DVD & Blu-Ray Reviews

Blu-Ray Review: ‘Zootopia’


Disney’s Zootopia was a box-office sensation, raking in more than $1 billion worldwide and becoming the second highest-grossing original film of all time behind James Cameron’s Avatar. With results like that, there’s a pretty good chance you caught the film during its theatrical run. Here’s what we said in our original review:

Zootopia‘s multi-layered mystery unfolds in classic film noir fashion, and cinephiles will notice more than a few references to masterpieces such as Chinatown and The Maltese Falcon, both of which producer Clark Spencer have cited as key influences. But the film also falls squarely into buddy-cop territory, with Judy and Nick encountering a succession of hilarious supporting characters, including a hippie-dippy yak (voiced in pitch perfect fashion by Tommy Chong) and the well-publicized army of sloths who manage the local DMV.

Amongst all the laughs – and there are many – Zootopia also explores themes of diversity, inclusion, empowerment and most notably, prejudice. Despite the fact that animals are no longer eating each other, many still live in fear of predators, and that fear can manifest itself in some pretty hateful ways. This is heavy material for an animated film, but presented in a manner that should resonate with young and old alike – especially considering the current social climate. When an opportunistic character turns panic and intolerance into a political platform late in the film’s second act, it feels eerily familiar – and it should, because we’re seeing the same thing on the nightly news.

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If you’ve been looking forward to revisiting Zootopia, or checking it out for the first time, then you’re in luck: the film made its way to home video earlier this week, and as usual, Disney is offering up a stellar Blu-Ray release that will make an excellent addition to any library.

The 1080p video transfer is every bit as lush and vibrant as the big screen version, allowing viewers to appreciate the painstaking amount of detail that went into creating each of Zootopia‘s creatures. The animation team at Walt Disney Studios is constantly trying to push the boundaries of technology, and this time they challenged themselves by rendering distinctly different types of fur for each mammal in the film. The results are a world whose inhabitants are just as varied as their real-life counterparts, and it all looks fantastic.

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There are plenty of special features here, including a series of featurettes about researching the animal kingdom, exploring and developing the themes of Zootopia, and about 20 minutes of deleted scenes that include an alternate opening. There’s also a nice little segment that points out some of the Disney-related Easter eggs hidden throughout the film.

As I said in my original review, Zootopia is easily the studio’s best effort since the classics of the early 90s, and a subsequent viewing has only served to reinforce that opinion. The film is beautiful, hilarious, and incredibly touching, and I can’t recommend it enough.

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