Zootropolis Blu-ray review

The House of Mouse gets political with its latest talking animals 'toon

Anthropomorphic animals have been the key feature of animation since the art form's earliest days. And you only have to look at the longevity and familiarity of characters like Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck to see how important the concept has been to the Walt Disney brand. Never before, though, has the studio approached the subject as subversively as it has with Zootropolis.

Defying all the odds, small-town bunny Judy Hopps (Ginnifer Goodwin) graduates from police academy and becomes the first-ever rabbit cop. But, despite being assigned to the bustling city of Zootropolis, Judy's dreams of catching bad guys are dashed by her new boss, who doubts her potential and relegates her to traffic warden duties.

Judy's big break finally comes when a missing person case falls into her lap, one that will require the help of a wily fox scam-artist (Jason Bateman's Nick Wilde) if she's to get to the bottom of it. But does Judy really have what it takes to prove her worth? And, more importantly, can predator and prey animals really be friends?

Having got off to a faltering start with Chicken Little and Meet the Robinsons, Disney Animation really seems to have got the hang of this whole CG animation malarkey. With Bolt, Tangled, Wreck-It Ralph, Frozen and Big Hero 6, the studio has put together a winning roster of releases that even manages to put Pixar to shame – and Zootropolis does not let the side down.

What elevates this latest 'toon to the upper echelons of the studio's output is the way that it plays with the usual Disney tropes to deal with some pretty weighty topics (including sexism, racism and political correctness). As such, it's the most political feature animation Disney has ever produced. But don't fret: its themes are presented in such a smart, gentle and entertaining way, with myriad slapstick gags and clever film homages, that it's bound to be an immense pleasure for viewers of all ages.

Picture: Presented in its original 2.40:1 aspect ratio, Zootropolis' 1080p imagery boggles the eyes with its meticulously rendered textures and sumptuous details (all that fur!). Equally impressive is the palette, with the setting and characters delivering a rainbow of beautifully saturated colours. In other words, this is yet another top-tier transfer from the House of Mouse.
Picture rating: 5/5

Audio: The nature of the material ensures that the film's DTS-HD MA 7.1 mix has plenty going on to keep itself busy. The entire soundstage positively bristles with activity, aided by slick panning effects and precise positional cues. Dialogue and music are full-bodied throughout.
Audio rating: 5/5

Extras: Best of a limited bunch are three roundtable chats with members of the production team. Also included are three behind-the-scenes featurettes, a music video, seven deleted scenes and a guide to a few of the film's hidden gags.
Extras rating: 2.5/5

We say: Disney's impressive run of form continues with this smart, funny and surprisingly topical 'toon. The Blu-ray's a winner, too!

Zootropolis, Walt Disney, All-region BD, £25