Walt Disney Animation Studios’ Zootopia takes place in a world that is entirely populated by animals, “from the biggest elephant to the small shrew” (as the film’s official synopsis puts it). The 3D animated movie revolves around enthusiastic rookie Officer Judy Hopps and quick-witted, scam artist, Nick Wilde, as voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin (Once Upon a Time) and Jason Bateman (Arrested Development), when they must work together in order to solve a case with 48 hours to spare.
The previously-released Zootopia teaser trailer highlights the polar opposites dynamic between Judy and Nick, in addition to showcasing (however briefly) the many residents of the film’s fantasy setting. Disney has now unveiled a full-length trailer that doesn’t offer much in the way of fresh plot-related information, but instead provides its assurances that yes – in a world of anthropomorphized animals, of course the DMV staff is composed entirely of sloths.
Frozen and Wreck-It Ralph storyboard artist Raymond S. Persi provides the voice of Flash, the “fast-moving” sloth who assists Judy and Nick in the new Zootopia trailer. Interestingly enough, the original plan was for another actor to handle the role, but the film’s directors Byron Howard (Tangled) and Rich Moore (Wreck-It Ralph) felt that Persi’s original voice test for the character was solid enough to use in the final movie. Good choice too, since the character looks to have pretty much flawless comedic timing in the scene depicted here, as a result.
The Zootopia screenplay by Phil Johnston (Wreck-It Ralph) and Jared Bush (Who Wants to Marry My Dad?) looks to offer a Disney-friendly spin on not just buddy cop tropes, but the archetypical detective narrative in general. Story-wise, things are set in motion when Mrs. Otterton (Octavia Spencer) reports that her husband is missing, and Judy – who’s eager to earn her stripes among her more accomplished (and generally much larger) officers – quickly takes the case, only to discover that Nick possesses vital information that she needs to solve the mystery.
There are shades of Who Frame Roger Rabbit in the Zootopia storyline, as Judy and Nick must not just overcome the social stereotypes about their respective species, but also solve a case that (no doubt) is more complicated than just a husband gone missing. Indeed, given the many eccentric characters that Judy and Nick cross paths with during their investigation – like the small-time crook Duke Weaselton (Alan Tudyk), hippie-like life coach Yax the Yak (Tommy Chong), and blustery Zootopia Mayor Leodare Lionheart (J.K. Simmons), among others – Disney’s latest animated film will also put a playful spin on Noir detective stories in general (see Inherent Vice for a recent example).
In case you missed it when it first dropped, here is the official Zootopia poster:
Disney Animation also has the animated fantasy adventure/musical Moana slated for arrival in 2016, but Zootopia ought to have an easy time standing apart from that film – given just how different the pair are from one another. Both films are original fairy tales by the Mouse House, though, and continue the theme of friendship that has characterized a number of the company’s recent offerings (see Ralph and Vanellope, Hiro and Baymax); both may also provide fresh spins on two types of stories (animal adventure stories and princess fables) that’ve long been Disney’s bread and butter, as far as animation is concerned.
That said, it’s a fair bet that Zootopia won’t be quite as emotionally-challenging as recent Disney Animation titles like Frozen – much less Disney/Pixar films such as Inside Out and the upcoming The Good Dinosaur. Nonetheless, the Zootopia trailers have been promising so far, and suggest the film will be a healthy serving of playfulness and heart on the level with Wreck-It Ralph and Big Hero 6. Hard to complain about that.
Zootopia opens in U.S. theaters on March 4th, 2016.
Source: Walt Disney Animation Studios