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Zootopia (Blu-ray Review)

ZootopiaWalt Disney Animation Studios’ (WDAS) comedy-adventure, “Zootopia” has broken records worldwide earning more than $900 million at the global box office to date. The best reviewed movie of 2016, critics and audiences around the world have fallen in love with the wonderfully innovative animal metropolis of “Zootopia” and the comedic chemistry of rookie rabbit officer Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) and scam-artist fox Nick Wilde (Jason Bateman).  It’s been called one of the best buddy cop comedies in years! Viewers will not only be able to enjoy the vibrant world of Zootopia and reunite with their favorite characters, but also discover more about the evolution of this extraordinary tale through in-depth bonus offerings. The runaway hit arrives home on June 7 via Digital HD, Blu-ray™ and Disney Movies Anywhere.

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Film 

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 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, 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. 

Since everyone on the planet saw The Force Awakens, they knew Zootopia was on the horizon.  What helped it even more is that is was the best trailer that was attached to the film.  Almost every movie that was coming in 2016 that had something to show of itself came on during the release of The Force Awakens.  The one film that didn’t quite get the online fuss or big showboating trailer release was Zootopia.  But, when you went to see the movie, this is the one that got the biggest reaction from the crowd during the the Sloth sequence.  And said sequence STILL killed during the theatrical release.

The rest of the film?  Terrific as it turns out!  Zootopia endears a great story weaving through a mystery, accepting differences, facing your fears and overcoming obstacles and challenges in life.  Its all done in such a fun and intriguing manner that none of it sounds as pretentious or even near as heavy handed as I described it.  Its just what the story is and it naturally drives it and makes everything fluid and like its supposed to.  The film is a genuinely honest, natural and touching look at our fear of differences among our own selves in humankind.

Enough of the sappy touching commentary, right?  What is also great about the film is the style with which its told.  Zootopia is basically Disney’s rendition of a Shane Black film.  Short of taking place during Christmas, the film takes the whole “Buddy cop” (Or “Bunny” cop in this regard…I’ll be here all night, folks) aspect that Black excels on as well as the investigation on the corrupt innerworkings of a corporation or government.  If you’re not a fan of animation, but like things like Kiss Kiss Bang Bang…maybe you wanna take a look at this one?  Everything you like about those movies is pretty much here, but in a more family friendly environment.

The voice acting isn’t shy on the talent either.  Headlined by Ginnifer Goodwin, you also have her paired with Jason Bateman.  Goodwin excels as Judy Hopps and really is a character that you can get behind and root for. And I believe that while its on the page, its Goodwin’s performance that capitalizes on it and makes it happen.  Jason Bateman is allowed to breathe and just do his thing here and its one of his best characters and performances he’s had.  Also great is seeing Jenny Slate get a sizable, memorable role in the film.

I found this to be one of those reviews that’s kinda tough to write.  I like this movie a lot and can’t really collect my thoughts in such a grand way to spill them out into typed words.  But, truly, this is one of the year’s best films in the first half.  Its hilarious, moving, adventurous and just a really fun time.  Oh and the animation is pretty darn solid too.  An easy recommend if you haven’t seen this outstanding film.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Clarity/Detail:  The only thing we should report on for this one is if it didn’t look terrific.  Detail is rampant and crystal clear.  The hairy fur on all the characters comes in many textures, shapes and sizes and looks touchable.  Clothing fabrics come with many a thread and pattern.  Its lovely and you probably could have guess that just by knowing who you got it from.

Depth:  This film ran 3-D at the theater and is a fully animated one, so the dimensional work to it is already set to be top notch.  Spacing is grand as well as fluid movements and clear, clean backgrounds.

Black Levels:  Blacks are deep and solid.  They work good for both shading and outlining/accenting.  No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are bright and vivid.  There is a long ranging palette on display in the film.  It does get oranges, reds and greens very good.  But, truly there is no color that doesn’t look great in this transfer.

Flesh Tones:  N/A

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 7.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, English, French, Spanish

Dynamics:  Like the video, this audio track is quite terrific.  The mix is a beautiful layered track that features well rounded sound effects and foley work.  It also features a perfect balance between the film’s score, sound effects and vocals, letting each their own room to breath and blend.

Low Frequency Extension:  Big vehicles, animal roars and destruction all feature a good bump from your subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Every element in the film is fully realized from every channel.  Each little town and city comes at you from the front, left, right and rear.  Certain scenes have some fun with your ears from different directions.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is clean and crisp with a real clarity to every word.

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Extras 

Zootopia comes with DVD copy and UltraViolet Digital Copy of the film.

Research: A True-Life Adventure (HD, 9:58) – This featurette covers the in depth research the filmmakers did in figuring out animal behaviors and interactions in order to build the city and population accurately in the film.

The Origin of An Animal Tale (HD, 9:15) – The filmmakers talk about story elements and themes for the film and features storyboards and ideas that were abandoned as well as their inspirations from “animals in clothes films” from Disney.

Zoology: The Roundtables (HD, 18:23) – Technical directors have a discussion over 3 topics; characters, environments and animation.  Comes with the opiton to have introductions by Ginnifer Goodwin.

Scoretopia (HD, 4:59) – A look behind the scoring of the film with Michael Giacchino and John Lasseter.

ZPD Forensic Files (HD, 3:23) – Goes over the Disney easter eggs or references to other films left through the movie.

“Try Everything” Music Video By Shakira (HD, 3:21) 

Deleted Characters (HD, 3:16) – The directors discuss some characters that didn’t make the film through drawings and sketches.

Deleted Scenes (HD, 28:03) – Comes with option to watch with introductions by directors Byron Howard and Rich Moore.

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Summary 

I haven’t put together of an official list or anything, but Zooptopia is probably my favorite film from the first half of this yeat (That or, similarly enough, The Nice Guys).  Its a terrific mystery, buddy comedy that delivers a message with ease and not heavy handed at all.  Its funny, exciting and adventurous.  Disney brings it home in this great looking Blu-ray, with some solid extras.  Zootopia is a must have for anyone, so make sure you click down below to nab yourself a copy!

Zootopia-Blu-ray

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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