness it manages to do so with real wit ensuring the film remains entertaining and engaging for all ages.

 

Zootropolis is available to buy on both Blu-ray and DVD

Batman: The Animated Series

Batman

Since artist Bob Kane created Batman in 1939 for DC Comics there have been many different interpretations of the character over the years both on television and film.

Outside of the comics, Batman: The Animated Series is considered by many, myself included, as being one of the best adaptations of Batman.

The series which ran from 1992 to 1995 was created by Bruce Timm and Eric Radomski. They took influence from the Tim Burton films, Batman (1989) and Batman Returns (1992) as well as the acclaimed Superman cartoons produced by Fleischer Studios in the early 1940’s.

The gothic backgrounds and the look and feel of Gotham City were based on the artwork of Radomski who instructed the animation department that all backgrounds should be painted using light colours on black paper (instead of the industry standard of dark colours on white paper). This combination of “noir” imagery and Art Deco design was called “Dark Deco” by the producers.

The tone and style of the series made it much more adult orientated than previous superhero cartoons with physical violence depicted along with realistic firearms.

The casting by vocal director Andrea Romano is spot on with Kevin Conroy portraying Bruce Wayne and Batman. Conroy used different voices to distinguish between the two a tactic which was previously used by Michael Keaton in the Tim Burton films.

Due to the popularity of Conroy’s performance as Batman he has continued to voice the character in multiple animated films and video games with his most recent film being Batman: The Killing Joke released this year.

The series was also known for bringing in popular actors to provide the voices of various classic villains, most notably Mark Hamill (Star Wars) who had the right mix of menace and hilarity in his portrayal of The Joker.

The character of Bruce Wayne was given a welcome make-over being depicted as assertive, intelligent and actively involved in the management of Wayne Enterprises rather than the previous incarnations that showed Bruce deliberately playing up his image as a self-absorbed and not that bright playboy.

The original Robin, Dick Grayson, was given a modernised costume consisting of short sleeves and long tights along with a more serious personality to match the tone of the series.

The show created characters that became so popular with audiences that they made the cross over into the main line of DC Comics. These included the Joker’s assistant Harley Quinn, Gotham City police detective Renee Montoya and the vigilante Lock-Up.

During its 85 episode run the series won four Emmy Awards with IGN Entertainment and Wizard magazine rating it as the second greatest animated television show of all time (after The Simpsons).

The writing, acting and visuals are all top notch making this a must see for all Batman fans!

 Batman: The Animated Series Volumes One to Four are available to buy on DVD.