Sunday, June 19, 2016

Zootopia Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
Directed by Byron Howard (“Tangled,” “Bolt”) and Rich Moore (“Wreck-It Ralph,” “The Simpsons”) and produced by Clark Spencer (“Wreck-It-Ralph,” “Lilo & Stitch”), 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.
Film (4 out of 5 stars)
At the Carrot Days talent show, a young bunny reminds the audience of what the world was like long ago. Predators chased and ate their prey. Prey learned to live in fear. Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) is a young bunny who dreams of being a police officer. Things may have changed, but obviously not enough, because the audience laughs at her dream. When Judy grows up she plans to move to Zootopia, where anyone can be anything. Judy’s parents warn her not to try anything new so she’ll never be disappointed. A run in with a local bully (a fox of course) leaves her scarred but determined. She says goodbye to her 275 brothers and sisters and boards a train for Zootopia.

At the police academy, Judy must learn to master all twelve of Zootopia’s unique ecosystems. Although she struggles physically at first, Judy is soon at the top of her class. At graduation, the Mayor proudly announces that Officer Judy Hopps is the first rabbit officer the Zootopia Police Department has ever had. Judy is so excited about the future that she sees her tiny dingy apartment as charming and quaint. She heads to work excited for her first day. Although everyone is aware that there are 14 missing mammals, Judy ends up writing parking tickets. 

When Judy is told to write 100 parking tickets, she writes 200. She attacks her mundane task with enthusiasm, hoping for more responsibility. Judy’s optimism is tested when she tries to help a nice looking fox named Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman). Nick appears to be having trouble buying a popsicle from an elephant who doesn’t want to serve his kind. Judy is able to help the situation but soon realizes that the nice man and his “son” are both con men.

Judy starts her second day on the force determined not to let the popsicle hustler get her down. She stumbles on a robbery and ends up chasing a weasel through Little Rodentia. The Chief Bogo (Idris Elba) is furious about the encounter. He wants Judy off the force. Thanks to the assistant mayor looking out for the little guy, Judy gets a chance to look into the case of one of the missing predators. She is given 48 hours to find Emmett Otterton or turn in her badge. Nick Wilde may hold the key to cracking the case and Judy is forced to team up with this unlikely ally.

Zootopia is a fun, cute film that will certainly please children of all ages. There is a bit of drama but nothing like what many family films have to offer. The main character isn’t fueled by the loss of a loved one and children won’t be brought to tears. There are plenty of small details that only parents will notice and a few jokes just for the adults in the audience, which I appreciate. It is nice to know that the filmmakers anticipated the entire audience. Some of the laughs are a bit predictable but that didn’t bother me at all. In fact, I enjoyed the film much more the second time around. The voice actors are perfectly cast, especially Jason Bateman. He brings a great deal of depth to his character.
Video (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Zootopia is presented on Blu-ray in 1080p high definition with a 2.39:1 ratio. The colors are bright and vibrant and each animal has a different kind of fur, clearly consisting of an incredible amount of hair. Detail is amazing and includes touches like dinged metal and worn down chairs. The attention to detail on the film as a whole is remarkable. You need to watch the film multiple times to pick up on everything going on in background.
Audio (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Zootopia’s English 7.1 DTS-HDMA track is near perfect. When the predators roar you’ll feel your sub-woofer kick in. If you close your eyes you’ll feel like you are in the middle of a rain-forest or caught in the middle of the dry heat of the tundra – when Judy travels through each zone.
Extras (4 out of 5 stars)
  • Research: A True Life Adventure – Here we learn that John Lasseter supports project with animals in tiny clothes. We also follow the film-making team on a research trip to Disney’s Animal Kingdom and then on to Africa to see the animals on their home turf.
  • The Origin of an Animal Tale – The Director explains the adventure of storytelling and the 6 ideas originally pitched to Lasseter. This featurette contains artwork from other story lines and an explanation of the how the story evolved after screenings with other filmmakers.
  • Zoology: The Roundtables – Available with play all function and introduction from Ginnifer Goodwin. Each team sits down to discuss their responsibilities and contributions.
  • Scoretopia – A look at the music of Zootopia. See the exotic sounds and watch as the musicians record the score.
  • Z.P.D. Forensic Files – A guided tour of some of the easter eggs hidden in the film. If you look hard enough, you’ll see references to Big Hero 6, Mickey Mouse, Frozen and more.
  • Try Everything” Music Video – Shakira’s video for the song featured predominantly in the film.
  • Deleted Characters – The Director discusses characters that didn’t make the cut.
  • Deleted Scenes - Seven deleted scenes with available with play all and introduction by Directors Ryan Howard and Rich Moore.
Summary (4 out of 5 stars)
Disney’s Zootopia starts of the summer movie season with a bang. It is funny and silly without alienating the adult audience. This isn’t the film you’ll dread watching with your children but it is one they’ll ask for many times. The filmmakers gave great attention to detail in making the film and put together a short but adequate list of bonus content. I recommend purchasing and gifting the film to any Disney lover.

Order your copy today!

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