Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Zoo Duo: 'Zootopia' Main Character Designs Revealed

USA Today brings us a real but small first look at Walt Disney Animation Studios' Zootopia, including final renders of main characters Nick Wilde and Judy Hopps....

It's not much, but the character designs are pretty cool as expected. More than anything, I'm really looking forward to seeing the fully-rendered titular metropolis. The real meat here are the interviews with the directors, and the actors playing the two leads...

Director Rich Moore (Wreck-It Ralph) says the story is about animals "who would naturally never hang out or like one another in the beginning, but over the course of the movie develop a relationship and become friends..."

Jason Batemen says foxy Nick Wilde is a "crafty, sarcastic schemer, and that I've been doing in parts since I was 12. I foolishly said, 'What kind of voice do you guys want me to do?' And they just looked at me like I was an idiot and said, 'Just do what you do. Just talk.' " That description pretty much lines up with everything we've heard before, and that image more than sums up his character.

Moore describes Judy Hopps as a cross between Pollyanna and... Furiosa? Wow, what a mix! Furiosa was certainly the real star of the superb Mad Max: Fury Road, and it's good to see that the character - voiced by Ginnifer Goodwin - will be similar to her. Byron Howard (Tangled, Bolt), who is directing the film alongside Moore, says Hopps has been called "cute" all her life and she doesn't quite like that. The article also mentioned... There are situations where Judy becomes unhinged and "she gets hoppity emotionally," Goodwin says. She also won't be underestimated. "People mistake kindness for naivete or stupidity, and she is a good girl through and through. But she's not a dumb bunny."

Early on I was a bit concerned when reading the updated synopsis from not too long ago, it sounded like they traded in the "arrogant" personality for optimistic and opportunistic. With these descriptions, that doesn't seem like it's so anymore. She's optimistic, sure, she's dreaming big, sure... But she doesn't take any bull. I like that! Again, the Furiosa comparison... These two characters are going to be great!

The article also points out that the film will have the "buddy comedy vibe" of 48 Hours... Hmmmm... It was noted at Cannes that the film had some particular jokes that were definitely more on the adult-side, ones that were a little more front-and-center. Makes me wonder if this one will push its PG rating - which it will most likely get - a bit...

Goodwin describes the city of Zootopia as "fully immersive as though you walked into Disneyland... This movie is begging for an entire division of the theme park."

Best of all was this little tidbit...

Bateman's daughter Francesca, 8, may be first in line. "I showed her the teaser the other day on my computer," he says. "And she looked at me like, 'Oh, so that's where you disappear to. … OK, you actually do something I like.' "

The teaser, you say? Will it debut this week? Or next week? Inside Out opens in a week, the teaser for Zootopia was classified alongside the already-out Good Dinosaur teaser, so it's close! It would be lovely if it debuted this week, tomorrow even. I wouldn't be surprised, because usually when USA Today runs an article on an animated film, the teaser drops the next day...

Anyways, the more I hear about this film, the more excited I get. This sounds like a Walt Disney Animation Studios film I want to see: Creative, different, ambitious, funny, promising a good story that mixes everything we come to expect from a Disney animated film...

Bring it on!


  1. i really think the Furiosa comparison is to boost the hype, and not really similar characters. Furiosa is extremely serious afterall, but Judy could be that too.
    YES, we need Zootopia in DisneyWorld! stop bringing in non-Disney franchises into the parks (im looking at you, Avatar).
    getting a PG-13 rating would make so many animation fans happy, but not so sure about the general public....

  2. Their animated films seem to have more ambition than the live-action films. Disney's live-action films today have been nothing but cash-grabs, same goes with anything Disney Channel and Disney XD put out (outside of the TVA shows, from what I'm reading).

    1. considering how their latest original blockbuster flopped, its understandable they scaled back, but hopefully they regroup and come up with more originals.
      Disney channels have some great ones tho, and yea TVA's outputs have been consistently golden so far. but i heard Girl meets world isnt bad, and liv and maddie isnt bad either.
      they also have ABC, which have amazingly diverse shows right now with great qualities.