MINI REVIEW: If you see the name John Lasseter attached to any project, in any capacity, rest assured that there is going to be heart in said project. As the executive producer of Zootopia, his grand visionary ways have clearly trickled down. It is fair to say that this movie feels more like a strain of a Pixar film, which is exactly what has been happening at Disney for a little while. Disney bought out Pixar, but it’s clear that Pixar is taking over the CGI department, and that’s a really good thing.
Is the 2017 Best Animated Feature Oscar race already over? It’s possible, especially when this film deals with serious issues, like discrimination and stereotyping, in a poised and entertaining way. There is humor for everybody in this movie, it’s truly a family movie, but there is a, just the right balance of drama sprinkled too.
It’s clear that technology has come a long way, and these days there are elements of animation that really make it hard to distinguish between real and comupter generated. In particular there are some striking scenes of The Rainforest District, that would make any cinematographer green with envy. What carries this film, also, in an underlying melodic way is the brilliant and not so emotionally charged score by Michael Giacchino. Combined with engaging characters and marvelous production designs, it’s no wonder that Zootopia is already one of the this year’s favourite movies!
Here are the facts:
1 When Judy (Officer Hopps) is first arriving to Zootopia there is a glimpse of the Buy N’ Large building from Wall-E. This is interesting because although this isn’t technically a Pixar film, there is an easter egg calling back to a Pixar film, coincidence or not?
2 There are at least 2 references to AMC’s Breaking Bad. The most obvious one being Doug’s lab suit and actual lab, plus his two minions that are bringing him coffee are named Woolter and Jesse. The not so obvious one is in the lobby of the nudist relaxation place, where a group of ‘blue crystals’ can be seen.
3 There are cleverly hidden sight gags of animal versions of well known real brand names, like Zuber (ride hailing service Uber), Lemming Bros. Bank (Lehman Bros.), Trader Doe’s (Trader Joe’s food stores), Mousy’s (Macy’s department store), Moustercharge (MasterCharge credit cards), Targoat (Target), including many more.
4 Alan Tudyk has voiced four different characters in Disney’s last four features. The theory behind this is that he has become Disney’s ‘lucky charm’ in the very same vein as Pixar has John Ratzenberger, who has had at least one voice appearance in every Pixar film. Again, coincidence or is Pixar taking over Disney?
5 Anchorman Moosebridge is actually a different animal depending on where you live, for example in Australia and New Zealand he is a koala, whereas in China he is a giant panda.
6 There are sixty-four different species of animals represented in Zootpoia.
7 The film lists Byron Howard, Rich Moore as directors and Jared Bush as co-director. This is due to the fact that the entire story structure was changed due to test audiences not reacting favourably to Nick Wilde (the fox) as the main character. As a result the focus shifted to a story based on Judy Hopps (the rabbit).