Director(s): Byron Howard, Rich Moore
Cast: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba (VOICES)
Release Date: Available on Blu-ray & DVD June 7, 2016
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 10/10
Disc Rating: 8.5/10
The progressive mammal metropolis of Zootopia is a melting pot where animals from every habitat live side by side and “anyone can be anything.” But when new rabbit police officer Judy Hopps (voice of Ginnifer Goodwin) arrives in town she discovers that being the first bunny on a police force of tough, hulking animals isn’t so easy. Determined to prove herself, she jumps at the opportunity to crack an unsolved, challenging case even if it means working with a fast-talking, scam-artist fox, Nick Wilde (voice of Jason Bateman), to solve the mystery. But the case leads these two unlikely partners to an uneasy conclusion that Zootopia’s “evolved” society is being pulled apart by unseen forces determined to use fear to take control of the city by turning predators and prey against each other.
Walt Disney Animation Studios welcomes you to the breathtaking world of ‘Zootopia’ wherein the entirety of the animal kingdom lives together in harmony within an expansive world where humans are not even referenced and every member of the animal kingdom has their own role to play and anyone can be anything. Keeping to that mindset, young rabbit Judy Hopps (Goodwin) defies expectations and makes her way into the police force at the top of her class only to be treated as incapable upon arriving for duty in Zootopia. Unwilling to give up on her dreams, when a crucial case falls into her lap, she reluctantly joins forces with a morally questionable Fox named Nick Wilde (Bateman) in an attempt to save the case in the short time allotted her by the Z.P.D. Chief and soon finds herself involved in a far more complex and dastardly set of crimes than she could have imagined.
‘Zootopia’ is one of the most impressive Disney Animation Studios releases I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing in some time, which itself is quite a statement considering the barrage of incredible films they have released in recent memory including Wreck It Ralph, Big Hero 6 and of course the insanely popular Frozen. Perhaps the most distinctive difference between ‘Zootopia’ and their other recent efforts is just how incredibly adult the film is, coming together as one remarkably well made police crime drama, on par (if not superior) to many live action films of a similar nature (aside from the animals of course) and complimented further by a fantastic voice cast including Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba and many more. ‘Zootopia’ is by every definition a true animated masterpiece that is equally hilarious, clever and exciting and should thrill even the casual fans of Disney’s animated efforts.
While the film is clearly geared toward the adult audience far more than many of their releases, parents can rest assured that it still makes a point of keeping things fairly kid friendly, especially compared to other PG rated films of this nature. It contains a number of relatively intense action sequences, yet never with any excessive violence and the adult humor always remains quite casual and refrains from any cursing. With the exception of some younger children who may certainly find some of the action sequences a tad unsettling or scary, for the most part it should provide a fantastic family film that should equally enthrall folks of all ages.
Overall, ‘Zootopia’ is a true animated gem brimming with originality, humor and cleverness, not to mention a collection of fantastic characters portrayed by a perfectly selected voice cast comprised of talented individuals and a visually gorgeous and expansive animated world for them to move throughout. Any fan of both Disney Animation Studios and well crafted police thrillers will not want to miss out on this one. It should additionally prove a relatively safe blind purchase for those who haven’t yet seen it; the film is outstanding and the Blu-ray release provides exceptional high definition video and audio presentations along with a number of great extras including ‘Deleted Scenes’, ‘Deleted Characters’ and plenty more.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Zootopia’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks magnificent, providing a sharp, detailed and colorful presentation from start to finish with no notable faults to be found within. It holds up impressively even during the heavily populated and/or fast moving sequences and never results in anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected, let alone rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is another outstanding high definition video presentation from Disney that should easily thrill the masses.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio Soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack sounds fantastic and delivers a consistently clean and fairly aggressive audio presentation. Frequently utilizing all seven available channels in order to surround the viewer with the soundtrack and some action and chase related auditory effects, along with plenty of general ambience including crowd and vehicle activity, while never causing any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible. Overall, this is a wonderful 7.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that should easily satisfy the casual viewer and audiophile alike.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Zootopia’ includes a number of enjoyable and informative extras that take you deeper into the making of the film. Included on the release are a number of ‘Deleted Scenes’ from the film with Introductions by Directors Byron Howard and Rich Moore (running approximately28 minutes in length altogether), in addition to a look at some ‘Deleted Characters’ (running approximately 3 minutes). We are also treated to a collection of behind the scenes Featurettes that explore different aspects of bringing the film to life and include interviews/comments with the creative team and more. The included Featurettes are: ‘Research: A True Life Adventure’ (running approximately 10 minutes), ‘The Origin of An Animal Tale’ (approximately 9 minutes), ‘Zoology: The Roundtables’ with Introductions by Actress Ginnifer Goodwin (approximately 18 minutes altogether), and ‘Scoretopia’ (5 minutes). Also included is some fun insider info in the ‘Z.P.D. Forensic Files’ (3 minutes), and the “Try Everything” Music Video by Shakira (3 minutes).