Okay, so this might be a little bit of a cop out because it's such an easy one to talk about but I've got to start somewhere, right?
At first glance you could be forgiven for rolling your eyes. There isn't anything new about talking animals trying to impart a life lesson or two to children - in the film world alone lots of us grew up with The Lion King, The Little Mermaid and the world has been obsessed with a talking mouse since the 1920s. While the concept may initially stink of standard, saccharine Disney, this film embodies everything we love about the Mouse House while also addressing and correcting areas where they've let themselves down previously. From the off, we're given a strong, stubborn, smart and fiercely independent female character who, in the face of constant stereotyping, refuses to conform to what's expected of her. In a world where young girls continue to worship the Disney princesses of olde with their prince-shaped end goals, Judy Hopps is such a refreshing female protagonist.
Perhaps this film's greatest strength is the way it uses fantastically animated animals to demonstrate the importance and value of difference
. It's a film that deals with issues of sexism, discrimination, racism and political correctness with a subtlety that keeps it upbeat and family-friendly. If you're looking for the poster-child for kid's movies with modern, progressive morals, Zootopia is definitely a top contender. Throw in fantastic voice acting, brilliant writing, great animation and incredible characterisation (I can't think of another animated film with such a HUGE range of characters where each and every one oozes personality) and you have a fantastic 21st century kid's film that'll keep you every bit (if not more) as entertained as the kids' you're watching it with.