Zootropolis Blu-ray Review
Is this anything to do with that Zootopia film?
Title-changes aside, Zootropolis is another great effort from Disney, delivering smart laughs and colourful but clever chaos and once again hitting home with the young and old.In some ways following on from The Good Dinosaur (although that was far from the first time this approach was taken), we are introduced to a world populated by animals doing ‘conventional’ jobs – normally influenced by heritage, expectation and predisposition – and a certain young bunny rabbit who aspires to be the first police bunny (and, inadvertently, one of Disney’s first great female protagonists) in the history of animalkind, and is prepared to battle the odds to make her dreams come true. The tried and tested underdog rookie cop routine is more than familiar within the live action realm, but more atypical to this kind of animated feature – not least featuring animals – and works as an innovative (although not wholly unprecedented; the film is reminiscent of both Roger Rabbit and Cool World) springboard towards smart, adult wit and smooth child-friendly entertainment. It’s relevant and irreverent; topical and thought-provoking, and it’s ostensibly made for kids.The superb script is often razor sharp, and Aaron Sorkin-fast, with the voice cast ripping through the great lines with little time to catch your breath between what are often some very satisfying laughs which effortlessly dissect some pretty heavyweight themes of inequality, stereotype and prejudice. And whilst laughing out loud isn’t necessarily what the film is about – although the sloth scene is Pure Gold – the film rides securely on a knowing wink towards the cop genre, and plenty of pop-culture-tastic references in there making adult-aimed jokes on everything from Frozen to The Godfather, with the whole 48 Hours-esque storyline underpinning what is basically one big in-joke. High octane chases across an innovatively and expertly crafted animal sandbox of insanity (the nudist colony; the miniature town etc.) allow momentum to be effortlessly sustained without any expense to the cleverness of the script, leaving this easily one of the best animated features of the year.
Picture QualityHitting UK Region Free Blu-ray complete with an outstanding 2D 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video presentation framed in the movie’s original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1 widescreen, which laps up the intricately designed universe within which the film plays out. Detail is astounding, nuanced on the close-ups, immensely complex on the broader shots, leaving the vibrant, vividly coloured picture all the tools to dazzle you throughout.
Zootropolis dazzles in 2D and 3D.
On the 3D front, the 1080p/MVC-encoded High Definition presentation is equally impressive in terms of technical merits, and maintains clarity and colour with little loss due to brightness (the film is mostly bright, bright, bright). And whilst it isn’t exactly the most striking 3D demo title of late, it does offer up an oftentimes overwhelming feeling of 3D scope, as the whole universe unravels before you. Perhaps a different ratio would have given it a more intimate, conventionally eye-popping 3D feel, but this would have only been at the expense of the breadth of the piece, which doesn’t deliver limitless depth, but nevertheless explores this grand sandbox in a warmly rounded and innately more immersive fashion.
Sound QualityThe accompanying DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track may come as a disappointment to those wanting an Atmos offering (the film was released theatrically with one) but it won’t disappoint anybody else, with a fantastic aural body that knows just when to dominate and just when to supplant. Enhancing the film throughout, it frames the dialogue clearly and coherently across the frontal array, but it expertly disseminates the effects across the surrounds.
Expertly crafted, the audio impresses as much as the video.
It’s possibly the score that is the most dynamic though, and perhaps the first animated feature that I’ve come across to use diegetic vs. non-diegetic sound for a gag. The score is clever and cheery, sweeping you along but never hurrying you along, whilst further engaging you in all the more kinetic action sequences, only without your even knowing it. LFE is finely utilised too, and all in all, this rounds out a technically reference presentation.
Steelbook ExtrasA reasonably feature-laden supplemental package is let down slightly by the lack of traditional trademark Disney Short Film (and thus lacking any 3D features, as the Shorts are normally also available in 3D) and also lacking in the Commentary department. Instead we are left with a series of informative Featurettes that all run at a decent length, and provide a fair amount of background into the piece, looking at the research done to make this animal kingdom, the origins of the story, the characters, settings and animation, as well as the score. There’s also a few Deleted Scenes and, perhaps more interestingly, some ‘Deleted Characters’, as well as a Music Video and a feature on all the Disney references in the movie.
Although not feature-packed, the Steelbook release itself looks pretty impressive.
Zavvi's exclusive UK 2D/3D Steelbook boasts striking design work (the main poster is quite busy for a Steelbook cover) and a traditional, impressive Disney frame, with a title-less cover, and a title-less spine too (which is sure to upset plenty). It's a smashing job, particularly if you're not offended by the lack of titles; gorgeous colours, striking artwork, and nice framing too.
VerdictAdeptly scripted and tremendous fun, Zootropolis - or Zootopia, depending which country you're in - is excellent.
With outstanding reference video and audio, and a great looking 2D/3D steelbook design to boot, this is a must-have release for Disney fans, animation fans, and generally just fans of great movies that work superbly at varying levels for all the family, young and old.
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