Zootopia is cute and cuddly, using anthropomorphic animals to reinforce a simple message about following your dreams. It’s about picking yourself up when you’re down, never giving up. But underneath Nick Wilde’s business casual short-sleeve button down, it’s much more complicated than just a feel-good buddy mystery. Look deeper, and Zootopia becomes a poignant look at our unsettled culture of racism, sexism, and political corruption.
Disney films are typically safe and squeaky clean, tying cute bows around comfortable messages and readily marketable characters that can be later sold in stores across the world. But Zootopia isn’t just about putting two unlikely animals—a “cute” bunny and a “sly” fox—together and having them work as a team. It challenges the seemingly unassailable barriers constructed by a prejudiced society, fraught with deep examinations of just how complicated life can be. It’s a subversive tale without being overly sentimental or romantic that both kids and adults can enjoy.
Since its release in March, Zootopia has already gone on to amass more than $1 billion at the box office, so it’s safe to assume Disney’s latest thought experiment was a roaring success. Now, the film is headed to digital, DVD and Blu-ray, and it’s a must-have if you’re a fan. I might be in the minority, but I’d argue Zootopia the best movie of 2016 (so far), and certainly among the top films to come from the studio in, well, ever. (Debatable since Wreck-it Ralph and Big Hero 6 were so dang good.)
I’m not here to give you a full recap of the movie—you can read our review of the film right here. Instead, I wanted to touch briefly on some of the great extras you’ll get if you decide to pick up the home release. For starters, one of the film’s best bonus features includes an in-depth exploration of the movie’s characters, animation, environments and more, revealing how Disney Animation created such a stunningly beautiful film.
Disney once against used its Hyperion rendering system, which was previously used for Big Hero 6 and the results speak for themselves. Zootopia was gorgeous on the big screen, and that quality shines through in the home releases; I’ve watched it on both digital and Blu-ray in the past few days, and it really is one of the prettiest animated films ever. Zootopia’s different districts look incredible, and the way the animals’ faces emote makes them easily relatable.
Incredibly, Zootopia features 64 different species of animals, breaking down into somewhere in the range of 800,000 different character models. To achieve a more believable level of realism, some individual characters, such as a giraffe, has more strands of hair than there are people in the city of Chicago.
In addition to several deleted scenes and a featurette about the incredible research Disney put in before starting Zootopia, there’s also a feature-length documentary about how the film’s story was developed, from its origins to a big decision Disney made late on in the production process to switch the main character. Hint: It wasn’t always Judy Hopps.
If you haven’t seen Zootopia, you no longer have an excuse now that it’s available for home release. If you enjoyed the movie in theaters, giving the movie multiple viewings will reveal deeper meanings and messages behind the importance of things such as empathy and open-mindedness. These are things we all need reminding of every now and again.